Erik Grönwall, the eponymous full-length album debut of the Swedish Idol 2009 winner, includes a dozen songs that the 21-year-old rocker performed on the television show. The most notable inclusion is the chart-topping smash hit "Higher." An original song written by Pär Westerlund and Joakim Olovsson especially for Swedish Idol 2009, "Higher" was performed by both Grönwall and second-place runner-up Calle Kristiansson on the season finale. Sung by Grönwall with poise and passion, it's a catchy, well-produced power ballad that gets the album off to a promising start. The remainder of Erik Grönwall is comprised of cover songs originally performed by the singer on Idol. There are a few straight-ahead hard rockers -- "Run to the Hills" (Iron Maiden), "The Show Must Go On" (Queen), "Shout It Out Loud" (Kiss) -- that are a lot of fun, though not especially inventive. More creative, from a production standpoint in particular, are contemporary pop covers like "My Life Would Suck Without You" (Kelly Clarkson) and "Bodies" (Robbie Williams). However, Grönwall is at his best on the power ballads interspersed throughout the album, most notably "Over You" (Daughtry), "Heaven" (Bryan Adams), and "18 and Life" (Skid Row). While Grönwall is rarely dazzling as a vocalist on his eponymous debut, he comes across as eager and unafraid to champion unconventional material, hard rock in particular.
AllMusic Review by Jason Birchmeier