There have been a few albums that can be filed under gimmick or affiliation that though its nice, it comes across cute rather than professional, a nice idea, but should have been left as that. Though every once in awhile it works and Song Kids is one of those projects that though cute, mildly gimmicky, has a sense of professionalism as well as being entertaining.
So Swedish sisters Filippa and Agnes Samuelsson from the duo Songkids are back with a new uptempo album for kids in all ages, titled Aldrig ensam (meaning is “Never alone”).
Since the debut release in 2015, the girls have had about twenty gigs in Sweden and Norway, they have participated in radio shows and on sponsoring galas and the anti-bullying song En riktig vän (A true friend) has been on heavy rotation on Swedish National Radio P4 and highlighted by anti-bullying organisation Friends.
With this experience behind, they have written new songs, along with their father, Jonatan (bass player for Narnia, and label manager for JONO and Adora). So this is where the bonuses come in, I have a huge respect for the band Narnia, and having an accomplished musician like Jonatan it does solidify and validate the music a lot, and does bare witness to its creditability as an album.
Like the previous album, the songs are mostly uptempo pop/rock-songs with relevant lyrics rooted in their Christian faith. The lyric-themes are about God’s love, forgiveness, you can make a difference, dare to stand up for what is right, to provide and care for those in need. This time, the music has a touch of dance to it, but with much guitars and above all melodies that are easy to remember.
The album is recorded, mixed and produced by their dad, Jonatan, mixed and mastered by Daniel Fossum, and is featured by others musicians like Ronny Cates (Petra, CPR) and CJ Grimmark (Narnia, Jerusalem, Empire 21).
“Aldrig ensam” as an album is very easy on the ear, and does not take a lot to really get one to pay attention to it due to its melodic and commercial fusion. The voices are obviously child like, but the lyrics are sung with clarity and maturity, and the sisters sing beautiful, giving it a mature like sound. This is not just some kiddies album for kids, though with obvious reason children would be the focus, but I find myself enjoying it allot, but then I have been in kids ministry for years and I always have a heart for children, and love musical projects with kids in them, so I might be a little bias. Does that disqualify me reviewing it then? Well on with the review……..
“Ingenting” the opening song comes across like a modern Christian worship song off hillsong kids release or something like that, it’s a great song structurally though and its up tempo and happy harmonies make it a pleasant and enjoyable danceable listen, and the peppiness is given strength through the guitars, which also give it a more mature value. “Vänner igen’ carries the formula with its radio friendly melodies and structures. “Vi dansar hand i hand” is a great song, super driving beat and rhythm section, that can stand against many of the powerhouse rock bands..e.g. Skillet.
Throughout the production is very clean but not overly produced, and the music itself is of a very high level; again as I said before ultimately helping legitimize the release beyond just a gimmick and its cuteness. “Till alla folk” has that radio friendly pop-dance feel that gives the picture of cruising alongside the beachfront in your convertible mini or VW Beetle with the top down, sun out bright, and you singing along with and to it. Its a sure fire cracker of a song deserving of extended radio play.
On “Våga va dig själv”, haha, almost expecting the musician Seal come in singing after the intro. The girl’s vocalization is great on this song and matches the music pleasantly. Like the bass solo on this, great song. “Make your world” The first fully English song on the album, reminds me of bands like HB primarily, and yet has a Skillet feel to it also. So if you a fan of either of those bands, including earlier works of The Letter Black, this song is for you. “Aldrig ensam” has an atmospheric pop quality to it, and continues the thread of a well produced and written album.
“Loud and clear” is the second fully English song on the album with its heavy bluesy rock feel, like Alanah Myles influenced rock feel. Great rock guitar solo entrenches the song, solidifying it. The song is bold lyrically, and like the title says, the message comes out LOUD AND CLEAR! “Ett enda litet ljus’ has a mature pop-rockesque feel, again vocally beautiful, and the keys add volume and depth to the song with the guitars just adding a core foundation to stage everything else upon. “Mina minsta’ the tenth and final song brews in with an ominous intro and feel to it, and when the vocals come it adds a haunting appeal.
Overall “Aldrig ensam” is a great album that sets itself above the usual kids’ album offering for the listeners. It’s an album for kids, by kids but has a mature tone and quality to it. This means it has the potential broad reach appeal to extent of commercial radio playability. Overall its credibility is positioned through the quality of writing, maturity of its sound and its level of production. This is an album that should not be so marketed just as a great kid’s release, but more of a great album overall regardless its kid affiliation. If more kid albums sounded like this or took leads from this it would extend the level and quality of kid’s music considerably. They manage to maintain the kiddie-ness of it, I mean my kids loved it, yet able to entertain and catch my attention too at the same time. “Aldrig ensam” signifies a step up in the right direction of what a quality children’s album should sound like.
Written by Donovan de Necker
01. Ingenting (Nothing)
02. Vänner igen (Friends again)
03. Vi dansar hand i hand (We’re dancing hand in hand)
04. Till alla folk (To all people)
05. Våga va dig själv (Dare to be yourself)
06. Make your world
07. Aldrig ensam (Never alone)
08. Loud and clear
09. Ett enda litet ljus (One single, little light)
10. Mina minsta (The least of these)
Musicians on – Aldrig ensam:
Filippa Samuelsson – programming (Våga va dig själv),
Ronny Cates (Petra, CPR) – Bass (Make Your World),
CJ Grimmark (Narnia, Jerusalem, etc) – guitar solo (Loud and Clear),
Jonatan Samuelsson – Plays everything else.
Lead vocals: Filippa & Agnes Samuelsson.
Backing vocals: Filippa, Agnes, Liam & Jonatan Samuelsson, Joy & Liva Wernersson.
“Aldrig ensam” (2017)
Record Label: JONOmedia, April 2017
Purchase the album here:
Video (audio) for ‘Aldrig ensam’ (Never alone)
Video (audio) for ‘Loud and clear’
Video (audio) for ‘Make Your World’