In honor of another album from outer-space from Icelandic space diva, Bjork, we figured it would be appropriate to list our top ten artists from Scandinavia, the land of the vikings, icebergs, and socialism. Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and Iceland: we are looking at you. And while we didn’t have the cajones to put ABBA on the list (we aren’t that comfortable with our sexuality), here are ten artists totally worth a musical voyage.
1. Sigur Ros
What angels would sound like if they were pent up their entire childhoods in the weird, magical world of Iceland. Todd and I have long held the belief “Hoppipolla” belongs at the pinnacle of every great cinematic moment, as well as at the gates of heaven.
In her now over 20 year career, Bjork has been an odd duck but her music has captured childish wonder at times and excellently mystifying at others.
Swedes definitely know how to dance. From “Dancing Queen” to the crazy catchy Ace of Base singles from the 90’s, you can’t go wrong with some Swedish dance pop. Robyn takes the cake these days with electro-pop so good it would make Madonna blush.
4. Lykke Li
Hypnotic and alluring, little Lykke Li is like a muse tempting the modern day vikings. With the help of fellow Swede Peter Moren from Peter Bjorn and John, Lykke Li has created two great pop records in Wounded Rhymes and Youth Novels.
5. Tallest Man On Earth
Another tiny Swede, what Kristian Mattson lacks in size, he makes up with the heart of a lion and the voice of a Tennessee coal miner. Tallest Man On Earth is perfect for that sunrise awaking in the Scandinavian Mountains.
6. The Knife/Fever Ray
Grouped together as Karin Dreijer of the electro duo The Knife has also released one great solo album under the moniker Fever Ray. The Knife’s eerie synth pop was even good enough to get their song “Heartbeats” covered by fellow Swede with a not so Swedish name, Jose Gonzalez.
7. Peter Bjorn & John
Just try to get that whistle out of your head; I dare you. “Young Folks” ruled the radio waves in the Summer of ’06, and since have released nothing but Swedish summer indie pop even a Dane wouldn’t contest.
8. Kings of Convenience
Scandinavian brag: I once took a cruise ship from Copenhagen, Denmark to Gothenburg, Sweden and the peaceful sounds of Norway’s Kings of Convenience made for the perfect soundtrack sailing past the archipelagos and into the sunny Gothenburg bay.
A personal favorite of Austin. Who else can create wistful electronic music and include a Lil’ Wayne sample without blinking an eye. Though they are fairly new on the scene, their work so far speaks for itself.
10. The Raveonettes
Following a difficult decision as to who would be the Danish representative of our list (Mew was painfully passed over), we went with seniority in The Raveonettes. The Raveonettes started a trend that is now oh so prominent of giving classic 50’s rock ‘n roll music an ironically dark twist.
Our artists that got painfully axed:
Because I like to party.
Austin: Eric Prydz
(Speechless). Austin would also like to make a shoutout to Ace of Base.
Todd: Eagle Eye Cherry
The only serious pick of the cutoffs. Todd loved him some “Save Tonight” in the ’90s, even enough to put it on the list over his beloved a-Ha, creators of the great “Take On Me”.
So there’s the list. Let us know what we unforgivably missed, got right, or just rip on us in general.