Weeping Willows

Into the Light

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Taking the consequences after their less successful second album, the Weeping Willows changed their style totally for their third. And except for Magnus Carlson's characteristic voice and a few oldies choruses, there was little to connect Into the Light with what the group had previously released. The Elvis influence is gone and, if it hadn't felt so weird, Depeche Mode could have been cited as the new main influence, or late-'90s U2. Less unexpected perhaps are the similarities with the Smiths and Radiohead. And the most natural connection is to Magnus Carlson's solo debut, Allt Är Bara Du, Du, Du, released earlier the same year, a rough-edged album with lyrics in Swedish and a direct pop attitude. Into the Light's lyrics are in English, and the album is produced much more smoothly. The lyrics contain the same sentimentality (like everything by Carlson), but are more abstract and dependant on standard pop phrases. Now fully revealed and compared to Carlson's Swedish songs, the Weeping Willows' lyrics can be seen as having been like this all along, but on the retro albums the whole concept provided an alibi for clichés. Nevertheless, the catchy "Touch Me" was a big radio hit and the title track is almost a little funky. But Carlson is foremost a master of the sentimental ballad, and the ballad "Somewhere" and the piano-driven "Sunny Days" bear the most similarities to the Weeping Willows' earlier albums, for better or worse. The change in style may have been necessary but, ironically, the Weeping Willows actually created something almost unique when they played retro music. Now that they're playing modern pop, they seem to have lost some of that uniqueness, while probably gaining in career potential.

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