I didn’t know Swedish music was a thing until I sat and thought about it for a second.
It’s anecdotal of course, but I went to school in Saudi Arabia with a guy from Sweden.
He talked about music all the time, his favorite bands, the latest song he heard, etc. Always wanted you to hear something. Great guy.
One year our school team traveled to a soccer tournament in Riyadh and we stayed with host families.
A teammate and I were paired with a Swedish family whose son was on another team.
Long story short, these group of crazy Swedish kids kept us up half the night talking about music and listening to album after album…
I don’t remember tons of other details, but I do remember being tired the next day wearily trying to play soccer.
Crazy what solitude can develop into.
Klas Åhlund, a Swedish songwriter and producer in his forties, who is also a performer (in the rock band Teddybears), says: “Swedes are very musical, and they love to write songs. But it’s a big country, and it has very few people in it. So you had these farmers out there who were good at writing songs, but had no one to sing them. Songwriting was just a thing you did on your own when you were watching the cows, a kind of meditation. You didn’t focus as much on your ability as a performer as you did on the structure and craft of the songs. Which is really not the case in the US, where your charm and your voice and your powers as a performer come immediately into play.” A nation of songwriters endowed with melodic gifts, and who were meticulous about craft, but who were reluctant to perform their own songs, was a potential gold mine for a nation of wannabe pop stars who don’t write their own material. And Denniz PoP would hook them up.
-John Seabrook, The Song Machine