I don't know what it is about the Swedes, but when it comes to music, they seem to have an uncanny knack for hooks and harmony. Today, ABBA may be seen as little more than a polyester-jumpsuited punchline, but they sure as hell knew their way around a melody. Christ, so did Roxette, for that matter.
Granted, Swedish artists rarely exhibit much in the way of originality - tending instead to ape American or European acts of the past. But what goes around comes around, and the '90s found various cadres and cabals of Swedish songsmiths supplying the new American teenybopper line - from the Backstreet Boys to Britney Spears. And let's face it: they STILL have to answer for that.
Not so long ago, I went through a bit of a Swedish stage, prompted in large part by my discovery of Hello! Surprise!, a swell little site for audio exploration. Then, Songs: Illinois spun off SwedesPlease - a new MP3 blog dedicated to the sounds of Sweden. Both sites have highlighted the music of Acid House Kings - a band that makes music a lot more easy-going and innocent than its name might suggest. This is pop music in the vein of '70s AM radio. Simple. Infectious. Highly hummable. So why not sit back with an Absolut and give in to the peaceful, easy feelings...
"Do What You Wanna Do"/Acid House Kings [from the LP Sing Along with Acid House Kings, 2005]
Do What You Wanna Do-mp3 [left-click]
"Sunday Morning"/Acid House Kings [from the LP Mondays are Like Tuesdays and Tuesdays are Like Wednesdays, 2002]
Sunday Morning-mp3 [left-click]
"This Heart is a Stone"/Acid House Kings [from the LP Sing Along with Acid House Kings, 2005]
This Heart is a Stone-mp3 [left-click]