Category Archives: +++ Scandinavian Pop

Nina Kinert (aka Nina K)


Mmmm…… Scandinavia. Always. The magic they create. Why couldn’t I have been born in Norway or Sweden? I mean shit, I am mostly of Scandinavian ancestry (Denmark, mostly), but…. ugh. I just wish I wasn’t American, sometimes. This music created by Scandinavian artists always resonates through my soul. I listened to Nina Kinert non-stop on the weekend of August 27th and 28th. Superb.


Kings of Convenience

They’ve been around for almost two decades, but I hate how these guys barely get any love….. I love their gorgeous music and it totally calms me down. Tremendously beautiful acoustic guitar layers and arrangements… stellar harmonies, great lyrics, too. “Quiet Is the New Loud”, indeed. Scandinavian songwriting…. is there anything better? Not usually.

I’d love to see these guys live someday… (sigh)



This Swedish 4-piece is the perfect mix of The National and Daughter (in my humble opinion), and lots of great post-rock elements. Not much else to say. Pure genius, and fantastic vocals.

Just sit back, relax and enjoy. Here are a few YouTube vids, and a Spotify playlist of their EP, and two full-lengths (get Spotify if you don’t already have it. It’s completely worth your time).




I know NOTHING about this band. Just stumbled upon the album “Crystal Heights.” Celestial is the name of several different bands worldwide, but the one I’m writing about here is Andreas Hagman of Sweden, who writes all the music and works with different female vocalists. The music is shoegaze/dreampop/twee and it is LOVELY.

Start with the song “Crystal Heights”… and wait for that glorious chorus hook with the harmony… “change it all, change it all tonight”


Then check this one out:


Mmmmm (sigh).

I dedicate “Crystal Heights” to my lovely Hungarian friend Hanna, who reads this blog regularly.

Hello Saferide


Every time I listen to Hello Saferide, I think “I gotta fucking talk about this band on my blog!”

I’ll give you the shortlist on why they rule:
1. her voice is just so fucking charming
2. the lyrics are WITTY AS FUCK, and interesting (and anyone with a brain and heart can relate to the subject matter)
3. they’re always dropping pop-culture references (80s TV shows, and random old bands/songwriters) in the lyrics
4. the songs are top-notch.

I got hooked on their music when my former student Mazzy (yes, that’s her actual name, after the legendary band Mazzy Star) introduced me in one of her lessons. “You have to check out this song The Quiz… you’ll LOVE it!” And sure as shit, I did, and still do.

Take a listen.

Lykke Li


I’ve spent all morning listening to Swedish singer/songwriter Lykke Li’s “Wounded Rhymes” and “Youth Novels.” You may remember Lykke Li’s from 2011’s underground smash “Get Some“, where she sings the hook “I’m your prostitute…. you gonna get some…”
Even though the song isn’t really about sex (it’s about how the media manipulates musical artists, and vice-versa), it sure does have an arousing/sexual sound, and the lyrics contribute to the sexy, primal beat.

Lykke’s music spans a TON of styles and genres, and that’s one of the reasons I love her music so much. It’s tribal, primal, electronic, 80s, new wave, retro, now/then… ya know. It’s all over the place, while constantly remaining hooky. It’s the magic of Scandinavians and their gift of writing perfect pop music.

Here’s “Get Some” (from 2011’s Wounded Rhymes), and “Little Bit” (from 2008’s Youth Novels). The songs vary greatly in sound, but it’s all Lykke, and all awesome.


Marit Larsen

Twelve years ago, I was enamoured by an AWESOME pop album called “Shades of Purple” by Norwegian teen pop sensation M2M. The group consisted of two lifelong best friends, Marit Larsen and Marion Raven. Their song “Don’t Say You Love Me” is still a song I cannot stop listening to, even now in 2012. PERFECT song. And the best part is, the song (and all of their music) was written by these two girls… a lot of the better music was written by Marit Larsen.

Today, she is a Norwegian superstar (her last album hit #1 on Norwegian radio), but from my estimation, she is incredibly humble and as down-to-earth as you can get. Not only is she absolutely mesmerizing to look at, Marit Larsen is also an extremely talented multi-instrumentalist/songwriter. In my opinion, she gives Ingrid Michaelson a run for her money, and I fuckin’ LOVE Ingrid. I honestly think Marit (with several less years on her than Ingrid) is a better and more talented songwriter, and singer. And, she’s more accomplished and prolific. And of course, for all of these reasons, I have to talk about her here on Underrated Music.

Without further ado….. here are three Marit Larsen songs from the past 5 years or so, and as a bonus, take a listen to the pure pop perfection of M2M’s “Don’t Say You Love Me” (yes, it IS the song from the Pokemon movie)…

and here’s Marit and Marion (M2M) playing “Don’t Say You Love Me” candidly, backstage. Absolute talent. Marit was a better guitarist at 17 than I was at 25.

One final thought— I still think M2M is probably one of the best late 90s/early 00s pop groups… if not THE best. The pure talent from these two cannot be understated. They wrote EVERYTHING. If these songs don’t make you smile, sing along, and love life, then you have a deficiency in your soul.

Scandinavian pop was, is, and always will be the best music ever made.