Monday, June 25, 2007

While (sort of) on the topic of musical obsessions...

I've been listening to Swedish indie favourite turned stadium monster Kent a lot lately, in particular their breakthrough second album Verkligen (meaning Really) which is on nearly constant rotation in my ipod. Maybe it's being off in a strange and terrible foreign land and not getting enough of the mother tongue, or maybe it's this mental connection I have between Kent and Summer. (Which is a bit weird, considering how much angst and darkness there's in their songs.)

Anyway, Verkligen kicked of what's in my mind their golden period, consisting of three great albums: Verkligen, Isola and Hagnesta Hill. While I'd still say Isola is the best one, thanks to superior songwriting and a complete lack of filler material (Hagnesta Hill suffers from being a couple of songs too long, and the filler to worthwhile songs ratio kept on rising with every subsequent album), Verkligen is growing on me. The less than polished production lends it a raggedness and frailty that's missing from the following releases, and the occasional missteps become charming youthful exuberance. It's palpably a work of a young and hungry band. Bits of the same drive exist on Hagnesta Hill, which was their attempt at breaking out in the English speaking market*, but not nearly to the same degree. It goes straight after my (possible misguided) affinity for underdogs, and elevates it that little bit extra in my opinion.

*Both HH and Isola were released in English and Swedish versions. Their attempt failed due to Kent in English being shit.

Well, shit is perhaps being overly harsh, but they definitely lose something in the translation. Observe: first real hit single Kräm, and its tepid English version What It Feels Like. Besides the lyrics being more awkward, the vocals are just dead in comparison, with none of the desperation apparent in the Swedish chorus.

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