• Sweden's news in English
 
almadalen_header

The best (and worst) Swedish music of 2012

Published: 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:

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
European heatwave
Sizzling Swedes warned of heatwave sickness
Swedes enjoying warm weather in Stockholm on July 2nd 2015. Photo: TT

Sizzling Swedes warned of heatwave sickness

UPDATED: Thursday turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far in Sweden, but extreme heat in the south east has got people worried about forest fires and weather-related sickness. READ  

Almedalen 2015
BLOG: Sweden's political power forum - Day Five
Sweden's Green Party leader Gustav Fridolin at Almedalen. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

BLOG: Sweden's political power forum - Day Five

Education as well as environmental issues topped the agenda when Sweden's Green Party co-leader Gustav Fridolin took to the stage on day five of Almedalen - Sweden's biggest week in politics. READ  

Almedalen 2015 with the Swedish Institute
Sweden to link Baltic region in new ways
One goal of the initiative is protecting the Baltic. File photo: Tuukka Ervasti/imagebank.sweden.se

Sweden to link Baltic region in new ways

Sweden has new responsibilities in the Baltic Sea region, playing an even more important role in joint efforts to boast prosperity, protect the sea, and keep the region connected. READ  

Snake on the slither in southern Sweden
This is (probably) not the snake mentioned in the story. Photo: AP Photo/J Pat Carter

Snake on the slither in southern Sweden

A three-metre long python spotted in a popular park in Malmö remained on the loose on Thursday afternoon. READ  

Shock as Sweden slashes interest rate
Swedish kronor. Photo: TT/Jonas Ekströmer

Shock as Sweden slashes interest rate

UPDATED: Sweden’s central bank (the Riksbank) has lowered the country’s historic low interest rate even further. The key rate, the repo, now stands at minus 0.35 percent. READ  

Almedalen 2015
'If the Russians come our whole lives will change'
What's on the horizon for Gotland? Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

'If the Russians come our whole lives will change'

Recent claims that Russia rehearsed a military takeover of Gotland stirred up fear among Swedes – but how do people living here feel? The Local asked islanders what life is like in the bullseye of Sweden. READ  

Almedalen 2015 with ConnectSweden
Sweden's 'incredible' chance to connect
Photo: The Local

Sweden's 'incredible' chance to connect

Sweden's connections to the world are in the spotlight this week, as the hottest names at Almedalen gather to discuss the impact of connectivity on jobs, tourism, and relations with other countries. The Local is on the scene. READ  

Swedish firm embroiled in US antitrust lawsuit
Swedish appliances firm Electrolux has been sued. Photo: Fredrik Persson/SCANPIX

Swedish firm embroiled in US antitrust lawsuit

Swedish giant Electrolux's attempt to snap up General Electric's appliance business has been met with a lawsuit by US antitrust officials, saying the $3.3 billion deal would harm consumers. READ  

What's on in Sweden
Six hip spots to sun seek in Sweden's capital
Solstugan sun terrace in Kristineberg. Photo: Solstugan

Six hip spots to sun seek in Sweden's capital

Here's our pick of places to enjoy the warm weather that's finally made its way to the Swedish capital, along with our weekly guide to what's on in the rest of the country. READ  

Almedalen 2015
BLOG: Sweden's political power forum - Day Four
Sweden Democrat leader Jimmie Åkesson, speaking on Wednesday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

BLOG: Sweden's political power forum - Day Four

The nationalist Sweden Democrat party's leader Jimmie Åkesson has told his nation's biggest political conference that he wants to create a better county for children and crack down on extremism. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Politics
Almedalen: The Local's guide to Sweden's power players week
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Swedes soak up sun on hottest day of year
Sport
Sweden celebrates greatest sporting victory in decades
Gallery
People-watching: July 1st
Sponsored Article
VIP Mingle at Almedalen's hottest event
Blog updates

26 June

Editor’s blog, June 26th (The Local Sweden) »

"Greetings from Stockholm, We’re about to transport our newsroom to the idyllic Swedish island of Gotland for..." READ »

 

23 June

Defending Our Interests … And Our Allies (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"This is an important week for European security, with decisions affecting Europe’s unstable Southern and Eastern..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Swede battles slug invasion
Sponsored Article
What can we learn from Swedish women's sex habits?
National
VIDEO: Is this herring tasting clip an 'insult to Sweden'?
Gallery
Property of the week: Visby, Gotland
National
Sweden set for sunniest week of year
Gallery
People-watching: June 26th-28th
Features
The Local's essential guide to who's who in Swedish politics
National
More Swedish military exercises as Russia aggression fears grow
National
What's on in Sweden this week
Travel
Why Swedish camp sites are set for a bumper summer
National
Swedish summer's really on its way (at least according to forecasters)
Gallery
People-watching: June 24th
National
Why are southern Swedes angry about becoming 'Danish' again?
Society
Lifestyle: When to catch your favourite features on The Local
National
Is Sweden one of the world's most peaceful nations?
Sponsored Article
Harstena: Travelling to Sweden's secret islands
National
One in ten Swedish cats homeless
Sponsored Article
'I constantly evolve my Swedishness'
Gallery
Property of the week: Värmdö, Stockholm
Society
Would you eat this Swedish pizza?
National
Swedish royals' dream honeymoon
National
Swedish hospital opens first centre for male rape victims
Gallery
People-watching: June 20th-21st
Photo: TT
Lifestyle
Midsummer: The Local's guide to Sweden's craziest festival
Sponsored Article
Murder, myth and magic: Travelling to the birthplace of Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: June 17th
Sponsored Article
Gallery: Life in Sweden's secret archipelago
Society
Seven alternative names for Sweden's Prince Nicolas Paul Gustaf
National
FBI returns stolen Swedish books
National
Want to smell like Zlatan?
National
Royal joy over birth of new prince
Gallery
Property of the week: Brantevik, Simrishamn
National
How racy graffiti inspired a teacher's high school sex class
Gallery
People-watching: June 12th-14th
National
As it happened: Prince Carl Philip marries Sofia Hellqvist
Technology
Is Stockholm the world's creative capital?
National
Timeline: Julian Assange case
Sponsored Article
KTH President: ‘Sweden’s success is because of its size’
Gallery
IN PICTURES: New royal couple Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Features
Ten Swedish festivals to discover
Features
Ten reasons Stockholm is definitely way cooler than Copenhagen
National
VIDEO: Watch Swedish man rescue baby elk from cold creek
National
VIDEO: Have you seen this jet ski blunder at a Malmö hotel opening?
Gallery
People-watching: June 10th
National
Swedish airports launch cheeky safe sex toilet campaign
Sponsored Article
Why expat women are choosing Swedish natural birth control
Bupa
Sponsored Article
Healthcare: Nine questions every expat should ask
Sponsored Article
The millionaire teacher who leads by tough love
Sponsored Article
How to change the world: Malmö to Mogadishu
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

3,191
jobs available
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:
psdmedia.se