Article published on www.musikuniverse.net. Link to original article in French here.
Written by Marc Desgagné
English translation by Marion Delafoy-Martin
In 2012, Alexander Rybak, winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2009, gave us his first Christmas album, “Christmas Tales”. You already know the vast majority, if not all, of the songs that are on this album. However, Rybak became known with his singing and his violin, and there is no exception on a title such as “Let It Snow”. Piano and the rest of the music are well done.
Thereafter, you cannot reinvent the classics, including “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”. Whether it is Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, they forged the strength of this song and its history. This is probably why the version of Rybak is perfect for a new generation and it offers a younger voice, which has a potential for years to come. On “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” the female voice makes us relive our nostalgic moments of Christmas and Rybak’s violin gives it a special touch.
In terms of spontaneity, we saw better than the beginning of “Rudolph The Red-nosed Reindeer.” On some tracks, it seems to me that the violin is not quite there, but on it, it is too much. This instability is found on most of the album. For “Silent Night”, I tried to compare the version of Rybak with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. We’re in two different worlds. We know TSO for their energy and orchestration of a song, while Rybak relies mainly on nostalgia / crooning. In just two titles, we can have a completely opposite Christmas. On the one hand, TSO gives us an impression of the most festive holiday season, while Alexander brings us to a darker place, with the choir and the dramatic tone.
In general, Alexander Rybak shows on this disc that he has several elements to become an important crooner in the coming years. He is known for his unique style of singing and the majestic tone he gives to his violin, but I think he also wanted to prove something to himself with this album. On “Christmas Tales”, he does not really take A risk, but the output remains interesting. There remains a small album of a young crooner in development, even if you can’t expect great solos or insane rhythm. However, the disc is nice to listen to from beginning to end, but don’t look for something stunning.