Thursday, 28 May 2009

Studio, 1984: Frida solo again (Shine album review)

Anni-Frid Lyngstad, ABBA’s brunette, has recorded her second solo album, ‘Shine’. It’s very different from the first one and that probably has a lot to do with the fact that that one was produced by Phil Collins and this one by Steve Lillywhite. The latter already has an impressive string of productions credited to his name, with artists such as U2, Simple Minds, Ultravox, Peter Gabriel and Siouxsie & The Banshees. Lillywhite’s influence is clearly audible and sees to it that this record doesn’t remind one of the first album at all and much less of ABBA, except for the one song that Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus contributed to this album.
‘Shine’ is a bad album, despite all the efforts that have been made on the production and the hard work in the studio. It turns out that Frida doesn’t have enough vocal personality to take on a project like this. It takes more to do a solo album than participating in a group.
On the other hand, the press release that accompanies the album does offer some interesting information. It says (for those who didn’t know already) that Anni-Frid was born in 1945 from a relationship between a Norwegian woman and an officer from the German occupying force. When the war ended, her father returned to Germany and her mother died in the confinement bed, whereupon her grandmother moved to Sweden with her. You can wonder whether this had anything to do with the fact that her background was rather controversial in Norway, right after the war. This made Anni-Frid one of the many people whose life was scarred by the tragedy of World War II. It didn’t stop her from building a career as a singer at a very young age. A career that apparently has had its peak.

10 comments:

George said...

I like Shine a lot, to me it's the most interesting post-ABBA project of all former members, except musicals by BB.

~kAte said...

Bad or not, Shine still sounds very fresh and is a lot of pleasure to listen to, unlike many, many other albums which got good reviews at the time.

Michel said...

I think this reviewer was rather blunt in his statements, but it's just one reviewer's opinion.
'Shine' lacked a huge lead-off hit single and when that happens it's very difficult for an album to gain momentum. The album would have fared a lot better if 'Shine' (the single) had become a top ten hit.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with this review. Shine is a terrible album that shows that Frida is a mediocre singer that largely depended on her producer. Lacking both vocal personality and starquality.

~kAte said...

Looks like Shine was just too good for the epoque. And for people with no musical taste or ear like our dear Mr Anonymous, hehe.

pedrogeorges said...

It's difficult to understand that Frida is a mediocre singer and her album is mediocre.
Frida is one of the best singer 1967/2000 and perhaps of to day.I regret that Frida don't sing to day because the potential of this singer is inbelievable.Look at the carieer of ella Fitzgerall, Jerry lee Lewis, Charles Aznavour, Paul Mac Cartney etc....
They are eternal singers ; they had sung or they sing until 70's or 80's years old, and I would like listen Frida to day .
And then " Shine " is one of the CD of Frida and don't use "mediocre " or "bad " please.

~kAte said...

pedrogeorges, don't waste your energy on Anonymous, he's well known for his attitude towards Frida and that says a huge lot about him, hehe ;)

I totally agree with you - Frida is one of the best singers ever, being of the same mould as Ella, Bessie and Sarah. All music professionals are unanimous - she's a singer of rare precision, emotion and intelligence with powerhouse of a voice and a unique range. You can never be wrong with Frida :)

Speaking about Shine, I'm pretty sure the problem is not Frida who did a great job, but Steve who was a bit too much into the experiments at that time (which is definitely ok on my agenda). All the albums he produced around 1984 were rather unsuccessful. But what seemed a flop some 25 years ago now earns new fans for Frida :)

George said...

Anonymous, you should trouble yourself reading the reviews of Frida's pre-ABBA recordings. She didn't have a star producer at that time and was not as commercially successful as other three ABBA members; and yet she was praised by the Swedish critics to the skies as one of the very best contemporary Swedish singers.

Michel said...

I guess Frida also got caught between two stools with the 'Shine' album. The album was so different from ABBA's material that the usual ABBA-audience probably found it difficult to get into this kind of music. It was also a problem to gather a new audience, since anything ABBA-related was starting to get highly un-cool in the mid-eighties, with so many new, up and coming artists.
I think Frida can be applauded for at least having the guts to try something completely different, even though some of her choices weren't the most obvious ones from a commercial point of view.
I get the impression that the 'Shine' album was very satisfying to Frida artistically (even contributing a self written song), which is probably more important than commercial success.

Anonymous said...

Couldnt agree more Michel,Anonymous if you havnt got anything constructive too say why on earth bother !
JS