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I plan to run a thread like Romain's French one, although in a somewhat different way. I have a Spotify playlist called "Swedish favorites" with one song per artist. I have only included artists/songs I like in the Spotify list (currently 96 songs).
What I would like to do is to go through my playlist and present one artist per day in this thread. I think I will do it in alphabetic order, which will give random jumps back and forth in time.
Let me first say that I'm not an expert in Swedish music. AM has been my guide to music through the years and it's not until recently that I have truly realized how many underrated gems we have from my country.
So, the first artist is...ABBA. Let's skip them, shall we?
Next is Adolphson & Falk, a synth pop band that I haven't listened to very much but I have a huge favorite from 1981, "Blinkar blå" (Flashing Blue).
Adolphson & Falk - Blinkar blå 1981
They also became very popular in Sweden with their Christmas song "Mer jul" (More Christmas). A novelty hit for sure and probably not much fun if you don't understand Swedish, but it is one of the few Christmas songs I still enjoy.
Adolphson & Falk - Mer jul 1991
Next up is "Sånt är livet" (Such Is Life) by Anita Lindblom (Spotify sorts the artists by first name) who has a magnificent contralto voice. The song is a cover of Roy Hamilton's "You Can Have Her" with different Swedish lyrics written by Stikkan Andersson who later became ABBA's manager.
This is great classic "schlager". To descibe schlager I have taken some quotes from Wikipedia:
"Loosely translated as a "hit". A style of popular music that is prevalent in Central and Northern Europe. Schlager songs are either sweet, highly sentimental ballads with a simple, catchy melody or light pop tunes. Lyrics typically center on love, relationships and feelings. Musically, the Schlager has some similarities to other styles like Easy Listening music."
At least during the '60s, for many countries schlager used to be the most common style at the Eurovision Song Contest, with 100% focus on the song and the performance of a lone singer. Nowadays schlager is increasingly replaced by other pop music styles and ESC has become more an entertainment show with dancers and special effects.
Anita Lindblom - Sånt är livet 1961
How catchy is that Anita Lindblom song. I'm not normally a fan of schlager (my German partner has subjected me to way too much Katja Ebstein and Jürgen Marcus) but I really like this one. Do you have any other favourite schlager songs, Henrik?
I really liked that Blinkar Bla song (sorry I don't know how to do the a with a circle on top). I love these threads!
Henrik, are you going to post any Swedish hip-hop? (t. ex. Looptroop Rockers, Latin Kings, Petter, etc.) I could do a post here and there if anyone is interested.
Today's artist is The Ark, a rock band with glam rock influences that can definitely be filed under popular. It's funny that they come directly after the schlager theme yesterday, because they actually represented Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest 2007, finishing 18th, a big disappointment. Most established rock bands in Sweden won't participate in ESC because they don't like it and/or it would ruin their reputation. The Ark, however, have never cared much about being hip and have tried several commercial tricks through the years. As a result, their biggest fans are not usually found among the Swedish critics.
The Ark - It Takes a Fool to Remain Sane 2000
The Ark - Calleth You, Cometh I 2002
The Ark - The Worrying Kind 2007 (from ESC)
Thank you, for the moment, I love all your proposals.
It's a fresh air ! Not only because it's Swedish music.
Army of Lovers
Army of Lovers was a dance music group that reached their peak in the early '90s. Like many other Swedish artists in the '90s, they were popular in most parts of Europe, but never achieved real success in the UK or the US.
The band had a liberal view of sex and drugs and came to stand as much for scandals and provocations as for pleasure, sexual freedom and glamor. They became famous for their outlandish visual appearance and their music videos (some of which were banned by MTV).
Army of Lovers - Crucified 1991
Army of Lovers - Obsession 1991
Army of Lovers - Ride the Bullet re-recorded version 1991
Army of Lovers - Israelism 1993
Army of Lovers - My Army of Lovers 1990 (La Camilla really looks and sounds like Sade here, albeit a bit dirtier)
Also, I don't remember this song, but apparently it was no. 1 in France!!!
Army of Lovers - La Plage de Saint Tropez 1993
Great thead idea, Henrik! I feel I want to contribute somehow. We probably have a lot of artists in common but fruitfully differ when it comes to other swedish artists.
Right now I have two ideas:
First I selected the 200 or so most important swedish artists and I have divided them into a few groups depending on genre and point in time they were active (plus if they sing in english or not).
Second I have listed the 20 or so most important "active" groups that may come up with good rock music right now.
Any ideas where this might fit in in this thread?
Those who have missed the guitars in the first posts will get their share today.
Atomic Swing is a pop/rock group whose debut album "A Car Crash in the Blue" produced several hits in the Swedish charts, characterized by Niclas Frisk's special vocal style and guitar playing that gave a great retro feel. Atomic Swing also had some success in several other European countries, Japan and Australia.
Atomic Swing - Stone Me Into the Groove 1992 (their biggest hit)
Atomic Swing - Smile 1993
Atomic Swing - In the Dust 1993 (Fred's #2 of 1993!)
Great! Neil Young...you make me curious...
Bo Kaspers Orkester
Bo Kaspers Orkester has been one of the best selling bands in Sweden during the '90s and '00s. Their style was mostly jazz-pop in the beginning, but over the years they have varied their sound with for example soul and Latin American styles. Their lyrics usually depict relations and everyday situations.
Bo Kaspers Orkester - Puss 1994 ("Kiss")
Bo Kaspers Orkester - Hon är så söt 1994 ("She Is So Sweet" about the singer's newborn baby. The band performs in his house in this video.)
Bo Kaspers Orkester - Allt ljus på mig 1998 ("All Lights on Me", a song that shares A LOT with Donny Hathaway's "The Ghetto")
Bo Kaspers Orkester - Undantag 1998 ("Exception")
Bo Kaspers Orkester - I samma bil 2006 ("In the Same Car")
Bob Hund is well known for their live act and stage appearance of Tomas Öberg, vocalist and presumed lyrics mastermind. When the 80's music life in Sweden belonged to "Ebba Grön" sooner to become "Imperiet" the 90's was Bob Hund's.
1996 Bob Hund released a great single Istället För Musik: Förvirring. In the video the band seem influenced by the film "Idioterna" ("The Idiots") by Lars von Trier. See his "Melancholia" btw.
The same year came their arguably best album: "Omslag: Martin Kann" and this was their single from that album: Düsseldorf
Before this they released an ep (Bob Hund) in 1993 and an album in 1994 also named Bob Hund. The album has this epic song: Det Skulle Vara Lätt För Mig Att Säga Att Jag Inte Hittar Hem Men Det Gör Jag, Tror Jag which resembles "Like A Hurricane" or "Down By The River" (I promised you some Neil Young references)
Neil's true, childish, whining voice as expressed in "I Believe In You" or "A Man Needs A Maid" might have their equvalence in Jag Är Inte Arg or Våffeljärnet
Bob Hund's swan song might be Jag Rear Ut Min Själ, Allt Ska Bort (Rust next?) which might be about psychotherapy and the experiences of finding a true self (Neil just rocked his ass off). Maybe if he'd been brought up in cold Sweden and have a background as syntrocker... Bob Hund were a bit of ousiders who wants to share their experiences of that. Nowadays they walk the streets of Stockholm as ordinary men. Viva rock'n roll!
Selected Songs (Spotify link)
Bob Hund Film, part 1
Bob Hund Film, part 2
Bob Hund Film, part 3
Bob Hund Film, part 4
Bob Hund Film, part 5
Bob Hund Film, part 6
Bob Hund Film, part 7
Fred, I don't know why but I wasn't able to access the Spotify list.
Very interesting comparison with Neil Young. But, since there are so many Pixies fans in this forum, I think we should mention that the bands that are usually named as Bob Hund's primary influences are Pere Ubu and Pixies.
A couple more favorites:
Bob Hund - Nu är det väl revolution på gång 1998 (their biggest single)
Bob Hund - Ett fall och en lösning 1997 (inspired cover of Pere Ubu's "Final Solution")
Do you often wonder what happened to one of the best songwriters of our era? - Benny Andersson of Abba?
Actually he never quit writing songs after Abba. In the 80's he took it a bit easier and started doing folk music and wrote musicals, "Chess", "Mamma Mia" and "Kristina From Duvemåla". He might now be regarded as doing "art music" and the songs below, although not art music, are his, sometimes in cooperation with Björn (second male Abba) or someone else, Tim Rice etc . They are easy listening and many of the best performers of our country have worked with him.
Ellen Page - I Know Him So Well
Benny Anderssons Orkester - Our Last Dance
Tommy Körberg - Anthem (from "Chess")
Gemini - T.L.C.
Tommy Körberg - Guldet Blev Till Sand
Benny Andersson Orchestra - You Are My Man
Gemini - Mio Min Mio
Ainbusk Singers - Jag Mötte Lassie
Benny & Björn related
Does Yngwie Malmsteen have a following in Sweden?