Being Norwegian, this is not surprising news at all - Sweden is close enough that we’ve heard all about it, but not close enough to let us steal any of the fame.
Yea I’m old enough to remember ABBA. Has anything come out since then?
Avicii is the punchline to almost every joke among electronic music fans and producers. (Skrillex and Jordan Rudess pick up the rest.)
Robyn, Peter Bjorn & John, The Hives, The Shout Out Louds, Jens Lekman, Lykke Li, Love is All… I’ve long been amazed by Sweden’s music output, and curious why that was the case. Cool article!
The Sounds are fantastic, and currently on tour in the USA if you happen to live there!
Lots of other Swedes on my regular listening playlists too.
Not to mention iamamiwhoami, for whom I am a total fanboy, and who I would have never discovered if it weren’t for boingboing.
Of course: there’s Abba, and Ace of Base, and whatever that neo-Nazi band was that the Ace of Base guy was in…
But on a serious note, don’t miss Little Dragon.
So basically we need to bomb Sweden if there is any hope pop music will get better.
Swedish. . .Pop. . .Mafia? eyebrow arches so high it crawls over top of skull and hides above hairline
No love for The Cardigans?
Like that Swedish bubblegum band Opeth?
When Lee Hazlewood left the USA to keep his son out of the draft he went to Sweden and produced amazing albums (Cowboy in Sweden and Requiem for An Almost Lady.)
There is something about Sweden that produces not just great music but well produced music. This might have something to do with it: “On the most basic level, municipal music schools increased the odds that Swedes would discover their talents, while also giving the country an unusually music-literate domestic audience.”
I couldn’t tell you (nor care to know) about the Swedish input on Katy Perry to Pitbull but I’ve been a fan of some awesome swedish acts for a while: Komeda, The Concretes and Taken By Trees (former Concretes singer.) A guy at work swears by The Hellacopters as well.
So there’s not just the money-making-shit that the articles point out (Note: I like Abba but hate the music style it spawned.)
Just in terms of production check out this cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JjBV12gKofE he makes it his own.
Swedes also produce and compose songs for the Asian market, churning out hits for South Korean and Japanese acts.
No. The only thing needed to improve pop music is to eliminate American productions. Pop is generally awesome anywhere else.
ROXETTE! 28 years of excellence!
My knowledge of this is sketchy and almost a decade out-of-date, but I recall various European ‘progressive’ bands saying that they couldn’t afford to tour in the USA because of the cost and logistics of negotiating the work visa regime there; it just doesn’t (didn’t?) make sense to try unless they knew in advance that they’d definitely fill venues.
The big exception was Swedish bands, such as The Flower Kings, who could take the risk allegedly because the Swedish govenment helped, by acting as sponsor to the visa applications in some way.
If that’s true, it may help explain Swedish access to the US market.
Did you look at what Max Martin has done? If you read through the #1 Billboard hits alone, you’ll find him and his team as writers and producers on a fair number - most recently Dark Horse, Roar, and Part of Me with Katy Perry; One More Night with Maroon 5; and We are Never Ever Getting Back Together with Taylor Swift.
We tend to remember music only by the performers, but I would say the shape of modern pop music has a lot more to do with people like him, who can be faintly seen behind one star after another. Doesn’t count?
I was kind of trolling. Aren’t the Hives Swedish?