Jimmy Guterman's blog

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Ida Maria and the record of the year

with 7 comments

I picked up an import of Ida Maria‘s debut album, Fortress Round My Heart, about a month ago. I’ve kept my mouth shut about it (here, anyway), because I didn’t trust my intense, overwhelming reaction. Halfway into the first listen, I believed this might give me more pleasure than any other record I’ve heard in a long time. A month and the better part of 100 listenings later, I can confirm: this is fantastic.Ida Maria cover

I know nothing about Maria except that she’s Norwegian and the import price for her CD was too expensive. But I do know that Fortress Round My Heart is an explosive debut that deserves to stand in the same company as Pretenders and the Strokes’ Is This It?, two landmark debuts I bet she’s listened to a great deal. It’s one of those out-of-nowhere records that seems to encompass the whole world: high-powered rockers, sober but affecting ballads, and weird combinations of the two. Almost every song has a moment in which it feels like everything is about to spin apart, but this tough band enjoys leaning just a bit too much over the edge of a cliff and pulling back at the last possible second. Indeed, the high point of one of the intimate ballads, “Keep Me Warm,” comes when a jackhammer guitar stumbles in and takes over for a bit.

I don’t want to waste your time making the case for this (be grateful; I could go on for an hour); the music (video excerpts below) does that better than this fan could. Maria is an outstanding and diverse songwriter. Steeped in rock tradition, she’s also an immediately distinct singer. She delights in singing right at the edge of her range — listen to how she roughens up the “you” at the end of the first line of the not-a-novelty-song “I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked.” And then listen to everything else. This, friends, is the record of the year.

“Oh My God”

“I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked” (UPDATE: embedding has been disabled, apparently; try this link)

“Stella”

“Queen of the World”

Written by guterman

September 2, 2008 at 9:46 am

Posted in music

7 Responses

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  1. [...] 10, 2008 I raved about it last week and I love the record more now. There’s no U.S. release of the CD planned anytime [...]

  2. [...] a comment » Regular readers of this blog know I’m a big fan of Ida Maria. It turns out that she’ll be playing two shows in New York in January (Jan. 15 @ Mercury [...]

  3. [...] Musical artist: Ida Maria. [...]

  4. She’s awesome, I keep finding people (like yourself) who were onto here before she had anything state-side.

    geoff

    April 7, 2009 at 4:28 pm

  5. [...] in the Lower 48 at reasonable prices. Get Ida Maria’s Fortress Around My Heart, which was my record of the year last year and is looking to duplicate the [...]

  6. [...] a comment » Everyone in my family is a fan of Ida Maria, especially Lydia (1, 2) and me (3). As someone who wants to hear new music from her I was delighted when she tweeted recently that [...]

  7. [...] singer, and guitarist Ida Maria; now it’s time for you to suffer. I’ve written about the excitement of discovering her debut album, trying to get my then-12-year-old daughter into a 21+ club to see her (I received some hilarious [...]


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