Monday, September 9, 2013

Mini-review: Kari Rueslåtten featuring Tuomas Holopainen “Why so Lonely?” (single) (2013)

Album: “Why so Lonely?" (single)
Artist: Kari Rueslåtten (feat. Tuomas Holopainen)
Year: 2013
Language: English
Total time: 3:09
Rating: 9 of 10

OK, so the single just started streaming on the internet over the last couple of hours, but I just had to put my two cents in on the new Kari Rueslåtten single, featuring Nightwish mastermind Tuomas Holopainen.

Anyone who knows me knows what a huge Nightwish fan I am, so of course I am always curious to hear what any of the bandmembers do when they collaborate with other musicians. But this single in particular is special; for anyone who knows their Nightwish history, they will know that Kari Rueslåtten once sang for a band called The 3rd and the Mortal, and it was a voice similar to hers that Tuomas first envisioned when he began forming Nightwish. So in a sense, this is his coming full circle, so to speak. It goes without saying that I was very curious to hear these two get together.

To give a general description of the song by comparing it to, say, other Nightwish tunes: picture the lovely ballad “While Your Lips Are Still Red", but with a female voice. That doesn't come close to describing its simplistic yet dramatic loveliness; but when hard-pressed to think of a Nightwish song to give reference to, that is the first song that comes to mind. It has the same sort of gentle piano intro; that hauntingly beautiful way that Tuomas plays the simplest notes.

Then Kari's voice comes in, softly at first and building up, but never straying far from being that mix of fragile vulnerability and delicate strength. Again, I find it difficult to compare her voice to an artist that someone may know; and yet, as a review-writer, I feel I must describe it for someone who has never heard it, in terms they can understand. Imagine a Norwegian Kate Bush, perhaps? That probably doesn't come close to the mark, but certain aspects of Kari's voice brings Kate to mind. The high note she hits towards the end of the song especially reminds me of Kate Bush (in a good way!).

There is not much to this song but Tuomas' heartbreakingly lovely piano and keys, an acoustic guitar, just enough percussion to keep the beat, and Kari's voice. But it's the simple things that oftentimes speak closest to our hearts, right? It's clear that Kari's vocals and Tuomas' piano work are the centerpiece of this song, as it should be. Mind you, I have not heard the original version from The 3rd and the Mortal, so I cannot make comparisons to it as far as what each version has that the other does not, etc. I wanted to focus just on this version and how it stands alone. It's a gorgeous piece of work, and hopefully everyone will get the chance to listen to it soon. It's available for streaming on Spotify, and for purchase on iTunes, so I'm sure it will be all over YouTube by morning, if it isn't already!

Put it this way: I found the song on Spotify about an hour ago and have listened to it non-stop. I like it so much that I had to write a review about it right this very minute!

Score another for Tuomas never disappointing me musically, no matter whether it's with Nightwish or other artists!

Tuomas Holopainen & Kari Rueslåtten

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