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Lena 20 År

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Album Review

Swedish pop singer Lena Philipsson receives a well-deserved retrospective treatment following her astonishing comeback success with her 2004 and 2005 albums Det Gör Ont en Stund På Natten Men Inget På Dan and Jag Ångrar Ingenting. There have been numerous compilations of her work since her career fizzled in the mid-'90s, but by including her recent hits and omitting some of her weaker recordings, this is by far the best overview of her work. The album avoids a chronological approach, with 2004's "Lena Anthem," an irresistibly self-assured statement of intent and kiss-off to her critics and chart rivals, fittingly appearing early in the track listing. Also present is the record it samples, her signature '80s hit "Dansa I Neon," an absolutely classic piece of dramatic '80s pop that deserved wider recognition outside Sweden. Although Philipsson's early work was less consistent than her recent material, she still amassed a number of strong pop singles, which are largely represented here. There are several English-language songs from her attempts to crack the international market in the early '90s. "Standing in My Rain" is the best of these, a punchy dance number that wouldn't have sounded entirely out of place next to hits by the likes of Taylor Dayne and Cher. "006," taken from her 1991 secret agent concept album A Woman's Gotta Do What a Woman's Gotta Do, is dated and campy, but undeniably fun.

If there is a weakness to the English-language material, it is the occasionally clunky lyrics, which betray songwriters working outside their native language. While chart rival Carola was popular enough to collaborate with the Bee Gees at this time, Lena was not afforded the same luxury, and songs such as "Talking in Your Sleep" and "Why" suffer slightly from this lack of lyrical dexterity. The Swedish songs fare better, particularly her three '80s Melodifestivalen entries. In addition to "Dansa I Neon," "Om Igen" is a wonderful power ballad that seems tailor-made for a lighters-in-the-air concert closer, and breakthrough hit "Kärleken Är Evig" remains one of her finest '80s pop songs. Those looking for new material should be satisfied with "Jag Måste Skynda Mig På," a classy duet with frequent songwriting collaborator and touring partner Orup. Buyers who are completely new to Lena Philipsson's work may be advised to start with her 2004 album Det Gör Ont en Stund På Natten Men Inget På Dan, easily her strongest record and one of the best pop albums released by anyone in that year. But for those interested in delving further into her catalog, Lena 20 År is a perfect introduction.

Customer Reviews

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Born: 19 January 1966 in Vetlanda, Sweden

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Swedish pop singer and songwriter Lena Philipsson has enjoyed a colorful and frequently successful career in her home country. She was a regular presence on the Swedish charts in the late '80s and early '90s. As her popularity faded in the late '90s she took a seven-year recording hiatus before making a spectacular comeback with 2004's Det Gör Ont En Stund På Natten Men Inget På Dan, the best-selling album of her career, which scored three consecutive Top Ten hits on the Swedish charts, including...
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Lena 20 År, Lena Philipsson
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