Often compared to other Swedish artists as Tone Norum and Tove Naess, I think you’ll find that the lovely Erika Norberg actually sits closest to the throne of Swedish pop wonders Roxette, if all things be told.
Written by: gdmonline
ALBUM: In The Arms Of A Stranger
SERIAL: 955.001-2 CD
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Sweden
LINEUP: Erika – lead and backing vocals * Hakan Almqvist – keyboards, bass, backing vocals, programming * Bobby Ljungren, Benny Jansson, Ulf Jansson, Yngwie Malmsteen – guitar * Mats Gunnarsson – sax * Patric Fransson, Thomas Walter, Lilling Palmeklint – backing vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 6 am * 02 Wake Me Up When The House Is One Fire * 03 Rock Me Into Heaven * 04 Games We Play * 05 Easy Come, Easy Go * 06 In The Arms Of A Stranger * 07 Made Of Stone * 08 Walk Into My Heart * 09 Shadows In Rain * 10 Danger In Disguise * 11 Fall From Grace
Of course she was better known as the one-time wife of guitar wiz Yngwie Malmsteen, and while her marriage to the Blackmore doppelganger didn’t last, at least her music did. Often compared to other Swedish artists as Tone Norum and Tove Naess, I think you’ll find that the lovely Erika Norberg actually sits closest to the throne of Swedish pop wonders Roxette, if all things be told.
Signed to the small Lionheart label, Erika took everyone by surprise with her 1990 debut ‘Cold Winter Night’. Many pundits believe that CWN is slightly better than this one ‘In The Arms Of A Stranger’, which was followed up quickly to catch the rising tide of popularity.
For me, I find Erika’s vocal erring too much on the side of pop, rather than rock. An Alexa she will never be, to my ears, she comes off as a female equivalent of Jeff ‘Lox’ Limbo from Danish heroes Fate. Still, she has a good batch of songs to play with, and some strong outside writers pitch in with some above average material.
We’ll bypass the thunder and lightning intro of ‘6 am’ and head straight into the great opening that is ‘Wake Me Up When The House Is One Fire’, co-written by Jack Ponti, Vic Pepe and Alice Cooper no less. Yes it’s poppy and harmless, but captivating in its own way. So too the well-oiled anthem ‘Rock Me Into Heaven’ with its simplistic chorus which somehow gets into your head.
‘Games We Play’ follows the same pattern as ‘Wake Me Up..’ but things get interesting for the excellent ‘Easy Come, Easy Go’ with some deft keyboard touches and a scattergun policy given to percussion and effects.The title track ‘In The Arms Of A Stranger’ has that typical Swedish design for melodic anthems including bombastic choruses and orchestration. Works for me. Though still pop, it’s a harder tougher outer-shell that presents itself on ‘Made In Stone’. Very likeable tune high on melody.
It takes a brief moment for ‘Shadows In Rain’ to kick into gear, but when it does, it sounds like Roxette powering up their game. ‘Danger In Disguise’ is the other Ponti/Pepe co-write, a pacier track high on uplifting energy; the saxophone blast at the start adds to the occasion. Erika completes this set with the ballad ‘Fall From Grace’, which didn’t do a lot for me, hastening my desire to finish off this album sooner.
Erika went on to release ‘Lady Luck’ in 1993 (we’ll probably be reviewing that soon too), all the while her status as Mrs Malmsteen was soon to be relinquished. Though this is a good capable release, I’m not sure that it truly acquired ‘classic’ status, as the album eventually spawned a reissue in 2005 on the MTM Classix label.
We’ll follow up on Erika’s discography as I still think her catalog is worth looking at, particular her two modern rock outings from the late 90’s: ‘Planet X’ and ‘Ripe’ which really do require further analysis.
Erika on Video
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