Saturday, March 10th, 2018

Veronica Maggio – 20 Questions

Pop from the land of smorgasbords.


Katherine St Asaph: Sweden’s un-crossed-over star recording an English-language single for the first time worried me at first at first, like she was being shunted down the Tove Styrke route to disappear into the alt-pop crowd. The actual result incorporates the fluting voice and careful observations of Carol Keogh (there are moments on the verses where Maggio’s an absolute dead ringer for her) and the sophisti-pop wryness of Nina Persson (dead ringers for her: the chorus, very much like “I Need Some Fine Wine”). The bridge adds a deadpan, spoken “no, it’s you,” a classic pop move that remains classic; following it up with a horror-film sting, though, has to be Maggio.

Thomas Inskeep: Rather generic-sounding English-language pop from a Swedish-language star. Not bad, but boring.

Anthony Easton: I am on the edge of liking this, with the placid vocals over anxious beats, and with how it speeds up but doesn’t quite crash. It has a beauty, just rough enough to be interesting, but on the edge of obnoxious. I am genuinely curious about what she does next, but this does not quite convince me. 

Ryo Miyauchi: Maggio abandons her rhyme scheme halfway through, letting her main point gush out instead as run-on sentences, like she no longer sees a point in tying a nice bow to her argument. On paper, it’s a dialog fit for a searing interrogation; on record, though, her meek voice lacks the fervor to match the conviction of the lyrics.

Alfred Soto: Veronica Maggio has the high, needling timbre of Susanne Sundfør, with a similar interest in low key hysteria set to strings. Separating that timbre from the hook “I take these pills to make me nicer” is impossible. 

Iain Mew: For the most part, “20 Questions” is a song of fine details of heartbreak and jealousy, with an understated performance from Maggio, singing as if the walls are closing in on her. But then there’s the strings: a stately epic for the chorus, before taking the whole song plunging off a cliff. It could be a mismatch, but there’s enough mystery and drama in the lyrics and their pills and weapons that it instead gives everything a tantalising sense that it’s just the beginnings of the full tragic story.

Reader average: [4.5] (2 votes)

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2 Responses to “Veronica Maggio – 20 Questions”

  1. re: Alfred’s blurb, the line is clearly

    I take these pills to make you nicer
    Without them you are such a nightmare

    a little different!

  2. Excuse me while I kiss this guy!