Julia Viktoria

REVIEW: ‘Stranger’ (EP) – Julia Viktoria

Julia Viktoria – “Stranger” (EP)

Swedish singer Julia Viktoria made her debut back in 2016 with “I’ll Do It for You” and since then has consistently released some fine EDM/pop tunes (check out “You Will Know”). This past year she has teamed up with songwriter Robin Padam and producer Johannes Willinder to put out a new collection of tracks, many of which have now been brought together for her first EP collection, “Stranger”.

Julia says about “Stranger”: “I started getting a lot of flashbacks from my previous relationship. I could not stop thinking and reflecting on the time we had together and what we shared. I also reflected on the fact that a person who I shared a part of my life with suddenly turned into a stranger. I didn’t want us to be strangers, I wanted to be able to get to know that person again, in a different perspective”.

“Stranger” opens with the title track, a gorgeous retro feeling mid-tempo dream pop song with beautiful uplifting vocals from Julia, which immediately offer a vulnerability and an innocence in her situation, clearly mapping out the relationship from strangers to lovers and back again. I love the soundtrack of this song, which rarely deviates away from a few single keys. “I Don’t Wanna Be Forgotten” has already been released, but this follows suit musically with its stop-start beat through the chorus to each heartfelt verse. Julia feels things have changed too quick and she doesn;t want to be left behind.

“Can’t Stop” dives deeper into the retro/synth world of the 80’s yet still remaining contemporary and very stylistically modern. I love the atmosphere and wide sounding backing track of this song as Julia pleads with her lover if he has been with someone else. This girl needs some reassurance! “Things We Never Had” begins as if it is going to be a ballad, but we soon build to a lush chorus and a down-tempo beat with more of those highly addictive synths connecting the chorus to verse and back again. The EP concludes all too soon with “Främling”, “Stranger” sung in Julia’s native tongue.

This is a very different body of work from what Julia has released previously, much more electro-dance-pop as well has offering more than a generous nod to the sounds of the mid-80’s and represents a great new direction for her. Cleverly, with the addition of the Swedish sung “Främling”, Julia ends this EP right where she started and ready to be played over and over again. This has been my introduction to Julia Viktoria and I have to say I have fallen for her voice and sound already. I can’t wait (and I hope) a full album will be on its way in the not too distant future…(!)

For more about Julia, check out her WEBSITE and her FACEBOOK page

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So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!