Ionnalee-Everyone Afraid To Be Forgotten: Album Review

“EVERYONE AFRAID TO BE FORGOTTEN”  is the third studio album by Swedish singer Jonna Lee and the first under the name ionnalee. Lee is credited as the Producer, the Art and Film Director for the accompanying video releases and responsible for all the instrumentation and vocals on the album. 

For almost a year, a series of 7 singles were released leading up to the official February 2018 release via Lee’s own To Whom It May Concern and Kolbalt Music. 

“EVERYONE AFRAID TO BE FORGOTTEN,” two and a half years in the making, is described by Lee as “a reflection of an anxious age where everyone keeps raising the voice louder, where a song is isn’t enough, where individuality is sold and promoted as products on social media, making statements to be immortalized and it’s [Lee’s] own fear not being visible in the shadows.”  

Guests appearances from Com Truise, long-time collaborator Claes Björklund (as Barbelle), Jamie Irrepressible and TR/ST join in and contribute to the fabric of the music represented in album.  

Highlights start with the impressive opening track “Watches Watches.”  The song features varying degrees of simplicity with explosive interludes of dark electronic sounds, paired with Lee’s angelic voicing, preparing you for what follows.  “Joy’s” intro draws you in to Lee’s voice, once again going from the unpretentious to the dramatic. “Work” takes you into a completely different direction and mood, quickly paced, slightly more bright compositionally speaking, and the mixing of the vocal parts keeps it interesting.  On “Not Human” Lee brings out the dance formula with distorted bass sounds, crisp drums and new wave inspired synths. The vocal phrasing stands out prominently and creates the real hook for the song. 

“Samaritan,”  is powerful and driving with drums and percussion, plus the velvety and darkly toned electronics accompanying Lee’s vocals, paints the musical canvas in very broad strokes. Then comes a real beauty.  “Dunes Of Sand” with Jamie Irrespressible. This is a stunning dual vocal track teetering on the melancholic that dramatically transitions into quickening rhythms. 

All in all, “EVERYONE AFRAID TO BE FORGOTTEN” showcases Lee not only as wonderfully skilled singer, but as a songwriter with considerable chops.  Song by song, you’ll hear lots of similarities in the sounds, tempos, and moods, but it is Lee’s ability to balance between the mystical realms of melancholy and the nostalgic feels of darkly tinged new wave that make this LP truly unique and beautiful. 

—Leo Weaver

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