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Album Review: Mikael Saari – The Grand Letdown (Finnish Candidate 2013/2016)

The talented Finnish singer and composer Mikael Saari has recently released his first studio album and, I promise, it’s full of pure masterpieces and so much folk! The Finnish singer, well-known among the Eurovision fans because of his participation at UMK 2013 and 2015, won’t disappoint any of his fans with “The Grand Letdown” and his impressive vocals.

The first audio track may sound you a bit unusual as the album starts with a single violin note emulating an orchestra tuning, which is essential at the beginning of a concert. This transmits the great professionalism Mr. Saari has when it comes to music; everything needs to be under control before the music starts playing. The album continues with two tracks, “You shall be my wife” and “C’est la vie”, which show us a slightly different music genre than the one we are used to listen to from Mikael Saari, country music mixed with Irish tunes. The fourth track, “Storms”, belongs to the classical atmosphere of “On it goes”, his UMK 2015 competing entry. This song is as powerful as the piece of musical art which ended 3rd in the Finnish national selection with a faster tempo, which I really love. The next on the list it is an audio track with folk Irish tunes, a very well-composed piece which could be easily used as a film soundtrack. The track number seven, “Dialogue”, brings us Mikael Saari featuring Stina Koistinen, a singer with a very personal voice which perfectly pastes with Saari’s, both harmonious.

We are back in the folk Irish atmosphere with the eight song of “The grand letdown”, “You should have seen us”, a very positive and fresh track with powerful backing voices and accordion melodies which make us recover after the dramatic sounds of previous songs. The next track is a cover of Queen’s “Save Me” arranged by Mikael Saari as a tribute to the band and its lead vocalist Freddie Mercury, one of his sources of inspiration. It’s time to relax and enjoy one of the Mikael Saari’s finest creations, “We should be through”. This is a song which haunted thousands of hearts back in 2013 with its several melody changes and Mikael’s powerful dramatic voice, now available to listen in a 4-minute version. Mikael Saari gets dark in the eleventh track, “She’s gone”, which shows the experimental side of the Finnish singer by adding new ways of string performance. This is, without any doubt, the most eccentric and rocky song included in the CD. “Pray for my soul” is the second last song of “The Grand Letdown”, another Irish ballad made up of melodic fragments combined with Mikael’s voice and guitar accompaniment. Last but not least, we find a piano composition by the artist under the name of “Kaipuuvalssi”. This last track, with piano variations, may remind you the beginning of “We should go through”.

“The Grand Letdown” definitely shows all sides of the musical repertory of one of the most impressive vocalists from Finland. If you liked Mikael Saari’s compositions “We Should be through” and “On it Goes”, you will surely enjoy his debut album.

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