by Andrew Garrison
Nina Persson, who you have for sure heard before as lead singer of The Cardigans (Google “Lovefool” for a quick refresher) is releasing her first solo album Animal Heart. With her history as a lead vocalist, much of the album is set up in a way that highlights her talent, which is remarkable. The tracks on Animal Heart vary from being very deconstructed to a more pop and sometimes dance vibe to them. Ever song has Nina’s absolutely outstanding vocals on them so I won’t redundantly mention it when talking about each song.
The lead off and titular track has a pop Stevie Nicks-esque vibe to it, which, as you would imagine, is awesome. With a pretty fast beat and strong production additions make “Animal Heart” a great start to the album and a solid choice for the first single off of the album. “Burning Bridges for Fuel” slows things down noticeably with a good implantation of piano keys. The song itself has a rumbling nature to it, that never quite breaks out, providing a unique feeling of restraint. “Dreaming of Houses” is probably my favorite song on the album, with a fun and lighthearted feeling to it. Although the lyrics are definitely more melancholy, the tone really does a great job of conveying a sense of hopefulness. “Clip Your Wings” most notably has a cool little synth part towards the middle, and it utilized in the background throughout the song. After the synthy breakdown, the song does a nice job of building itself back up. “Jungle” employs some spacey and futuristic sounding production notes, which is followed by “Digestif” a kind of weird, forty second music box sounding interlude, which I didn’t totally find necessary, but whatever. “Food for the Beast” has a pretty cool, strong, dance type beat. But, if it is an attempt at a more dance-centric song, for me, it fell short for some reason I really can’t put my finger on. Nina’s vocals over the bridge/chorus maybe isn’t pronounced enough? I am not sure. While it is still a good song, I feel that it isn’t quite ready to be played in clubs. It’s a good thing that “Forgot to Tell You” is slowed down significantly. Much more soulful and intimate than what we have heard thus far, “Forgot to Tell You” seems to blissfully stroll along in a light and nearly innocent way. “Catch Me Crying” is another Nicksian display of vocals with a very confident and empowered feel to it. “The Grand Destruction Game” to me was a super intriguing track which I had to hear a few times before I felt I truly appreciated it. It has some sort of subdued production notes and guitar lines that make the song sound and feel a lot like the title would suggest: some sort of beautiful mess. “The Grand Destruction Game” is elegant and graceful in a very confusing manner. “Silver like the Moon” is pretty deconstructed and simple with a very sublet addition of bells that really highlight the song. “This is Heavy Metal” is not, in fact, a heavy metal song. Instead, it is more like the best lounge singer you can ever possibly imagine. Nina wraps up the album dealing out some advice on “Sometimes”. For just general advice, look no further than “Don’t let life get you down/Oh, Life is so beautiful”. For the ladies: “Don’t let boys break your hearts girls/ They’re just wonderful” But what about the boys, Nina has you covered too: “Don’t let girls get you down/ They’re just beautiful” So so true, Nina. If only someone would have told me that in high school. “Sometimes” also features an artfully simple rhythmic guitar to accent the knowledge Nina is doling out to the listener.
Animal Heart is an absolutely outstanding vocal performance with each song highlighting her obvious talent. With a few rare hiccups, it has a loftiness to it that provide the listener with a stunningly beautiful sound and generally feel good vibe.