Single Review: Within Temptation – Paradise (What About Us?) (feat. Tarja)
Within Temptation, since ‘The Silent Force’ have chosen to hone and perfect their sound as opposed to develop into new genres. It’s an admirable and brave move – they oppose the risk, every single campaign, of being called boring and of peddling the same old stuff, but they are a picture-perfect case of things that aren’t broke needing not to be fixed. In the lengthy wait between albums, they have pulled out all the stops for this one. Not only did we get the marvellous collection of gothed-up pop covers, we’ve now got an EP just to tide us over. ‘Paradise (What About Us?’ is the single leading the campaign and the candidate that the band have chosen to tell all about their new venture.
First things first, it has Tarja Turunen on it. Amazing. A friend of mine declared the news to me – ‘it’s like Lady Gaga and Beyoncé!’. Well, he’s right. The two maidens of metal are probably the biggest names in the gothic and symphonic tinged genre and have constantly been pitched against each other by press and fans, but the women themselves have rarely even mentioned one another, let alone hinted that they might work together. It is a triumph. The vocals are what sets this track apart from any other single from either of the artists – Sharon’s radio friendly passion is merged with Tarja’s opening siren call that has come to define her. Sharon brings the commercial whilst Tarja retains the orchestral, dramatic roots of the band and the two of them are a mighty, mighty force.
‘Paradise’ is, at the core, Within Temptation by numbers. It’s what the band need to break the silence – nothing too extreme, no big change of direction and just a reminder that Sharon and the boys are still alive and kicking. See it as a positive, see it as a negative – the song is Within Temptation by numbers. But it doesn’t seem to matter, at all. You know that the band are going to deliver a great record at the end of all of this and the singles will stick out like sore thumbs thanks to their superior hooks – ‘Paradise’ is that kind of single. The song that you enjoy and play, and play and overplay and then quickly abandon for a few months once the album is in your hands. It’s the gateway into the record of much more exciting things.
That’s not to say that ‘Paradise (What About Us?)’ isn’t exciting. If it is a gateway, it’s a glorious, refined piece of metalwork embellished with diamonds. Like I said, fans will be sent into a a flurry of euphoria when yet another brilliant chorus smashes through the verses and the lyrics are pretty easy to pick up too, which is always nice. Within Temptation have this knack of writing songs that are instant and, dare I say, predictable, but they never get old. Listen to the glorious ‘Stand My Ground’ and count how many years ago that was – had they released it today, it would sound just as relevant and commercial as it did back then. Their songs, thanks to the perpetual beauty of their genre, don’t age very quickly at all and overplay them as much as you like, they are still undeniable gems. ‘Paradise’ is another hit from Within Temptation and another step up into realising that this band have somehow hacked in to an eternal supply of mammoth singles. And the Tarja thing – well, that’s just genius, isn’t it?
Words: Simon McMurdo