Album Review: Maria Mena – They Never Leave Their Wives

Maria Mena opens up about her struggles of the past years on new record
Maria Mena took her biggest break from releasing new music so far after dropping her stunning album Growing Pains back in 2015. The Norwegian singer-songwriter experienced what it is like being ‘the other woman’ by having an affair with a married man, which in the end took a huge toll on her mental health. In the end she was able to put everything she experienced into songs and the result is the brilliantly titled album They Never Leave Their Wives.

One of Mena’s strongest assets as an artist has always been her ability to dig very deep in her songs and share her darkest emotions with her fans. This is exactly what she keeps doing on They Never Leave Their Wives, starting with the moody ‘Let Him Go’, on which she details the struggle to let go of a toxic relationship. There is something eery and ominous about the icy piano and dark tones of the climax over which Mena belts out in a manner we don’t hear from her often. That sure set the mood!

The more pop-rock oriented ‘You Broke Me’ describes just how badly the affair affected Mena. “You broke me, I’m broken, I’m shattered to pieces, won’t let anyone see it, won’t let anyone in again”, she sings on the explosive chorus. The track is followed by ballad ‘Miss Him Every Day’ that strikingly words the mixed feelings of breaking out of an unhealthy relationship. “No one has ever hurt me like this or just tossed me away and I miss him, oh I miss him every day”, Mena admits over a soaring melody and soothing backing vocals.

Second single ‘Lies (they never live their wives)’ of which the album title was derived, is Maria Mena at her finest. The song details the perspective of the other woman after the affair ends. She sings her part over a light arrangement with uplifting melodies which is in stark contrast to the content of the lyrics, which are some of her best yet: “The road that leads up to my bed is paved with broken promises. Hardest ever lesson learned, they never leave their wives.”

The stunning first single ‘Not OK’ about not putting on a brave face but actually admitting that you are not doing well and ‘The Conversation’, about the period where she did not talk to her friends, because she already knew what they were going to see in hopes of helping her, lead up to ‘You Live And You Learn’, the tune that brings the relief. On this most uplifting tune of the record, Mena declares she got out and learned her lesson. It is an inspiring and hopeful conclusion to the dark ride Mena takes her listeners on.

Maria Mena not only shows great courage by being so open about a for some controversial topic, but she also does so with such poignant lyrics, elegant melodies and some of her finest vocal work. She already announced that this seven track collection is the first half of an album of which the second, more light and uplifting, will be released around March next year. We are in for another treat!

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