“The sonic landscape on In The Raw is very well balanced and as usual Tarja uses her gracious soprano voice to maneuver through all of it.”
“In The Raw is a very versatile album that shows Tarja is still capable of grabbing and holding our attention after all these years.”
1. Dead Promises (with Björn “Speed” Strid)
2. Goodbye Stranger (with Cristina Scabbia)
3. Tears In Rain
5. You And I
6. The Golden Chamber: Awaken / Loputon yö / Alchemy
7. Spirits Of The Sea
8. Silent Masquerade (with Tommy Karevik)
10. Shadow Play
CD Digipak, 2LP (Picture Disc) incl. Download, Bonus CD in Cardbox-Sleeve with Outtakes/B-Sides, vinyl-sized Photobook, Postcards
As the saying goes, not all that glitters is gold. But then again, not all that is gold necessarily glitters. It was this idea that struck Finnish singer Tarja Turunen as she began work on her seventh solo album, “In The Raw”.
“Gold, we think, is something polished and perfect, sophisticated, a luxury – but in its natural state it’s a raw element”, explains Tarja. Just like the music on her upcoming album: a combination of sophisticated and refined orchestration, choir and her classically trained voice with a raw, dark heavy musical core. Simply put, “In The Raw” is a gold-plated work of wonder.
Three years on from her last album, 2016’s “The Shadow Self”, “In The Raw” finds Tarja and her beautiful voice sounding, as ever, truly stunning. Working with many of the same musicians and production team as before, the intention was to bring out the idea of rawness to match the feelings Tarja was having from the very beginning of the process.
The album finds Tarja going to raw, personal places in her lyrics. Opening herself up more than ever before, she says she was left feeling naked by her honesty, but also pleased at where she had gone with her words.
The first look at the album, the brand-new song “Dead Promises”, is all this and more. Matching the stunning power of Tarja’s voice with a thunderous guitar, the aggression she speaks of is brought to the front, not threatening to shatter something fragile, but reinforcing its power. “I really like how the guitar sounds: in your face,” she says. “If I’m singing powerfully, I need something powerful behind me so that I don’t feel like I am left alone.” Fans will find that the album includes an amazing duet version of the song with guest vocals by Björn “Speed” Strid of Soilwork.
Life is a journey. “Railroads”, the second single from Tarja’s upcoming new album “In The Raw”, deals with this train of thought exactly. The heavy, yet melodic song draws inspiration from the book “Aleph” by Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho. In it, the writer travels on the Trans-Siberian Railway, and begins to understand better his own spiritual condition through his journey:
“Apparently, it seems like I wrote weird lyrics, yet I pulled inspiration from one book. Paulo Coelho is a very important writer, and I have discovered a lot about myself through his texts”, recalls Tarja. “In ‘Aleph’, he goes on a train journey through Siberia, and he writes a book based on his experiences on that trip. I wanted to go beyond everything and think about myself and my own journey. The whole album is a journey, in a way.
The funny thing is, ‘Railroads’ is a very old song which I have had on demo for years. It always felt like a train ride and I even named it like that before having any lyrics or before ‘Aleph’ was published. It’s so old I can’t even remember when I started writing it, for the first or second album? And I’ve only finished it now.”
But some things are worth waiting for until the time is right.
“The only direction that I gave to Alex Scholpp before we started working on the composition of “Dead Promises” was, that I wanted to have a song on the album, which would make people (and myself) jump in my shows. Like crazy :)
He came up with this guitar based great tune and I liked the mood of it since the first listening. I also decided already then to have the guitar very present in the song. The raw sound of rhythm guitars in general gives me the energy that I need in order to feel relaxed while I sing. I have a powerful voice which needs support from my band, so that I don’t feel like left alone. Precisely this raw, aggressive, edgy sound was common to other demos of the album too. I started to think that I didn't want to loose that sound this time and while we would have orchestration, choirs and lots of rich elements all through the album, the guitars and the band will need to be the main thing this time.
And the complete “Raw” concept started to take shape.
I loved adding a few operatic vocals on the song, which has become my trademark since the beginning of my rock career.
Before my own vocal recordings began, I thought of the possibility to have this song as a duet on the album. Björn “Speed” Strid from Soilwork is a talented singer who I have been admiring for a long time. When he accepted to take part in my song, I knew it would be just amazing. He did a great job where you can hear his amazing vocal range.”
“The search of the raw sound in a song found its best expression with “Goodbye Stranger”. For me, who is used to have keyboards, orchestra and other elements on my productions, it feels super different to write a song where the power comes from drums, bass, guitars and voice only. But that’s how I love it! The song has a special airy, light, spatial, floating feeling on it despite being
very heavy at the same time.
It had been on my mind for a long time that I would like to sing along with my friend Cristina Scabbia. My dream became reality on this one. I am honoured to have her voice on my record and on this particular song, where I could have her very well present. In general I like to give my guest vocalists lot of space in my productions so the collaboration becomes lot more enjoyable experience.”
Let it go, let it go!
Why crave to hold your breath?
Take it slow, take it slow
There is no life in death
It is time, it is time
to leave the past behind and face yourself alone
In the raw
“Johnny Andrews can make me fly with his ideas for new songs! It has always been a pure pleasure to write with him. After years, he also understands my voice and music taste better, so the writing process is easier in every way. Even though this time we didn’t sit in the same room while the song was shaped, still I have to say this one makes me very happy and proud. When we had finished writing the song, I already felt it as one of the strongest songs from the album. It just has the energy that drives me onward.
We used a very famous quote from Ridley Scott’s film Blade Runner. A classic that sets the tone for the story in the song “All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain”.”
I wish I could feel,
but I can't remember
What was forever
is never more
There's no monuments
just the fading sense
of what came before
We are gone
Nothing of us remains
Like tears in rain
Who we are
all of it washed away
like tears in rain
I wrote apparently weird lyrics, but inspired in one book. Paulo Coelho is a very important writer, and I have discovered a lot about myself through his texts. In ‘Aleph’, he goes on a train journey through Siberia, and he writes a book based on his spiritual experiences in that trip. I wanted to go beyond everything and think about my own journey and myself. The whole “In The Raw” album is a journey, in a way. The funny thing is, ‘Railroads’ is a very old song that I have had on demo for years. It always felt like a train ride and I even named it like that before having any lyrics or before ‘Aleph’ was published. It’s so old I can’t even remember when I started writing it, for the first or second album? And I’ve only finished it now. It become a crazy, colourful, obscure and at the same time comforting song.
Hard to believe in, strikes like a bad sin
Life without meaning, is no life at all
Dreaming victorious, death to be glorious
Conquering new worlds further than before
The violin player in her red gown
cuts the strings to life while golden
feathered keys are struggling
through the lightning path in black and white
Frozen tiger statues round us,
Arbeit macht frei never back
Your eyes without a face chasing the medals in disguise
Come show me the love that fills your heart
You’ll see this moment will redeem the past
and shine tomorrow railroads with your light
Facing the darkness, escaping that madness
I traveled a long way to find out what is near
Rings of fire, monastery,
laurel wreath, the bells of glory
Eagle rising, camels fading,
ancient martial arts we are floating
Spiral keeps on round and round
deep into the swamp we are boating
Latin veritas and Ichiban sharing the sky
Come show me the love that fills your heart
You’ll see this moment will redeem the past
and shine tomorrow railroads with your light
I often wonder what happened in the world of music that I can hardly think of recent great ballads like the ones from 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.
I miss that big ballads a bit, so I decided to give it a try myself with the help of my friend Matthias Lindblom.
I love piano as an instrument. I started my musical studies with piano playing when I was young and nowadays I write my songs with it. I felt that I needed to have a piano song on the album. I love the simplicity of this song, even though the massive sound of the orchestra can make you feel the beauty of life. It almost feels like a celebration of life! The story on this song could mean a world to so many.
This song doesn’t have any rock band feel in it, but it also represents whom I am. How much I love working with film composer Jim Dooley!!! When it comes to orchestra and choir, he is the one that I want next to me. He perfectly understands and shares my love towards film music. Film music still today is a great inspiration to me when writing songs. I love the freedom of expressing emotions in simple, but effective ways. “The Golden Chamber” is a journey to the dark cave where I dived in with having hope of finding something brighter. It feels like a self-discovery journey once again. It was nice to write few lines in Finnish for the song, which I hadn’t done in years. It all made sense when I had the general idea for this orchestral song ready. It is an unusual path in a heavy metal album, but I had to return to my roots and express my passion for the film music with a core song in my new album.
It is lovely to be able to work with people that inspires me. Bart Hendrickson is one of them. I have been writing quite many songs with him in the past and our songs have always had a special and unique touch. Bart is involved in the film music scene as well as in rock, so you can imagine that magic happens when we two get together to write a song. He sent me a demo with the seed for Spirits. It was dark, sad. I thought initially that it was not going to fit the album and the other songs that I had at that time. A sad song needs a sad story. When I composed the melodies, one line came clearly to me: Spirits of the Sea. I couldn't take it out of my head. And then I remembered reading the news of the incident of the ARA San Juan submarine from Argentina. It disappeared leaving uncertainty about the 44 members of the crew. Suddenly the whole world was hoping that this ship could be found and the impact was huge. I have lived in Argentina many years, so I felt the connection and inspiration to write a story about it. I loved writing these dreamy, but dark lyrics on this particular song as a reminder. I envisioned what these men and woman of the crew and their loved ones might have gone through. A sad and unnecessary loss.
On the brighter side I am very happy to have Carlinhos Brown, a super famous Brazilian artist that is a great percussionist. He definitely helped to shape the tribal sound for the most successful Sepultura albums. He gave me the flavour I was looking for the song.
Now my listeners can take the deep dive and embrace the memory of the spirits of the sea with me.
I watched you go at wave-beaten shore where wind stood still
Felt grey and cold the moment you went away from me
Now dreams are sleeping with your quiet destiny
Underway to dwell the longer on your memory
Meet me at the hour of dawn
Think of us after you’re gone
Wait for me at the edge of the sky
Promise me our love won’t die
Fear of men no longer lives
Let the sunlight dry our tears
The Ashrays chanting with their velvet silver hair
Nocturnal, luring choirs will live to tell the tale
The quest of overwhelming fortune came to an end
Burning inside of us remain their eternal flames
Never let them go
Where the stars can’t reach,
They’ll always know
Kept in secrecy
44 and me
Spirits of the sea
Never break their freedom in supreme tranquillity
Seeking for truth
My brothers of the blue
I had a simple piano demo of this song when I handed it over to my guitarist Julian Barrett. We worked together on the song to get it heavier and rougher. The story on this one is very personal to me and it took courage to get it out, but I am happy I did it because now I feel liberated. It feels like breathing fresh air again.
Guest singer Tommy Karevik just blew me away with his vocal abilities! He sang the song super emotionally and made me weep like a baby. I loved working with him on this one.
I borrowed from Shakespeare the perfect text for some spoken words amazingly enounced by my mixing engineer and friend Tim Palmer. Pretty much in synch with the album theme it starts with the famous: “All that glitters is not gold”
Red arises in the sky of Sunday morning
Washing the face of the mountain by the sea
I am the present without knowledge, without warning
The child in me will never cease to be
Is not the future we see,
endless daze of fantasies
The ocean whispering me
time really doesn’t exist
Now I’m drifting away,
imprisoned by our memories
Love was just a word until you gave it meaning
Go on and find the prince of crime
Temptation keeps you satisfied,
distort your sight
in your silent masquerade
Leave me as victim of your lies
Salvation cannot help you hide
Won’t hear me cry
in your silent masquerade
No one can tell the games that we play will last forever
No matter we tried, we never got a chance
This song was in the making from the sessions of my previous album. I felt the strong guitar part was perfect for “In The Raw”.
“Serene” has a deep connection and bond with the fact of me becoming a mother few years ago.
I am the face in the mirror
telling you all will turn out right
In every step of the way
I follow your lead into the night
and I’ll open up the sky
It’s all inside of you
Black skies, light up diamonds in your eyes
and break through
I live inside of you
Over the night
and you’ll soon wake up to see
Songwriters of my very first single “I walk alone” Mattias and Anders, are involved on this one again. It is nice to see the progress of how people that have been working with me throughout the years, grew together with me.
I have always loved theatre and drama. Writing a story about a marionette’s life was inspiring and beautiful. I wanted to write a song that had a massive orchestra to finish my album with a bang. This song is perfect for it and I love the final result with Jim Dooley’s arrangement.
Looking at the mirror, asking questions with old, weary eyes
Once a girl who had no name dressed as an angel in disguise
From the corner of her bedroom light illuminates
crawling shadows, cut out silhouettes
With the darkness, a dancing marionette
Smiled away with such a beauty ever seen before
Drowned by rain of thorns and petals falling at her curtain call
This mortal coil year after year recalled a sad charade
like a shadow play we can’t forget
In the darkness, a crying marionette