marshtide: (Rei)

[Video: The Ark's It Takes a Fool to Remain Sane. Video is basically The Ark wandering through Stockholm and playing on top of Kulturhuset.]

So we're thinking of going to see The Ark's Very Last Concert in september. This is kind of hectic as an idea since there are no advance tickets. We'd probably have to take J to Grönan through the day and Val could entertain him with rollercoasters etc. while I camped in line with a book or whatever. But it might be worth it. The Ark!

We basically missed all the other nearby gigs in the tour apart from one on Åland which is part of a festival and eh. Not back to festival-going energy levels yet. (Yes, Åland is part of Finland. Kind of. It's still way nearer us than Göteborg or Helsingborg. Or, hah, Piteå. But no, no festivals this year.) Oops.

P.S. Just to clarify why The Ark are so great, if you need some help, here is their musical contribution to the gay adoption debate from when that was a Thing here. It's like FUCK YOU with extra sparkles.
marshtide: (Oscar - a-ha!)
FOR THE RECORD: Super video-heavy post.

So the topic for today is Swedish music, which I'm afraid is one I'm spectacularly unqualified to talk about in many ways.

Branch asked, basically, what the Swedish music scene is like right now.

I do at least listen to P3, which is the younger-people national radio station, because it has shows like Tankesmedjan (that one which Liv Strömquist is often on), and am by proxy exposed to current music, but to be honest, it mostly doesn't stick. One does notice, basically, that:

1. almost everyone sings in English, presumably in the hope of making some kind of international breakthrough. If they do not sing in English, they are Kent, who gave up on such hopes about 10 years ago. (No, OK, there are others who sing in Swedish right now. But not that many who're showing up on the radio!)

2. there are lots of girls singing very hesitantly/softly. I do wish the ladies in mainstream music would just go for it a bit more often, you know? Prettiness is all well and good, but damn. It seems to be the only option!

3. Unless you're Robyn I guess. Who has a robot fetish. Your mileage on this may vary, but I am kind of endeared by the robots, even though I am pretty sure all my music cred will be taken away the second I admit to liking anything about Robyn. (Here is the thing: I do not care about my music cred. I think I acquired it completely by accident anyway.)

[Video embed: Robyn singing Robotboy, no actual video image, just music & stills]

So, you know, so much for my pop culture awareness.

Also: although I spent my childhood playing instruments and was pretty good at some of them I'm really not that musically inclined, which means that I can listen to music without the same kind of analytical approach I often have to reading - which is lovely, I can just listen. It does mean, though, that I tend to file things as "like this" or "don't like this" without much deeper thought about technical skill etc. This will make detailed thoughts tricky; I'll mostly be presenting artists quite briefly and then giving out some music links.

But! I do listen to quite a bit of Swedish music. Let's start by just pulling a list from my profile, and I'll work from there!

Ane Brun

Oops - Ane Brun is actually Norwegian, not Swedish, but she lives in Stockholm )

Anna Ternheim

Read more... )

Broder Daniel

Valborg describes Broder Daniel as "the best worst band ever". Read more... )

P.S. In association with posting about Broder Daniel I feel the need to point out that Fucking Åmål is a brilliant film. About growing up in a tiny shitty town and already feeling trapped and then you are also a lesbian! AND IT'S NOT ONE OF THOSE TRAGEDIES WHERE EVERYONE DIES! It's brilliant. Sometimes uncomfortable, since, you know, teenagers, but it left me pretty :D :D :D.

Ebba Grön

Oh look! The first band on the list to actually sing in Swedish!

Read more... )

Frida Hyvönen

I actually have posted about Frida Hyvönen before. But. Read more... )


Right, well, Kent I've posted a lot about before. Read more... )

Maud Lindström

Maud Lindström is, well. Let's take her own words. "Sweden's only official love-critical bisexual feminist singer, writer and poet!"

You can already tell why I love her, right? )


Read more... )

The Knife

Read more... )

This post is basically really long now already, damn.

OK, I'll just leave you with a couple more.

The Ark, since they're so iconic among Swedish bands and one of the few current ones that's really well-known overseas. Although they did recently announce that they're quitting this year. And then they released a single.

The single is called "Breaking Up With God".

This strikes me as very representative behaviour.

Breaking up with god )

Jakob Hellman only released one album, at the end of the 80s, but has been influential for Swedish pop. Kent are fans; you can catch a lot of references back to him in their songs.

Vackert väder )

Which traces of can be found in a bunch of different early Kent songs! (Kent love referencing stuff, for the record. I think it's a hobby.)

Monica Zetterlund - jazz icon!

Some other time )

Fidget were a 90s indie band I think? I don't listen to them all that much generally but I have this one song which I love:

Stop Losing )

Håkan Hellström

Read more... )

Make of all this what you will! That's a range of music, though nowhere near definitive, from several different genres and decades. (I will note that I'm pretty sure that Swedish music cannot actually be this overwhelmingly white, since Sweden isn't this overwhelmingly white, damn it, but... *headscratch*)

& if anyone wants to rec me more Swedish musicians that I really should be listening to, then please! Go for it!
marshtide: (Too-ticki)
1. Yesterday afternoon I had the final part of my exam with Sfi. (I've passed, by the way. I don't know if I got a "good" or a "very good", but I definitely passed.)

Yesterday morning the school rang me to ask me if I knew when my exam was meant to be, because they had forgotten.

Yup. That's Sfi.

2. We have a kitten. He was a stray. He doesn't have a name yet and I admit I am still worrying darkly about potential health issues, but it'll go however it goes, and at least he's pretty happy and lively at the moment. Although terrified of hairdriers.

Perfectly reasonable, really.

3. I can't believe how much I want it to be the weekend considering how little I've actually had to do in terms of school etc. this week.

4. I'm having a music crisis. Why can I never remember what music I like outside of two or three obsessions at any given time? I feel somehow quite sure that my taste is more varied than this.
marshtide: (Default)
Actually, I'm on my way to bed, but I just have to leave this here. Dear Swedish-speakers in the audience, I present to you my favourite song this five minutes, written and performed by Maud Lindström, love-critical bisexual feminist singer, writer and poet:

Fröken Normal - Maud Lindström

You're welcome.

(Well, non-Swedish-speakers are welcome as well, but seeing as I love it pretty much completely for the lyrics, you know...)
marshtide: (Mist)
Yesterday, [personal profile] valborg and I went to see Kent live at Långholmsparken in Stockholm. We probably shouldn't have, in honesty - both of us were amazingly sick in our own particular ways - but if we're talking about dedication to Kent versus a sensible attitude to our own health, there is possibly not much competition. We lay around in bed whining all day and then scraped together enough energy to get there, vaguely wondering if it'd be worth it, then the music started and, well, I think that would be a yes? Yes. Today we're back to lying in bed being pathetic, but we had a seriously good time at the show.

But how do I describe it? I have no idea. Completely a happy place, though. Heavy guitars and amazing lightshow and Jocke's crazy twisty dancing. Singing along and handwaving without feeling a bit selfconscious. Getting completely lost in the music. The crowd was really mixed - I guess from kids in their early teens through to people in their 50s or 60s, and all kinds of styles, and people were really, really into it. The crowd and the band both.

Set list )

Scattered thoughts )

Photos )

...but yeah, the hospital can't decide if I have an infection or kidney stones. So life is really fun and full of tests and pills and other less dignified things again! Yesterday I wanted to cry & this morning I was hysterical and this afternoon the whole thing seems kind of funny, if still more painful than I'm completely on board with. I'm terrible about medical things, so despite persistent pain and other delightful details I will swiftly gloss over I am spending a lot of time halfway convinced that I must be fine really and somehow imagining it/making it up and therefore wasting everyone's time. Yes. It is special, being me.
marshtide: (Default)
1. When I saw my doctor last week she took me to task for not believing in my own point of view, emotions, ideas. It's true; I absolutely don't. It makes it hard to speak, post, write, decide what to have for dinner. I am saying this out loud, again, because I need to tell myself, again (and again and again and again), that it's a perception error, not reality, that I have no worth & nothing to say.

Not being the most talented person in the world is not the same as being worthless. Being wrong is not a disaster. Food is not out to get me.* I'm definitely allowed to post in my own space about things I don't think other people will be very interested in; "I wanted to say it" is a reason sometimes & being boring isn't actually a crime. Not everything has to be perfect. Producing imperfect results doesn't mean I'm a terrible human being. Maybe I'm really not a good writer like wot my brain tells me so often, but if so, that doesn't mean I have nothing to offer anyone at all.

* except assorted grains, which totally are.

2. Isen på Riddarfjärden
smäller som gevär
Blåljus vid Tegelbacken
Våren är här
Du står i spegelsalen
med ett brännbollsträ
Där ute väntar natten
på att stan ska implodera

I'm kind of fascinated.

("The ice on Riddarfjärden
cracks like guns
Blue lights at Tegelbacken
The spring is here
You stand in the hall of mirrors
with a rounders bat
Out there the night waits
for the city to implode"

... or something like that. I think.)

(There! This is boring and totally pointless because I refuse to elaborate at this time on why I find it interesting and I'M POSTING IT ANYWAY. Take THAT, brain!)

3. My writing process right now:

On Monday, I opened a word document. I wrote five words.

On Tuesday I turned the five words into an actual sentence by the cunning addition of punctuation, and added a second sentence. I got annoyed, opened a new word document and made notes on something completely different.

Today I went back to the first document and changed around a few things in the first two sentences, turned them into a paragraph, and began working on a second paragraph. It was about then that my subconscious realised what it was letting me get away with and decided that the sky must be about to fall.

I do wish it wouldn't do that.
marshtide: (Snufkin - The traveller)
A song from the new Kent album! Good god, this is all a bit much before my morning tea, I must say. (On which note, our kettle is at death's door. This is an unimaginably serious situation. I just wanted you to know that.)

I think I mentioned this previously, but the album title "En plats i solen" means "A place in the sun".

1. Glasäpplen (Glass apples)


Swedish )

English )

Notes )
marshtide: (Default)
1. Jag drömde om
en barndomsvän igår
som telenäten drömmer
om svalorna i vår

say Kent. (Cowboys.) I like this song in English, but it's clearly better in Swedish, which shouldn't surprise me at all - of course the lyrics are going to be more expressive in Jocke's native language, both in terms of writing and singing.

(The English version - as in the official release, not the actual translation of the above Swedish - goes, "The wires dream / about swallows in the spring / I dreamed about my childhood / surrounded by dead things". The above means more, I think, "I dreamed about / a childhood friend yesterday / like the telephone wires dream / of swallows in spring". Or it might be the telephone network dreaming about swallows, not the wires? - I'm not even sure why I use this as an example, given that there are tracks on Hagnesta Hill that I like more, but it happened to grab me at the right moment, I suppose.)

I haven't actually listened to Hagnesta Hill in Swedish very much - at least not to pay attention to the words - but apparently I really should. I got into Kent mostly via Hagnesta Hill in English, so I have affection for it (and would still recommend it to non-Swedish-speakers, actually, at least as a gateway). But I know the songs are going to be a lot better in Swedish.

I guess this goes for Isola as well, but I don't feel very motivated - it's not one of my favourite albums of theirs in English, and the only tracks I have a really strong sense of are 747 (which is a really spectacular song in either language & which stands up to their later work way better than the rest of the album) and Velvet (which was only released in English anyway).

2. (or possibly 1.b.) It's also interesting, when I try to translate songs from the Swedish versions of Hagnesta Hill and Isola, how much my word-choice and phrasing ends up influenced by the English versions - as well as the similarity-and-difference between the respective versions. There are quirks of expression unique to each version in every case but some of them are pretty similar overall and others feel, from brief examination, almost tenuously related. More on this another time when I have proper translations of the Swedish versions. I'd quite like to run through a comparison some time. I think there's probably stuff to be got from doing that.

3. I'm still trying to make up my mind on En plats i solen. I don't know what bits I like best, or how much I like it as a whole album. Val has been describing it as one of the happier ones, which seemed like a bit of a strong statement to me (I mean, it's an album which makes pretty heavy use of the word "disappear", for example, though in total fairness this is probably true of a number of Kent's albums - it's kind of one of their favourite words) until I got back to working on the lyrics for Du & Jag Döden, at which point it made perfect sense... everything is relative.

Right now I think that maybe Ensam lång väg hem is doing something for me; I have probably the strongest impression of what it's like of all the tracks on the album so far. But it's still a bit soon to say. It's completely possible I'm partly just sold on it because of the travel aspect. (See below.)

A bunch of other songs definitely have lines that strike me well, too. But I'll work through my thoughts a bit more before I try to pin bits down.

If there's something that I'm not really getting from the album as a whole, it's probably to do with the sort of forward momentum I felt with Röd. Röd is going somewhere, although it isn't sure if it'll get there, or that's how it registers in my mind. En plats i solen is, you know. Just kind of hanging out.

Which is fair enough. But I liked Röd's drive. (And bursts of desperation.)

(I think Du & jag döden also had some kind of drive, in a different direction, which is what makes it a really good listen as a whole album despite several tracks I don't like very much.)

4. Moving more firmly backwards to Röd, I don't know as Svarta linjer struck me very strongly at first - it was possibly overwhelmed between Vals för satan and Det finns inga ord, which were my instant favourites and which I still feel pretty strongly about - but I find myself going back to it quite a bit right now. I don't have particularly amazing things to offer as to why (though I'm pretty sure it has something to do with the "vita linjer / i en tunnel ser jag ljus..." section towards the end, because that gives me a really strong mental image; and the song as a whole practically plays a little film in my head, which a lot of the ones I like most do... I'm also coming to understand that a lot of my favourite Kent songs feel a lot like journeys), but will take this as a lesson about how long it can take for an album/individual songs to settle in one's mind.

5. Basically, I'm going to see Kent live at Långholmsparken later this month, and I'm presumably going to be completely insufferable until then. I apologise to everyone following along to whom I didn't advertise this as The Kent Obsession Journal. I apologise also to [personal profile] valborg, who is discovering that she's not the only one capable of obsessive monofocus. But I go ahead and post this anyway, because we've just had a conversation about how I need to worry a bit less about whether I'm saying exactly the right thing in exactly the right way, and just say things a bit more.

Actually saying anything at all is a well-established problem of mine. I think we've touched on this.
marshtide: (Default)
8. Max 500


Swedish )

English )

9. Romeo återvänder ensam Romeo returns alone


Swedish )

English )

10. Rosor och palmblad Roses and palm leaves

Song (But ignore the video, there's no plain song upload of this one.)

Swedish )

English )

11. Mannen i den vita hatten (16 år senare) The man in the white hat (16 years later)


Swedish )

English )
marshtide: (Default)
So it seems Kent are releasing a new album. Again! It seems like just yesterday they released Röd, and actually it was less than a year ago (Röd was last autumn, maybe seven or eight months ago I guess?). On the whole I'm pretty surprised!

The album is called en plats i solen - a place in the sun. There are two songs from it out as a single as of today.

...did I mention I'm pretty surprised?
marshtide: (Snufkin - The traveller)
[personal profile] marshtide: Who does that? Who thinks, I'm having a crap mental health week - I know what it needs! A deeper understanding of Kent lyrics!
[personal profile] valborg: You. Apparently.
[personal profile] marshtide: ...yes. :(

I'm going to keep inflicting these on you, anyway. Because I can.

"Du & Jag Döden" means "You & I Death". Just so you have some idea of exactly how upbeat this is likely to be!

1. 400 Slag (400 Blows)


Swedish )

English )

2. Du är ånga (You are steam)


Swedish )

English )

3. Den döda vinkeln (The dead angle)


Swedish )

English )
marshtide: (Mist)
Elefanter is the first track on Tillbaka till samtiden, which is the album before Röd. "Tillbaka till samtiden" means something like "back to the present".

Also, in a shocking turn of events, Jocke actually articulates sometimes when singing this song. I understood most of it just from listening! That... doesn't usually happen. And not just because of my listening skills.

(I was planning to work my way through Du & Jag Döden next, actually, but this just kind of happened by accident. Here you go!)

1. Elefanter (Elephants)

song on youtube

Swedish lyrics )

English lyrics )
marshtide: (Default)

The second half of Röd. In this case I'm providing slightly more extensive notes on translation for at least some of the songs, because I've only just been working on it and hey, someone might be interested in how some concepts translate or don't, for example, or how I reached my crazy linguistic conclusions. (& at least if I'm wrong you can see how creatively I'm wrong.)

7. Idioter (Idiots)

on youtube

Lyrics )

8. Svarta linjer (Black Lines)

on youtube

Lyrics )

9. Ensamheten (The Loneliness)

on youtube

Lyrics )

10. Töntarna (The Losers)

on youtube

Lyrics )

11. Det finns inga ord (There are no words)

on youtube

Lyrics )

Now I go forth and work on the patio a bit more! Those weeds and dead leaves have to go away eventually. I know there are flower beds at the edges somewhere.
marshtide: (Default)
Today I worked in our tiny garden/patio until I couldn't stand up any more! Wow. I haven't pushed myself that hard in a while. But yes, I do tend to get carried away with physical labour, and yes, I do tend to forget that just because I'm tons healthier than I was a few years ago doesn't mean I can do whatever I want.

Sitting down and saying stuff on the internet time!

I have a music recommendation to make today, because I've just had a huge burst of enthusiasm for the musician in question. She is Frida Hyvönen, a Swedish singer-songwriter who performs entirely in English, and who has a really unconventional and yet actually very expressive approach to the language. Sometimes odd song lyrics make one feel that the writer just didn't actually understand the language properly and have no idea what they are saying. With Frida Hyvönen, well - maybe she doesn't know or care about the conventional ways of phrasing things in English sometimes. And maybe that is a good thing. Maybe it means she writes fabulously strange and poetic songs which I love to pieces as a result!

The first song by Frida Hyvönen that I ever heard was played to me at three in the morning after much of a bottle of gin had mysteriously vanished, and in my slightly inebriated state I thought it was the best thing I had ever ever ever heard. The next day I still thought it was pretty great, so I went and found some more.

Here is that song, which I have actually uploaded for your listening pleasure because I couldn't find it anywhere (though you can listen to it & the rest of her music legitimately on Spotify, if you're in an area which Spotify covers). It's called London!, and it's basically about a love-hate relationship with a city. London, she says, the way you hate me is better than love & I'm head over heels... London, the way you want to get rid of me makes me weak at the knees. Which is, well. I'd been living in London for a few years and having a weird time and something fitted in there. Then she said, sure I want to be like them, I don't care that they are men, I want to be rich and fine and dandy; in a town-house in London with art on the walls, and memberships and clubs for gentlemen, and I was so utterly sold you simply have no idea.

Frida Hyvönen sings a lot of songs about relationships that feel real to me and she sings about people who don't quite fit and she sing about trauma and she sings songs that're just fun (and funny). She has a really cool voice, I think; I certainly like it a lot, but I'm not really any good at explaining music, so I'll just have to ask you to listen and see what you think.

Another download:

Enemy Within
The enemy within says a body of work is just as strong as its weakest point, and other such truths.

(this track is also available free from Licking Fingers, Frida's Scandinavian label)

Some other songs on youtube:

The Modern
I Drive My Friend

& if you stumble across anything else you should basically check it out (though most of what's on youtube is bad live recordings).

Frida's really inactive website:
marshtide: (Mist)
I was going to make another detailed post about living in Sweden, specifically the fact that it's Valborgsmässoafton and maybe a bit about Swedish celebrations (hint: there is alcohol), but I'm battling an ant invasion today. It'll have to wait!

Instead I bring you really dubious translations of Kent songs, as a sort of testament to my limited ability to understand the Swedish language and example of the kind of crazy projects I get up to while trying to improve my fluency. In my defence, I do think that the other translations I've seen on the internet are actually more dubious, in that they vaguely resemble translations made with babelfish. If there are decent ones out there they've hidden from me! (Actually they're probably buried somewhere on the Kent forums.)

Be amazed, for I am talking about media which doesn't concern itself primarily with gender and sexuality. This happens fairly infrequently right now. (But actually my theme for this week seems to be Northern European Stuff, so maybe I'll just run with more about that until the weekend is done and then see what else I can come up with to post.)

Kent - Röd

Kent are a pretty big band up here in Sweden, but they're not exactly what one might call well-known outside. They released a couple of albums in both English and Swedish, but didn't make the breakthrough they were after, got worn out trying and stopped. I think they're pretty great. They're fairly political, fairly cynical, and know at least a million and one ways to talk about how sad they are and how covered in snow everything is. In the specific case of this album, Röd (Red), one can upgrade fairly to really. Also, this album is a further step in their departure from their very guitar-heavy sound which they're possibly more famous for; they've been moving in this direction for a while and I actually like it a lot, but if you're after something awesome in a more guitar-y way may I point you in the direction of their album Hagnesta Hill, also conveniently avaliable in English? (Sample track in English. I do actually prefer the Swedish versions at the moment but the English versions of Isola and Hagnesta Hill were my gateway, a year or two before I spoke a word of Swedish.)

I don't have clean translations of the whole album yet. I've got my rough note-covered translations for the last few songs, but these are the ones that I've at least walked through with a native speaker afterwards to see if I'm headed in the right direction. So here is the first half! Swedish lyrics and links to the songs provided too and corrections welcome.

1. 18:29-4
This is an intro track. I don't listen to it much. But the lyrics certainly set the tone.

Youtube link to song

Lyrics )

2. Taxmannen (The Dachshund Man)

Youtube link to song

Lyrics )

3. Krossa allt (Destroy Everything)

Youtube link to song

Lyrics )

4. Hjärta (Heart)

Youtube link to song

Lyrics )

5. Sjukhus (Hospital)

Youtube link to song

Lyrics )

6. Vals för satan (din vän pessimisten) (Waltz for satan (your friend the pessimist))
1st of May is all about left-wing demonstrations in Sweden. For reference.

Youtube link to song

Lyrics )

(& now I'm off to continue the ant-battle. Gah, was that really my idea of a quick alternative update?)


marshtide: (Default)

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