It’s 2018, and I am still a crammer. I am writing this, our first ever Local Outsider for the year, on the morning of publication. In my defense, I had dinner with friends last night, and I had this line-up ready for more than a month, and I am working towards an event for the day job tomorrow, and… ah, hell, I am still a crammer. Welcome again to the Local Outsider, a monthly column where we try to keep up with local music – and fail, because there are more pressing things coming up. Expect more of the same this year. And so we shall try again.
Here’s more proof that I am starting to fall by the wayside, at least when it comes to listening to the songs I’m apparently supposed to listen to and like, here’s a relatively pop-centric list of my ten favorite songs for 2017. I attribute it to the fact that I may have listened more to my K-pop library this year (it does have some therapeutic claims) and that things seem to blend with each other more this year than in previous years. In a way, it’s a good thing: finally, some parity between the slickly produced and the more down-to-earth ones. But some will say this is me selling out. Nah, nobody is saying that. Nobody cares about this thing, yes? But we have to put it out, like everybody else, so here, in alphabetical order, are my ten favorite songs of the year. [NB]
We’ve (almost) reached the end of this seven-week series on Nordic pop, and this time we land in Iceland. It’s interesting, this: the country’s physically isolated from most of the world, even its Nordic neighbors (although you can argue Greenland is Denmark, and they’re closer there). That’s meant the country’s had a chance to evolve its culture on its own terms. Just think of Björk, who we wrote about a few weeks back. But also, her musical journey’s involved a lot of genres: in recent decades the country’s also seen its fair share of outside influences, and yet its music is, in a way, distinctly Icelandic.
Last week Finland marked a hundred years since it declared independence from Russia. “What timing,” I thought. But digging around for Finnish pop music for our seven-week dive into Nordic pop hasn’t been easy. Unlike its neighbors, Finland has kept a much lower profile (at least for the most part) and so it was a bit more difficult looking for easy entry points to the country’s music. And then it all clicked into place, somewhat. Like its neighbors, they have had a presence in our collective musical consciousness – we’re just not aware of it.
We’ve reached the point where things get tricky, slightly. Now we’re past Sweden and Norway – two Nordic countries that have contributed a lot to pop music around the world – we’re heading to countries that are more… incognito, shall we say. But then I have a soft spot for Denmark – my first dip into Nordic pop, at least for this blog, was with this country – and, for a country so small land-wise, it’s also given us a lot. I’m honestly surprised at how many acts I have dug up while researching this week’s installment. So, here we go, then. Denmark.