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18 August 2003
Another Day Virgin review
Source : Lene-marlin.no
There’s a lot of growing that has gone into Another Day, the second album of compellingly intimate songs from Lene Marlin, the young Norwegian singer-songwriter who shot to fame four years ago with her debut album, Playing My Game.

Her initial success literally swept her off her feet. Her first album went on to sell 1.7 million copies around the world. Playing My Game went platinum not only in Norway but also in Britain, France, Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Taiwan. In Japan, Switzerland, New Zealand and Ireland, the album went gold.

It was an astonishing rise for the girl from Tromsø, way up north in the Polar Circle. “Nobody expected the first record to sell so much,” she recalls. “I was still at school when I made it and my life changed dramatically.”

That change saw her moving to Oslo and taking on a hectic schedule touring both Europe and the world. But then Lene dropped out of view. “Success happened so quickly for me I had to have a break to absorb everything,” she explains. “I didn’t have time to take in what was happening. There was all the attention of the media. And although all the traveling sounds great, all I ever got to see was hotel rooms, TV studios and airports. I needed time to reflect.”

Recorded in London, Another Day is the result of that reflection and the growing she has done in between. Like the first album, it is a record that combines quality songwriting and pop craftsmanship in equal measure. But the songs are more fully developed second time around and for the first time, Another Day finds Lene recording with a band.

“The band really inspired me,” Lene recalls. “I was writing songs in the upstairs room and I could hear the guys doing stuff downstairs. I’d finish a song and then just take it down to them and we'd learn to play it and then record it. The way we worked was very natural and fluid.”

Yet Another Day is also an album that might never have got made. “The reason I had to take a break was in order to figure out whether I even wanted to do this again,” Lene admits. “I didn’t feel happy with all the attention I was getting and I had to ask myself if I could handle it. I had to put some distance between me and what was happening and see if I could get back to the same feeling I had when I first wrote songs purely for pleasure.”

And happily, during her time off, Lene found that pleasurable feeling came flooding back. “I’m here again because I’ve got my passion back. I’ve never thought about writing a song that will sell because I don't approach music like that. If I thought in that manufactured way, I know I wouldn’t be able to do it.”

Another Day was recorded in London with producer Mike Hedges (Cure, U2 , Travis). “I was going back and forth to Norway while we were making the album, But I always really looked forward to going back to London because we had such a fantastic time making this record,” Lene says.

And she’s full of praise for both the band and Hedges’ contribution. ”From the first time I met Mike, I had a really good feeling,” she says. “I needed someone who could help get the songs where I wanted them to go and Mike was able to provide that.”

Yet it is still Lene who is very much in control on Another Day. Not for her the highly-paid teams of writers and producers manufacturing glossy, paint-by-numbers radio hits. They’re her songs and they resonate with the listener on a deeply personal level.

“Music is something I love and will always do,” Lene says. “But the actual process of it remains a mystery, even to me. I guess I’m just inspired by everything around me. Things you see. Things you read. Stories people tell you. Things that have happened to me. But I never tell anyone what my songs are about. I like people to imagine their own stories and make their own personal connection with the songs.”

Another Day represents a major advance in Lene’s young career, both in terms of the sound of the record and in the development of her own songwriting. “It’s very different from Playing My Game. But it’s a natural progression and it’s still me,” she says.

“I’m still writing songs in the same way, but I’m older and that gives you a different perspective. It was a long break and I thought people might have forgotten about me. But I’m very proud of the record and if people like it, that’s great.”

The initial reaction to Another Day has already proved there’s no chance of anyone having forgotten about Lene Marlin. And now she’s back with the best record of her career to date.

“Of course I’m a bit scared. But that’s healthy,” she reasons. “The years I’ve spent leading up this album have been like a journey.Now I’m just really looking forward to people hearing the songs.”


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