Ulf Lundell

Utanfor Murarna

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Utanför Murarna was released in 1989, one year after the religious album Evangeline, and like so often before it provided Lundell's fans with numerous seemingly biographical threads. It may be unfair to see the entire album as a diary or simply a statement, but with song titles like "Utanför Murarna" (Outside the Walls), "Frisk Luft" (Fresh Air), and "Utan Er" (Without You), it is hard not to think of Lundell's much-spoken-about religious crisis, his conversion, and his soon departure from the church. And after listening to the actual songs, not only reading the titles, this impression only gets stronger. But more than a religious or anti-religious album, this was the beginning of Lundell's '90s and the music he would create then. Lyrically it may not be as strong as his early production, but it is still above most of what would come later. Unfortunately this is somewhat obscured by the production, being very much mainstream '80s. Smooth ballads with sweeping synthetic strings simply fit Lundell very ill, just as they do so many other singer/songwriters. And this problem was not addressed by gathering a good part of the Swedish pop and studio elite: Mauro Scocco and Nicklas Strömstedt on backing vocals, Jalle Lorensson from Wilmer X on harmonica, and Per Lindvall on drums. In some ways this may actually have made it worse. But equally fortunate, most of the up-tempo songs feel less dated, and on a 77-minute-long Lundell album there is bound to be at least one song that becomes a Swedish classic. Here it was the ballad "Kärleken Förde oss Samman," but if energetic rock songs more often became classics, the hard, pounding "Blod Svett och Tårar" would have been a good contender. While this album has some obvious qualities, it would take four more years until Lundell managed to use the ingredients to create something really good, namely the 1993 album Måne Över Haväng.

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