Here’s an interesting scenario: you’ve just been fired as lead singer for popular operatic metal band Nightwish. You are signed to Warner Gernany who sees your undeniable crossover potential. I mean Celine Dion/Sarah Brightman kind of potential. Which stylistic direction do you take on your next album? Metal, opera or pop?
If you’re Finland’s Tarja Turunen, you slowly move your fan base from the niche metal to something more mainstream and hope for the best. Her latest album, My Winter Storm is clearly a transition album and the songwriting reflects that.
In a Vacuum
Most of the songs were written by Swedish A-Ha-esque songwriting team Vacuum (Mattias Lindblom and Anders Wollbeck). Their style is more understated and laid back. To my ears, the Vacuum songs are missing the big choruses necessary for a worldwide pop hit. Gone are the wild guitar solos and progressive rhythmic mayhem of Nightwish. The songs were conceived to focus on Turunen’s immense vocal abilities. Like Kate Bush, she uses her voice for both lead vocals and background atmospheric pads.
Compare the pop opera Metal of Nighwish’s “Nemo” against Turunen’s more serene “I Walk Alone“:
Go West Girl
I hope that Warner give her the same worldwide promotion they gave to Celine Dion in the early 90’s. I also hope she gains access to a wider pool of songwriting talent. Scandinavia has a great songwriting pedigree, but I’d like to see what she can do with some west coast Dianne Warren-esque pop pieces.