German singer Synje Norland writes and produces her own music, writes film scores, and directs her own videos. And now comes up with her new album “Who Says I Can’t?”, somehow describing her own situation since she is trying to do most of her artistic work on her own and doesn’t necessarily accepts any outside help. Which is a healthy attitude most of the time. Though she does have some help here, most notably by Michael Becker who is heavily featured on cello throughout the album.
Most of the tracks here display a heavy dose of drama, maybe a result of Synje’s film scoring abilities. Some of the songs here remind me of Björk, like the theatric “The Ruler Of The Golden Age” where Synje is belting her heart out, but never pushes too hard, even though the cello part on this particular track is a bit too much. The nice thing about her golden voice is that she doesn’t need any help with auto tuning or similar gimmicks; she only uses voice-over tools for dramatic aspects, like on “Bigger And Better” or reverb on “Running Game”, which is the only track here where she really tries too hard. And she also shies away from any clumsy compositions, which seem to be the norm in mainstream pop music these days.
A short interlude makes way for a mellower and much more sympathetic part of the album and first for the instrumental “Escape”, a cello piece with a lot of enthusiasm and virtuosity. “Let It Go” never really finds its route I think. “My Heavy Heart” is a welcome ballad which also has its dramatic elements and where I thought that a change of instrumentation would have been a nice knack since the cello is used in abundance. “Delirium Dive” turns out nicely and is one of my personal highlights from the album, a track which reminds me of some of vocal group Tillery‘s work, especially the Becca Stevens pieces.
“Who Says I Can’t?” is certainly one of the better mainstream pop albums with classical elements to spice it up and which ends on a beautiful, melancholic, and highly compelling note with “Into The Blue”, showing Synje’s capability of writing poignantly uncompromising songs.