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I was really excited about Tarja's second solo album when it first came out. I thought it was the greatest album she had put out, considering how My Winter Storm was a total flop. That album was all over the place. What Lies Beneath is well put together musically and the album isn't all over the place like the last one. Over all the album is well done.
Then why the low score?
Tarja is a pitiful songwriter. Her lyrics are bland and lack emotional depth in my opinion. The are only a few good tracks on What Lies Beneath: Anteroom of Death, Dark Star, Falling Awake, and Until My Last Breath. As you can see those songs are really the OMG! In your face ones. But there is still room for improvement.
Remember early Nightwish? I'm talking about Oceanborn and Angels Fall First and Wishmaster. Remember how she used the full power of her voice, how she sang in that soaring opera style? I want that back! Her songs would be ten times better if she sang in that powerful opera style. She has such an amazing voice and she doesn't use it's full potential. On occassion she let's her voice escape and adds some heady vibrato but it's this tone downed mostly vibrato less style. I hate it! I want that opera style back. She does it a few times in Anteroom of Death, Dark Star, Falling Awake and Until My Last Breath. But not in any of the ballads or the slower songs.
The ballads/slow songs on this album are horrible. I don't like them at all. I keep waiting for something exciting to happen to for some passionate emotion to suddenly appear in the lyrics. Nope! Never happens. Shame really. And they have such interest titles too.
I'm really disappointed with Tarja. She's such a talented vocalist, but fails as a songwriter, yet all these Tarjatards you find around the internet claim she's a goddess of metal? Please! Tarja is rather overrated and her two albums show it.
She was amazing in Nightwish, but without Toumas's command of the English language and his eye for songwriting, Tarja on her own is a flop.
Tarja has an amazing voice yet pitiful songwriting skills. Yet, I know I'll be amazed when her third album comes out and I just hope she finally finds a soul to put into her music. Which is doubtful.
Though, What Lies Beneath is a lot better than My Winter Storm, that's for sure.