23: A song that reminds you of your parents.
Benny Anderssons orkester and Tommy Körberg – Fait Accompli
MUM: This was one of my mum’s favorite songs. She would turn up the volume every time she heard it. I especially remember one time when we were in the car on the Swedish country roads and Fait Accompli came on the radio. The saxophone in the intro started playing and mum was all “I LOVE this one!” and sang along with Tommy Körberg throughout the song. I’ve loved it too since that very moment.
Gipsy Kings – Djobi, Djoba
DAD: Friday nights meant cooking a nice dinner and listening to music when I was a kid. Just hanging out together, basically. We would listen to anything from mum and dad’s record collection, but a handful of those records were the ones we constantly returned to, year after year. During my early years I remember dad would often pick Gipsy King’s Greatest Hits record for these nights. To me, it became very associated with weekends and a special feeling of being home (safe and happy). As I grew older I found myself picking the very same record more often than many others.
I’ve been listening to Paramore’s new record After Laughter all day. It is truly addictive. My favorite tracks so far are Hard Times, Rose-Colored Boy, Fake Happy and Tell Me How. Especially Fake Happy. Do I like it more thanks to the bridge reminding me of Would I Lie to You? by Charles & Eddie? Well, probably.
21: A song you want to dance to at your wedding.
No further comments.
19: A song you’re currently obsessed with.
I find it impossible to stop listening to You With Me by Jimmy Eat World because it has one of the best choruses I’ve heard in years. Just one hell of a song, really:
I also find it impossible to write about this song without mentioning the elephant in the room: Jimmy Eat World were clearly influenced by Eros Ramazzotti while writing You With Me:
Just one more thing… Is it weird that I kind of like You With Me even more thanks to the intro being very, you know, Ramazzottian? Jimmy Eat World goes Italian pop made for moms. That’s cute.
But seriously, I feel like the You With Me intro also reminds me of yet another song. Perhaps this one?
Maybe. I’ll update this post if I find I was actually thinking of something else than Badly Drawn Boy.
(Hey, what if Jim Adkins, Eros Ramazzotti and Damon Gough got together to write a song? Or start a band, even? And they were called Eros Eat Boy? Isn’t that what parallel universes are actually for? I’m just brainstorming over here.)
Update January 29: I think I’ve found it:
kent – Ingenting
Yet another similar intro. Too bad this Vevo upload isn’t HD, because Ingenting is a beautiful music video. You might as well watch it and hope to find it in better quality later on.
14: A song you like hearing live.
Miriam Bryant – Raised in Rain
Must hear this live. Every chance I get.
8: A song you loved when you were a kid.
Aaah, the memories!
7: A song that is your guilty pleasure.
I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. What’s the point of feeling “guilty” for enjoying a specific song or genre or whatever? Sounds are vibrations that your ears register, and upon that I guess your brain decides whether it’s fond of the sound or not. That’s it. Seems pretty useless feeling guilty about your brain reacting positively a melody or voice, right? If you think it’s a big deal that you find Justin Bieber’s Baby catchy, you’re wrong. This world truly has bigger issues.
Growing up in the 90’s and early 00’s, I’ve sure spent a lot of time listening to top hits from those years. Owning few albums that I listened to on repeat for weeks, my walls covered in pictures of pop stars, patiently waiting by the radio to record a favorite song, reading Sweden’s biggest pop magazine at the time front-to-back as soon as I received it in the mail – fascinated by the lives of my idols and other musicians. I’m aware that most people would consider commercial pop from this period embarrassing, lousy and/or soulless, and therefore refer to it as a “guilty pleasure” if ever admitting to like it. Or perhaps they’d clarify that they do like it, but they like it ironically. The hipster way.
My brain appreciates pop music from the 90’s and 00’s – among much else – whether I am comfortable with that or not. I don’t listen to my former pop idols very often anymore, but when I do stumble upon them I have no problem embracing the memories those songs evoke and enjoying them for what they are: vibrations that my ears register and that my brain has decided to like. Here’s one of those songs that is not a guilty pleasure, by merely a pleasure:
5: A song in a foreign language.
I’ve already expressed my love for Laleh in this blog. She is one of the most popular pop artists in Sweden and has released music in Swedish, English and Persian. Der Yek Gooshe is one of her Persian songs:
Listen to it while reading my earlier post about Laleh.
Over a night, I went from not caring much about Ed Sheeran’s music at all to feeling an urge to see him live as soon as possible. Reason: I was sitting in front of my tv when Sheeran’s Live at Wembley Stadium came on and I could not stop watching. The whole thing struck me as quite phenomenal; a guy with a guitar – just a guy with a guitar – playing three sold out shows at Wembley Stadium in a row? What?! A couple of songs later I finally understood how talented Ed Sheeran really is. Before this night in front of my tv, I’ve just been like yeah, Thinking Out Loud is a nice song whenever I’ve heard it on the radio. Even if I don’t see myself increasing my listening to his music, I’m definitely looking forward to Sheeran visiting Sweden again for a live show. Using this tv live special to make me realize what I’ve missed in the past was probably the most clever thing Ed Sheeran could do to convince me I have to purchase tickets whenever I get the opportunity.
Ed Sheeran – I’m a Mess (Live from Wembley Stadium)
Listen to Ed Sheeran on Spotify, in case you’ve lived under a rock for a few years and have no idea what he sounds like.
Ed Sheeran currently has 1 612 615 listeners on Last.fm.
Here’s a compilation of Max Martin’s Billboard Hot 100 Hits from 1995 to 2014. A few seconds of each song and still the video is 25 minutes long in total. Very impressive. Ever since 1997 or so, Max Martin has been a huge inspiration to me. At first I was unaware of it; I just happened to love and listen to many of his songs. But when I was ten or so, in 2000, I learned about Max Martin and Denniz Pop from reading music magazines, browsing the (slow) net and just basically being a Backstreet Boys fan. It’s amazing how much one single person can influence a whole scene. Also note the progression of style from 2002 to 2004.
A fun story that surely belongs in this post: nowadays Max Martin works closely with Shellback, another Swedish songwriter and producer. Shellback’s real name is Johan, and he used to date my cousin’s older half-sister about ten years ago. I remember several times when Johan and his former girlfriend were at my aunt’s place while I was there, too. This moment in particular is very clear to me: I hear Johan and his girlfriend sitting in the living room. He’s casually playing the guitar, and all of a sudden he starts playing and singing Kelly Clarkson’s Since U Been Gone. That was quite surprising to me, because until then he hadn’t occured to me as someone who enjoys pop songs (he used to be in a metal band called Blinded Colony). This was probably in 2006 or 2007, I think. About a year later I was told that Johan was moving to Stockholm because he had gotten a job at Max Martin’s studio. Imagine my excitement. Johan working with Max Martin – the man who’d musically been a bigger part of my childhood than any other person! My mind was blown. Since then, I’ve kept myself updated on Shellback’s career, always in support of what he’s been a part of and always telling people in my surrounding of all the good songs he and Max Martin have written together. I’m sure Johan has very little to none remembrance of me but I’ll always cheer up when I hear one of his songs on the radio.
Filed under pop, swedish, watch
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 Last.fm.
New Year’s Eve. Already. A lot has changed this year. I finally graduated from the university (became a teacher), I moved to Stockholm. A whole calendar year (January – December) without ever seeing or talking to my mum passed. It still feels surreal. The whole thing. Death. A couple of days after Christmas when me and my girldfriend were in the car with dad, we drove by a car accident. While in the queue, waiting to drive past the accident scene, I think we counted to eight ambulances arriving to help those in need. When we reached the cars and people that were involved we saw things that are stuck in my head since then. Destroyed cars. At least five people lying on the ground covered in blankets (it was hard to tell if they were dead or alive). Some people hugging each other. Cops. Ambulance staff. Blinking blue lights.
Life is so fragile. Exactly how fragile is, I believe, impossible to fully understand.
I’m not going to list my favorite music from 2013 or anything like that. I just don’t find making lists like that very pleasing at all. But there are three songs that have been very popular on the radio here in Sweden (a few of them surely also in other countries) that I will keep listening to for a long time. These three songs are just fabulous, in my opinion.
Justin Timberlake – Mirrors
CHVRCHES – The Mother We Share
Seinabo Sey – Younger
(Haven’t heard of this one? You have to listen to it! Probably the best Swedish song right now.)
Mirrors is the most perfect song I’ve heard on the radio in years. Seriously. I personally think that really good radio hits are rare nowadays, but this one is… addictive. There’s just something about it that mesmerizes me. The layers of Justin’s voice. The whole production, I guess. Seeing this performance Justin did on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, with the live band, makes me really wanna see him live. If he brings that band. Buy Mirrors on iTunes (or buy a physical copy of JT’s album) and put some nice headphones on to appreciate it fully.
Filed under pop, r&b, soul