Birgit Õigemeel – ‘Uus Algus’

Estonia’s 2013 Eurovision singer Birgit Õigemeel’s latest offering was released several months after her performance in Malmö Arena with the aptly named ‘Uus Algus(New beginning) reflecting her new life as a mother. Birgit maintains a solid style in ‘Uus Algus’ with every track feeling like part of a set of songs. Rather than experimenting with style too much, it maintains a very similar pleasant, inoffensive country tinged sound all the way through. This of course means that there aren’t many stand-out moments on ‘Uus Algus’ with much of the album sounding very similar.
Tracks like ‘Olen Loodud Rändama(I’m made to wander), ‘Igatsus(Yearning) and ‘Nähtamatult(Invisibly) merge into each other somewhat and unfortunately fail to make themselves sound at all distinctive. Of course it’s rather hard to properly critique an album which is entirely in a language in which you only have the smallest grasp of, and therefore I am unable to tell whether they are there simply to make up the numbers or whether they are lyrically as beautiful as I know Birgit’s songs often are.

However this album isn’t entirely a pedestrian offering and there are a few stand out tracks. ‘Nii Täiuslik See(It’s so perfect) is a rather delightful piece of ukulele driven pop that brings Gianluca Bezzina’s ‘Tomorrow’ and pretty much anything by Jason Mraz to mind.
Et Uus Saaks Alguse (So there could be a new beginning) of course features on the album in the prominent second song position and stands out as one of the few songs in which you hear the amount of power Birgit’s voice contains, along with a very pretty duet with Ott Lepland entitled ‘Pea Meeles Head(Remember the good) where the two Estonian Idol winners showcase alternating soaring vocals, building anticipation for the final chorus where they deliciously combine their vocals.

The final track of the album is perhaps the simplest and one of the most interesting on ‘Uus Algus’. ‘Hingeru Paik(Place of the peace of soul) is a gentle piano ballad which is rather sober when compared to the largely guitar driven rest of the album. Here the purity and warmth of Birgit’s voice really shines through and one can really hear that sometimes one does not really need to understand the words at all to be able to enjoy what Birgit Õigemeel has to offer.
Overall this is a very coherent album with a clear theme. ‘Uus Algus’ doesn’t even come close to being anything revolutionary and neither does it really bring anything new to the table, but that being said there isn’t anything wrong with it at all. Birgit has predominately crafted a career as a performer of the adult contemporary genre, and while this has a slightly more mature sound it still fits that mould entirely. It’s an extremely pleasant offering with a few standout moments of real beauty and those that are already fans of Birgit won’t be disappointed.
It must finally be noted that if you are lucky enough to purchase the album from the shop ‘Lasering’ in Estonia (as I did), there is an option to purchase a limited edition version of the album that comes with a Birgit themed block of Estonian Kalev chocolate, which I have always been very partial to, and enjoyed immensely.
Highlights: Et Uus Saks Alguse, Nii Täiuslik See, Hingeru Paik, The block of chocolate.
Rating: 6.5/10 (or 8/10 with the chocolate)
‘Uus Algus’ can be purchased here in either physical copy or on iTunes.

Liam Clark

I am a founding editor of escXtra who now works as a member of the Estonian Delegation's Press Team. Even though my Xtra days are behind me, I still like writing the odd piece here and there. P.S vote for Estonia 😘 🇪🇪 ❤️

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