Playing My Game
by Lene Marlin, pop (1999)
Virgin Norway, ASIN B00000JOJ7

This 19 year old Norwegian lass sounds uncannily like Jewel, but believe me, she can trash Jewel's naive, sappy Everybody needs to love and the world will be okay lyrics. Indeed, Marlin's often introspective lyrics are only icing on an already wonderfully musical cake of an album. Her sweet, cherubic voice only adds a hint of melancholy to the often uplifting melodies, especially when I take pause to study the lyrics sheet. All in all, I'm very impressed.

The album kicks off with the really brilliant Sitting Down Here, where she vows vengeance on an insensitive boyfriend for all the irritating annoyances he puts her through. The rousing and dark Unforgivable Sinner demonstrates an eerie resemblence to Alanis Morissette, when the title track is mournful yet poignantly rendered. But best of all is Where I'm Headed, complete with breezy choruses reminiscent of something the Bangles would sing. It again amazes me with the delicate blend of melancholy and wistfulness. I can just picture Lene Marlin sitting at the back of a caravan belting out these wonderful songs to blue skies and happy days ahead.

The other songs are gems too: So I See is atmospherically broody, while A Place Nearby is a gentle peaen to heartbreak. Indeed, these songs are actually chronicles of a young woman in her search of herself, and unlike her fellow diary-chronicler Lisa Loeb, Lene Marlin manages to add enough meat in her music to keep me hooked. This CD is on my player for a few weeks now, and I got this feeling it will remain there for quite awhile.

Rating: 89

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