Jenni Vartiainen – Ihmisten edessä

{mosimage}Jenni Vartiainen’s main claim to fame is
that she was one of the members Gimmel, a girl trio formed as the result of the
first season of the Popstars show. Like so often with winners of music-based
reality TV contests, Gimmel’s music was catchy and kitchy, but not offering any
moments of real emotion. Yes, thousands of people bought their records, but not
many of these people thought they had lost something when Gimmel, after three
albums, split up.

In
this light, it is a huge surprise that Vartiainen’s debut solo album Ihmisten Edessä (“In Front of People” in English) is not only very good, but also quite
an elegant and stylish effort. Together with producer Jukka Immonen, Vartiainen
makes music that could be described as penthouse melancholy – music that is
very cool, modern and urban on the surface level, but that ultimately is very
emotional and fragile. At times almost ambient, at times on the verge of
trip-hop, but always first and foremost pop, the album still never feels like
someone is trying to water down cool and credible styles of music.

Besides
Vartiainen herself and Immonen, the album’s list of songwriters features such
respected Finnish musicians as Knipi (Egotrippi), Kyösti Salokorpi
(Scandinavian Music Group) and female rapper Mariska. The title track is written
by Teemu Brunila of The Crash fame, and it’s actually better than anything The
Crash have released since their Melodrama album.

Of
course, it is not like anybody is reinventing pop music here, and some of the
songs could use a little more spark in them, but really: Ihmisten Edessä is one
of the most enjoyable (and pleasantly surprising) albums of this autumn.

Rating: 4/5