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.
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This has been an odd year in music by all accounts. There have been nearly no big-time rap albums (except arguably Future’s Honest), it’s been a down year for electronic music (just months after I declared 2013 the year dance music became king), and rock music has made an unexpected comeback (with three albums on our list being unabashed guitar rock records). The albums on our list are also decidedly slower, and more relaxed, as I would say half the albums on this list are very melancholy albums (especially our top two). Without further ado, our top ten so far in this odd year of music.
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Sharon Van Etten
Are We There
Listening to Brooklyn singer Sharon Van Etten’s music, you get the feeling that she is the type of person that could cry on command. She sings with such unguarded emotion, it seems like she truly embodies and lives these songs. Her first three albums display the power of love and the search for redemption in every situation. Her fourth album, Are We There finds Sharon Van Etten as content and in love as ever, and the sound matches that comfort: you can slip into it like a warm snuggie and never want to come out.
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I Never Learn
Few artists hypnotize like Swedish pop singer Lykke Li (pronounced Licky Lee). Her sultry, percussive pop songs on her first two albums, Youth Novels and Wounded Rhymes, work their way deep into your head and eventually into your heart. Thanks to the help of constant collaborator Björn Yttling (of Peter Bjorn and John), the echoey and unconventional production on Lykke Li’s records keeps you coming back for more. On her third album, I Never Learn, Lykke Li makes something very different but equally mesmerizing: nine simple but profound power ballads.
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Spring is always an excellent time of year for new releases, and this spring is no different. Right now, there isn’t enough time in the day to listen to all the albums that were just released. And as a three-man crew, we often can’t give everything the full album review treatment. So I figured I would cover five of my favorite songs from the spring, with emphasis on songs deserving to sing along with.
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