Monday, May 24, 2010

Couldn't be more true

One of the songs I neglected to mention in either of the long lists below is Robyn's "Dancing On My Own," though that's not for lack of quality and more because it didn't fit neatly into either of the admittedly nebulous categories of those lists. The first proper lead single from this campaign (though supposed buzz single "Fembot" is much past that point in Sweden and Norway), "Dancing On My Own" takes a few cues from "With Every Heartbeat," but I may just love it more, even if it's less stop-you-in-your-tracks unexpected with its emotional punch than that earlier single was.

Though much of the credit for the song has to go to Robyn, unsurpassed in her ability to cut right to the emotional core of a song but capture a million little subtleties without losing a sense that it's all unstudied, genuine, narrated straight from the heart, and her own songwriting skills, at least some of the praise should go to co-writer Patrik Berger. Like most Swedish songwriters with some sort of publishing deal, his work has popped up in all sorts of random places over the years.

It's his work on last year's Erik Hassle album (yes, I realize I never got around to that long-promised review, but rest assured that my statement that no other album has ever taken over my life in quite the same way still stands) that I want to take a moment to highlight. On an album as strong as that one, it's tough to choose a favorite song with any sort of consistency, but the track that may have held that title a plurality of the time is a Berger composition. "Isn't It Obvious" would lose much of its magic sung by a different interpreter, but the lyrics, the melody (and the production)--rarely have I felt that swept up in a song, as if it has suddenly tapped into some previously unknown frequency inside me and just happens to resonate at the same rate.

That reads as total cheese, I know, but hey, snarkiness has never been one of the things I'm good at--earnest is more what I do, and maybe that's part of why I respond so strongly to songs like "Isn't It Obvious," and "Dancing On My Own" for that matter: commercial pop--not ballady, for that matter, a fact which usually helps--with an emotional sincerity that appeals straight to the barely-under-the-surface romantic in me, sung by what might just be two of the best musical interpreters we've got going.

(Patrik Berger is also responsible for "Back To Bed" on Erik's album.)

Americans can download Erik Hassle's song "Hurtful" for free from iTunes through the rest of the day. The parent album, which I still maintain is better than that single might lead you to expect, is very much worth a purchase and is available on iTunes internationally and on Amazon (in both locations for less than $7), though for my money you're better off with the original Swedish version given a tracklisting change.


Aaron said...

Yeah - Agreed!

Some great thoughts!

Nikki said...

LOVE the Robyn song. Even if I've been locked up in kpop world while you were gone, I still managed to hear this. BRILLIANCE.

Poster Girl said...

Thank you, Aaron!

Nikki, it IS! Thank you so much for the guide, by the way--I'm working through it and will let you know what I'm loving :)