• Sweden's news in English
 

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
My Swedish Career
Meet the Californian snapping Stockholm's subway
A snapshot of some of the people in Pantiel's Stockholm subway project. Photos by: Evian Pantiel

Meet the Californian snapping Stockholm's subway

What's an American photographer doing snapping photos of people in Stockholm's subway? For this week's My Swedish Career, The Local spoke to Evian Pantiel, the man behind the camera exploring Stockholm's colourful subway lines. READ  

Sweden's Left backs European 'Red Spring'
Left wing Greeks celebrating in Athens. Photo: TT

Sweden's Left backs European 'Red Spring'

The leader of Sweden's Left party, Jonas Sjöstedt, has told The Local he is "delighted" with the dramatic election win of Greece's anti-austerity party Syriza over the weekend, while Sweden's Finance Minister has raised concerns about how the victory will affect Europe. READ  

Gothenburg recovers after mystery oil spill
The Port of Gothenburg. Photo: TT

Gothenburg recovers after mystery oil spill

A major oil spill occurred overnight in Gothenburg, with officals still unclear of the source on Monday morning. READ  

Flashy apartment block dazzles angry residents
Photo: TT

Flashy apartment block dazzles angry residents

The balconies on a new apartment block in Sundbyberg in Stockholm are reflecting light in a way that is dazzling neighbours and forcing them to wear sunglasses. READ  

FBI funding Sweden 'terror' research

FBI funding Sweden 'terror' research

Research grants to fund the study of controversial interrogation methods at the University of Gothenburg have come from America's Federal Bureau of Investigation, it has emerged. READ  

Swedish WW2 soldier buried 70 yrs after death
Vetlanda church. Photo: Karin Thuresson

Swedish WW2 soldier buried 70 yrs after death

A Swedish soldier has been buried 70 years after he died fighting with Finland against Soviet troops during World War Two. Remarkably, his sister was still alive to attend the service. READ  

World's first limousine snowplough for hire
Håkan Andersson's limousine snowplough. Photo: Haga Limo

World's first limousine snowplough for hire

A businessman in central Sweden is advertising what he claims is the world’s first Hummer limousine snowplough for hire on Blocket, Sweden’s version of eBay. READ  

Breastmilk drug could fight resistant bacteria

Breastmilk drug could fight resistant bacteria

Swedish researchers may have found a solution to the growing resistance to antibiotics in the most unlikely of places — breastmilk. READ  

Video
Swedish baby wins TV fame in US
A screenshot of Alma and Maja before the collision from America's Funniest Home Videos

Swedish baby wins TV fame in US

A Swedish baby and her King Charles Spaniel scored more than three million views on America’s Funniest Home Videos in just one day, after the baby's father sent a video of the then six-month-old being bowled over by the puppy. READ  

Royal couple blames tax woes on identity theft
Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Neill in December 2014. Photo: TT

Royal couple blames tax woes on identity theft

Chris O'Neill, the British-American banker married to Sweden’s Princess Madeleine, has admitted to having had problems over unpaid US taxes, explaining that he had been the victim of identity theft. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
People-watching January 24th - 25th
Gallery
People-watching January 24th - 25th
Society
Meet the 'beggars' buttoning up immigration critics
Lifestyle
What's on in Sweden this week
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Princess Madeleine through the years
Features
Learn Sweden's bizarre dating lingo
Blog updates

23 January

Editor’s blog, January 23rd (The Local Sweden) »

"Happy Friday from The Local’s team in Stockholm. We can’t wait for the weekend, when we’re planning..." READ »

 

14 January

Adjectives and nouns (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hi there, The other day I got a question about combining adjectives and nouns: When you have a..." READ »

 
 
 
People-watching: January 21st - 22nd
Gallery
People-watching: January 21st - 22nd
Lifestyle
'Life as a Swedish candy-maker is sweet'
Society
Why Sweden's viral 'genital' video is getting an English remake
Gallery
IN PICTURES: January snow snaps
National
Why does Sweden's Luleå have a giant ice beaver?
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Who are Sweden's richest one percent?
Business & Money
How a classic Swedish snack got a revamp for 'busy' Stockholmers
Lifestyle
The Local's top Swedish acts for 2015
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Årets Bild photography prize winners
Business & Money
'I met my Swedish man in Tokyo's first Ikea store'
Gallery
Property of the week: A cozy apartment in Bromma, Stockholm
Gallery
People-watching: January 17th - 18th
Lifestyle
How to make Swedish gravad lax
Lifestyle
Four hot Swedish home design trends
National
How The Local's video on a strange Swedish sound went viral
Gallery
People-watching: January 14th
National
The Local's guide to Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Politics
Paris attacks: Knock-on effects in Sweden and across Europe
National
Swedish Muslims react to new Charlie Hebdo magazine
National
The Local talks to Sweden's Home Affairs Minister about Paris attacks
Business & Money
Will Spotify launch on stock market after users rocket?
Accelerated
Texans and Swedes to play ice instruments
Gallery
Property of the week: An 18th century mansion in Stockholm
Business & Money
'Snowboarding drew me to work in chilly Sweden'
National
Are Sweden's royals moving to London?
National
How Sweden's Charlie Hebdo rally broke a winter protest record
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Princess Madeleine through the years
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Stockholm's 'no pants' subway day 2015
Gallery
People-watching: January 10th - 11th
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Stockholm holds Charlie Hebdo rally
National
Have you seen Sweden's viral children's 'genital' song?
National
Mother of 'Superman' victim warns of ecstasy drug trend in Sweden
National
Are wolves on the loose in the Swedish capital?
Gallery
People-watching: January 7th
National
Stockholmers discuss why they joined global Paris shooting vigils
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's reaction to Paris magazine shootings
National
The best Swedish songs of the month
National
Ten Swedes who made a lasting impact on the United States
Sponsored Article
Everything you need to know about moving to Stockholm
Sponsored Article
How to jump-start your career in southern Sweden
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

1,116
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
Counselling and Psychotherapy in English
Sometimes living in another culture can cause stress, confusion and feelings of sadness and loneliness. Talking to a professional psychotherapist/counsellor might help you. I am a UKCP Reg. psychotherapist. My practice is in Södermalm, Stockholm.
Contact me to discuss your options