Who doesn’t love a sequel?
Hollywood adores them. Book publishers are having them written by living authors for books by dead authors. And even artists like Mary J Blige are doing album Part 2s. It’s all in the rage, and not wanting to miss the sequel boat – which looks exactly like the boat that just left shore save for a different paint job – I am back with even more of my favourite Scandinavian pop (Scandipop).
All the talk about sequel-itis aside, which just for the record I am not really a fan of, I am doing a part demux of my Scandipop tribute because I left out some fabulous music last time and figured that had to be rectified. It was a conversation with a good friend in my writing group recently that made me realise that there’s even more Scandipop that I love and didn’t include, and then even more northern European sonic goodness that I wasn’t aware of, and had to listen to, and naturally wax lyrical about.
Of course as I said it all started way back in the dark ages of the 19070s when ABBA first burst onto the scene – yes this is a naked attempt to get ABBA mentioned in yet another post and use another picture of them; I am shameless and yet charmingly devoted you must admit – and has blossomed in recent years into a full blown love affair with music from their countrymen and near neighbours.
It’s not that I actively seek it out. It simply seems to be that most of the music I end up adoring has the same gorgeous melodic sensibility and an originality that you don’t find in a lot of mainstream music in common, and it happens for the most part to be by artists from Scandinavia. You can tell they’ve been influenced by current trends but not shaped by them, and the music they create is wholly, and delightfully unique.
So who’s made the list this time? A diverse but utterly beguiling bunch, as you’d expect!
Jens Lekman (first name pron. “Yens”) is a Swedish musician with a knack for crafting delicate, but not fey, guitar pop. His music is warm and rich, and is the perfect accompaniment for a lazy Saturday afternoon. What’s also appealing about this talented artist from Angered, Sweden is his ability to write beautiful, articulate lyrics that marry perfectly with his sweet, melodic pop. He has a greater mastery of the English language and its quirks that many native speakers I have heard and use it to great effect. He is quirky, clever, and subverts many of pop conventions to delightful effect, a trait in common with many of his Scandipop compatriots who don’t play by standard musical rules.
You can read a brilliant review here of his EP, An Argument With Myself, which documents beautifully what is so attractive about this multi-faceted artist.
This handsome Danish DJ, who found fame mixing for many of the leading lights of the international electronic scene including Moby and Trenemoller (who he manages), has released two eclectic albums, with a third, Fool, ready to drop, appropriately enough on April Fool’s Day this year. Whatever the style of the song, whether it’s dark and troubled (“Fasano”) or beautifully melancholic (“Young Again”), the sound is fresh and bright and gorgeously, richly melodic.
Here’s a great biography of this talented young man who deserves to be much better known than he is.
This quirky, with a capital Q in screaming blood red neon, Swedish duo, Olof Dreijer and Karin Dreijer Andersson, photograph themselves as crows, in the snow, and generally go out of their way not to promote themselves along conventional lines. It’s not a case of being petulant or difficult – they simply have firm ideas on how they wish to express their artistry and stick to them. It’s all part of that delightful Scandinavian eccentricity that Bjork has raised to an art form, and which I suspect makes their music so refreshingly different to what the rest of the music is producing.
Their music is unusual and offbeat. They don’t release what you would call “radio friendly” songs preferring off-kilter melodies, remote echoey vocals, and discordant jangly rhythms but it all comes together in one very unique but wholly listenable whole. Trust me.
Here’s a much fuller biography of these one-of-a-kind artists.