Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

Erik Hassle – Hurtful

Swedish boy sorry he misleaded you…


Jessica Popper: I’m not sure if I can review this song and still retain the image of sanity, because I love Erik Hassle ridiculously much. “Hurtful” is great, but it was his album as a whole which single-handedly restored my faith in new pop music when I heard it for the first time about a month ago. More than once I have been so happy to have discovered him that I have almost cried when listening to it, although Erik’s ability to convey emotion certainly also contributed. I’m sure some of you will hate it, as is the way with all the best things, but I know Erik is going to touch a lot of people over the next year, as he becomes one of Sweden’s biggest musical exports.

Tom Ewing: On this showing, Erik Hassle was born too late. 20, even 10, years ago, he’d have taken this wind machine ballad and passed it on to T’Pau or Stevie Nicks or even — dream big, Erik! — Bryan Adams. And, though nobody writing about it would have admitted as much, it would have totally rocked. But sadly, in an imploding industry, you have to sing your big ballads yourself, and you have to make them sound a little cute and wistful, a little like demos. Now, Erik will get more acclaim doing it this way, and he’s an artist, it would never have been about the girls and the hair anyhow. But there’s a monster in this song that’s woken up into a world too small for it, and in a way that’s sad.

Rodney J. Greene: The chipper mellotron bubbles that start this out are a misdirection. Once the craggily earnest vocals and clean, chiming guitars follow, it makes for a good the Fray song, but a Fray song nonetheless.

Edward Okulicz: A good little song whose economy might be its only weak spot — it’s short, and mercifully so, but the emotional peak that’s suggested by the verses and the build up in the chorus doesn’t come. “What I did.. was hurtful” is a bit of an anticlimactic letdown. Of course, it must be reiterated that Erik is as good as five boy-band members at once — this is some expertly earnest emoting — but where it should be dramatic, huge and weepy it ebbs short of being a classic.

Andrew Brennan: If Erik Hassle cheated on me, this song wouldn’t be enough to get me back. It sounds a little bit like Good Morning Revival-era Good Charlotte (which is a good thing), but it remains relatively inoffensive whiny male pop and nothing more.

David Raposa: If you’re claiming that “what I did to you was” or “what I’m going through is” hurtful,” and doing it through an AutoTune filter to boot, do you really think that’ll fly with the ready-for-takeoff music from Top Gun playing in the background? Given this is (and I’m going out on a limb here) a song of contrition, it might behoove the music, which is totally A-plus-OK in a post-“Since You’ve Been Gone” way, to show some solidarity with the words it’s accompanying. Though I could be wrong in thinking that this presumptive MISSION ACCOMPLISHED tack won’t work. If someone out there could intentionally forget a birthday or anniversary, offer a mea culpa b/w the Chariots of Fire soundtrack, and report the results back to me, it’d be appreciated.

Alex Macpherson: On the one hand, it’s refreshing to hear a Swedish artist who isn’t dealing in cutesy, twee electropop. On the other, Hassle’s voice doesn’t have quite the necessary grandeur to pull off a sweeping musical number like this, and his lyrics are unbelievably trite.

Hillary Brown: Kind of scaled back for Swede pop, in that, while it’s big and emotional, it’s not winky winky or musically crazy but more a straightforward soul-baring kind of thing, which should make it good for a therapy mix-tape but means it’s less so for fostering bouncy spring feelings.

Additional Scores

Hazel Robinson : [5]
Martin Skidmore: [4]
Keane Tzong: [7]

9 Responses to “Erik Hassle – Hurtful”

  1. Totally agree with you Edward. It’s all great until that “What I did.. was hurtful”. That part needed to sound bigger.
    I don’t know how I feel about the video BTW. I kind of like it, but it makes me a bit uncomfortable.

  2. Love this song and the guy. One of the year’s best, and that goes for the intimate video as well.

  3. Something I quite like about the song is the weird feebleness of “hurtful” as the payoff word: it brings over the idea that Erik is one of life’s nice guys and being “hurtful” really is a world-quakingly awful thought for him.

  4. Oh I find the video creepy. Maybe it’s the combination of being ginger AND having a fro that is scaring me.

  5. I agree w/Tom that the word “hurtful” is really feeble, I don’t see how “feeble” has any positive connotations though – it’s just massively anticlimactic.

  6. I wrote my blurb just slightly too late to submit it; I would have said

    ““What I did to you was hurtful” is the beginning of a nice apology, but it just feels awkward as the first line of a chorus in a pop song, even one as relentlessly mid-tempo and earthbound as this one. Are we sure this guy isn’t Daniel Powter with a new haircut?

  7. That video is extremely creepy. I can’t help but wonder whether it would be more or less creepy if Erik were wearing briefs as opposed to boxers.

  8. The video is creepy, yeah, but it also casts a new light on “Hurtful,” one I find even less appealing: Now it seems as if this song is a little speech he gives to all of his conquests in order to get them writhing around in bed with him again.

    It was probably fun to shoot, though.

  9. I just have to say, that I have heard him live, and this guy sure isn’t the type who needs Autotune like many other big artists do. He’s a wonderchild/man seldom seen, and I completely love his artistery and songs. Oh, and the hair of course!