Category Archives: swedish

30 songs: 22

22: A song that describes you.


Hello Saferide – Travelling With HS

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 mentally die

And I try, I try, I try, I try
But I can’t help but loving more
When being on my own and watching everyday lives
And I try, I try, I wish I wanted
To go see local churches with you
Or to go clubbing where the young ones do
But all I really want to do is watch the everyday lives

My friend, nothing is ever the matter with you
I’m glad to see it though I don’t believe it
You won’t have to worry, I’ll soon have figured you out
I won’t tell you when I have but I’ll find your weak spot
Your weakest spot, oh, I’ll find it

And here is mine: I try to pretend that I like to be part of it all
And that I enjoy going out with you and you and you and you and you

And I try, I try, I try, I try
But I can’t help but dreaming of
Sitting by myself and watching everyday lives
And I try, I try, but I just want to spend more time
With my mind
It always surprises me every time
And none of you ever do
It doesn’t mean that I don’t love you
It doesn’t mean that I don’t love you
It doesn’t mean that I don’t

And I try, I try, I try, I try
But I can’t help but loving more
When being on my own and watching everyday lives
And I try, I try, but I just want to spend more time
With myself
I always surprises myself every time
And none of you ever do
It doesn’t mean that I don’t love you

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Filed under indie pop, swedish

30 songs: 19

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:

Right?

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.

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Filed under acoustic, alternative rock, pop, swedish, watch

30 songs: 14

14: A song you like hearing live.


Miriam Bryant – Raised in Rain

Must hear this live. Every chance I get.

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30 songs: 12

12: A song with a name in the title.

Only a few weeks ago, kent – Sweden’s biggest rock band – officially disbanded. Their final tour was one of the most awesome things I’ve ever seen on a stage. Truly unforgettable. I went to three of the shows, including their funeral on December 17. Of course it’s sad that kent broke up, but I’m glad they stayed together for so long and made a lot of very good music. This is one of my absolute favorite kent songs:


kent – Ansgar & Evelyne

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30 songs: 6

6: A song you can always relate to.

While thinking about which song to pick for this one, I spent a lot of time considering the word “always”. I ended up with two possible definitions:

  1. always relate to = a song I can relate to no matter what mood I’m in
  2. always relate to = a song I’ve been able to relate to for a long time

Pepper by Millencolin was one of the first songs I came to think of when trying to combine both these definitions:

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30 songs: 5

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.

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“You are going your way / I am going your way as well”

Spinning this a lot this spring. The Big Sleep by Deportees. Recommended if you like indie rock with original vocals. Can’t get enough of the album art, either.


Deportees – Hard Rain

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“Tell me why I can’t be there where you are”

On December 10 I was watching the Nobel banquet on tv. Why? Because it is Swedish law. Swedes who don’t watch the banquet will go to prison. Every year we are forced to oohh at all the dresses and aahh at all the food being served. Little did we know that this year’s Nobel banquet had quite a treat to offer. All of a sudden, Anna Ternheim – one of the most melancholic Swedish artists – performed this breathtaking version of Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely (originally by the Backstreet Boys):

Isn’t it incredible? I want to live in this moment for a long time. For many years, I’ve tried to explain to people how the Backstreet Boys always had the most high quality songs of all the boy bands. Maybe now people will finally begin to agree with me.

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“When you lose something you cannot replace”

A few weeks ago many Swedish artists performed a concert together in order to raise money for the European refugee crisis. The best part about it all was all the money people donated – of course – but another great thing about the show was that we all got another chance to see Magnus Carlson and Petra Marklund cover Coldplay’s Fix You. The first time this happened was during Musikhjälpen (translates to Music Aid) in 2013. Musikhjälpen is a radio and TV show which every year aims to raise money for a different cause. So, during Musikhjälpen a couple of years ago Magnus Carlson (singer of Swedish band Weeping Willows) and Petra Marklund (Swedish solo artist) performed Fix You and I was literally blown away. It was probably the most beautiful and intense version of the song ever. Luckily for all of you, the whole thing is on YouTube:

Magnus Carlson and Petra Marklund – Fix You

This video still gives me the chills. End of message.

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The real king of pop

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.

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Filed under pop, swedish, watch

Amanda Bergman

Photo: Julia Mård

On my way to work the other day I saw Amanda Bergman outside my neighborhood’s bakery. I didn’t stop to say how much I adore her. I just smiled at her and she smiled back at me. A few minutes later, I realised I haven’t written anything about her music in this blog. About time, then.

First and foremost, I couldn’t decide on a title for this post because Amanda has used so many different names as an artist.  When I started listening to her she was known as Hajen (The Shark in Swedish). Very few songs were released, so I listened to three songs or so over and over and over and over again. This one, for example:


Hajen – Scapegoat

And you don’t have to understand Swedish to find Svensken (Meaning “the Swede”) beautiful, am I right?:

Later on, Hajen changed her stage name to Jaw Lesson. There was at least one song released using this name. And then it suddenly happened again: a new name. This time Amanda decided on the name Idiot Wind and she has stuck with it for years now. She released a couple of EP:s and they were both stunning. Check them out on Bandcamp or, if you’re lazy, just listen to this this track to start with:

Idiot Wind – For to Save One

A lot of people waited and waited for Idiot Wind to release her first full-length, but it just didn’t happen. What did happen, though, was Amason. A band where Amanda is one of the members. They recently released their debut album Sky City which features this song:

Amason – Went to War

What else about Amanda Bergman, then? Well, she’s married to Kristian Matsson, also known as The Tallest Man on Earth. How dreamy is that? When I saw Amanda live at a bar as Hajen years ago, The Tallest Man on Earth joined her for a few songs. A couple of years or so later when I went to see The Tallest Man on Earth live, Amanda joined him on stage during the last few songs and life was so good.

To summarize: Amanda Bergman is one of my favorite Swedish musicians, for sure. Walking past her that morning outside the bakery just made my day a little brighter. It’s all about the smallest things, right? I also enjoy living in a small country like Sweden where chances to stumble upon musicians you like are quite big (once at a concert, one of my idols Lars Winnerbäck was sitting behind me; I almost cried of happiness). Pretty cool. Speaking of small countries; one of my sister’s friends from school is the person who has shot the photo of Amanda at the top of this post. She’s also shot my favorite The Tallest Man on Earth photo of all time. She’s just friends with Amanda and Kristian or something. Not jelly at all.

Free downloads available through Hajen’s Last.fm page: Scapegoat, Sharks and Svensken.

Idiot Wind (combined with Hajen, Jaw Lesson and Amanda Bergman) currently has 12 342 listeners on Last.fm.
Amason currently have 41 452 listeners on Last.fm.

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Filed under free music, indie pop, singer-songwriter, swedish

“Well, maybe I am / Maybe I am”

Jens Lekman – Black Cab

Perfect song for a Sunday. Safe to say this is one of the best Swedish pop songs ever written.

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“I came to the conclusion I like girls”

Lately, it’s been impossible for my head to get rid of Girls by Beatrice Eli. What’s that called again, an earworm? Decide for yourself if this song could be a future worm for your ears, too:

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Filed under electropop, swedish

“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 Last.fm.

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Filed under pop, swedish

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 Last.fm.
Säkert! currently has 77 485 listeners on Last.fm.

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Filed under indie pop, singer-songwriter, swedish