Shine is the debut solo album by ex-Nightwish vocalist Anette Olzon after her time with the band came to an end during their 2012 tour of America. Rather than continuing on with the power/symphonic metal style of Nightwish, she’s instead made a pop-rock album with symphonic and folk influences, and the result is a really nice album.
The music on Shine definitely suits Anette’s voice much better than Nightwish ever did. Her voice has always suited the slower, less metallic songs of Nightwish, such as Eva and Slow Love Slow, which she nailed, but not so much the heavier ones which didn’t suit her, so sometimes in Nightwish it wasn’t clear just how good her voice actually was, whereas on Shine her voice really does shine through, as bad a pun as that is, she sings with real emotion on this album. On opening track “Like a show inside my head” she sings softly and beautifully over some soft strings and acoustic guitars,she really sounds amazing against such a gentle musical backdrop. With the symphonics and some dramatic sounding drums the music at points sounds like a much less bombastic Within Temptation. The track is really good, with the strings working well with the pop-rock elements. Title track Shine is heavier with some distorted riffs and faster drumming making this a more dynamic track, and once again Anette sounds great on this nice uplifting track, and the symphonics add to the uplifting feel. Floating is one of the best tracks, quite stripped down with a soft folky melody and lyrics, and really lovely singing, with some great harmonising. the atmosphere is nicely laid back. On Lies she has some really powerful vocals on another uplifting track with some great guitar work. The largely synth and acoustic guitar driven Invincible has a great guitar solo at the end, really adding some variation to the soft approach of the song. One Million Faces has some great interplay between piano and guitar, and is a really interesting song, rather catchy and heartfelt at the same time. An0ther of my favourite tracks is Watching me from Afar, a really gorgeous folky ballad. With even the inclusion some organ drones, it’s really clear that this is a really thoughtful album with a lot of variety, those soft droning tones work so well with her soft voice, and it’s a great way to end the album.
In general the music on the album is really great, laid back and relaxing, to uplifting. It’s very varied as well, from symphonic, more rocky songs, to folk tinged tracks, and laid back pop songs. The music definitely doesn’t take a backseat to Anette’s voice, and every track is really well written and interesting, each has it’s own identity and great musicianship. Anette’s voice is gorgeous, and better than it was a lot of the time in Nightwish. The split has proven to be good for her, as this album matches her voice so much more, and feels a lot more genuine than it did sometimes with them. I wasn’t convinced that Anette’s solo project would be up to much, but I’m loving Shine, and listening to it a lot. There’s a lot of variety, so this will appeal to fans of her previous band, as well as people who like emotional pop rock, or even folk. She’s evolved away from her time in Nightwish, and she’s better for it, because Shine is an excellent and original album, and this is the best her voice has ever sounded – and it’s gorgeous.
1. “Like a Show Inside My Head”
6. “Hear Me”
8. “Moving Away”
9. “One Million Faces”
10. “Watching Me from Afar”
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