Tommy Henriksen

Tommy Henriksen

Capitol Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


If the movie Blast From The Past is remembered for anything, it probably will be for the song "I See The Sun" from rocker Tommy Henriksen. While I have yet to see the movie (it was either that or The Rugrats Movie I took my daughter to, gimme a break), I can imagine the song works on two levels. On one side, I can see it relating to Brendan Fraser's character discovering the outside world he's been sheltered from for years. On the other hand, I can see it as the discovery of love between Fraser and Alicia Silverstone.

What many people might not know is that Henriksen has his own self-titled album out including this track - and if people aren't willing to give him a chance, he may seem to be doomed to the hall of one-hit wonders. Fortunately for Henriksen, he has something going for him: the bulk of the material on this album is just as strong as the hit single.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Right off the bat, Henriksen strikes me as a modern-day Peter Gabriel. He often seems to cloak his songs in deeper meanings, he isn't afraid to take chances with the sounds in his music (hence the sound effect of broken glass in "I See The Sun"), he's not afraid to slow things down to a crawl and espouse the power of ballads ("Uneasy Street" - unfortunately, the weakest track on the album.)

But Henriksen has one thing down pretty well: the art of songwriting. He knows how to craft a catchy hook and shape it into a song, but moreso than that, he knows how to create the song around the hook and make it just as memorable and well-constructed. Tracks like "If I Could," "Right Here By My Side" (which could easily be the next single) and "Tell Me Why" all show Henriksen's mastery of this art.

Henriksen does take one major chance on Tommy Henriksen: he brings in former punk priestess Nina Hagen to do background vocals on "Beyond Life". To older listeners like myself, one might wonder what Henriksen was thinking prior to listening to the track; to younger listeners, they might not see Hagen as influential these days. And then, near the end of the song, she lets loose with some emphatic, beautiful wails that add to the power of the song. Obviously, Henriksen knew exactly what he was doing; here's hoping this could open the door for Hagen to return to prominence.

While Tommy Henriksen is an album that challenges you to listen to it multiple times in order to truly appreciate the ten songs on it, it is also an album that you can extract some pleasure out of after only one listen. Henriksen is an artist we should be hearing a lot more from this year. Break out of the soundtrack mindframe, and take a chance by plunking down the cash for this album. You will not be disappointed.

Rating: A-

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© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Capitol Records, and is used for informational purposes only.