It’s remarkable to think that Stefan has only released his debut album this week having been on the radar of Estonian music fans and Eurovision fans alike for more than five years. Hope is a collection of his best bits from the last few years with a delightful handful of new additions to his catalogue.
Hope is a rightful titular opener to this record. As Estonia’s entry to the Eurovision Song Contest earlier this year, it’s the track that should resonate with listeners the most. Even a year after its original release it still serves well as an anthem.
Stefan’s latest Estonian-language single Kiri Külmkapi Peal drives further pace into the record in its early stages. Its English counterpart, Never Let Go, is tucked away towards the end of the tracklist and injects one final sting of pace into the album.
The Sven Lõhmus-produced Miraaž was Stefan’s follow-up single to Hope and notched up radio plays all summer long, even reaching No.2 in the charts. It sounds fresh among the rest of this record’s offerings.
Taevasse is brand new. The music and composition are smooth, it even has a sax solo that’s to die for; not forgetting the high harmonies. Wow.
As well as his recent releases, Hope is full of Stefan’s best work from his five-year music career. 2019 single We’ll Be Fine is a delightful piece of soft-pop music that resets things after a 100mph start. Without You has been reworked from the original 2019 version. It has a jazzier arrangement with an electric guitar solo later on.
Laura, released while part of duo Vajé, is almost unrecognisable in its new form. It is nowhere near as electronic as it was in 2018. Its instrumentation makes it a folk and country track.
There’s nothing lazy in taking singles five years old and putting them on a 15-track record. Everything on Stefan’s debut album deserves to be there and the older stuff deserves this newfound limelight.