Best of Brolle

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Swedish singer/songwriter Brolle may have failed to storm to victory in his homeland's first series of Popstars back in 2001, but while the actual winners Excellence imploded after just one album, his unusual fusion of retro-rock & roll, indie pop, and bilingual blues has prolonged his career far enough to warrant this 20-track 2010 compilation. Unsurprisingly, his 2002 debut, Rebellious Heart, makes up the bulk of the track list with six of its gentle, acoustic '60s-influenced pop/rock songs included, such as Top Ten singles "Playing with Fire" and "Heartbreak City," the Roy Orbison-esque "Education in Love," and the piano-led, melancholic duet with singer/songwriter Frida Snell, "There's a Rock." Just three songs appear from his less successful but more mature 2004 follow-up, Paradise Will Wait, the slightly gothic "Watching the Stars" the haunting nu-country of "So in Love," and "Sound of a Drum," written by dream pop trio Eskobar's Daniel Bellqvist. His third LP, 2005's Swedish-sung Brolle Jr Tolkar Cornelius, En Stund På Jorden, a collection of songs originally recorded by '60s and '70s political troubadour Cornelis Vreeswijk, is perhaps one of the more left-field records by a talent show contestant, but despite its relatively low sales, it's represented here by four tracks, the best of which is the lilting folk ballad "Felicia Adjo." But by 2008 comeback Ett Hjarta Som Glöder, Som en Gång Brann, Brolle appeared to have rekindled his commercial sensibilities again, as evident on the chiming, epic Snow Patrol-inspired "Det Ar Hon" and "Jag Ar Fodd I En Liten By," and the stripped-back acoustic versions of "Solo I Stockholm" and "En Sang for Dom." However, the album's sole new track, "Anything She Wants," a blistering slice of new wave post-punk which sounds like a lost Billy Idol '80s classic, suggests Brolle isn't done reinventing himself just yet. His vintage Elvis-esque tones may drift into parody territory at times, while the material recorded in his native tongue is nowhere near as inventive as his English output, but this Best of Brolle is still an nintriguingif slightly inconsistent retrospective of one of the talent show genre's most unpredictable stars.