Monday, January 2, 2017

Svala-The Real Me (2001)


I could say that I'm now five for five in my current streak of fulfilling long-standing personal music wishes, but technically, this next share wasn't a personal wish. But since it has been a long-standing wish of other pop music fans, then at least the streak of fulfilled requests overall continues nonetheless. Making her debut appearance here at "The Music Spectrum" is the Icelandic pop singer Svala Björgvinsdóttir (better known as simply Svala), and it is her debut solo album, "The Real Me", that entertained my ears shortly after I my EarthTONES expedition ended. It's been documented that the opening title track is the hit that Svala has been most recognized for, and just a little over a minute into in my very first listen of it, I could already see all the reasons why! "The Real Me" is as real as a pop lover's dream gets with its crisp, upbeat production, and with Svala's candy-sweet vocals boasting the line 'gonna show you the real me' in the chorus, the music further brought to mind the likes of Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, SPICE GIRLS and the other familiarly trendy girl-pop icons of the mid-to-late 90's. There are a bunch of other fun dance/pop jams on the exact same wavelength as "The Real Me", including "All About You" (a bad case of the guy selfishly only thinking about himself and never about her), "Love Me, Love Me Not" (love the bombastic beats, plus that sass and sizzle she puts on 'can you hit my spot?') and "Count To Four", whose title intrigues even before the accompanying lyrics reveal that's how much time her no-good soon-to-be ex-lover has before exiting through her door. There's an especially sweet side of Svala emanating through the music on both "Close To You" and the sparkly number, "You To Me Are Everything", whose chorus contains some of the most beautiful romantic poetry you'll hear on this album. Speaking of sparks, I sure felt like I'd been ignited by one midway into the wonderful offering, "Wonder Of My World". What starts off gracefully enough with just a soft orchestra overture and the stilled ambient drones suddenly blossoms into a colossally grand performance when the backing choir storms in; THIS is how you deliver a song of love and dedication! Nearly just as epic and grand—perhaps a half-step down, even—are "Strong Enough", where Svala is questioning the state of love's foundation. and the absolutely stunning "Falling", a personal favorite of mine where she's not quite so ready to fly head over heels, as evidenced by her bold outburst of 'why did you have to be so doggone nice?' (I love this one the most when the pitch is taken up and the backing orchestrals turn it into a twinkly, moving moment). "Never Should Have Let You Go": The production here makes it feel like it's on the brink of breaking into a full-out dance explosion, but the fluidly dancey rhythm and the light Spanish guitar instead are a perfect complement to the warming, mellowed nature of the song, the earnest words of reconciliation being convincing words in the well-presented chorus. I like when albums have a perfect ending, and "Lay Your Hans" is definitely a perfect way to close out this 50+ minute adventure. These lofty, dreamy pieces with the New Age-style production and create that heavenly, floating-above-the-clouds feeling are always a real musical delight:

1. The Real Me
2. Falling
3. Save One
4. You To Me Are Everything
5. All About You
6. Wonder Of My World
7. This Is How I Like It
8. Love Me, Love Me Not
9. True Love
10. Count To Four
11. Never Should Have Let You Go
12. Strong Enough
13. Lay Your Hands

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