Tarja: Until My Last Breath

Endearing, but slightly unhinged, ‘goth bird’ effort.

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Tarja Turunen, former singer with Nightwish, is the latest representative

Figures as diverse as Ann Wilson and Ann Boleyn have periodically filled the role, and escape is rare. It’s a small but potent ghetto, filled with adolescent hormones and unfulfilled longing, and everything about it is heightened – especially the drama. Thus Tarja’s excesses, which are many, can be judged kindly.

She spends much of Until My Last Breath sounding slightly unhinged, and her songs are a grab-bag of faux classical movements and portentous progressions. On the opener Ante Room Of Death, for example, Tarja lurches from ethereal bedroom whisperer to mad chick wailer without an ounce of warning.

Kate Bush comparisons are not invalid in stronger moments like Falling Awake and the lengthy Crimson Deep, but the constraints of genre interfere rather too often for Tarja to explore them fully.

Jon Hotten

Jon Hotten is an English author and journalist. He is best known for the books Muscle: A Writer's Trip Through a Sport with No Boundaries and The Years of the Locust. In June 2015 he published a novel, My Life And The Beautiful Music (Cape), based on his time in LA in the late 80s reporting on the heavy metal scene. He was a contributor to Kerrang! magazine from 1987–92 and currently contributes to Classic Rock. Hotten is the author of the popular cricket blog, The Old Batsman, and since February 2013 is a frequent contributor to The Cordon cricket blog at Cricinfo. His most recent book, Bat, Ball & Field, was published in 2022.