One thing I’ve always been obsessed with is data. Statistics, percentages, pie charts.
And it was due to this that when I met my partner in 2015, we began rating albums together. Old music, new music, we’d listen to each track and score them out of 10 and then work out an average for the whole album.
Over the years of rating a good couple of hundred albums, very few have achieved a perfect score. We’re talking Rumours by Fleetwood Mac or The Visitors by ABBA. Intricately crafted masterpieces that will be remembered for generations. We don’t just slap a 10/10 on any album.
And that’s what left us so dumbfounded. As each track of OKTA played one after the other, shortly after midnight on May 15th. We stole glances at each other as we separately marked our scores. When it was over, we didn’t need to say it. We both knew.
OKTA was the first album we ever gave a perfect score to on the first listen. So I’m going to take you through it track by track and give you my personal opinions.
1. TAKE ME HOME
Opening track Take Me Home introduces KEiiNO to new listeners by combining all the classic elements of the group, minus a good joik. Incredible pop with a Nordic vibe, bilingual lyrics. The soothing tone of Tom, powerhouse vocals of Alexandra and mastered rapping of Fred. The songs rhythm flows through different musical styles before it’s sudden and satisfying end.
2. BLACK LEATHER
My absolute favourite KEiiNO track. If I had to describe this song in one word? Sexy!
I’ve always had eyes for Tom and I nearly keeled over when I saw this video. But Alexandra as well!!! Enough to turn any gay guy straight. The chemistry between the two of them in that video as well, wow. Of course I can’t leave out the gorgeous Mr. Buljo who looks effortlessly sexy among a sea of writhing club goers. One thing I want to touch on with this track is the feature of Charlotte Qamaniq. Her style of music is not something I would have ever listened to but I was fascinated watching the in-studio behind the scenes of the song. I love her contribution. The song makes me feel good. It’s fun, tongue in cheek and amazing! I could write non stop about it but there’s another 8 tracks to cover yet.
3. WOULD I LIE?
Our second collaboration track features the incredible Electric Fields who came 2nd in Australia’s 2019 national selection. This song is so feel good despite its lyrical content. It’s one of my favourites to sing along to. The powerful chorus, the two tone second verse, Fred’s epic solo and Alexandra’s FLAWLESS vocals on all those big notes ensure that this is a track to keep coming back to.
4. SPIRIT IN THE SKY
Ahh, the track that started it all! My favourite to win Eurovision and clearly the global publics as well. As much as I loved Arcade, KEiiNO were absolutely robbed last year. This wonderful track introduced us to a pop group who were in touch with nature, love, acceptance and positivity. I often find I get tired of debut singles eventually but I just can’t leave this one behind.
5. DANCING IN THE SMOKE
When I imagined my perfect KEiiNO concert, this was the song I chose to open it. It’s an absolute crowd pleaser, it gets you on your feet jumping and pumped full of energy. I was very happy that it was chosen as the opener for the release concert. Another favourite to sing along to.
6. ROAR LIKE A LION
Wow! Wow! Wow! From the second it starts this song is just an ANTHEM. Have you listened to it through headphones? My fiancé made the comment that the tempo ebbs and flows like water. The chanting gives me life! This song feels like an experience. It’s so awesome and it just takes me places. I absolutely love it. While Black Leather is my favourite overall track, Te Hau Tawhiti were definitely my favourite collaborators.
I love to belt this one out. It was the second original song we ever heard from KEiiNO and proved they were no one hit wonder. The guitar riffs throughout mixed with Fred’s joiking make this a simple but effective track that I can imagine singing with a group of friends around a campfire.
Another one I massively recommend using headphones for. Colours is a song to be fully immersed in. I love the way it builds and builds to an epic chorus. The use of the child’s vocals never come across as awkward or cheesy. It’s really well blended with the group’s style.
This track makes me want a summer road trip. Maybe across Norway?
Our final collaboration features Drezus. Another artist whose style I wouldn’t normally be a fan of. Yet I really enjoy his contribution to the track. This song sounds like a top 10 hit from the mid noughties and believe me, that’s a good thing. Its clever use of different styles keep you on your toes the whole way through.
10. BED WITH THE WOLF
From the mid noughties to the late eighties. Bed With The Wolf closes the album with the assurance that there isn’t any filler at all. Lyrically the song is something many of us can relate to but it’s story is told in such an interesting way and I love the harmonies.
So in conclusion, this album is a piece of perfection! Artists and crew from across 16 different nations came together to craft this masterpiece of pop. I would like to thank Tom, Alexandra and Fred for the amazing gift they have given us. I hope you guys are around for a long time, I can’t wait to see you live and I still fully intend to book you for our wedding haha.
Download, stream or purchase your physical copy of OKTA today. You will not be disappointed.