How to Collect Nordic Pop Music

Niko Batallones explores pop music from Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland.

Week 1: The Introductory CourseWeek 1: The Introductory Course
We kick off the series with a look at what binds the Nordic region together, how their music developed, and how different it is from Scandinavia (it’s an important thing) – and then we look at just how diverse Nordic pop is.

Week 2: The Essentials CourseWeek 2: The Essentials Course
We attempt to list down five essential music acts from the Nordic countries, although we may have focused too much on Sweden (and not without reason). We look at seminal acts like ABBA, Björk and Robyn.

Week 3: The Swedish CourseWeek 3: The Swedish Course
We now go country to country, starting with Sweden, whose contribution to pop music cannot be underestimated. From the glam rock of Roxette to the rave anthems of Avicii via the indie pop of the Concretes, we trace how Swedish pop branched out.

Week 4: The Norwegian CourseWeek 4: The Norwegian Course
Norway’s got a rich music scene, but they have not always crossed over to international audiences… until television (and an overexcited music press) broke down the borders. bringing us the likes of Kings of Convenience, Röyksopp, and M2M.

Week 5: The Danish CourseWeek 5: The Danish Course
From Michael Learns to Rock to Aqua, there’s a big chance Denmark has soundtracked your early days. But even up to now they’re still producing some noteworthy pop and rock, from acts like Mew and Medina.

Week 6: The Finnish CourseWeek 6: The Finnish Course
Finland isn’t top of mind when it comes to pop music,  because they’ve done things differently. Embracing foreign influences early while keeping a firm eye on fun, they have given us big names like HIM and Jori Hullkonen – and some others worth digging into, too.

Week 7: The Icelandic CourseWeek 7: The Icelandic Course
Despite (or perhaps because of) its physical isolation Iceland has produced some interesting music, and it’s “magic” continues to this day. We listen to acts waving the country’s flag in the world, from Sigur Rós to Of Monsters and Men.

Extra Credit: The Concluding CourseExtra Credit: The Concluding Course
So why is Nordic pop making waves around the world? In a guest post, Andy Worsey – who edits the Nordic Music Review – ponders that question, and boils it down to good songs and strong support from industry and government.


Elsewhere in the How to Collect series:
Korean Pop | Japanese Pop | Pop From Down Under


[Written and researched by Niko Batallones, with a contribution from Andy Worsey.]