Forgive me Father, for I have Synth”
Everyone’s come aboard the disco train and Basshunter’s new single Angels Ain’t Listening does complete justice to the micro-genre. Thus having us question whether the Swedes have Pop music encoded within their genetics.
Seven years ago, Nolan Feeney of The Atlantic shed light on the Swedish miracle. His article titled 'Why Is Sweden So Good at Pop Music?' focused on four rationale behind Sweden’s Pop superiority and why Sweden’s music exports peaked between 1999 and 2003. By 2012, Swedish writers and producers accounted for half of the top 10 songs on the Billboard Top 100. The reasons he cited were: Sweden loved its role models, they spoke English well, they were always on trend, their music scene was tight (sometimes too tight) and that MTV had a great than normal effect on them. One exception in Feeney’s study was that their lyrics didn’t sound like they came from native English speakers. To the Indian ear, this wasn’t the case, except maybe with Eagle Eye Cherry. Otherwise Europe, Abba, Ace of Bass and the Cardigans sounded like everything else western.
One of the most popular artists between 2003-2012 was Jonas Altberg AKA Basshunter, who began producing music merely six months after using (well, well) FruityLoops! Basshunter was also one of the more successful of the new crop of internet artists, publishing and promoting his music via online channels like chats and gaming sites. If you didn’t play and replay Boten Anna in 2006 (or the English version Now You’re Gone in 2007), we’d question whether you were even alive!
Like in most cases in Swedish pop, many of Basshunter’s tracks sounded identical to one another. Cases in point, Ace of Bass’ All That She Wants and The Sign or Rednex’s Cotton-Eyed Joe and Old Pop In An Oak. But with Basshunter’s release Vifta med händerna, in the same year, 2006, he showed us his sounds could be diverse as hell. In Mumbai, Vifta med händerna was popular with Metalheads, of all people, because it was so manic!
We’re five months late with this review, but since it’s lockdown, and we could find only one other review in our Google News results (Why?), we’re going to have our shot at it!
Basshunter’s 2020 track Angels Ain’t Listening is for all the Erasure/Pet Shop Boys/New Order fans out there! After a long hiatus of seven years, Basshunter has released a music video for the 2020 song. To be fair, he had some releases in this period, but no videos of note.
What first made our ears point upwards and our hair stand on end was that it sounded exactly like something New Order would have produced three to four decades ago. His throaty, bass voice made all the difference. If you’ve followed his career the way we have, you’d appreciate Basshunter for his ability to listen and reproduce. There’s a phenomenal amount of detail buried in the backgrounds of the genre he unearths, that would normally go unnoticed. It’s the difference between trying to sound retro and sounding retro.
Fans are divided about what the video really symbolises. Commenter Cecil White gets the feeling that this is a tribute to the LGBT community. Or maybe someone Basshunter knows that’s struggling with their sexuality. On the other hand, others believe it’s a tribute to the movie Silence of the Lambs.
Who knows, maybe one day we’d get to ask Basshunter himself!