Sunday, December 11, 2016

Hera Björk-Je Ne Sais Quoi (2010)


ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: December 11, 2016

From my favorite Icelandic pop star covering songs by 'The King Of Rock And Roll' to another favorite Icelandic pop star who could very well someday be crowned 'Queen Of Pop '! The lovely Hera Björk first got my attention in the same way that a lot of my other current favorite European pop singers have: through the Eurovision Song Contest. While I wasn't in attendance at the event held in Norrway back in 2010, I did get to enjoy viewing Hera's dazzling performance of "Je Ne Sais Quoi" (as well as that elegant red dress she wore for the occasion, which actually looks like the one she wears in the downcast pose pictured above on the cover artwork for the album by the same title). Off the top of my head, I totally forget what 'Je Ne Sais Quoi' translates to (again, my French not being nearly as good as my Spanish), but Hera's accompanying words in English are all I need to know that this is a darling song—electrifying when put to the energetic dance beat, charming when delivered above the soft piano of the 'Ballad Version'. In fact, I just may adore the latter more, particularly when the pitch is taken up and the backing orchestra slides in to elevate the music to even higher majestic proportions! Thanks to "Je Ne Sais Quoi", I would eventually find much more to appreciate about Her Royal Highness. Reigning supreme atop that elite group is Hera's awesome cover of disco queen Amii Stewart's "Knock On Wood". I love that chorus—' it's like thunder, lightning, the way you love is frightening ', with the best part being where she goes 'think I better knock-knock-knock on wood'. I've probably heard Amii's original a half-gazillion times, and even with the number of replays I've already treated myself to of Hera's revitalized remake, it's gonna be a long time before the latter catch up to the former, if ever. Hera gets me all caught up in the music on "Love Trap". The title just makes you wanna hear what this song is about, which is the womanly web of enticement she weaves to reel in the men. But it's the way she keeps singing 'love trap' in the chorus that reels me in—so catchy, and with the perfect dose of attitude, spice and boastful bite. It's like being in a romantic dream on "Falling Again", the opening haunting ambiance before the main downtempo trance rhythm sweeps in setting the angelic tone and making such poetic words as 'holding the sky to her heart' feel even more heavenly. Yet the song that touches me the most is the concluding piece right before the "Je Ne Sais Quoi" remix trio: "Someday". A simple title, but the combination of Hera's hopeful words of looking beyond the past and ahead to the future, plus the way the music arrangement starts off as a slow piece before blossoming into another dance anthem fit for a live Eurovision audience, turns the song into the complexity of musical delight that it is:

1. Je Ne Sais Quoi
2. Waiting For The Night
3. Knock On Wood
4. Natural High
5. Love Trap
6. My Heart
7. Falling Again
8. Because You Can
9. When Everything Is Gone
10. Someday
11. Je Ne Sais Quoi (French Version)
12. Je Ne Sais Quoi (Ballad Version)
13. Je Ne Sais Quoi (Karaoke Version)

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