SWEDISH MUSIC May 06 2002

First and foremost, I must stress that Swedish music can be pretty good. But, like all mice can't dress in red briefs and become million-dollar industries, all Swedes can't grab an instrument and be ABBA members. I don't know why I utilized that analogy, I don't really like ABBA at all, but here goes.

Now that I look at the Swedish Phil to the right, I notice the prominent anti-cross covering the entire hamster corpus. I in no way mean to imply that Swedish music is connected to satanism, though I do not rule out the possibility. However, the reason why the flag is upside down, is that the correct cross position looked stupid. Crap, six sentences, and I've already managed to piss off both Swedes and satanists, not to mention the fact that I've made myself look like a babbling idiot. Let's move along and distribute ridicule where ridicule should be distributed:

VIKINGARNA

To me, the first thing that comes to mind when Swedish music is brought up, is dance bands. And of all the bands out there, there is one that beats them all, the warriors that make all other warriors run home and cry to mama: Vikingarna.

You might think you've seen them before, but there's a great possibility you haven't. All these guys look exactly the same, from the matching suits (preferrably red) to the colourful ties (or bows) to the smirks that can seduce the hell out of three generations. Also, they always have a fifty percent beard ratio. These guys play their lurid-though-inoffensive music wherever there is a dance floor: restaurants, festivals, you name it. Their favourite prowling grounds, however, are cruise ships. You know. The luv boats.

You'd be amazed how many girls/women/crones these guys are able to lay on a single cruise. The biggest Kahuna of them all is in fact from Norway: Rune Rudberg of the group Skandinavia. He claims to have served his meal to over 10,000 women from every corner of the world. The fact that he looks like a hatstand draped with chicken hides doesn't stop the women; Once they've gotten down and boogied for a while, only breaking to ingest another umbrella drink, they fall right into the hands of whichever old geezer holds the microphone. And there I offended all the women of the world as well. Crap.

This way of life has its downsides, of course. First and foremost, they can never afford to retire. Each of these guys pays alimony to more zip codes than most mortals are able to memorize, and the IRS agents are breathing down their necks like lovesick yaks. Plus, every tabloid that can't afford buying the newest photos of princess Caroline in the nude devote at least three pages a week to these guys and their shenanigans.

Right, the music. The dominant instruments are keyboards and saxophones, and all the songs are played just fast enough to encourage dancing and slow enough to avoid lawsuits from osteoporosis patients. Greatest hits include Ten Thousand Red Roses and Your Yellow-Brown Eyes.

EILERT PILARM

I've gone through countless debates about this guy: is he just a prank from the label Green Pig Productions, or is he really retarded? I'm pretty sure I'll never never find out, so I won't dwell on that subject.

Eilert is really passionate about the songs of Elvis Presley. In fact, all his albums are Elvis covers and nothing but Elvis covers, with occational exceptions when it comes to Tom Jones or Bing Crosby. The problem is that he clearly has no knowledge of the English language. For instance, he's convinced the lyrics to Are You Lonesome Tonight go "Are you sorry we drift-never-part". I'm still trying to figure out what the hell he's singing on Hound Dog, but this far I've got "You ann never caught a rabb-an-nubbu-chu-chu-nu friend of my". I'm telling you, Lucas could hire him to cite Elvis lyrics in the next episode of Star Wars, and people will accuse Wicket the Ewok of Toto plagarism before they even suspect Eilert.

Of course, Eilert practically lives on the ferry between Sweden and Denmark, where he shares the magic of Elvis with dead-drunk German tourists. Today, freshmen from both Danish and Swedish universities take this ride as a rite of passage. The Native Americans searched their power animal, Scandinavians listen to Eilert on a boat and get so drunk they don't remember their own mothers' names. Same thing.

The last time I heard anything from him was six months ago, during a commercial break on Swedish television. He magically appeared in somebody's living room and started shaking his hips to White Christmas in all his Elvis/Santa/Jabba-hybrid glory. It was truly an awesome moment. And I don't mean awesome in a Bill And Ted's Bogus Journey kind of way, I mean awesome as in witnessing a supernova destroy a galaxy.

I once had an Eilert CD, but some guy borrowed it and never returned it before he moved. As much as I want it back, I can't bring myself to buy the same Eilert album twice, so I guess I'm screwed. However, I have been able to obtain some samples for you. So sit back, relax, and listen to the soothing voice of Eilert Pilarm. Evvybody whole slebock dancin tode yalehous rak.

Samples:

Eilert Pilarm - Bluebird (245 KB)

Eilert Pilarm - It's Now or Never (282 KB)

And, as a special bonus we have also included one of the commercials Eilert has appeared in! Not part of the advertisement campaign mentioned above, but Eilert still is singing in someone's living room, and he still has a red costume.

Commercial w/Jailhouse Rock (1.8 MB)

ROLAND CEDERMARK

Another Elvis enthusiast: Roland Cedermark has devoted several of his albums to The King. My musician friends tell me he's a god on the accordion, but I just can't make myself appreciate his genius.

I once bought my sister one of his CDs for Christmas, and have suffered ever since. Last Christmas the final blow hit me - a Christmas compilation by the stars of The Bold and the Beautiful. If you think Santa Claus Is Coming Tonight sounds ominous to begin with, imagine Sally Spectra's version. Bhurrrrr...

YAKI-DA

I'm sorry about the quality of the images here, but there simply aren't very many available on the net. Yes, it would appear the world has completely forgotten about Yaki-Da.

What does 'Yaki-Da' mean, you ask? I have no idea. It could be Hungarian for 'kitchen appliance', and it could be an ancient Slovakian religion. You never really could tell in the early nineties. I can tell you where they got the music from, though.

Jonas Berggren! If you didn't know, this man is the mastermind behind Ace of Base. Yes, this is the man who brought you Happy Nation, Life Is a Flower and The Sign. But what has all this got to do with Yaki-Da's Marie Knutsen and Linda Schönberg? Well, when Ace of Base were still going strong - they're coming back, by the way - they had some material that simply didn't cut it. You know where I'm going with this, right?

Yes, like Precious, aunt Florence's little terrier, Yaki-Da eats whatever falls from the table. Pride, Yaki-Da's first and only album was thus brought to the world. Imagine a world without Pride of Africa, Teaser on the Catwalk, Mejor Maņana, Now I Want Love and Another Better World - it could have been reality, hadn't these two lovely Swedes shown us love and how to share it.

I just have to make sure you catch my sarcasm: Yaki-Da were plain awful. They couldn't sing, the music was absolute shit, and their hit single I Saw You Dancing was on the radio ALL THE TIME. I'll let you hear for yourself in a couple of seconds, but first let me tell you a story.

Three years ago, I met a guy in film class. He was absolutely nuts about Yaki-Da, and his parties had this weird Yaki-DA/Blues Brothers amalgam theme to them. Whenever he met girls, he asked them if they happened to own a copy of Pride, and one day he hit the jackpot. He knew it was true love. And guess what, they're still together today. All thanks to Swedish music. I met him a few days ago at a bachelor party, and imagine his joy when I told him Ace of Base had discarded some of the material planned for their next release. It might happen.

Samples:

Yaki-Da - I Saw You Dancing (124 KB)

Yaki-Da - Just a Dream (54 KB)

...And that's all the Swedish music I care to write about. This article has been four months in the making, and was lost twice due to my stupid Compaq Presario, so I'm really glad I finally got to conclude it. Normally I would have plethora of links handy right now, but since I'm three blocks away from an available Internet source, you'll just have to go looking yourself. I've got one in my head, though:

Eilert Pilarm - Official Site

Enjoy.