Having been highly dissapointed by the new Ace of Base album, I was really anticipating the release of Jenny Berggren's first solo effort. For this project, Jenny surrounded herself with new producers and collaborators such as Terese Fredenwall, Simon Petrén and the Sthlm Sound Facility, in order to distance herself from the band and find her own new sound.
It is essential to tap into this album keeping in mind that this is not a new Ace of Base release. It is indeed an electro-pop dance album, and yes, there are some catchy melodies but the similarities really end there. Where Ace of Base had reggae infused pop catchy tunes, here we are presented with a mature modern and sometimes obscure dance record with classical influences and some heavy dark lyrics at times.
"My Story" starts with a very dramatic intro that leads us into "Free me", a funky electronic track that sets the mood of the new sound we encounter. It is safe to say that the best section of the record is the first half, with songs such as "Living in a Circus", an upbeat track with a chorus that stays with you after a few listens, or "Dying to Stay Alive", the strongest tune overall with the permission of the first two singles, "Here I am" and the most recent one, "Gotta Go".
The rest of the record is quite acceptable with songs like "Air of Love" standing out, even though there is an overall feeling of lack of structure and even lack of soul. The production team should have definitely provided Berggren with stronger beats, as sometimes the sound seems unfinished and the marriage formed by lyrics & instrumentation do not seem to go hand in hand.
Overall, this is a quite decent debut for the former Ace of Base vocalist, and will probably attract new fans as well as old A.O.B. ones, who will surely connect much better with this record than with the band's most recent release, "The Golden Ratio".
Click below to listen to my favourite track of the album, a dance beat called "Dying to Stay Alive", and probably the most similar to the old Ace of Base sound.