Best Albums of 2017
selected by 4 Swedish critics

Agent Blå <BR> “Agent Blå”

Agent Blå
“Agent Blå”

The death pop-scene in Gothenburg is a well that never ever could dry up. If it began with Broder Daniel in the nineties it surely continued with Makthaverskan in the late 00’s. Now its been 10 more years and Makthaverskan released a beatiful album this year but for me the real highlight was to finally lay my hands on Agent Blå’s debut album.

It’s nearly three years since they wrote the debut single Strand and I still hold that one as the best debut single released in Sweden the last seven years. The best thing is that the album contains nine more songs with the same level of quality. Emelie Alatalo’s voice is so huge and she delievers the words with a big amount of credibility and honesty.

Agent Blå isn’t only about pounding drums and pattering guitars like most of the bands on the death pop-scene. In songs like ”Frustrerad” (Frustrated) they bring melodies and rythm and they show that they really can write great pop songs without losing the dark heart. You could say that Agent Blå got it all covered, and this is debut album is something to hold close to your heart when you need something beside you through life. (Fabian Forslund)

♪♫ Listen: “Strand” + album stream

Agent Blå on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.

Frida Sundemo <BR> “Flashbacks & Futures”

Frida Sundemo
“Flashbacks & Futures”

During the last year, the Swedish artist Frida Sundemo has released a handful of singles that lead to high expectations on her long-awaited debut album. First out was the hopeful and energic single ‘We Are Dreamers’, followed by two of the most beautiful ballads released this year; ‘It’s OK’ and ‘Gold’.

In the beginning of October, the album ‘Flashbacks & Futures’ arrived and the listener got invited to a minimalistic trip to space filled with stunning soundscapes shaped by dramatic strings and genial synthesizers.

‘Flashbacks & Futures’ is a delicate collection of fourteen songs, and there is no doubt that the songs have been handpicked and gently placed to provide the listener with the exact right feeling during the path of the album. Prepare for takeoff with ‘Prelude’, followed by the faultless title track and get totally blown away by the graceful ballad titled ‘Circles’.

This selection of work is a clear proof that Frida Sundemo should be crowned as one of the best pop artists of the last year. (Elin Strömberg)

♪♫ Listen: “We Are Dreamers” + album stream

Frida Sundemo on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.

Katohjärta <BR> “Inget kommer att ordna sig”

“Inget kommer att ordna sig”

Earlier this year we talked about the revival of classic guitar-indie after some electronic years. One of the bands that represent it but never would admit that the genre’s been dead is Katohjärta (name from the tale “Mio min Mio”) from the north of Sweden.

Katohjärta makes music like time stands still but with contemporary lyrics. The album title ”Nothing is going to be all right” sums up their approach to life and death. The lyrics are about social anxiety, alienation, lost love and mental illness, but not at all in a self-pity way. You could call it academic emo-pop because the lyrics are really clever and they twist words in an ingenious way.

The sound is quite classic with guitars, drums and bass but without being dull. The music puts the lyrics in front and makes the songs larger, bringing ponderosity to the stories. Even though they are quite sad, about loneliness and self-hatred, I don’t really feel sad when I listen to it. More like the opposite. In this album I found a friend and someone to hold.

No matter what the title is, the songs fill me up with hopefulness and I’m beginning to think that I could walk through life again. Maybe because knowing there’s someone else out there feeling the same or even worse makes it all better. So yes, this album is special, and I think listeners all over the world can understand every single word, although it’s entirely in Swedish. (Fabian Forslund)

♪♫ Listen: “Vita Lögner” + album stream

Katohjärta on Soundcloud, Facebook, Instagram.

Pink Milk <BR> “Purple”

Pink Milk

My love for the Swedish band Pink Milk started last year by the time they released their debut single ‘Detroit’ followed by their hauntingly beautiful cover on Foreigner’s ‘I Want To Know What Love Is’. A breathtaking start from a duo that was formed in 2015 by Maria Forslund and Edward Forslund (Riddarna).

Pink Milk creates their own beautiful and atmospheric world built on dark soundscapes and endless reverb. A stunning combination that really comes through on their debut album ‘Purple’ that was released during this autumn.

The album was recorded on an isolated location on the Swedish island Gotland and it’s produced by the duo itself, managing to trigger their own signature during the ten tracks that the album contains.

With their perfectly created balance between dreamy and dark scenery, they sure reach perfection on their first full-length album. (Elin Strömberg)

♪♫ Listen: “Detroit” + album stream

Pink Milk on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.

Säkert! <BR> “Däggdjur”


Some of you may know Annika Norlin as ’Hello Saferide’ but when she does music in Swedish she calls herself Säkert! (For sure). The debut album with Säkert was released back in 2007 and since then she’s been a huge impact on the swedish music scene. Her way to write lyrics together with a tremendous palette of colours and sounds is incomparable.

On this album, called Däggdjur (Mammal) one thing is different from before because beside Annika’s voice you´ll find 11 other voices. At first it was kind of strange that an solo-album includes so many different people but after a while you’ll notice that it adds depth to the songs. The voices belongs to friends like Jacob Hellman, Lovisa Näsström and Emil Svanängen (also known as Loney Dear) and they’re all fit for purpose.

It doesn’t really matter who’s in front of the microphone though, every part in every song is Annika Norlin and her spirit flows like spring water through every inch of this masterpiece. Her way to write lyrics about the society, about relationships and life itself with a female perspective is irresistible. It’s not very often that you feel that you’re making a progress as a social creature thanks to just music.

Even though the lyrics is in focus when we talk about Säkert! we can’t neglect the production behind it. In songs like Grottorna (The Caves) the soundscape even makes you wanna dance while lying in bed and crying to the lyrics.

I do feel that Annika Norlins music makes my life richer and that’s like the most precious thing a musician can do today. This is by far the most played album in my home this year and I will carry this one through forever. (Fabian Forslund)

♪♫ Listen: “Kommer hända” + album stream

Säkert! on Soundcloud, Facebook, Instagram, www.

Summer Heart <BR>“101”

Summer Heart

It’s been nearly seven years since I first heard of Summer Heart’s dreamy song ”Please Stay” and since then I’ve followed every single step of David Alexander. It surely been a journey with DIY as a star of guidance. From early homemade lofi-pop to a more gleamy and luxurys production but always on his own and always with the highest quality in mind.

The album ”101” could be seen as the end of his first years as a musician. This is his examination and his way to show what he become after years of making music. It’s actually been a lot of releases the past year but this time it’s different and David himself means that this is the first time in a long long time that he make music for himself. Before “101” he often thought about what his fans or what his label wanted him to do but now he return to the basics and just let creativity flow.

It’s also the first time in a long time that David been proud and satisfied over his work and when you listen to it you’ll notice the creativity and you understand the satisfaction. The album is eclectic (in a good way that is) and a warm mixture of rnb, soul, neodisco and chillwave. The listener get thrown between different emotions and he manage to capture the complexity of life.

Sometimes I want to dance on beaches, sometimes I just want to cry alone in my bed, sometimes I want to hide on the backstreets and sometimes I want to scream from rooftops. He combines hazy beats with the rythm in the vocals and songs like ”Can’t Wait” is just glimmering.

Summer Heart been one of Sweden’s best kept secret for a while now and with this album he consolidates his place as one of our best artist in the small but adorable genre called chillwave-soul-rnb-hifi-lofi-balearic-sit down and dance-pop. (Fabian Forslund)

♪♫ Listen: “101” + album stream

Summer Heart on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

The Embassy “Background Music For Action People”

The Embassy “Background Music For Action People”

There is something certain with the mysterious duo that is hard to pinpoint, but when “Background Music For Action People” came, I would not listen to anything else for weeks. Club kids, music enthusiasts, journalists, well, almost everyone that gets in contact with The Embassy’s music falls deeply and madly in love.

They have an unwillingness to stagnate, steadily exploring musical territories making tunes that suit for smoky late-night-dancefloors as well as your speakers at home. The album’s opening track “Abstract” start out as if the listener is dreaming, with vocals sounding from afar suddenly interrupted by sirens that morph into club beats and 80s vibes.

They follow up with the real banger MD where housebeats meets heavier tunes than what we are used to hear from The Embassy. A trend that seems to continue in the just as good track Nowhere where a cool and almost a bit cocky voice sings “I won’t be bothered” to piano beats, making it clear for the listener that they are moving towards a heavier soundscape than previous releases.

The Embassy is, as always, at their best when doing their own thing, something that manifests well in “Background Music For Action People”. (Amanda Båmstedt)

♪♫ Listen: “Nowhere” + album stream

The Embassy on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, www.

The Sound of Arrows <BR> “Stay Free”

The Sound of Arrows
“Stay Free”

It’s been a while since we heard from the Swedish pop duo The Sound of Arrows. It was in 2011 when they released the album Voyage and spread their magic with singles like “Into the clouds” and “M.A.G.I.C.” They’ve even created a whole new genre for their music: Widescreen pop. A name that suited the style and music well as it was a bit over the top in the production.

Now, six years after the debut album Stefan Storm and Oskar Gullstrand returns with “Stay Free”. Like the first album the production is very much coloured by their own record collection. We hear influences from Enigma, William Orbit and above all the 90s.

If the first album was labeled Widescreen pop with that big production and Vangelis-esque style. The sophomore album keeps the magical feel from the first one, but is a bit more mature and dark. This is definitely something I personally like about the album.

Like most other things, The Sound of Arrows have evolved as a band over the course of time, to become even more interesting. (Johan Alexed)

♪♫ Listen: “Stay Free” + album stream

The Sound of Arrows on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.

wy <BR> “Okay”


I was already hooked when the Malmö based duo WY released their EP earlier this year, little did I know that Okay would be one of my absolute favourites from 2017’s album releases.

On “Okay” Ebba Ågren sings about feeling fragile and having anxiety but still persevering. The lyrics are personal, raw, strong and revealing combined with delicate guitar tunes that turns their influences to shoegaze and indie music.

Okay contains a delicate clash of feelings, fears and desires that are allowed to go hand in hand. It’s especially tracks like “Bathrooms”, “You + I” and “Gone Wild” that make the album, where Ebba’s steady and clear voice makes us believe every word she sings.

Tracks like “Indolence” and “Gone Wild” also really manages to capture the emotions in their soundscape as well, starting out mild just to turn into stormy seas going heavy at the end making “Okay” one of the best albums to listen to when feeling emotional. (Amanda Båmstedt)

♪♫ Listen: “Bathrooms” + album stream

wy on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, www.

Zara Larsson <BR> “So Good”

Zara Larsson
“So Good”

If there is one Swedish artist to define 2017 it is Zara Larsson. She has been one of the front runners of the female revolution in the music industry, and an amazing role model for so many young women around the world. She dares to speak her mind and stand tall while a lot of men whimper.

As an artist you need the voice and singles to go with that revolution and Larsson is blessed with both. In 2015 she had a huge success with the singles “Lush Life” and her collaboration with the British artist and producer MNEK on the single “Never forget you”. That success continued with the official UEFA Euro song of 2016 “This one’s for you” together with David Guetta.

Now with the album “So Good”, Zara is working with talented Swedish songwriters like Jocke Berg, Ana Diaz, Erik Hassle and Christian Walz (together with acclaimed international equivalents). Together they’ve made a strong album that mixes the Nordic pop melodies with American R&B and strong ballads. It’s definitely and album for the charts, with the collaborations together with Clean Bandits as her strongest moment on the album.

But it’s also a chance for Zara to inspire other women out there with some of the songs. Like the song “Make that money girl”, where she sings “You can be the next female President”. That’s when Zara is sparkling in the limelight. When she both deliver strong pop songs and help building self esteem for young women. (Johan Alexed)

♪♫ Listen: “Lush Life” + album stream

Zara Larsson on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, www.