The cover art for Bonne Finken’s sophomore effort Fairytales/LoveAffair immediately got my attention. It seemed eccentric, bold and inventive and I was hoping the same for her music. At the end of the day Fairytales/LoveAffair is a pop album that doesn’t take many chances outside of the basic tropes you hear in mainstream pop and also attempts too many different style while not committing to one distinct sound. That being said Fairytales/LoveAffair has some inspired moments and she not only has a powerful voice but often feels empowering.
The album opens with “Fall” which seems like it was put there because it's the most glaring and in your face. Finken gets to the chorus in under a minute and gets out quickly as well. It's undeniable her singing is great and the production is good even if the transitions were predictable.
One of the highlights and the most inventive song is “I’mnotwaiting.” The music is between St. Vincent and Lady Gaga. It moves forward with an undeniable energy and the production was really exceptional. Unfortunately that song isn’t indicative of the energy throughout the rest of the album. “Step Back Baby” is a super poppy sounding song that is destined for FM radio or the dance floor.
Instead of running with that energy she completely depletes it with “Isaiah.” This is a sparse piano ballad that sounded good by itself but didn’t work quite as well if you wanted to listen to an album from beginning to end. The subdued energy remains with “Please.”
The juxtaposition between Lady Gaga dance tracks like “Magic” and “Let’s Play” and a song like “Say You Do” which is straightforward pop makes you wonder what angle the next song will be written from. “My Heart” was a well-produced song that is quite epic in a number of ways. I enjoyed the percussive elements and orchestral string here.
Fairytales/LoveAffair is a solid effort but feels like a step towards a more realized work. Although there are some great moments and songs Finken hasn’t defined her sound to the point where if her song comes on the radio you will know who she is. Laying off some of the more predictable pop clichés and digging into her essence as an original artist is where I hope she goes on her next release.
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