Monthly Archives: September 2014

“I will tell your story and keep you alive”

You thought we were done celebrating? Ha! You were totally wrong. One of Sweden’s biggest artists since quite a few years back is officially trying to make it in the U.S. Her name is Laleh and… well, where do I even start? Honestly, I love her to pieces. For nearly ten years, she has been one of my greatest inspirations when it comes to music. I could go on about her for hours but you’d all be bored before I even got to the music recommendations. Let’s just say that in 2005 Laleh released her first, eponymous, record; an album where she had written everything by herself, she played all the instruments herself and she produced the whole thing herself. I recall reading in an article that it took her about eight years to create the whole thing. Laleh is a very eclectic and playful record where Laleh experiments with genres in an original way. The album contains songs in both English, Swedish and Farsi. Here’s one in English:

Laleh – Hide Away

With her beautiful songwriting and lovely (sorry, there’s absolutely no better word to describe her) personality, Laleh has already conquered Sweden. And now she’s coming for everyone else. Which might sound terrifying the way I put it, but it’s really a wonderful thing. A reason to celebrate. Congratulations, everyone – you’ve still to discover Laleh’s discography. First stop: the Boom EP which will be released later this month. In the meantime you can all enjoy these songs:

Laleh – Some Die Young

Laleh – In the Comet (In my opinion this is probably her most progressive song so far.)

Laleh – Goliat (live) (You might not understand a word, but hey, look at this. It’s so beautiful it literally hurts. The choir. Laleh singing about conquering the world. About not hurting each other anymore.)

I’ve been watching Laleh evolve. The first time I saw her live, in early 2006, was at an old cinema (!) and there were probably 100-200 people in the audience. Earlier this year when I went to one of her shows, there were about 7000 people in the audience. Quite a difference. It’s been a pleasure watching her grow. I’m proud to write this post and glad to share her music with you. Take your time to let her songs sink in; some of them demand several listens but it will all be worth it in the end.

Laleh on Spotify.

Laleh currently has 164 728 listeners on

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Filed under pop, swedish

“This pain and suffering are feelings that you don’t know”

Hidden in Plain View – Twenty Below

Every now and then I suddenly remember how much I love this song. I’m not as into any of their other work, just this particular song. It does things to me. Feelings.

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Filed under alternative rock, emo

Wisdoms from Real Friends

Real Friends telling us all the truth.

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Filed under quotes

Congratulations, world!

Photo: Robert Henriksson.

Wait, are we celebrating? Fuck yeah, we are! One of Sweden’s finest lyricists, Annika Norlin, just released another record. What the hell, who am I kidding really? Annika is Sweden’s finest lyricist. Not that it’s really a competition, but she is absolutely outstanding. Annika Norlin writes and perform music using two different stage names. One for her Swedish releases – Säkert! – and one for her English releases – Hello Saferide. Well, this description is a little bit of a lie, because a few years ago she actually made an English album as Säkert! where she had translated the Swedish lyrics from the record Facit and a few other tracks as well. Confused yet? Don’t be. Just listen to her and enjoy being alive.

The new record I’m talking about belongs to Annika Norlin’s Hello Saferide project. It’s called The Fox, The Hunter and Hello Saferide. And I’m not surprised it’s a really great album. I’m sure that by the end of 2014, it’ll be on many Swedish Album of the Year lists. They usually are. Her records.

However, I’m more interested in talking about the earlier releases from Hello Saferide and Säkert! (Säkert! means Sure! in Swedish, by the way.) The first Hello Saferide album – Introducing… – opens with the track My Best Friend, where Norlin sings: “Damn! I wish I was a lesbian / Damn! I wish I was,  so I could fall in love with you”. In my opinion, this record really stands as a classic when it comes to Swedish indie pop. Well worth many listens.

Hello Saferide – My Best Friend

A couple of years later, Norlin released her debut Swedish album as Säkert! This was her major break as a musician. In one of the singles, Allt som är ditt, Norlin sings a brutal and devastating story about how she wants to take revenge on the men who raped a woman. Norlin singing “De jävlarna ska skjutas” (“Those bastards will be shot”) with poignant anger in her voice gives me the chills every time I hear it. Another amazing song from this record is Vi kommer att dö samtidigt and luckily enough a Swedish indie rock act called The Animal Five (let’s get back to these guys at some other point) made a great cover of this one. Let’s have a listen (skip to 1:10):

The Animal Five – We’re Going to Die 

I hope a lot of you who read this will give Säkert!’s debut album a listen or two, even if you won’t understand the lyrics. The melodies are beautiful, too. There’s also the album Facit that I mentioned earlier, and quite a few of Säkert!’s songs were – as I wrote – also translated into English and put on an album called Säkert! på engelska (Säkert! in English).

If you’re not into the whole Swedish language thing (but why wouldn’t you be?) just stick to Annika Norlin’s songs as Hello Saferide. I’d recommend the record More Modern Short Stories From Hello Saferide as an introduction. The opening track alone is simply brilliant:

People are like songs, it’s true
Some seem dull at first but then they grow on you
Me, I’m like ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’
Annoying at times but I make you wanna dance

And you are the only one I’ve met who’s ‘God Only Knows’
I liked you the first time I met you, and it grows and grows and grows

People are like songs, I swear
Some found you as a child and still they’re always there
A boy I once knew was ‘Anarchy in the UK’
Burned out too quickly but in such a beautiful way

Hello Saferide – I Wonder Who is Like This One

So, how come I claim Annika Norlin to be Sweden’s finest lyricist? She has a unique naked way of writing about everyday life and everything that comes with it. Good and bad. Never glorified, never understated. It’s just life. As we all know it. In the song Travelling with HS, she sings: “I’m not stupid, I understand that it would be convenient if I was better at conversation / I’ve learned to master the skill throughout the years / Small talking, but after an hour or so, I mentally die”. I could go on and on about lyrics from this Hello Saferide record (don’t even get me started on the anguished “You stupid fuck, you need to come back!” in 25 Days. And speaking of that one… “You and I hadn’t even met 24 days ago / I must have been so low / And I didn’t even know”) but let’s just say that I recommend it with all my heart. I recommend Annika with all my heart. Let’s just stop here. With a quote from the song 2008: “We’re not worth more than anyone else but surely not worth less”. You’re right, Annika. As always.

Hello Saferide currently has 223 169 listeners on
Säkert! currently has 77 485 listeners on

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Filed under indie pop, singer-songwriter, swedish

Findings from the MySpace era, part 2

I know why I decided to check out Intohimo’s songs on MySpace.
1) Their band name is really cool.
2) Their first record is called Failures, Failures, Failures & Hope, which is a cool title.
3) The cover of that record looks cool.

Basically, I was merely a kid and everything about this band was cool. And of course I wanted to hear more from this cool band. I bought the Failures record back then, in 2007, and I still enjoy it a lot. It’s a record for people who like Underoath-y post hardcore stuff. I never really got into their later releases, but I usually play Failures quite a few times every autumn. Like now.

Here’s a two tracks for you all to embrace:

(“Burn the old for new things to come”. How beautiful is that?)

Oh, and by the way, these guys are from Sweden. Disbanded by now, though. However, you can check Intohimo out on Spotify if you’d like to.

Intohimo currently have 20 996 listeners on

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Filed under emocore, findings from the myspace era, post hardcore, swedish