Sunday, March 9, 2008

Least Likely to Run a Marathon

The other day I was surprised to learn that several people I work with (and their respective significant others) attended The Hives show a few weeks ago. We were all eating a casual dinner after work and I thought to myself, "That's weird, I don't know anyone who likes The Hives that much... there's a lot of great bands from Sweden, but I never thought of The Hives as one of them." Perhaps it was presumptious of me, but it surprises me to find a trend has developed without my knowing it.

In any case, it seems like everyone is coming down with a case of Stockholm Syndrome. Of the recent Swedish offerings is 21-year old Lykke Zahrisson, who's thankfully changed her musician's name to something that flows off the tounge a little easier, Lykke Li. She received some help with her album, Youth Novels, from Bjorn of Peter, Bjorn & John (they seem obsessed with us young folks). The recent single from the album, "I'm Good I'm Gone," is a promising, catchy pop tune. Listening to it, I can't help notice the similarities between Lykke Li and Feist. The title alone bares a striking similarity in stressed syllables to Feist's "My Moon My Man"; they even have the same construction. Both songs build over a looped 4 note rhythm lower-register piano melody. However, Lykke Li's voice is a little less deeper and stronger than Feist's; she sounds more teenage-y, pop-y, school-girlish(-y?). Whether or not the similarities are deliberate, it may give Lykke Li an extra push into the limelight. Feist was recently nominated for a handful of Grammy awards, which means the world is more than ready for Lykke Li.

Lykke Li - I'm Good I'm Gone

For all you girl-group lovers, this one's for you. Those Dancing Days is an odd enough name for a band, but somehow it works (and wow, they're so cute!). Nonetheless, these Swedish girls might confuse you at first: is their sound pop, Clash-revival, Northern Soul, or circus music? A song like "1000 Words" might throw you for a loop on first listen. Within the first few bars you'll think you've played the wrong track, "Oh, this is 'London Calling.' Oops." But keep listening, "Oh no, it's a new Amy Winehouse song... wait a minute, Amy would never use circus organs like that." That's when you explode.

Those Dancing Days - 1000 Words

All of it makes me excited to one day touch Swedish ground. What kind of people live there? What kind of strange things do they think when they watch the sunset? What do they say to one another when they wake up in the middle of the night? Do the high school teachers have smoke breaks? Most importantly, are they uptight about bathroom etiquette?

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