Swedish singer-songwriter Jennie Abrahamson releases her fifth studio album, Reverseries, worldwide on February 24. The album was produced by Jennie and Johannes Berglund, with artwork and photography by August Zachrisson, and features bandmates Johannes Berglund (vocals, keys), Mikael Häggström (drums, percussion) and Samuel Starck (piano, organ, synth).
Jennie has been writing and releasing music under her own name since her debut album, Lights (2007), and has performed along with other well-known Swedish musicians, including Ane Brun. If you are a fan of Peter Gabriel, you might recognize Jennie as part of Peter's touring band, where she provided backing vocals, but most notably as Peter's duet partner on his hit song "Don't Give Up". In fact, it was during Peter's Back to Front tour (Chicago, September 2012) that I first heard Jennie Abrahamson and Linnea Olsson perform several of their own compositions as the opening act for the concert. I distinctly remember Jennie's brilliant song "Snowstorm" from that particular performance, and have been a fan ever since.
Reverseries presents a melodic, cinematic soundscape with Jennie's hypnotic and ethereal vocals leading the listener through lush, gorgeous melodies. The resulting sound incorporates elements of 80's music (e.g., synthesizers, cool sounding keyboards) in a modern, balanced way. From gentle, elegant melodies ("Safe Tonight", "You Won Me Over" and "Bloodlines") to the album's most pulsating, danceable, synth-driven tracks ("To the Water", "Man In You"), Reverseries presents a variety of musical atmospheres and tempos, but with a common thread that cohesively weaves them together.
The lyrics to two of the songs ("Not In My Name", "Anyone Who") are particularly empowering and thoughtful, with strong, timely messages that promote and encourage inclusion, tolerance and acceptance in our society: "Your ignorance is not in my name | You prejudice is not in my name | Your greediness is not in my name" (from "Not In My Name") and "Can’t you see we’re all connected, don’t you see we’re all the same | I am out to find a new way | am I seen by anyone?" (from "Anyone Who").
The album's closing track ("Lift Me Up") is a beautiful, haunting cover of a lesser-known Bruce Springsteen song that was originally featured in the closing credits of the 1999 John Sayles film Limbo. Jennie's version of this inspirational song is beautifully presented and is a perfect ending to the album.
Musically, songs like "Man in You" and "To the Water" clearly stand out as single material, and are two of my favorites on the album. The background vocals in "To the Water" bring to mind the layered, fluttering Elizabeth Fraser/Cocteau Twins-like vocals that were prominent in the song "Entity" from Jennie's 2014 album, Gemini Gemini . The track's pulsing, electronic sound, with a bit of processed vocals, made this a clear candidate for single release ("None but the righteous will be saved | who runs a truly righteous game? | Take me down to the water"). An accompanying video to the song was recently filmed in central Stockholm.
JENNIE ABRAHAMSON "To the Water" (Official Video)
The electronic-sounding, 80's-like "Man in You" would make a perfect inclusion on a "Stranger Things" (Netflix series) soundtrack. Musically and production-wise, with fluttering and pulsating synthesizers, this is one of the strongest songs on the album and is a great representation of the brilliant, upbeat, and catchy compositions that Jennie creates: "Is there still a man in you? | Oh, ‘cause there’s a man in me | I can see the woman in you | Isn’t there a man there too?"
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