Bubbi gets help from Wonder Barði - The Reykjavik Grapevine

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Bubbi gets help from Wonder Barði


Published July 8, 2005

BUBBI: PARADÍS AND ÁST.

INSIDE ICELAND, BUBBI MORTHENS IS THE MOST CELEBRATED AND FINANCIALLY SUCCESSFUL SONGWRITER AND SINGER MAKING ALBUMS TODAY. HE IS ALSO THE BIGGEST TARGET, SUFFERING CONSTANT ATTACKS ON HIS CREDIBILITY, HIS SENSE OF STYLE AND HIS PERSONAL LIFE. A SINGER WITH A REMARKABLE RANGE AND A DECENT EAR, HE IS THE PERFECT CASE STUDY FOR THE OVERBLOWN EGOS IN ICELANDIC JOURNALISM: “WHY IS THIS MAN DOING WELL?” SAY REPORTERS AND CRITICS WHO CAN NEITHER WRITE NOR LISTEN. EVEN THIS PAPER HAS TAKEN REPEATED POT-SHOTS AT BUBBI FOR “SELLING OUT.”
ÁST (LOVE) AND PARADÍS (PARADISE), THE TWO NEW ALBUMS FROM BUBBI,
PRODUCED BY BARÐI JOHANSSEN (BANG GANG), DEMONSTRATE THE SINGER’S TALENTS, AND SHOULD DAMPEN THE CRITICISM HE’S BEEN RECEIVING. BUBBI, THE ALBUMS SHOW US, IS A SIMPLE SONGWRITER WHO LIKES TO SING DIRECTLY ON THE NOTE ABOUT BASIC IDEAS: LOVE AND/ OF HIMSELF. HE HAS LITTLE TO SAY, BUT HE SAYS IT HARMONIOUSLY. THERE IS NOT ENOUGH MATERIAL IN THESE ALBUMS FOR ONE FULL-LENGTH CD, BUT, IN ANSWER TO THE SELL-OUT ATTACKS, HE PRESENTS TWO CDS AT FULL PRICE.
THE FACT IS, BUBBI NEVER ASKED TO BE A COUNTER-CULTURE SYMBOL. HE OBVIOUSLY DOESN’T FIT THERE NOW. NOR DOES HE FIT IN THE CATEGORY OF INNOVATOR OR LYRICIST. HE IS A MAN WITH A CLEAR VOICE AND A PENCHANT FOR INNOFENSIVE THREE-CHORD ARRANGEMENTS, WHO COULD PLAY ANY BAR OR COFFEEHOUSE IN THE COUNTRY AND HAVE PARTONS NODDING THEIR HEADS, ESPECIALLY IF HE WERE PERFORMING LATE INTO THE NIGHT.
BANG GANG FANS MAY BE IMPRESSED WITH SOME OF BARÐI’S INSTRUMENTATION—MINIMALIST FLOURISHES ON ORGAN, BASS AND SOMETHING CALLED A CUICA RAISE A SMILE OR TWO, THOUGH THERE ARE A NUMBER OF BRIDGES LEFT TOO EMPTY, AND MORE THAN A FEW MOMENTS THAT YOU WISH BARÐI MIGHT HAVE TURNED UP A LITTLE MORE.
IF YOU STILL WANT TO HATE BUBBI, AND YOU ARE BI-LINGUAL, YOU MAY TAKE PLEASURE IN TRACK 7 OF ÁST, IN WHICH HE SINGS A CHORUS CLAIMING “ÉG ER STÓR PAKKI” (I AM A BIG PACKAGE.)

EACH ALBUM WORTH TWO BEERS, EACH COSTS FOUR.

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