Year 6, Day 39: Anna Ternheim – Leaving on a Mayday
- What Have I Done
- Damaged Ones
- Let it Rain
- My Heart Still Beats For You
- No, I Don’t Remember
- Make It On My Own
- Summer Rain
- Losing You
- Off the Road
- Black Sunday Afternoon
About the Album
Leaving on a Mayday is the fourth studio album from Swedish singer-songwriter Anna Ternheim. The album was released on August 11th 2008 through Verve Forecast Records, a subsidiary of Verve Records.
Thoughts on the Album
Down to our final two albums of the year. For today’s album, I decided contrast was needed. This whole project has featured some loud and in-your-face albums that bring both the noise and energy.For today, that’s showcase some contrast by going lighter. I’ve stated many times before on this project how much I love female singers and female fronted rock bands. You can sense the energy, poeticness, and power they bring to the today, often times overlooked. This one of the reasons why I love Anna Ternheim. The Swedish singer-songwriter’s voice is equally calming and powerful. That’s why for today’s album, we’re gonna crank the volume down slightly and chill out to the pretty sweet sounds of Leaving on a Mayday.
Leaving on a Mayday is one of the albums I listen to when I need to chill out/calm down or when I’m feeling I need a pick me up. And let me tell you something, generally, I like to read the lyrics or liner notes in the album jacket, but with this album, I started to but stopped. I wanted to enjoy were the lyrics and sounds would take me. One thing that stands out the most is just how pristine and clear Ternheim’s voice truly is. Her vocals are so crystal clear and direct that she leaves zero room for any lyrical misinterpretation. Her pristine and clear vocals make enough space for the absolute gorgeous string arrangements and mesmerizing percussion. The album itself is incredibly consistent and refined and highlights/showcases just how criminally underrated Terheim is as vocalist and a songwriter.
This album is an incredibly open one; one that’ll take a listen or two to reveal it’s true hidden beauty. This openness is rather inventive too. Rather than reduce the sound or the number of instruments. it is achieved through creating a sparseness and spaciousness with the sound. This inventive sparseness actually seems to create a bigger and more richer sound. But if you pay attention the lyrics, you will find that even the most joyous moments are shot through with the trademarked Swedish sense of melancholy. Here’s the thing, after so many listens of this album, Terheim herself might as well be singing in her native Swedish. While every word is easily discernible, it’s almost as if Terheim’s voice became a whole nother instrument. This shows just how much of an incredibly perfect fit her vocals are with the song arrangements.
The track Let it Rain highlights the strength, both in her lyrics, vocals, and melodies. So much so that it seemingly invokes a primal feeling to it. Of course, you give me an excellent bass line, and I’m a happy dude. That’s where a track like the album opener, What Have I Done. It’s a funky bass line that is slightly uptempo; an excellent pick for the opener. Then there is my personal favorite, No, I Don’t Remember… an incredibly gloomy and gorgeous track. However it’s tracks like What Have I Done, Losing You, and No, I Don’t Remember that shone the brightest. Ternheim is really able to keep her power and essence with these tracks, especially with the uptempo What Have I Done and Losing You.
Anna Ternheim created a gem with Leaving on a Mayday. It’s an incredibly gloomy, haunting, powerful, and yet somehow upbeat album. Ternheim did something that many singer-songwriters and even other rock and rollers can’t do: write catchy and infectious songs without gimmicks. The album flows incredibly smooth like the ebb and flow of the tide. And when the final song is over, it’s as if Ternheim took you on a musical journey with her.