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Anar

4.4 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 11, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Marketa Irglova, one half of Oscar winning duo the Swell Season, says her solo debut Anar is like a time capsule of her first year in New York, where she moved from Ireland in June 2010. Fame came early to Irglova when the film Once became the breakout independent hit of 2007. On that soundtrack album and the subsequent Swell Season release Strict Joy, Irglova won over audiences with her quiet passion and increasing assurance as a musician and songwriter. Now at the ripe age of 23, her decision to branch out on her own was inspired by a combination of a Swell Season hiatus and relocating to New York. "I started writing the songs when I moved, " she recalls. "I realized if I wanted to continue making music I just had to create the circumstances for myself. So I just started writing more intensely and in a more committed way than I ever had before. " With an upcoming Broadway version of Once reminding fans of the musical magic of the film and the duo, Irglova has a built in audience for her lyrical songs, which display the influence of both her classical piano roots, with touches of Chopin and Liszt, and classic singer songwriters from Joni Mitchell to Kate Bush.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 11, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Anti
  • ASIN: B005GM8XQU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,122 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John Terry on October 11, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've been listening to The Frames for years. I know I like Glen without Marketa. My question was could I accept Marketa outside of The Swell Season? Marketa wrote songs with Glen, contributed her own and took the occasional turn at the microphone. However, The Swell Season was or is Hansard's band even if you ignore the fact that the members of The Frames simply became The Swell Season. The answer to the question of whether Irglova can stand on her own is a happy "yes". Her independence from Glen allowed her to grow as an artist and her compositions on "Anar" are more musically mature and confident than anything we've heard from her before. She has found her voice as a front woman. The compelling question now is do Hansard or Irglova even need The Swell Season at this point in their respective careers. Ironically, Irglova's artistic freedom comes at a time when "Once" is preparing for it's Broadway debut and the documentary "The Swell Season" is garnering praise for chronicling Hansard and Irglova's musical rise and the bittersweet end of their romantic relationship. If you don't already know Marketa Irglova, recommended for fans of Kate Bush, Sarah McLachlan and Joni Mitchell.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This review is the lowest rating so far for this first solo album by Oscar winner Marketa Irglova. Please don't get me wrong, I love Marketa Irglova's music as much as all of you who have posted those five star reviews. The problem with this album is that, as beautiful as the music is, it stays pretty much the same throughout. After listening to the whole album a few times, I still can't remember any single song as being more distinctive or different from the other.

Going back and comparing this solo album with Marketa's songs on the Swell Season albums "Once" and "Strict Joy" was a revelation. Marketa's songs on those albums soar across a broad range of notes and have a much more complex emotional quality to them, characteristics which are missing from the songs here. The songs on this album are all sweetness, happiness, and light, and cover a narrower range of notes.

Watching the documentary DVD "The Swell Season", which covers the two years of touring across the world that Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova did after their Oscar win, ending with their breakup, it becomes clear that the two are markedly different people, almost polar opposites. Glen is older and wildly extroverted, coming alive in front of his fans, his songs soar and fall with a rough and raw edginess, and there are definite dark, mournful, and angry notes in them, no doubt from his years of struggling in the musical wilderness. Marketa is shy and introverted, to the point of being painfully uncomfortable when surrounded by fans, she hates touring, her young life has been nothing but sweetness and light and musical success, and that is reflected in the soft and gentle quality of her songs on this solo album.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a good debut showing from Marketa. I got hooked from Once, have been to some Swell Season shows. "If you want me" from the Once soundtrack is one of my all time favorite songs and "I have loved you wrong" really showcases her collaborative efforts. I always really liked the Swell Season stuff that featured Marketa so I was pretty excited to find out she was doing a solo album.

Anar has some great vocals and there are some good songs on this album, I think it will grow on me over time. I had hoped to see a few stripped-down songs that just focus on vocals and a bit more raw, but all the songs are well produced and piano oriented. I feel like a couple of the songs are a little too similar and run together with piano arpeggios. Still, I enjoyed and think it is worth the listen if you are a Swell Season/Once fan.

And if you were curious, I googled Anar and it means pomegranate (for some reason I thought the picture was an onion...)
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By ckelley on October 21, 2011
Format: Audio CD
I was able to stream this album online through Paste magazine before it was available for purchase. I couldn't stop listening. I find this album honest, beautiful and intriguing. I listen carefully to the lyrics and find I often say "Ah, I love that line." One of the reasons I greatly enjoy The Swell Season is their ability to evoke incredible emotions from me. I knew I would love this album when I fell in love with "The Hill." Marketa sings in a way that is soft and ethereal, as though all her feelings are put into the music she writes.

This album is an incredible first.
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I am touched by the homogenous, beautiful texture of this liquid art ("concept album" of emotional flow) and the way the voice is used as one of the instruments.

However, the intriguing balance between music and voice becomes somewhat annoying when the listener (me) starts to get the overall feel that Marketa does not want to move out from behind the "protection" of the great instrumental music, choires and idealistic emotional height and wants to hide "within the system" - occassonally appearing as unintentionally childish (as compared to intentionally childish like PJ Harvey's White Chalk).

I'm still not sure how much the clarity of voice is intentionally subordinated to the rest of the performance to create an emotionally homogenous artistic unit or whether it's a recording/mastering issue. Or is it really just the shyness of voice that makes the vocal performance appear weak and indistinct?

This album could really be something I've been waiting for - but I think Marketa will really be at her best once she leaves (some of) her shyness behind while maintaining her touching sensitivity and beautiful musical and vocal expression.

This is agreat first solo album by a (very) young artist whose creative work I'll be following.
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