Album Review: Aminata – “Inner Voice”

Can you believe that it’s been nearly a whole month since Eurovision 2015 happened, and while news on competing countries has been…well, rather slow – we have had a plethora of new music being released from artists from this year’s Contest; we’ve already covered Ann Sophie’s new album “Silver Into Gold”, and now we’re moving on up to Latvia and Aminata, who released her new album in March, around the same time as the Eurovision Pre-Party in Aminata’s hometown of Riga. So, what can we say about this new album, and what to expect from it? Keep reading to find out, as you listen to her Eurovision entry with a brand-spanking-new video!

*Yeah, I didn’t really get why she set herself on fire…*

So, it’s fair to say that Aminata Savadogo has been the epitome of the non-conventional Eurovision artist. Born in Latvia to a Latvian mother and a Burkinabé father, Aminata has managed to keep her African roots quite close to her, and has been able to utilise them in her music and her performances. I mean, come on – where did you think she learned those arm moves in Vienna? However, she has also tried to bring modern music into it too, as she is a very contemporary artist! So what do you get when you get Burkinabé influences and mix them with modern music? Well, you get this new album, entitled “Inner Voice”. The album has a total of ten tracks that have been written by Aminata herself over the course of two years from the time of the oldest song’s release till the album’s debut on the international market. There is an obvious recognition before you even listen to the first song that this album is a musical book, with each song telling a different story that all culminates in a form of euphoric paradise (but more on that in a while..), which is a nice departure from most other album topics that are constantly being exhausted. Right, let’s get reviewing!!

The song above is “Leave My Love Bleeding”, which is song #2 on the tracklist. This is a rather upbeat song that serves as the toe-tapper song, when you compare it to the rest of the album. It shows off the jazzy side of Aminata and her songwriting skills, while still keeping in those elements of dubstep. Aminata’s vocals here are astounding as they grow with the song and by the end of the song she’s letting those vocals out like a tiger out of a cage – there’s no holes barred. She actually did an acoustic version of the song with her band, in which you did get the sense of how a song like this would be acted out onstage, and trust me if it was like that – I’d love to go to one of her concerts anytime!! If you want to watch the acoustic version of the song, have a listen here!

Entitled “Until We Land”, this is the closing track of the album, and OMG – seriously, she really did save the best for last. Remember that just a minute ago, I said that the album culminates in a form of euphoric paradise? Well, this is what I meant. ‘Until We Land’ is the crown jewel in the album, in my opinion and there’s a chilled-out feeling, as it brings the album to an amazing end. Aminata delivers really relaxed vocals while soultry strings, gentle synth beats and soft pianos take the listener on a journey, like they are a bird of paradise returning home. The track also featured vocals from Ralfs Eilands, from PeR, who represented Latvia in 2013 with that really sparkly suit while wearing no shirt…now, you would think a voice like Ralfs’ would ruin the song, but in fact it’s had the opposite effect – Aminata and Ralfs voices on this song really do compliment each other and work as one entity. Now, I don’t know about you, but I always thought Ralfs was a little bit of a nutcase. But his vocals on this song make me wonder – why the hell was he wasting his time singing songs like “Revelation” and “Here We Go”, when he has the vocal capability to make beauty like ‘Until We Land’?! Some serious thought needs to go into his next career move now!!

Other Songs:

So, as you should probably know, we can’t review every song on the album, but here are a few other songs from the album that we think you should listen to! 🙂

Overall Review:

There’s no denying that Aminata is a fan of the synthesiser and this album really does reflect that. However, “Inner Voice” is more than just dubstep and layered vocals; this is a musical book of fairytales whereby each song tells its own story and although there’s no distinct or obvious connection between each song, there is a common theme here that its all about awakening and coming to realise the presence of love. Aminata’s vocals are flexible throughout the entire album, with each of the songs showing of the next possible direction her music could go. I do think that ‘Love Injected’ was the right song to send to Eurovision, as it is the perfect balance between mainstream music and the avant-garde, alternative slant that is more prevalant on “Inner Voice” and if she had picked another song to enter into Supernova – a song like “Dualism” for example, the general public wouldn’t be able to get behind her and she wouldn’t be able to do as well as she did in Vienna. If I was to rate this album out of ten, I would give the album an 8/10; there are a great collection of songs here and Aminata’s songwriting skills are fantastic, but it has to be said that she will never be for everyone and it really is up to the listener to decide whether this form of music is to their musical tastes. It is for me, but is it for you? Let’s have a look!

Your Views:

What do you make of "Inner Voice" - is there a song you like from the album?
What do you make of “Inner Voice” – is there a song you like from the album?

Henný Friðríksdóttir from Iceland: I was never a fan of Aminata until I heard “Let Me Know”. That is the standout song for me on the album. The rest are awful though.

James Sayer (veteran ESC Views’ contributor!!) from the United Kingdom:  It’s quite hit and miss but in general I really like it! There are a few cases of questionable lyrics (‘Cell Phone’ for example… *cringe*) and a few times where the production could be more professional, but overall it’s a strong album with plenty of quirky and original standout tracks like ‘Let Me Know’ and ‘The Bound’.

Johann Brausen from Austria: I really am a big fan of this album. The songs on it are absolutely amazing, and I am already looking forward to hearing the next bits of music coming from Aminata!

Noreen O’Hara from Ireland: There are some songs that you can tell are influenced by her African roots, but for me it’s quite like a 50/50 album for me. There are some songs I adore – “Leave My Love Bleeding”, and others I loathe – “Ring My Bells”.

So fans are rather divided on the album and their opinions of it, but the majority are quite favourable towards the songs, so we’ll take that as a compliment on behalf of the Latvian songstress. So what did you make of the album? Was there (a) song(s) on the album you loved, or did you hate the whole album? What are you expecting to come out of Latvia next year at Eurovision? Will you keep listening to Aminata? Feel free to let us know what you think by commenting below!! 🙂

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