Maria Mena bares soul on ‘Growing Pains’
Although Maria Mena hasn’t even turned 30 yet (she is 29 years old) she is already releasing the seventh album of her career. The Norwegian songbird started out with her first record when she was only 16 and she has been going strong ever since. She still is one of Norway’s biggest pop stars and also had quite some successes in the Netherlands and the German languaged countries. Her personal and heartfelt songs have touched the souls of many listeners and she continues to do so on her brand new record called Growing Pains.
The release of the first single ‘I Don’t Wanna See You With Her’ marked a return to form and the style we are used to from her, after the more electronic experiments on the previous album Weapon In Mind. The atmospheric ballad with a gorgeous string section towards the second chorus is something we are used to from Mena, with honest and relatable lyrics about not wanting to see an ex lover with his new love and it is no surprise it has been her biggest hit in Norway in years. The album follows suit with melodic singer-songwriter pop.
Although the album could be described as Maria Mena by the numbers without a lot of surprises, this does not mean there is no room at all for some refreshing elements. ‘Leaving You’ for example, is built on a subtle hiphop beat with a catchy chorus which is built around the ‘ýou’re ok, you’re ok, you’re ok, without me’ hook. The result is quite magical and should definitely be single. The same goes for the slightly more uptempo ‘Good and Bad’, a track about acknowledging that there are two sides to a story in relational problems. “I see what I did, I see what you did, I see what we did, both good and bad”, she admits in a glorious chorus with a light electronic and swinging production.
The confessional character of Growing Pains is tangible throughout the whole record. On ‘Not Sober’ Mena admits she is still ‘afraid of the dark’ when she is ‘alone with her thoughts’, while she asks her partner for honesty on ‘Confess!’, opening up herself as well. ‘You Deserve Better’ sees her admitting she hasn’t been the best person she could have been in a dysfuntional relationship in a powerful track driven by drums and catchy humming bits. ‘Bend Till I Break’ is a classic Maria Mena track on which she shows herself to be powerful until a point where she can’t take it anymore. The moving and nothing short of brilliant closer and title track ‘Growing Pains’ features the lyrics: “Just because it hurts, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it.” This is all the more true when you can create such a touching and relatable album out of your own hard times. Thanks for that, Maria!
Must listen: I Don’t Wanna See You With Her, Good And Bad, Leaving You, You Deserve Better, Growing Pains