BLONDE SWEDISH LADY WEDNESDAY!!!…
Anthony Easton: Pop Idol in Sweden must be a utopia of delicious melancholy and perfect rhythm — like baby ABBAs made in a lab somewhere near Malmo.
Jessica Popper: Amanda Jenssen is one of the most interesting acts to ever come out of an Idol series, but not everything she’s done since her appearance on the show’s Swedish edition has been especially exciting. I loved her first single “Do You Love Me” (written by the brilliant Vincent Pontare), but the rest of her first album was quite dull. However, her new album has provided some brilliant tracks such as lead single “Happyland” and now this lovely song with lyrics which are sad but very sweet. It takes Amanda in a new direction, quite similar to Miss Li, and that’s a very complimentary comparison in my books.
Jonathan Bogart: I like the nods towards country classicism, the shuffle-march rhythm, and Jenssen’s own velvety, Cat Powery voice. It’s all very inconsequential in that Scandinavian preservationist-pop way, but so pretty regardless that I wouldn’t mind sitting and writing in any coffee shop that had this in regular rotation on the playlist. I might even take my earbuds out when it came on.
Jonathan Bradley: Can we call Zooey Deschanel’s dancers out of retirement? “The Rebounder” is filled with “classic pop” tics like cretinous oompah, archly-delivered “ba-ba-da-da”s, and blitheringly obvious dramatic irony that still wants you to feel clever for recognizing it. The jaunty rhythm and stylized archaicisms do nothing to hide the dreadful lack of imagination involved in creating this aural backwash. For god’s sake, the 21st Century has already suffered through one Sandie Shaw revival, and even if this is some Old Testament-style retribution for the invention of Collateralized Debt Obligations, the punishment far outweighs the crime! The lyrics are actually quite charming, but delivered this way over a tune this nauseating, they develop an aggressive noxiousness usually only associated with virulent diseases and highly toxic chemicals. A plague on the houses of everyone involved.
Pete Baran: Jenssen has a decently breathy voice which she showcases to a fair bit of effect here. But the retro stylings of this insistent song are just too annoying for me to actually like. Despite the lyrics being spot on about the rebound shag, the singsong storytelling drop of the last line of each verse makes it sound more like a lousy football chant that anything else.
Frank Kogan: Strong, husky voice, feels sometimes like more of a barrier than a means of communication. I like Jenssen better when she either strains (“Tainted Love“) or is restrained (“That’s Alright Mama“). “The Rebounder”‘s a good little tune that she makes too big.
Chuck Eddy: Finishing school vocals render a perfectly good oompah moot. Sad thing is, I bet she thinks she sounds free and untethered, not prim and cautious.
Katherine St Asaph: There’s a few seconds in the bridge where this is hushed and rather lovely, probably because it’s the part that doesn’t sound like the epicenter of a third-grade funfair.
Martin Skidmore: The relentlessly perky backing sounds like something from a ’70s TV variety show. Her breathy singing isn’t bad, but it doesn’t do much for me. The song is sort of clever in its evoking of being on the rebound and desperate for anyone. Overall it sounds like an old Eurovision entry too much of the time.
Mallory O’Donnell: I’m glad that L.S.D. from the Producers seems to have gotten a new career as the third guitar player here, but I’m fairly sure that this is the kind of insipid folk music that Simon & Garfunkel sounded like the actual cure for back in the 60’s. It might be hard to be alone, but it’s even harder to listen to crappy white doo-wop in an age when quality psychedelics are so difficult to come by.
Doug Robertson: About as bouncy as you’d hope a song called “Rebounder” would be, so it’s got that in its favour, but if it really wanted to go for a title that summed up the song in a quick and concise fashion then “Godawfully Irritating” would probably have been a better shout.
Martin Kavka: People who wear masks all the time are frightening. Whenever I see a clown (thankfully, this occurs rarely), I either want to run far far away or seize him/her to wash off all that damn makeup. What does this coulrophobia have to do with Swedish pop? The narrator in this track has been hurt in the past by thinking that relationships are genuine and has therefore become a clown of love, fooling some guy with her sweet nothings until she says “bye bye bye” and moves on to the next bedmate. While the maturity of such self-awareness can be exhilarating, the rapid oom-pah backing (which I, for no good reason, reflexively associate with drunken Oktoberfesters saying, “Hey boys and girls, let’s go round up the Jews!”) freaks me the fuck out.
Michaelangelo Matos: Peppy. Not even disturbingly so, just peppy.