Album Reviews

Daði Freyr – I Made An Album

(Samlist) UK release date: 25 August 2023

The 2020 Icelandic Eurovision entrant’s bid for a career beyond camp madness with a synthpop album entirely lacking in cynicism

Daði Freyr - I Made An Album One of the very few bright spots of the year 2020 was the emergence of a 6ft 10inch Icelandic musician with an adorable jumper and even more adorable dance routine. Daði Freyr was selected as the Icelandic entry for that year’s Eurovision Song Contest, and as his song Think About Things and its incredibly watchable video went increasingly viral in the first couple of months of the year, it seemed obvious that we had not just that year’s Eurovision winner, but a brand new star.

And of course, we all know what happened then. As the world closed down, there was no Eurovision Song Contest, and Think About Things remained as just a fun song to cheer everybody up over lockdown. Freyr did perform at the following year’s contest, coming fourth with a new song called 10 Years, and also had a role in this year’s Liverpool-set contest, singing the inspired choice of a cover of Atomic Kitten‘s Whole Again.

So is Daði Freyr destined to remain a kitsch curio, forever associated with the competition that helped to make his name, or can he carve out a career away from the camp madness? It’s a struggle that the UK’s very own Eurovision King, Sam Ryder, is having to negotiate with, and I Made An Album makes a similar attempt to posit Freyr as something other than a one-off novelty act.

Long-term Freyr fans will know at least half of this record already – it’s been released in three separate chunks over the last few months (in a similar way to Django Django‘s album earlier this year), but this is the first time that all 12 tracks are available together. If you’ve heard Think About Things, you’ll have a pretty good idea what to expect – warm synth tracks dominated by Freyr’s lugubrious voice.

Thank You is a euphoric choice of opener, a slow build-up of synths that slowly transform into an almost rave-like symphony, with Freyr’s typically wholesome lyrics of appreciation: “don’t you forget that you’re beautiful to me, you are fabulous and wonderful and nice”: there aren’t many people who could get away with lyrics like that, but the utter lack of cynicism in Freyr’s work means he does.

I’m Fine is a full-on disco banger, anchored by an infectiously funky bassline and lyrics that could be mistaken for an inspirational seminar – “don’t stress, it isn’t worth it, your life is not your resume”. It’s the sort of song that you can imagine fitting straight into someone’s ‘feel-good’ playlist.

There’s a classic synth-pop sheen to I Made An Album – you could imagine Giorgio Moroder nodding approvingly at the likes of Sometimes, while Moves To Make, despite a slight over-reliance on Auto-Tuning Freyr’s voice too heavily, is another immediately likeable pop anthem that you can almost visualise the dance routines when listening to it.

Admittedly, over the course of an entire album, the pace starts to flag and the lack of variety across the record starts to tell after a while. There’s also nothing to quite match the immediacy and likability that Think About Things (which isn’t included on this album) had in spades – although the anti-anxiety ode Shut Up does run it pretty close.

Whether this debut album will see Daði Freyr make a break from his Eurovision persona remains to be seen. One thing that I Made An Album makes clear though is that he’s very far from a novelty act. Sweet, uplifting and sometimes a little bit too sugary, this debut album is as cosy as a nice cup of tea at times.

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Daði Freyr – I Made An Album