Album: Agnetha Faltskog

My Colouring Book, WEA
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The Independent Culture

"Crayons ready?" Faltskog enquires at the start of this solo collection. "Very well, begin to colour me." Alas, my palette has no pigment pastel enough to accommodate the treacly sensibilities behind My Colouring Book, as lacklustre and uninspired an album as I've heard this year. Even the best tracks are never more than competent but characterless; while the worst, for which there are too many possible contenders, border on the emetic. Perhaps it's the single, "If I Thought You'd Ever Change Your Mind", whose sickly imagery is matched by equally sickly orchestration; or maybe "Love Me With All Your Heart", with its glutinous passage in Italian? No, on reflection I think it has to be "A Fool Am I", in which Agnetha recites earnest romantic tosh over the Moonlight Sonata, like something out of a bad French movie. The album reeks of lazy opportunism: the choice of covers is anodyne, the productions enervating, and Agnetha's interpretations uninvolving. "Fly Me to the Moon", for instance, is not the song we want to hear from her, and, frankly, she's not the singer we'd choose if we wanted to hear that song; but the most glaring offence is perpetrated against "The End of the World", where she dispels the very despair that makes the song so affecting in Skeeter Davis's version. Abysmal.