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Album Review

Margaret Berger's debut, released five months after she placed second in the 2004 Norwegian Idol series, is — as befits its title — something of a stylistic shape-shifter. Its ten tracks seem to snatch indiscriminately from rock, dance, R&B, and electro, though the cumulative effect is less of a hodgepodge than a harmonious cohabitation of electronic beats and rock guitars, within a plush, polished pop context, in a manner that hasn't been particularly prevalent (in mainstream music anyway) since the '80s. As a showcase for the 19-year-old Berger's remarkably rich, mature voice, it's impressive and charismatic; as a collection of pop songs it's relatively undistinguished, although nothing here truly qualifies as filler. Even the numbers that fall flat — the slow, bizarrely menacing electro/jazz protest song "Elephant," for instance — have some intriguing ideas behind them. Much of the material has a dark, slightly forbidding cast that stands in contrast to your typical Scandinavian teen pop fare, but it proves well-suited to the R&B inflections Berger evinces on tracks like the slinky, disconcerting "Main Offender" and the twitchy, twangy "Lifetime Guarantee" (which comes on like a digital update of a '60s spy movie theme.) Only rarely, though, does Chameleon hint at the sweetness — or the brilliance — that Berger would demonstrate on her stunning sophomore set, Pretty Scary Silver Fairy — and never more markedly than on the gently nostalgic "Both Sides," whose lovely, lilting melody, swathed in acoustic guitar, bells, and piano, offers a simple warmth that cuts through the muddled menace, sonic trickery, and dance-pop drama of the rest of the album like a sunbeam through mist. ~ K. Ross Hoffman, Rovi


Born: 11 October 1985 in Trondheim, Norway

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Margaret Berger was the second-place finalist on the second season of the Norwegian edition of the Idol franchise in 2004. That year she also released her debut album, Chameleon, a collection of pop tunes equally informed by rock and electronic elements that reached number four on the Norwegian charts. There were no official singles from the album, but the music video for the song "Lifetime Guarantee" was awarded a Spellemannsprisen (Norwegian Grammy). Berger's 2006 sophomore album, Pretty Scary...
Full bio
Chameleon, Margaret Berger
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  • 4,99 €
  • Genres: Pop, Music
  • Released: 28 September 2004

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