Nina Persson has had a pretty lengthy career in music and so it’s surprising that she’s only now for the first time releasing a solo album under her own name.
While most would recognize her as the lead singer of the Cardigans, she’s much more than the voice of Lovefool. From the range of sounds they issued across their six albums to Nina’s side-project A Camp, the direction she would take for her first solo project was anybody’s best guess.
What few would have expected is what she actually delivered. It’s not entirely unlike what she’s done with either of her previous works but it’s the lack of adventure and edge that comes across as unexpected.
The Cardigans had waves of alternative and indie pop across their discography while A Camp employed more of a singer/songwriter vibe, infusing tinges of country and alternative in there to spice things up.
Animal Heart is almost strictly soft-pop as Nina keeps the album in the mid-tempo range, save for the last track This Is Heavy Metal, a piano ballad, and Food For The Beast, the closest the album comes to offering up a four-on-the-floor. The twist is that she uses the modern approach of synth-layering in the songs, sometimes subtle but enough to garner a label of ‘synth-soft-pop’ as the album’s genre.
Perhaps Nina has reached a point in her illustrious career to sway from expectations and offer up an alternative to the alternative. Lyrically, she’s singing of escape and freedom, and for some, that means being somewhere safe. This album, in that sense, is grounding.
Animal Heart, while not particularly adventurous, is definitely pleasant. Nina has solidified herself in amongst fulfilling melodies that highlight her rich vocals with songs that are comforting and familiar. And while there isn’t an especially high moment on the record, there aren’t any low points either. Any song could be chosen at random to do the deed and regardless of which one it is, it would satisfy.
1. Animal Heart
2. Burning Bridges For Fuel
3. Dreaming Of Houses
4. Clip Your Wings
6. Food For The Beast
8. Forgot To Tell You
9. Catch Me Crying
10. The Grand Destruction Game
12. This Is Heavy Metal