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Tarja - My Winter Storm

Tarja -  CD Review
My Winter Storm
Tarja - My Winter Storm

CD Info


Universal Music

18 Tracks

English lyrics


About two years after being booted from Nightwish, Tarja Turunen finally released her solo album. Of course we all know about the events that led to the booting of Mrs. Turunen, but I feel that these reasons should not be factored in to how enjoyable this album is. Yes, she is supposedly a little full of herself, but you can’t listen to her supposed personality—it’s the music that counts after all! So, before I review this album, I encourage anyone who listens to this album to get the "bitch" stigma out of his or her mind.

Having said that though, this album is a disappointment for me. I was never really a Tarja fan more than I was a Nightwish fan personally, but Tarja can no doubt sing. Yes, she is rather average for an opera singer, but her voice is very distinctive—which you can’t say for many female fronted bands in this day and age. I wasn’t expecting a masterpiece from her really, but what this album presents is less than I would have expected from her for sure.

First, I just have to get something off my chest. The album contains 18 tracks, but (annoyingly), there are 4 introductions ("Ite, Missa Est", "Seeking for the Reign", "The Escape of the Doll", and "Sunset") that are less than a minute long. Intros to songs always seem a little unnecessary to me—most of the time, the intro would fit very nicely into the song it’s introducing, thus making the idea for an intro unnecessary. I feel they only work when the intro is its own entity. The intros on My Winter Storm are not their own entities at all. In fact, every single intro bleeds into the track following it. It would make much more sense to me to just merge them with the tracks they are introducing. It gives the album a weird feeling of listening to single cuts and the parts of the songs the artist trimmed off for radio play—it’s odd.

Alright, I’m glad I got that off my chest! Now on to the first track: "Ite, Missa Est/I Walk Alone". This was the first single Mrs. Turunen released from this album. I feel it’s quite boring and it doesn’t work at all. The instruments sound fine, but I don’t like Tarja’s voice in the verse nor do I like the chorus. The chorus is about as generic as one can get. The following tracks: "Lost Northern Start", "Seeking for the Reign/The Reign", "Escape of the Doll/My Little Phoenix", and "Boy and the Ghost" are all very good. The odd thing about most of these tracks though is their bridges. The bridges always start dramatically with sweeping violins and the music getting faster and louder. Just when the climax is about to be reached, it cuts off. It’s very frustrating, because the way they start it, it sounds like it’s going to be fantastic. Unfortunately, they’re all pretty unfinished sounding to me. The aforementioned songs still are pretty good though.

"Sing for Me" is next, and it’s ok. I don’t have much to say about it really. "Oasis" is next, and that is the best ballad on the album. What’s actually quite striking about this song is I feel emotion from Tarja! I’ve never found her voice to be filled with any emotion before—it always sounded quite stiff and frigid. However, on "Oasis", Tarja sounds fantastically emotive. I dare say it’s her best performance to date. Then…we get to the next track. That’s right…"Poison". We go from one of Tarja’s best performances to, not only her worst performance, but one of the worst covers I’ve ever heard in my life. Its awfulness is only accentuated by the preceding track, "Oasis". "Poison" is not enjoyable and destroys any atmosphere that "Oasis" had established.

"Our Great Divide", while not being terrible, is very bland and uninteresting. "Sunset/Damned & Divine" is a little better, but nothing really to write home about. "Die Alive" is an obvious choice for a next single—it’s also one of my favorites on the album. It’s very catchy, sung very well, has a FULLY developed bridge, and is everything you’d want in an upbeat song. "Minor Heaven" may as well not be on the album. It’s one of those skipping tracks. You know the kind. "Ciarán's Well" is Tarja’s "look how well I can sing! *low note* *high note* *melisma*" song. It sounds good, but her performance is even more emotionless than usual. Perhaps she tried a bit too much to show people how well she can sing? I’m not sure. "Calling Grace" closes the album. Well, I guess if you’re going to start an album boringly you might as well end boringly!

All in all, this album is not all that is could be. Obviously, Tarja is capable of making very good music (as evident from "Oasis" and "Die Alive"). If we got an album full of those songs, this would have been a fantastic album. Unfortunately, the rest of the album is riddled with unfinished ideas, emotionless singing, boring ballads, and unnecessary track splitting. I hope Tarja really puts a lot of effort into her next solo album—if the rest of her work will be of this caliber I’m not quite sure I want to follow it.

6.5 / 10