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Album Review: Jenny Räisänen's 'Tell Me The Story Again'

Jenny Räisänen's 'Tell Me The Story Again' Cover Art
Jenny Räisänen's 'Tell Me The Story Again' Cover Art

An Ethereal Journey Through Music and Storytelling

‘Tell Me The Story Again’ a whispered voice says from across the way. The stone floors are cool, the fire dying and clinging to the last of its heat. As the sun falls away behind the mountains to the east, music begins to play in the cottage, and the story is told — one last time.

These are the images and settings that Jenny Räisänen gives us in the opening of her stellar album. Where old-classical, fantastical, music meets modern-day structures and vocal styles sits Jenny Räisänen. This album, ‘Tell Me The Story Again,’ flows so softly like the wingbeat of a gull. The lyrics sweep over the pluck-strummed instrumentals with deft steps and immobilising variety. One moment they are low and close, calling out to you, whispering in your ear. The next they have shot up and are soaring amongst the nighttime stars, we watch as they flicker, waving at the song.

After the soothing prologue comes, ‘That Day.’ It’s a golden example of when style meets purpose. When we think of songs that tell stories, we really think of songs like these. The vocal keeps us entertained, spinning a tale and doing so with a glorious voice that peaks, falters, and floats down to us with the beats of the story. In the back, an instrument speaks with strings like a harpsichord and takes us back to fairytale tellings we remember through a golden haze. ‘Peacock Blue’ takes that powerful vocal and sends it closer to today. The instrumental is heralded by a piano, its strong chords carrying the track through the paces. From verse to chorus we jump and glide, into the bridge we sit and awe. There is magic at work already, the spinning of a mystical and nimble yarn that leads us closer and closer to the end of the album.

Jenny Räisänen smiling on a beach
Jenny Räisänen

As the songs go on we are aware of an overarching narrative told through different tracks from different angles and with different instrumentals. ‘A Bird’ incorporates strings and piano together. They fly with the vocal as it throws melodies at the clouds. ‘In A Whisper’ pushes into perhaps the most modern-sounding texture on the album. It’s organs and keys, flowing in great waves behind the vocal which plays in steps. First one note then shifting to another. An incredibly skilful display of vocal talent, and one that adds yet another layer to an already multifaceted track.

Of course, all stories must come to a close, and ‘Tell Me The Story Again’ comes full circle with the title track taking the final seat in the house. It melds everything on the album together to form one great farewell. It flows like silk, plays with imagery and metaphor in the lyrics, and is profoundly dynamic in the instrumental. As the album was playing, continually rising in gravity and tone, I was wondering how on earth you go about finalising an epic, such as this. Well… there you have it, Jenny Räisänen comes out with the title track and blows all of my expectations out of the water. The song sums up the album; it’s bold, brave, human and full of endless emotion. ‘Tell Me The Story Again’ is unforgettable.

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