Passion | 21 March 2007
Last week I finally decided it was time for me to buy the CD I Let The Music Speak by Anne Sofie von Otter. I saw the CD at my local record shop for a lousy € 12.50. That seemed a very acceptable price. Well that's what I thought then.
Not anymore, because I have to admit that I think that this CD is one of the worst ABBA related albums in the past 20 years. You might wonder: why is the album so terrible?
Well, it's not the production. That's just a normal good sounding recording. Great sound, lots of dynamic range as could be expected from a record by the famous Deutsche Grammophon label.
And it's not the arrangements either. Although I don't always like the arrangements, a lot of thoughts have gone in to them. And they even managed to give some songs a completely new feel. No replica of the ABBA sound, but a fresh new approach. And that is something which should be applauded. So, no, it's not the arrangements.
The singing maybe? Oh no, that's impeccable. You can say what you want about this lady, but Mrs. Von Otter simply is a great singer. Great voice and she sings the songs quite well.
So in fact there's not much wrong here: good production, nice arrangements, great singer. And yet there is something lacking. It's all a bit too nice, too clean, too cold. What's missing is passion. That's right, there is no warmth and fire and persuasion. The album sounds like it is just another record for Von Otter. She makes sure that nobody can say that it's a lousy product, but that's about it.
You could say lots of things about ABBA, but the two female singers always gave their full talents to the songs. They treated them with love and they became one with the songs. I'd rather hear Agnetha and Frida whilst maybe singing not so perfectly, than Ann Sofie von Otter with her so called perfect operatic voice. ABBA music IS passion. And if you don't understand that, you should never lay your hands on it.
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