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Jonsi is best known for his role in the Icelandic band Sigur Ros. He is also known for his work as Jonsi & Alex, with his partner Alex Somers.
Go is Jonsi's first album released as just Jonsi, solo. It includes vocals from Jonsi, falsetto, mainly in English this time rather than Icelandic, soaring strings and instrumentals with range from barely there to orchestral crescendos, some playful dreamlike noises and a lush sound which completely relaxes me. It includes 9 songs.
=== Tracks ===
Go Do: This is quite a playful and fun song to introduce the album, telling us "go do, you'll learn to just let yourself, fall into landslide".
Animal Arithmetic : This is a lovely song with some rousing percussion and is quite upbeat. It is also very playful with some completely zany lyrics and is a celebration of being alive. There are some beautiful images like "You and I run away, blushing cheeks, howling wolves, colourful fireworks, every time, everyone, everything's full of life".
Tornado: This is a stand out song on the album for me. It is haunting with soaring vocals and a sad, beautiful tune. It starts quite simply and the instrumental really builds up, becoming fuller and much more dramatic, making me think of a crashing wave. Just a lovely, gorgeous song.
Boy Lilikoi: This is one of the best known songs on the album and is very catchy and distinctive. After Tornado, it seems very upbeat, optimistic. It has the message of life being transient and you better make the most of it while you can "we all grow old, use your life, the world goes and flutter by
Use your life, you'll know you are", and has a sweet simple melody building up to a chant of "you are... alive" with lovely lush swelling instrumental in the background.
Sinking Friendships: Starts with falsetto vocals with a very sparse background. The lyrics are quite hard to hear clearly so I have had to look them up! This is another one with a sad atmosphere, tinged with a sense of regret saying "no one knows you, till it's over". Like a lot of the other songs, it builds up to more of a crescendo but Sinking Friendships is not as intense. I like it a lot but it is not a stand out track for me.
Kolniður: The name apparently means Coal Murmur. This is a song which is in Jonsi's native Icelandic language. It has a sad atmosphere, with some gorgeous distorted instrumentals and soaring falsetto again which is light and dreamlike. This one really sounds quite Sigur Ros in style in my opinion.
Around Us: This song features the lyrics "grow till tall" so it is not to be confused with the actual song Grow Till Tall. Around Us is a beautiful, dreamy, nostalgic song about home, growing up, perfect moments and living life. The music reflects those ideas for me.
Grow Till Tall: I see this slightly as a continuation of Around Us. The lyrics are very simple and repetitive. The instrumentals grow more intense as the song goes on, which I suppose echoes the lyrics of "grow till tall" but the build up here does not reach such dramatic heights as in some of the other songs.
Hengilás: This is another of my favourites. It is another song in Icelandic and the name means "Padlock". It is has a clear, light melody with a bitter sweet atmosphere. It is one of the more subtle songs and just gorgeous. I don't even mind that I don't completely know what it means.
When this is over I often want to go back to track 1 and start again.
=== Overall ===
The general message and feeling I get from this album is that life is amazing and we need to enjoy the intensity, moments, colours and beauty of it. This sounds cheesy but it isn't a cheesy album at all - far from it! The emotion comes across as simple and honest. I think a lot of people will feel an emotional connection with it.
It is difficult to put this album in words but I really love it. I recommend it to anyone, regardless of the type of music you normally listen to.
The lead singer of the infamous band Sigur Ros - mostly famous for producing colossal sound scapes and yes, Hoppipolla , Jonsi is gaining momentum as one of the best musicians around at the moment. Certainly distinctive, nearly always amazing. His voice is so distinctive from the first few moments you know this is a Jonsi record. Does this solo record match up to what he has previously done though?
Opening with rhythmic drums in Go Do, his beautiful voice lilts over a dramatic beat, the song washes over you and leaves you in a happy place. His usual mix of English and his own made up language based on Icelandic is in full force again, but with perhaps more of a leaning to English than Sigur Ros used to show. This sounds very much like the last sigur ros album, the one whose name is too difficult to write.
Animal Arithmetic follows, and is even more urgent than Go Do. The most instant uptempo song Jonsi has perhaps ever crafted. Once again, the song is sumptuous, he really knows how to mix his falsetto with odd quirky beats, and create a product that is born out of beauty. Tornado follows, and is a MASSIVE stand out on the album. The song is jawdropping. Very minimal, over "Pyramid Song" style piano, and lyrically amazing, the song is excellently placed, offering a quiet place to rest after the quick one - two of the first two songs.
Basically, I love this song. One of the best of the year for me, and one that can hold its own against any Sigur Ros material, the benchmark with which Jonsi is operating. Another standout is Sinking Friendships. A nice swell occupies this song, starting off sparse, before building, but not to the point of huge noise, but just enough to keep everything bubbling away.
This album then, is not particularly about creating the huge eruptions of noise you often find with many Sigur Ros songs, but you do get this with Grow til Tall. A beautiful little song nestled in at the end of the album, seems to just build. Ending with a cavalry of soft noises, and dramatic drums, the song begins with a sound of just typical soundscape, just a synth that you could hear over a wildlife programme, before the distinct voice settles in once more.
Jonsi has not struck too far away from the Sigur Ros template. But would you expect that when he is the main architect of their music. The album offers a more immediate but less orchestrated version of Sigur Ros, and it works, it really does. Sure, the album contains some less impressive songs, but nothing horrendous, nothing that leaves a bad taste in the mouth. you certainly won't find any music like this outside of Jonsi's world. 7.5/10
(P.s. this is taken from my own blog - but is 100% original)
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Go Do
2 Animal Arithmetic
4 Boy Lilikoi
5 Sinking Friendships
7 Around Us
8 Grow Till Tall