Saturday, January 17, 2009

I Will Never Like: Fever Ray and/or The Knife

C'mon, is this supposed to be creepy? 

Who hasn't spent their first night with a new music program pitch-shifting down random songs? It's fun for a couple of hours, but then the novelty wears off. The "creepy" effect just starts to seem banal and cheesy.

Back in 2006, when I was a giddy first time SoulSeek user (justice was served when a virus corrupted my entire computer), I downloaded The Knife's Silent Shout and reviewed it for my college's newspaper, unaware the album wouldn't come out in America for almost a year. I was initially really into the album and gave it a glowing review, even dropping Pitchfork's unholy new genre name "haunted house." 

But like a week later, the whole thing just sounded goofy. What had at first seemed exciting and strange suddenly seemed like a desperate attempt by a decent Swedish synth pop band (c'mon, give it up for "Heartbreats," that song is great) to make themselves interesting. It's worth noting that the best songs on Silent Shout have the least vocal effects. And really, when you have siblings singing aching love duets, do you really need anything to make that creepier?

And now there is Fever Ray, which is just the girl in the group. "If I Had a Heart" is repetitive, ponderous, and decidedly un-catchy, retaining the worst elements of The Knife while jettisoning their pop instincts. And that video? Wow.