Since her Eurovision win in 2012, she’s given us power anthems, experimental pop, girl-power riots, moody electronic ballads, performance art and electronic-reggae. But for Loreen, this journey of experimentation has (for now) culminated in her new album Ride, released at the end of November.
After having the album on loop for the past few weeks, and taking the chance to examine all of its nuances, we thought it was finally time to share our thoughts on Loreen’s new musical direction.
Following on from October’s “’71 Charger” and “Hate the Way I Love You”, the rest of Ride takes a similar route, journeying through nine atmospheric and edgy tracks, plus an additional strings bonus track of “’71 Charger”.
Although much of the album keeps the moody undertones of many of the tracks on her debut LP Heal, Ride takes it in a much more indie/rock direction. Indeed, iTunes’ labelling of the album as just ‘pop’ is rather deceptive: there are many more emotions and layers within these songs than the ‘fast-food’ pop so often heard on the radio.
Of the previously unreleased songs, “Jupiter Drive” is a particular stand-out. Powerful and dynamic, the song feels both hard-hitting and subtle at the same time, with Loreen’s emotions really pouring through every note she sings. Showing just how good it is, the song was featured on Billboard Pride’s December Playlist, which brings together the best songs over the past month from “queer musicians and fierce allies”. (Loreen has actually been performing “Jupiter Drive” live since her 2014 tour, detailing the amount of time she’s put into creating her sophomore album).
It’s fair to say a lot has been said of Loreen’s enunciation in songs, particularly during her summer release “Jungle”. And while some mumbling problems persist in Ride, it almost doesn’t matter. The sound heard on the album is much more geared towards listeners being able to just get lost in the music and emotions Loreen is bringing. The songs aren’t meant to be sing-along club-bangers, but rather a way for listeners to break-away from every-day life and feel something by interpreting the songs for themselves.
Ride is not going to bring Loreen back up to the top of the charts, with the album peaking at number 31 on Sweden’s Sverigetopplistan chart. An average track length of four minutes and 38 seconds, the album undeniably veers away from the comparatively short dance-anthem of “Euphoria” that brought her so much success, and which Eurovision fans consistently vote as their favourite in the history of the contest.
But, while only hardcore fans may now continue to follow the singer in depth, chart-topping success doesn’t feel like what she was aiming for. Speaking to Spotify Sweden upon the album’s release, Loreen notes that: “The process of creating this album has been one of the most inspiring processes I’ve ever been through”. And posting to her 323,950 Facebook followers last Friday, she adds: “There’s many miles ahead, but this year felt like a huge leap in the right direction”.
Ride feels intrinsically more Loreen than many of her previous releases, and it is clear that she has finally managed to find both herself and a musical style she connects with.
Loreen – Ride
New Sound, New Look
Along with the new album, Loreen has also debuted a new look to coincide with her new sound. Taking herself back to her roots (literally), she now rocks a bald head and fierce rocker-chic vibe.
Since debuting the new look, Loreen’s live performances have grown even more powerful, displaying just how confident she is in her musical journey and the style she is now focused on.
However, it’s not just us who have noticed. ELLE Sverige recently nominated Loreen as one of the four finalists of their ‘Look of the Year’, showing that the strength Loreen has gained from her new styling is just as beautiful as the glamour of any fashion model.
Going up against author Sandra Beijer, footballer Kosovare Asllani and vlogger Thomas Sekelius, the outcome will be decided by an online public vote, closing on 11th January, before the result is announced at the ‘ELLE Galan’ (Sweden’s biggest fashion party) on 19th January. We’re already excited to see what Loreen brings to the red carpet!
So, what do you think of Ride? Which of the tracks is your favourite? And are you excited to see where Loreen’s musical journey goes next? Let us know all in the comments below!