November 23rd, 2008 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment
This week’s artist of the week is a Swede, so naturally he makes beautifully melodic pop music like everyone from Sweden’s been doing since ABBA…Except for those crazy druggies in Dungen…Anyways, this week’s band of the week is…
Yes, Joel Alme, who I know almost nothing about except that he’s a Swede, he writes kickass songs and I’m going to get my hands on his album A Master of Ceremonies as soon as possible.
I heard about him while reading the Pitchfork column Puritan Blister, in which the writer named this album his favorite of ’08. The last album that came out of nowhere getting called ‘best of the year’ was David Vandervelde’s The Moonstation House Band and that album was so great so I had to check out this one. And from what I’ve heard so far, there is indeed a lot of greatness to be found here indeed.
“The Queen’s Corner” is the single and what a single! In it, Alme seems to be singing out to the whole world, “have ever you ever met a girl like that/ have you ever loved a girl like that/ who makes your life shine so bright and clear/ but wish you’d never held her dear, never held her dear”. It’s songs like these where you realize why people keep singing about this “love” stuff (also, check out the lyrics to Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” again for more on that). Even though the lyrics of the song are heart-wrenching, the absolute glory of the song, with it’s grandiose strings and gorgeous piano, seems to suggest that it’s times like these, when someone enters your life and makes everything seem to clear, that life is the most beautiful. Even if you happen to lose that person, what counts is that it happened in the first place, rather than not at all.
The only other songs of his I’ve heard are the ones on his Myspace, and while they don’t match “The Queen’s Corner”, the incredible style of that song can be found in “Always On My Mind” and “So Used To Be Saved”, while “I Never Said I Was Brave” and “A Young Summer’s Youth” are quieter, more intimate affairs. Each one is as grand as a Scott Walker song, with the sentimentality of Jonathan Richmond and with as saccharine pop hooks as any of his domestic contemporaries. While I can’t attest to his mastery of ceremonies, his mastery of writing tightly structured, emotionally explosive and beautifully orchestrated pop songs is in abundant display.