Album Review of

Written by Robert Silverstein
August 19, 2021 - 4:00pm EDT
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Sweden has long been recognized as a country with a clear propensity for high quality and well-regarded jazz, folk and pop music. Non-Swedish listeners often hope that Swedes will sing their music in English, while some readily wrap their ears around the lyrical romanticism of the sweet-sounding Swedish language. A good example of a readily accessible album of new pop sung in Swedish is the 2021 album by Swedish songwriter and singer Fia Ekberg. Named after an area of the second largest Swedish city of Gothenberg, Bangatan features nine tracks of sumptuous sounding music that clocks in at just over 42 minutes. As the 2020’s rolled out, there seemed to be a renaissance of Swedish-based vocal music, particularly among Swedish artists embracing their unique sounding native lingo. Bangatan features Fia’s songs backed up by a range of fine Swedish musicians, including jazz guitar ace Henrik Cederblom, with the album benefitting from excellent production by multi-instrumentalist Patrick Rydman. As a singer, Ms. Ekberg sounds quite appealing and her sensitive wrapping of the lyrics around her voice makes for quite a likable listening experience. Between both Fia and co-producer Rydman, the sound of Bangaton is full-bodied and well-recorded. In fact, aside from Henrik Cederblom appearing on electric guitar and ebow on three tracks, the majority of the instrumentation, including electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards and various forms of drums and percussion programming are performed by Fia and Patrick Rydman. Some of the songs sound upbeat, some are quite catchy and poppy and others are reggae-flecked, while some profound ballads appear. The artwork, set against the backdrop of a country often described as being dark and bleak in midwinter, is quite colorful and picturesque. Sweden has come a long way since the cheery 1970s disco-pop of ABBA. With the release of her 2021 solo album Bangatan, Fia Ekberg takes state-of-the-art Swedish pop to a higher level of musical excellence.