Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Towe Jaarnek-Towe (1992)


While I've been working on getting the 'L' entries in my music collection in order, I've somehow managed to get a little streak going with some recent entries from my 'T' collection. Next up in this 'T' series is another great artist who was both recommended and requested: Swedish pop singer Towe Jaarnek (love the spelling of those Scandinavian names). Think I'm gonna need some help in the pronunciation, but I initially wanted to say 'TOE-wee jar-NECK', with emphasis placed on the hyphenated portions in all caps. When I love every track presented on a given album, I have to give my rave reviews about it, and such is the case with Towe's 1992 self-titled debut. Do you believe in magic? It's both a question being posed to you as well as the title to the perky spirited opening track. Once you hear Towe's delightful voice and the accompanying lyrics, it'll make a believer out of anyone listening that love is truly a magical thing. It's that same spirited cheerfulness about love that I find attractive about the follow-up, "Candles In The Rain". I formed my own interpretation of the songwriter's thinking: even through all the troubles we may go through, the flame is still burning. Then song that I had been especially looking forward to is the one after that: "More Than A Game". With me having heard a lot of theme songs from past Olympics games as well as other sporting events and athletic spectacles lately, I had a hunch that "More Than A Game" too was an epic, Olympic-sized anthem before I even did my research about it. And it is—a marvelous duet between Towe and fellow Swedish pop singer Peter Jöback, whom I got introduced to not so long ago, that inspires victory and triumph, put to a glorious 80's-sounding beat that sets my heart of fire! Think I'm gonna have to start making a separate playlist of just these epic Olympic tunes by themselves! Found even more delight with "Barcelona", which I knew would have a Spanish vibe about it because, of course, Barcelona is a famous city in the country of Spain. Though ironically, Towe performs all of the lyrics in what I assume to be her native Swedish tongue. But as I point out time and time again, complete understanding of the lyrics isn't always necessary for my enjoyment; Spanish would've been nice though. The 80's-style production is great here, and the addition of those clicking castanets is always a nice touch in these Spanish musics. That upbeat perkiness that made a believer out of me on "Do You Believe In Magic?" comes into play again on another pop goodie: "Bad Luck". It's funny how some of these really good pop tunes have negativity embedded somewhere in their titles and/or the accompanying lyrics. Though maybe it was by good luck that my #1 favorite on this album should be 'Lucky #7': "Promises". I can't help but to love these dancey 80's tunes! 'Swear that you love me': that's the promise Towe requests for her lover to make to her. I really like hearing the background vocalists echoing 'promises' in the song's catchy main chorus. Speaking of things being catchy.....that would be the title to the album's eighth track, "Pour Your Love All Over Me". And once the title's caught your eye, you'll be completely and totally immersed in the lyrics that are soon to flow into your ears. Towe's strongest performances overall, however, lie with the album's final four tracks. 'Stop before you break my heart'—it's almost the memorable line from THE SUPREMES' 1965 classic, "Stop! In The Name Of Love", except without the 'in the name of love' part, on Track #9's "Stop". This bluesy tune is simply marvelous! From the intense rhythm and the dark undertones to the magnificent way that Towe sings—fluttering up one minute and piercing the very next—you will not want to 'stop' listening! "Just Good Friends", the second of the album's duets which features another fellow Swedish singer Lasse Holm (never heard of him), is just fun simple pop music all around. Just one night of love until the morning after—that's just as simple as it gets. "Time To Let You Go" starts off sounding a little sad—matching the emotional heartbreak felt in the lyrics—but once it moves beyond the soft n' mellow stage, it eventually explodes into a powerful, show-stopping performance! And 'performance' literally is what the final Swedish language track, "Ett Liv Med Dej", was back in 1991, as Towe performed it for that year's Swedish Melodifestivalen. Again, didn't understand a word of it, but from what my ears received from it's three minutes of running time, I can see why this beauty of a ballad placed second in that competition's voting:

1. Do You Believe In Magic?
2. Candles In The Rain
3. More Than A Game
4. Barcelona
5. Ice On The Fire
6. Bad Luck
7. Promises
8. Pour Your Love All Over Me
9. Stop
10. Just Good Friends
11. Time To Let You Go
12. Ett Liv Med Dej

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