Review: Kristian Kristensen – «2003»

Pop/soul/rap

Published:

January 14, 2022

Record label:

Warner Music


«Sings his life until now.»

See all reviews

ALBUM: With the songs “Fat little loser” and subsequent “Desperate” is Oslo resident Kristian Kristensen (29) from Harstad at the very core of what the album «2003» is about, a personal journey from a young and insecure boy to the person he has become today.

We are used to Kristensen writes and sings his life in lyrics, and here he has done so in the form of a concept album that touches on childhood and adolescence, family, loneliness, fear, mental illness, love, death, belonging and exclusion. With more. Kristensen has simply committed a kind of autobiography in song form.

“Heavenly” tribute

It is also a greeting to a very important person in his life: «This record is a kind of tribute to mum. She was there all the way. From being a fat little loser to being desperate in Oslo – she looked like no one else. ”

As an extra hug, he ends the rather self-deprecating album with one of her favorite songs, «Out of The Rain» from the movie “Bad Influence” (1989), written by Tony Joe White and recorded by among others the blues queen Etta James.

The song is mentioned both in the opening «2003» and a kind of reprise / continuation, “I think it was in 2003”, which leads up to “Out of the Rain” – the only song he has released in English. It’s worth the wait until track eleven!

I will not demand that Kristensen sing more in English, but his version of “Out of The Rain”, accompanied by an electric guitar, piano and simple chorus, is “heavenly” – until it slides into a sweet and touching congratulatory song from His 26th birthday in May 2018. “2300” is not only personal, but also private!

Rap/soul/pop

If you love songs like “The Light”, “The Tower”, “You gave me willpower” and “Can you learn me” (nominated for this year’s hit in the Spellemann Prize in 2016), you may need some time before you become just as fond of the new ones. But the “reward” is there waiting for you.

His first full album after two mini albums, three-year-old “Kor vi ende”, was by far a fairly traditional song pop record. But – it also had some hints of a small style change in the direction where he has ended up now, as a distinctive artist who almost creates a new genre.

Staccato

The well-known falsetto song is still there, but in several of the songs the vocals may seem a bit staccato, a bit Cezinando-like, a kind of mixture of rap, pop and soul – as if to emphasize that the words are extra important. Instead of recording with a large band in the studio, he has produced the album himself in his own bedroom and spruced it up with various samples.

He himself cites rapper Kendrick Lamar as a source of inspiration, not least when it comes to his holistic narrative and concept thinking. The style change is also illustrated through that «E du her» from «Gressholmen» (2017) here is repeated in a minute-long and quite different version.

The closest he comes to the old style of “2003” is “Desperate”, which leans towards traditional soul and where he sounds like a cross between Prince, Marvin Gaye and D’Angelo, or something like that, and pop-oriented “You saw me”, “I wait for your love” and «3 pakka sigaretta – a touching and unadorned portrait of a dear, hard-working and stressed grandmother: “It is not so careful / So just kelp take another breath of the sigg / You have lived a long and hard life (…) You left only three packs of cigarettes in the closet / As a poor consolation.”

It’s everyday realism for you!

Kristian Kristensen is scheduled to embark on a longer Norwegian tour starting at Kolbotn on 2 March. Rockefeller in Oslo will be visited on 18 March.

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