Rikke Normann’s brand new album comes out today and it’s easily one of the most eclectic and enjoyable playlists of original songs to emerge this year. Rikke’s writing and a her softly raspy vocals pour through among organic and uplifting soundscapes that are quick to calm the room.
I Belong as an opener is all of this, a beautiful song, gorgeously crafted and performed, offering the subtly addictive qualities of a pop hit but riding the alternative wave in a refreshing way at the very same time. A gorgeous sound and a pleasure to stumble upon.
Fire follows the opener and begins the eclectic movement through the project. A slight Zero 7 vibe emerges here, a hint of weight and darkness – a concept that deals with struggle and strength in unison. The track is musically spacious on occasion, which lays bare the power of yet another memorable melody. The lyrics are incredibly poetic and honest – fresh yet personal, interesting and accessible. A great vibe and another fairly addictive track.
Elsewhere on the album, there’s as much for the listener to connect with as there is for them to feel closer to or understanding of the artist. Songs like It’s Complicated offer easy grooves and an outpouring of individuality and honesty. The vocal rhythm changes help give this one a new sense of structure. Fragile afterwards drives with a retro jazz and blues vibe and tells another story that’s intimately rooted yet accessible for its general vagueness. Rikke’s voice is gorgeous throughout the project, but moments like this really let those stunning intricacies and that soul shine brightly.
Oxygen is a magical song, incredibly moving and delicate in its approach – standing tall on the strength of its own concept and the gentle way in which the artist delivers this. The song’s hook is superb – another one that entrances and makes you crave a re-play. All I Got afterwards injects a hit of upbeat pop and a faster lyrical outpouring – not intensely so, the sound is still undoubtedly Rikke, but there’s a welcomed edge of funk at this point that works well. The latter half sees the soundscape evolve to become something immensely full and dreamlike.
Birds brings through a simple touch of joy and some observational, colloquial observations that appear with a sort of Corinne Bailey Rae aura. Sorry Babe follows and sees Rikke lose herself in the height of soul and funk combined. A creatively unusual song that stands out for its freedom, for its rhythm and character. After this, Rip it Off thickens the retro fuzz further and creates an electro-pop mood that’s topped off with a chorus of vocals that captivate brilliantly as the song progresses.
The final piece on the new album is the initially ambient and later emotional and stylish Waiting Game. A bold song with a unique set-up and another varied series of vocal sections from the singer. The track moves from a simple, few-note verse to a totally meandering and expressive hook that offers up a mesmerising performance. A fantastic song, engaging and musically satisfying, colourful and driven by genuine passion and skill – a wonderful way to finish off the album.
Rikke Normann has put so much into this project – in terms of her personality, her experiences, and quite literally the work that’s gone in to create something so professionally crisp and compelling. Absolutely worth a run through – a quality songwriter.