Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Marit Larsen - Under the Surface

This is Marit Larsen's solo debut album. You may remember her as the blonde girl from M2M. I've gotten my fair share of ridicule in the past for being an M2M fan, but what can I do, they make good music.

At the young age of 24, with this album, Marit has established herself as a certified pop star with an extraordinary ability as a composer. The songs have catchy melodies, witty lyrics, and that x-factor that differentiates it from what you usually hear on the radio. You'll find yourself thinking how unique and refreshing each song is to listen to.

The individual tracks focus on a specific feeling and make a point. It's a combination of pop, country, folk and have a little bit of that M2M feel. It's clear to see that among the two M2M girls, Marit is the better composer and musician. She avoids the formulaic top 40 radio style by cleverly incorporating whistles, harmonica, claps and other cool sounds in her songs.

'Only a Fool' is my favorite song in the CD. It's the one making heavy use of the harmonica, hand claps, and whistles, and is a hybrid pop/folk song with country-style lyrics. Without listening to lyrics, you'll think it's a happy feel-good song, but listen clearly to the words, it's actually a sad and angry song.

"Don't Save Me" is the most commercial-friendly hit, staying number one in the Norwegian radio charts for several weeks. This comes closest to the traditional M2M sound only with a bit more edge. It's a angst-filled angry song disguised as a happy one. I like it because of its undertones on the M2M breakup. If you think about it, it seems to be directed towards her former M2M partner and best friend Marion Raven, who first went solo after getting a million dollar recording contract leaving Marit behind. I imagine this to be her feelings regarding the breakup.

'Under the Surface' is a haunting ballad with a slow Broadway-like melody. At first it sounds like your traditional boring love song. But there's a twist - she suspects her partner still holds feelings for someone from his past. And this thought dominates the rest of the song and she ends up sounding more desperate and obsessive with this realization. This may be the deepest and scariest song in the album.

Overall, this is a beautifully made CD filled with future classics from a rising star. You need to check this out.

Rating: 4/5 * * * *
From the better half of M2M

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