Autumn, 2003. I pick up an album entitled "Laila" featuring a busty blonde who looks like her make-up gun got stuck at "whore". I'm inclined to buy it, but someone reminds me that I can't buy something "just because I like the cover".
Fast-forward to autumn, 2008. Sweden's Idol panel is fired and completely replaced with songwriters Anders Carlsson, Anders Bagge and his ex-wife, Laila. Something bothered me about that last one - I knew I had seen her face somewhere, but I couldn't quite place where. Until it dawned on me - the woman who was now supposed to judge talent used to have a singing career! One where she was made to look like a two dollar hooker! I just had to get it. Surprisingly, it was relatively easy to find - although listening to it it's not that surprising really.
The album is a trashfest of dodgy production trying to cover up for the fact that Laila pretty much has no vocal talent whatsoever. Right up my strasse then! The album, rather bizarrely, opens up with a remix of the first single "Here We Go Again" (as shown above) - I guess it shows how much faith they had in the track if the first thing they want the listener to hear is a remix of it! Then again, with Laila's amazing vocal performance on the album, I suspect that it might've been a wise decision.
In fact, one of the major themes of the album seem to be to try and drown out Laila's vocals with backing singers - although I'm not sure if that it's intentional. I swear she doesn't even sing on the final minute of the ballad "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" (no, not a cover of that song). I've even invented a game I like to call "Can You Hear Laila Bagge?", dedicated to the chorus of "It Ain't Over 'Til We Say Goodbye". As you can tell, this album is pure quality!
While Laila's attempts at ballads are hilarious, it's fair to say that she does better on uptempo numbers. The dancey "It's All About Love" includes a mind-blowing spoken intro which makes me want to petition for a law forcing all Swedish artists to have one - us poor Swedes can't seem to do those damn spoken word intros without sounding drunk, high or both! "Shine On Me" is another good attempt to bring Laila to the dancefloor and the second (and last) promo single "Heaven" is a great lesson in how to do the perfect baby voice. However, hands down the best track on the album, is the fantastic "Say That You Love Me" (below) that almost sounds like an old school Motown record!
At the end of the day I'd probably recommend "Hello Laila" to anyone auditioning for Swedish Idol - when the bitch rejects you, just put down your boombox and blast this shit. It might have lethal consequences though as I imagine Laila would rather forget she ever had a pop career...