Album Review: Lena – Only Love, L

lena thank you

Lena drops contemporary and personal fifth album
Lena Meyer-Landrut, the German pop star who won the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2010, took her sweet time to record new material after the release of her fourth album Crystal Sky in 2015. She at one point teased an album with the name Gemini, but scrapped the project and started over. At the end of last year she made her glorious return with the excellent synth pop tune ‘Thank You’ and now she finally dropped the accompanying album, titled Only Love, L. Lena herself describes it as her most personal record so far!

Lena was not exaggerating when she called this her most personal work, as the album literally starts out with a letter she wrote to herself, titled ‘Dear L’. In the lyrics, she reassures herself that everybody messes up at some point and that this is totally okay. “Don’t choke on your decisions. You’re allowed to have ambition. As long as you just listen to your mom and intuition”, she tells herself. It is a brave and honest opener that immediately sets the tone for the album. Next up is first single ‘Thank You’, on which she tells the press that bad-mouthed her in the past that their actions only made her stronger. The ‘I am stronger now, I am wiser now’ parts in the middle-eight and the outro are so freaking catchy!

Lena also shows off a more seductive and sexual side on tracks like ‘Private Thoughts’ and ‘Sex In The Morning’ featuring Ramz. The first one is a sultry slow jam on which Lena tells her lover he ‘should not take this for granted, ’cause she usually doesn’t do what she is about to do’. On the R&B inspired ‘Sex In The Morning’ she gets more explicit, begging her partner to get back to bed. She gets a different kind of explicit on ‘Skinny Bitch’, telling all the ‘haters’ and people who gossip about her how she really feels. “When life gives you lemons mix it up with vodka soda. Love your imperfections, fuck the haters, they don’t know ya”, she sings loudly over a modern pop chorus with a classic beat drop.

Although the majority of the record could be described as smoothly produced synth pop, Lena delivers more stripped back ballads as well. ‘Love’ is a piano based track in which she mourns the loss of a relationship with heartbreaking lyrics and an emotive vocal delivery. On the midtempo tune ‘Scared’ she opens up about anxiety, but at the same time shows she does not let that feeling get to her anymore: “I’m scared, but fear don’t scare me no more”, she concludes in the chorus.

With the focus on her more personal and mature lyrics, it is easy to forget that she also simply keeps bringing the bops. ‘Stuck Inside’ is fast paced ultra contemporary pop tune with an instantly catchy chorus that could easily work as a single. She could not have closed the album with something more suitable than the anthemic chorus of self love anthem ‘OK’. “I love myself ’cause I am trying”, she sings. Well, with Only Love, L she was not only trying, but also succeeded to create an album that both delivers in terms of lyrics and hooks! It is a thoroughly enjoyable, personal ride!

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