This is a defining moment for Swedish R&B crooner Aleks.
ALEKS LIVET MELLAN RADERNA (Sony)
The stunning debut Inte Längre Fiender (No Longer Enemies) from 2011, still lingers on as a pillar of strength in a genre that in Sweden occasionally can feel flaky and sensitive when it comes to trends. If not altogether invisible. Of course, the strength of the debut has much and all to do with Aleksandar Manojlovic’s earthy, warm and street smart soul crooning. This sophomore album, Livet Mellan Raderna, which translates Life Between The Lines, more or less continues where the debut kicked off 5 years ago, but this time he takes leaps and bounds forward into the future of Swedish R&B, very much as the guiding star for all the other fellow soul Swedes to follow, as it also shows that the debut wasn’t a lucky fluke.
Still firmly rooted in the hip hop inspired R&B, backed up by his close knitted crew, whom you can hear throughout the album, he creates small havens of splendor. While dealing with his turbulent past, he still has a remarkable way of looking forward, which gives his storytelling an uplifting perspective. As in the deeply moving Känn Ingen Sorg (Don’t Feel Sorrow) where he reflects on the terrible loss of his parents, but makes a choice to not get stuck in brooding, instead celebrates strengths and possibilities.
Last year’s masterful single För Alltid (Forever) is an exquisitely crafted and performed soul jam, and a standout moment on Livet Mellan Raderna. Another standout track is Varm (Warm), a song about hardships and coming to the realization you’ve found the love of your life. This heavenly gorgeous duet with Cherrie is realistically romantic, without turning sappy and sentimental. Both tracks in total alignment with the album’s uplifting perspective.
Where a few of the songs border to filler tracks and the overall look would’ve gained from some editing, it’s still an exquisite body of work that Aleks has provided, and beyond a strong production and excellent songwriting, the greatest weapon at hand is his voice. A beautiful, raw instrument, where there is something spectacularly soothing in the tone of his voice. An urgency combined with vulnerability. A voice to fall in love with. Over and over again.
Truly a big, defining moment for Sweden’s number 1 soul crooner.