CD review for Jan. 9, 2009

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Frida Hyvonen

"Silence is Wild"

The way Swedish singer-songwriter Frida Hyvonen's voice sneaks into the wordless doo-wop chorus of "Dirty Dancing" sounds so sincere that it completely disarms you within the first two minutes of her second full-length CD, "Silence is Wild."

That sincerity opens the song up to become a first-person account - in the style of the movie "Dirty Dancing" - of a deeply flawed first love with a boy who would become a chimney sweep: "I guess you do the dirty now and I do the dancing / And once we were Baby and Johnny / In a small boring town where the winters were long / And our real names were Frida and Jimmy."

Most of the songs on "Silence is Wild" are like this: orchestrated carefully around Hyvonen's acquired-taste of a voice and sparse piano playing to highlight whatever theme she's tackled in her desperation-tinged lyrics.

Thanks to the full, wall-of-sound production on a handful of songs on "Silence," Hyvonen's music stays buoyant. "London!" is a frothy, perfect pop song, and "Birds" moves along on quick strings and keyboards. Those touches make starkly personal accounts such as "December" and "Why Do You Love Me So Much" stand out the way they should.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars

- Margaret Hair, 4 Points

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