Swede Dreams


If your entire familiarity with Sweden’s Cardigans begins and ends with 1997’s fizziest pop confection, “Lovefool,” Nina Persson probably isn’t someone you’d turn to when your relationship bites the dust. This is, after all, the woman who scored a Top 10 hit by begging her lover to stick around even if it meant living a lie. But with her group’s latest albums—2003’s countrified masterpiece Long Gone Before Daylight and last fall’s return to feisty form Super Extra Gravity—Persson proves a more level-headed voice of reason when it comes to surveying others’ romantic fallout than, say, the authors of He’s Just Not That Into You. “Oh, girl, look at yourself, what have you become?” she wonders in “Give Me Your Eyes,” lovingly tsk-tsking a gal pal for becoming a needy, helpless fool for love. Persson’s been there, done that; Gravity, with such impossibly sublime hymns as “Good Morning, Joan” and “Don’t Blame Your Daughter (Diamonds),” offers earnest advice so others don’t repeat her mistakes.

Swedish pop maestro Robyn, remembered mostly for her own 1997 Top 10 hit “Show Me Love,” sounds like she could benefit from a listen to Gravity. An infectious, rinky-dink fusion of hip-pop, electro, and fake r&b, her fourth release devastates with all the pain expected of an album born from heartbreak. But Robyn’s looking for closure, not pity: On “Bum Like You” and “Be Mine!,” its sampled violin stabs ingeniously approximating pangs of regret, she transcends typical post-breakup fare by refusing to caricaturize her ex as a heartless, no-good dawg. Sadder still is “Crash and Burn Girl,” a don’t-go-there disco number in which she commiserates with a friend who can’t shake her self-defeating tendencies—a problem Robyn knows all too well lacks a simple solution. Some quality girl-talk time with Persson couldn’t hurt, though.

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