Not so far from the twinkling limelight and symphonic soundscapes that Nightwish has been painting for eons, vocalist and front woman Floor Jansen unveils her debut, solo album – Paragon. The album which dropped March 24th, 2023 features 10 catchy and enigmatic tracks that dabble in everything from pop and electronic to folk and melodic melodies. It’s an album of self-reflection, focus, and discovery that flourishes with infectious tunes, astounding vocals, and expressive lyrical compositions.
The first track, “My Paragon” had me running wild and free; the country-style guitar pick that leads into a rapture of piano keys turned synth is alluring. It’s a track that reminds me so much of Cher’s “Believe” in both beat and catchiness, and I, of course, was instantly hooked.
“Hold onto your dreams. Hold onto your self. Hold onto what you’ve become. Look up, you are here. Look up to yourself. You are your Paragon,” is an infectious chorus filled with Floor’s passion and self-reflection, as if calling to her past to let them bare witness to just how far they’ve come.
This track is a journey, a lesson learned, and the reflection that comes with if we could only see then what we see now. To tell us, that time passes and hardship, too, will pass. We will see a brightness beyond the black.
Following up is the track, “Invincible” that comes in poppy, catchy, and enlightening; it’s a song of rainstorm reminiscence and our yearning for sunny days. It’s perseverance, endurance, and healing that come to mind as this beautifully inspiring track rises. Floor’s vocals exceed maximum expectations, soaring on dazzling wingspans as she lets emotion pour out from within. It’s the battle, the cleansing that follows the pain, the scent of fresh air after the storm. It’s about standing tall and pushing ourselves beyond the beaten and broken because we are strong, and we are invincible.
“Hope” once again sparks that homey, down home country feel, with acoustic guitars and a slower melody. Floor’s vocals take impact in tenderness and calm, floating on lyrics like “hope is where the heat beats on,” to give confidence and smiles when all else seems lost. From the fervor unleashed in previous tracks, for strength and endurance, this one offers a helping hand with an unmatched gentleness that comforts the heart and soul. Still, it sparks a flame within, one thought extinguished that perhaps we are worthy of greater, and thought we must break free of our past, one day we will look back on it, and both self and past will smile in unison.
“Storm” continues down the healing path of our journey, with an uneasiness rising through an eerie atmosphere. “It is me who brings the storm,” carries fire and passion; a line that comes on kindness but with ferocious tone. It’s a song that takes a knee when we’ve been beaten down, to take a deep breath before rising and reminding the world just what we’re capable of. It’s a tremendously uplifting track that moves seamlessly from fearful to frightening, the kitten’s roar, the lightning from the clear sky. If pushed too far, would we not push back? Are you prepared to find out?
“The Calm” holds that melodic, ethereal melody deep within and allows for Floor to build momentum through her vocals. From compassion and understanding to fury, her rising prowess becomes unstoppable, “and the world around us keeps on burning,” collides with intensity, and we are left stunned; silent. It’s musically diverse, mixing in melodic and pop catches, orchestral brilliance, and even a bit of harsh metal core to keep our attention throughout. It’s intense, provocative, and all too relatable, as despite all odds and darkness, we push on. What clouds may collect, flowers will absorb, and brighter days will emerge.
The previously released single, “Fire” that lit our hearts ablaze with the tease of Floor’s solo career rounds out the album, finding its home nestled in completeness and ease. It’s as if we set fire to our past, to burn away what holds us back, and though we reflect on the steps taken to get us where we now stand, we will no longer let it burden us.
You can find my full review for “Fire” via the direct link.
As a whole, this album reflects on personal challenges and victories. From lessons learned, to the scars that remind us, Floor travels through a musical journey of highs and lows bringing in solace, compassion, motivation, and inspiration through her own experiences and emotions. With some tracks not quite hitting the mark for me, others like “My Paragon”, and “Storm”, echo all too loudly. It’s an album that truly captivates the human experience, offering everyone a track, a verse, or a melody that they can truly envelope themselves in.
You can snag your own copy of Floor’s solo album Paragon here. You can also stay up-to-date on concert news, and announcements via her socials like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more!