I will be the first to admit I really wasn’t into Anette Olzon when she joined the immensely popular gothic-metal band Nightwish in 2007 after the departure of the band’s previous singer Tarja Turunen. Face it, Anette had big shoes to fill when she joined the band and those shoes just couldn’t be filled in my honest opinion. Then a couple of years ago, Anette left the band to strike out on her own. The result is her 2014 solo debut album Shine which I had discovered at a local record store by accident.
With the album stuck in my head, I decided to stream the album out of curiosity. Why? Because I’m afraid of wasting money on a potential turkey of an album and let me tell you I bought a few turkeys last year (like Ghost and Writer’s second album). I quickly soon found myself eating a big old slice of humble pie after I listened to Shine. I quickly ended up going to my favorite record store and buying an actual copy to show my support. Note to Anette: I was wrong about you as a singer, my sincerest apologies from this cynical blogger. I may not have been crazy about your work with Nightwish. Shine has shown to me that you were meant to be a solo artist.
Now that Anette has struck out on her own as a solo artist, I got to hear her as an artist, not just as a member of a popular heavy metal band. Shine has shown to me what Anette is fully capable of as an artist. I now hear her just as Anette, not as Tarja’s replacement. The material on the album is strong. The music isn’t quite metal but it isn’t completely pop/rock either. Shine is smack dab right in the middle hints of classical influences through out the album. There are moments when I am reminded of Liv Kristine of Leave's Eyes and Sarah Brightman when Anette starts to hit the high notes. The album is steeped in unforgettable hooks and delicate, intricate melodies. The acoustic guitars give songs like “Moving Away” a folkish feel. On every song on Shine, Anette’s delicate vocals isn’t overwhelmed by the music and is at the forefront. While the epic sweeping ballads "Lies" and "Moving Away" are my two personal favorite tracks, the album in general is terrific. I honestly did not find one track on the album I did not like no matter how many times I have listened to Shine. I hope that people will hear this album with an open mind. I have to admit I was a bit cautious but in the end I was pleasantly surprised by how good the music is. Shine certainly is a serious contender for my annual year end best of list without a shadow of a doubt.
01. Like a Show Inside My Head
06. Hear Me
08. Moving Away
09. One Million Faces
10. Watching Me From Afar