Album Review: Laleh – Kristaller

laleh-kristaller-cover

Laleh delivers most poppy record of her career
These days, Laleh is not only a Swedish pop artist anymore. She is also an in demand songwriter for other artists, operating from Los Angeles. She recently wrote for artists like Ellie Goulding, Demi Lovato, Tori Kelly and Shawn Mendes while recording the duet ‘Welcome To The Show’ with Adam Lambert. She did not forget about her home country as she returned earlier this year with the highly infectious and swinging single ‘Bara Få Va Mig Själv’. Earlier this month she continued promotion in Sweden with ‘Aldrig Bli Som Förr’. Now the album Kristaller, with five songs in English and five in Swedish, is out!

In Sweden, the album opens with the Swedish languaged tracks, while the international version kicks of with Laleh’s very own version of ‘Welcome To The Show’, which makes up for the lack of Lambert’s vocals and the drum beats with a lot of dramatic strings. Although most of Laleh’s previous albums were bilingual, the most poppy tracks, released as singles, were mostly in English while the more experimental songs were performed in her first language. On Kristaller she uses a completely different approach. The album is upbeat and poppy almost from start to finish, with contemporary productions.

This first became apparent on the loud anthem on being yourself ‘Bara Få Va Mig Själv’ (‘I Will Only Be Myself’) with prominent beats and irresistible chants. ‘Aldrig Bli Som Förr’ (‘Never Like It Was’) took it even further with an explosive chorus over an electronic production with the hopeful message, that nothing will stay the same, but it will only get better. Both singles are fresh, uplifting and form two of the main highlights of the record. Another one is title track ‘Kristaller’, which delivers a larger than life chorus which almost reminds of Swedish schlager, packed in a subtle folky instrumentation.

Laleh’s previous two albums Sjung and Colors delivered the most instant pop hits in English, like ‘Some Die Young’ and title track ‘Colors’. Both were meaningful with undeniable hooks. Unfortunately Kristaller does not deliver us such a moment in English, almost as if she gave her best tracks away to other artists. ‘Work’ comes closer with a talking/singing delivery in the verses and a quirky earworm chorus. ‘Let It Fall’ has a more subtle approach with a darker vibe and some vocal effects.

Laleh delivers her most poppy record to date, but doesn’t lose that personal touch that makes her music so special. Admitted, a track like ‘Bark Less, Wag More’ misses the mark as it drowns itself in repetition without going anywhere, but especially in Swedish she is convincing as ever.

Must listen: Bara Få Va Mig Själv, Aldrig Bli Som Förr, Kristaller, Work, Let It Fall

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