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Album Reviews

Bjorn Tengman – Time 

It takes a special kind of talent to be content with who and with what you are. Most people are not. The vast majority of entertainers are not and so fashion themselves as someone who appears bigger, more interesting, more exotic than who they truly are. 

Changing your name, your hair-do, and your biography is almost a rite of passage for would-be rockstars. The most successful ones are forced to lie so often about who they are and about what they want out of life that they forget where they started. 

Being content with what is already yours is a rare talent, and no more so than in modern music. Bjorn Tengman’s album “Time” is a love letter to things as they are, to winning in love and then getting broken-hearted, to finding the strength to walk away, and, not least of all, to Tengman’s home in Sweden.

In every way, “Time” captures the Swedish spirit. There’s an imperial kind of despair to it all. The album opener, “Bye Bye Love”, promises as much. The folk-rock instrumentation is married to lyrics that compare the ordeal of getting over a bad love affair to an endless road. 

Next, the title track, “Time”, may feature some fancy acoustic guitar lines, but the lyrics express a similar kind of anguish. For Tengman, time is not a panacea for curing a broken heart, but the thing that ensures they’ll one day be forgotten. 

The acoustic guitar-based sound is one that suits Tengman. His vocals on songs like “Walking on My Own” or “Rose My Rose” are gentle, rich in emotion and best enjoyed by those willing to soak in the texture of his singing. Anything else would’ve risked trampling on these delicate arrangements. 

And, indeed, if there’s a theme that unites the song, it is one that has to do with silence. Tengman uses cleverly across his songs. Meanwhile, the lyrics all make the suggestion that what departure creates is a whole lot of space, a whole lot of silence. 

Even the cheerier pieces like fingerpicked-lead “Summer Night with You” summon the good times only as a vehicle for more melancholy. It’s the closest thing I’ve heard to a Swedish Springsteen ballad of love affairs on (relatively) hot Summer nights. 

The latter part of the album provides some closure. It’s on songs like the extremely pretty “Pieces of a Letter,” where the anguish is replaced partly by a kind of post-breakup euphoria. 

It’s on these songs that Tengman’s vocals are at their strongest. “I’m Already Gone My Love” has a groove to it, and the singer adds some weight to his singing. 

But where do all these bittersweet songs about lost Summers leave us? Like every potential great in every potential field, mistakes are not to be avoided but encouraged. How else can one grow? That’s the acceptance that Bjorn Tengman brings to the almost Neil Youngesque closer “Marvelous Night.” 

About author

Eduard Banulescu is a writer, blogger, and musician. As a content writer, Eduard has contributed to numerous websites and publications, including FootballCoin, Play2Earn, BeIN Crypto, Business2Community, NapoliSerieA, Extra Time Talk, Nitrogen Sports, Bavarian FootballWorks, etc. He has written a book about Nirvana, hosts a music podcasts, and writes weekly content about some of the best, new and old, alternative musicians. Eduard also runs and acts as editor-in-chief of the alternative rock music website www.alt77.com. Mr. Banulescu is also a musician, having played and recorded in various bands and as a solo artist.
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