Håkan Hellström

Känn Ingen Sorg för Mig Göteborg

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With this remarkable debut album, Swede Håkan Hellström became the hottest new name in Scandinavian music in the year 2000. The opening track, the extraordinary pre-album hit single "Känn ingen sorg för mig Göteborg," sets the high standards. Like many other great artists before him, he seems to be able to write upbeat, melodic songs while handling topics that are sad and melancholic. Track number two, "En vän med en bil," with its uplifting guitar riffs, and his second single "Ramlar," a song about doing things you later regret while being drunk, stand out as good examples of turning melancholic themes into something wonderfully optimistic. Although his lyrics sometimes suggest Morrissey and the Smiths (some songs actually contain Morrissey phrases translated to Swedish), his music sounds very little like them. He also lacks the cynicism and bleakness that sometimes dominates Morrissey lyrics. The arrangements are very busy, with lots of backing vocals and trumpet harmonies, not unlike Born to Run-era Bruce Springsteen. He sings desperately about doomed love affairs, wanting to leave his hometown and his outsider status, with the latter shining through most clearly in the epic ballad "Vi två, 17 år" and "Atombomb." Including only ten songs, this album contains no fillers or weak tracks. Its consistency is a great strength. The production is also very good; the falsetto backing vocals, trumpets, and the clean yet dominant and catchy guitar hooks help set Hellström apart from most other contemporary indie pop acts. This album was nominated for six Swedish Grammy awards the year following its release.

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