Album Review: Loreen – Ride

Loreen Ride cover

Loreen reinvents herself on second album Ride
Loreen’s career looked more than promising after she won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012 and had a Europe wide hit with her track ‘Euphoria’. Things however turned out quite differently than might have been expected. Her debut album Heal was released in the fall of 2012, just after the initial hype around the Swedish star had died down. In the years after she released a handful, often quite brilliant, singles, but her relationship with her label Warner seems to have turned sour soon after. She returned to Melodifestivalen (the Swedish Eurovision preselection) with ‘Statements’, not making it to the final. She left her label, released the EP Nude to thank the fans for their patience and then suddenly announced a brand new album Ride, which was launched today!

To be able to release this record Loreen parted ways with Warner and signed with Sony BMG. This coincided with an obvious change in sound as well. While her Nude EP mostly stayed true to the electronic pop nature of her music, the single ”71 Charger’ was clearly more indie pop focused with organic instruments and a dark, moody vibe. The follow up track (and absolutely stunning!) ‘Hate The Way I Love You’ followed a similar pattern with a big build up, a belting chorus and a Björk like overall vibe.

The nine tracks (and a string version of ”71 Charger’) strong album was co-written and co-produced with a handful of collaborators. With this in mind, Ride sounds surprisingly cohesive. The overall tone is quite dark and dramatic and the arrangements mostly start out quiet and then build to big climaxes. The drums and guitars are prominent, while synths and beats don’t play the big part they used to before. ‘Jupiter Drive’ is probably the most electronic of the lot (she first performed it in 2014 so that is not surprising) with a deep bass, but at the same time an ethereal chorus with soaring vocals.

Like we are used to from her, she uses her voice as an instrument, often blending with the production. This is especially the case in the dreamy, but emotive ‘Love Me America’. By the time the climax comes around her voice wrapped itself around the instrumentation to become one. ‘Fire Blue’ is an atmospheric midtempo track with a stunning melody line and a laidback production. The title track does work perfectly as an album closer.

Loreen’s Ride is miles away from the dance pop sound of her debut, but it is fair to say that the new record is what Loreen should sound like when she is not chasing hits. This is not an album made for commercial success, but sure works as an artistic statement. A beautiful one I’d like to add!

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