• Sweden edition
 
The Year in Review
The best (and worst) Swedish music of 2012

The best (and worst) Swedish music of 2012

Published: 27 Dec 2012 16:20 GMT+01:00
Updated: 27 Dec 2012 16:20 GMT+01:00

When I first moved to Sweden this year, one of my worries was that I’d miss British music. I wrote about music for two UK national newspapers and thought London was the epicentre of European pop music.

I was dimly aware that Swedish pop had a good reputation but was so caught up in all things London that, musically at least, I rarely ventured east of Shoreditch.

Back in 2007, however, Robyn’s With Every Heartbeat may have been my favourite single but, shamefully, I’m pretty sure I thought she was Danish.

I know.

Within just a week of being here, I realized just how wrong I'd been to worry.

Listening to Sveriges Radio P3 (for the most part a grown-up version of the UK’s Radio One), I found myself regularly Shazam-ing, using an app that identifies songs using your phone.

Click here for Paul Connolly's five best Swedish songs of 2012

Who were the Acid House Kings? Who was that lovely 70s singer-songwriter? (Ted Gärdestad, as it turned out). What on earth was that sound like a robot falling down the stairs while singing a Robyn cover? (Alina Devecerski)

I began to spend a fortune on iTunes and I finally invested in a full Spotify subscription.

I started to rave about Swedish bands to my English friends. One of my music biz friends even signed a Swedish artist on a singles deal mostly on my say-so.

I was going native.

Click here for Paul Connolly's best pop event of 2012

When it comes to Swedish music culture, I do have an advantage over most immigrants to Sweden in that I still have an obsessive, almost teenage-like love of pop music.

I may have mistaken Robyn for a Dane but I do know that the holy touchstone when it comes to aspiring Swedish musicians is not Abba or The Hives or even The Cardigans, although they're marvellous bands all, and certainly not the ubiquitous masters of cheese themselves, Swedish House Mafia, but the Gothenburg brother-sister electro-pop duo, The Knife.

Click here for Paul Connolly's worst Swedish song of 2012

As I’ve discovered over the past few months, their importance to and influence on pop musicians in this country is incalculable and far outweighs the relatively modest commercial success they’ve had as a band.

Their distinctive aural fingerprint can be heard right through the following round-up of the best Swedish music of 2012.

Click here for Paul Connolly's five best Swedish albums of 2012

And one final heads up. I’ve always been inclined to the more melodic side and I am no snob. To me, there is no such thing as a guilty pleasure.

If a song has a great tune, I’m pretty sure to like it whoever the artist. I once made S Club 7’s Don’t Stop Movin’ single of the week for The Times and was mercilessly ribbed by my peers. I did the same for TLC’s No Scrubs and was on the wrong end of another bout of intense ridicule.

But you know what, I still stand by those choices – they are both great pop songs.

Here are some more, and I promise there's no Swedish House Mafia in sight…

Paul Connolly

Related links:

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

18:09 December 27, 2012 by jarvtrask
Since I started spending my summers in the Arvidsjaur area, I've found P3 to be a precious source of new music. Every year I find myself googling and searching youtube for tracks I heard on there whilst out driving. Elin Ruth Sigvardsson' s "How You Dug Your Own Grave" was the first...First Aid Kit's "Blue" was this year's find. In fact, the first time I heard unsigned Leeds band China Rats was in the car near Glommerstrask this summer.

Who did you write for in the UK Paul?
21:46 December 27, 2012 by GraceBee
I love First Aid Kit and I really like the Alina Devcereski album too. Not too sure about Switch Opens though, more heavy rock garbage. Good choices though, I agree on most of them.
09:39 December 28, 2012 by skånegirl
OMG, that Alina song is amazing and the Icona Pop song is great too. I've been here for 4 months and assumed Swedish music was all house crap like SHM and Loreen (I hate that song), looks like I was wrong!! Must listen to more radio!!
10:34 December 28, 2012 by PaulConnolly
jarvtrask, I agree, P3 is mostly great. Apart from their comedy hour in the late afternoon, where all they do is talk loudly in "comedy" voices. Loathsome nonsense.

I was rock critic for The Times and London Lite and still write about music for three other newspapers, one English, one Arabic and one American.
22:29 December 28, 2012 by jarvtrask
Ah yes, I've happened upon the comedy hour. My Swedish isn't good enough for it to be excruciating....or listened to. I agree about the Knife. The estimable Jeff Barrett of Heavenly pointed me towards Fever Ray's "When I Grow Up" (via First Aid Kit's cover)...it's probably the one track that has made the most impact upon me this year...even though I know it's an oldie.

I've just remembered a couple more P3 finds "Impossible" by the Shout Out Louds and "treehouse" by I'm from Barcelona". Both ace.

It would be good to hook up with you in the North. I have a TV project that your input would be well suited to.
15:30 December 30, 2012 by Greysuede
Best are Agnes, Robyn, Veronica Maggio.

Worst is sarah down finer.
19:35 December 30, 2012 by travies04
I'm a big fan of Swedish music based in Houston, TX. Just so we're clear about P3, are we talking about regular P3 or P3 star? Also, a couple of years ago I used to listen to P3 svea which played exclusively Swedish music. It's a shame that they stopped streaming that station!
17:41 December 31, 2012 by True & Evil
Sweden = Black Metal

pop is crap, set it on fire to please Satan
21:23 December 31, 2012 by beefpatty
The Goat album is fantastic.

No mention for Tallest Man on Earth, Niki & The dove or Holograms? A lot of good Swedish music at the moment.
14:56 January 5, 2013 by PaulConnolly
Travies04, I'm pretty sure it's the regular P3.

beefpatty, I only had so much room. All three of your suggestions were on the longlist.

I'm trying to hook up with Goat as I type this.

Thanks for all the feedback. Yes, even you True & Evil.
Today's headlines
Spotify founders win 'Expats of the Year'
Crown Princess Victoria and Spotify co-founder Martin Lorentzon Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Spotify founders win 'Expats of the Year'

Spotify founders Martin Lorentzon and Daniel Ek won the International Swede of the Year award (Årets svensk i världen) on Wednesday for their work in making the world's music accessible to the world. READ  

Getinge Floods
Swedish floods spread wider as rain continues
Photo: Anders Andersson/TT

Swedish floods spread wider as rain continues

UPDATED: The flood in southern Sweden spread further on Wednesday, with forecasters predicting rain all week. With the defence minister on the scene, officials have warned that up to 8,000 households risk evacuation. READ  

Top ministers count cost of 'less secure world'
Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

Top ministers count cost of 'less secure world'

Foreign and Finance Ministers Carl Bildt and Anders Borg held a press conference on Wednesday to discuss how Sweden was being affected by a "less secure" world, and how it would foot the bill for a growing influx of refugees. READ  

Volvo profits saved by Chinese devotion
Volvo Cars chief executive Håkan Samuelsson. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Volvo profits saved by Chinese devotion

The now Chinese-owned Volvo Car Group announced a return to profits on Wednesday - thanks to the Swedish brand's popularity in China. READ  

Ikea founder gives giant donation to hometown

Ikea founder gives giant donation to hometown

Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad donated a gift to his hometown on Wednesday to the tune of 53 million kronor ($7.7 million). The cash is to be used for developing the area. READ  

Police hunt masked thief after Stockholm fire
Photo: Fanni Olin Dahl/TT

Police hunt masked thief after Stockholm fire

The Slussen tunnel in Stockholm began billowing out black smoke on Wednesday afternoon. Police believe that the fire was connected to an attempted robbery earlier in the day. READ  

Elections 2014
Parties duel as refugee costs rocket
Photos: TT

Parties duel as refugee costs rocket

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and opposition leader Stefan Löfven clashed on Wednesday after the Migration Board asked for more money to handle Sweden's influx of refugees. READ  

Introducing: Sweden's five minority languages
The Sami in northern Sweden. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Introducing: Sweden's five minority languages

Did you know there are five official minority languages in Sweden? The Local's Isabela Vrba finds out what they are, how they're protected, and what rights their speakers have. READ  

Swedish docs puzzled by deformed penis trend

Swedish docs puzzled by deformed penis trend

More and more Swedish boys are born with deformed penises, and researchers are uncertain exactly what's behind the increase. READ  

The Local List
What Sweden means to you in just one Tweet
Photos: Shutterstock/Imagebank Sweden

What Sweden means to you in just one Tweet

The Local Sweden has been asking readers to squeeze their view of Sweden into just 140 characters or less. Here's what you came up with up for #SwedeninaTweet. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
Did you know the Bronx in NYC was named after a Swede?
Politics
"Iraq reminds me of the Yugoslav wars. It's the same story."
Society
Swedes slam Danes for 'racist' art
National
Majority of Swedes favour more or just as many refugees
Society
Lock your bathrooms: Swedish toilet invader on the the loose
Blog updates

17 August

Sea Fever (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I’m going to keep this post short and sweet as its not something I take any pleasure in writing. After much deliberation I have made the heartbreaking decision to abandon my trip after 1200km due to reoccurring injury. It is not a decision I have made lightly and it is one that has been truly devastating..." READ »

 

17 August

St. Louis strong (Blogweiser) »

"It’s typically a bad sign when my hometown makes news in Sweden. St. Louis was in the headlines here a few years ago when a tornado struck the airport. The city also caught attention after a politician talked about ‘legitimate rape’. Now, shooting and riots this week in Ferguson, a part of St. Louis, are..." READ »

 
 
 
Politics
'Assange will not leave until safe'
Gallery
See more images from the southern Sweden floods
Sponsored Article
Find out what gives this Swedish school executive appeal
Society
Serial chicken smuggler caught at Norway border. Again.
Society
This gold coin may be the key to solving a Swedish massacre
Shutterstock
Lifestyle
The Swedish mentor (and why you may need one)
National
Food agency warns girls: 'Don't eat stinky fish'
Politics
Reinfeldt calls for tolerance to refugees
Gallery
People-watching August 16-17
National
Sweden celebrates 200 years of peace
Society
Top ten literal Swedish words
Politics
'Terror training should be illegal': Liberal Party
Gallery
Swedes talk about 200 years of national peace
Politics
Islamic extremist shakes Sweden with TV threat
National
Teacher fined for 'Hitler salute' in German class
Politics
Swedish politician proposes ban on begging
National
Swede asks for epidural and gets disinfectant
National
Swede reports 'expensive' sex to police
Education
Sweden plans to scrap SFI for adult education
Skatteverket
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

691
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se