Fortress Around My Heart


Generally favorable reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. The album only has two full-fledged ballads, and while they don’t burst with the same life as the rest of the record, they showcase the songwriting and performance chops that should earn Maria a notable career beyond this impressive debut.
  2. 90
    Ida Maria throws herself into every song as if it's all a big finale, which makes for an auspicious beginning.
  3. 90
    The result of that little informal challenge is Fortress Around My Heart, the Norwegian singer’s debut album that expertly blends her throaty punk vocals with an infectious pop sensibility.
  4. Q Magazine
    While the 23-year-old will make more complex music than this, it will be tough to come up with something more fun. [Aug 2008, p.140]
  5. Still, overreaching is a forgivable flaw on an otherwise accomplished debut, which usually sounds so confident in its creator's insecurities.
  6. Ida Maria plays the husky-voiced brunet banshee to the hilt, spinning tales of 43-year-old prostitutes ('Stella') and drunken benders ('Louie') with admirably fearless fervor.
  7. She makes time for more gentle numbers, like the misty empty-bed ballad 'Keep Me Warm,' but the general mood is a tough pirouette--a party album where staying out is your best defense from going home.
  8. The foursome sound like they're making it up as they go along on much of Fortress, and Sivertsen could go easier on the drunken confessionals. But you can only argue so much with an album this warm and tuneful.
  9. It’s a confident, downright cracking debut record, and late to the party as we in North America may be, when the music’s a fun as this, it hardly matters at all.
  10. Listeners will have to wait and see on that score, whether she grows up and calms down or if age only sharpens her rage, but for all her all-too-human flaws, with a set of songs this strong, it's safe to say her time has already arrived.
  11. The more conventional tracks prevent the album from reaching a true fever pitch, but even they are elevated by Maria's primal wail.
  12. Charmingly blunt and unpolished, Fortress instantly casts Maria as a distinctive talent among her established Scandinavian contemporaries.
  13. She’s great, but Lord, it’s heavy-going.
  14. There are moments of decently sassy pop-rock here, songs that you can just about see someone singing along to, hairbrush for microphone, in front of the mirror before a night out. But these moments are few and far between, and are exclusively the tracks featuring a vaguely vibrant BPM count.
  15. A good first try for an album, but it's just not quite there yet.
  16. Sivertsen wants to be seen as out-of-control, but instead sounds more like she is pretending to be drunk.
  17. Under The Radar
    Maria too often comes across as someone who gives so much of herself to this record in an attempt to believe her own lie. [Spring 2009, p.76]
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 13 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Jun 9, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. For what its worth, I went to 7-11 and bought two Kashi bars and a bottle of Minute Maid apple juice while everybody celebrated their one-year anniversary in your name. There was salad, I was told. I had always hoped we'd bump into each other at the Down to Earth across the street. Full Review »
  2. GD
    Jun 22, 2009
    Pop punk music exploding with energy from start to finish. There is something in that Scandinavian water.
  3. GusC
    Apr 22, 2009
    Great garrage!