hope you feel the way I do,” implores Anna Ternheim during “What Have
I Done,” which opens her second U.S. release. She’s singing of
unrequited love, but she could be explaining her current musical strategy.
Produced by Peter, Bjorn and John’s Bjorn Yttling, Leaving on a Mayday hopes to feel — and sound — like music for
the widest possible audience.
the Swedish singer’s earlier folk and lounge tendencies, the album favors
vibrant rhythms and outgoing melodies. Much of the time, this strut toward the
mainstream is poised and even inventive. “What Have I Done”
whirling Egypto-pop violins against a “Love Is the Drug” bassline, and
“Let It Rain” balances its ample refrain atop a one-note piano plink.
The lyrics are equally direct, yet retain some individuality among the many
occurrences of such words as “heart,” “cry,”
“rain” and, of course, “you.”
of the songs forgo pop-rock rhythm tracks, emphasizing strings, acoustic guitar
and Ternheim’s alto. Yet even these quieter numbers usually feature an added
filigree, whether multi-tracked vocals on “Summer Rain” or the stark
drum tattoo of “My Heart Still Beats for You.” It’s not designed for
listeners who want feel as if they’re alone with Anna Ternheim, but Leaving on a Mayday just might draw a
Standout Tracks: “What Have I Done,” “”Let It Rain” MARK JENKINS