There’s a fair amount of Swedish music that sounds like a cold, melancholy winter. This makes sense because Sweden is one snowy place, but I’ve been surprised by how much light-hearted, fun, and even genius, pop music comes out of this Scandinavian nation. Before I ever lived in Sweden, pissed off Swedes, and lived most of the winter in an H&M, I used to dance around my Californian bedroom to The Sounds.

It was cheeky music with a confident female singer. What 15 year old girl wouldn’t dig that? I actually met the lead singer at Warped Tour and my Swedish friend spoke to her in Swedish. I was crazy jealous and I wish now I could have said “Hej Hej!”

Mando Diao was like the Swedish Last Shadow Puppets. Retro vibes, music videos, and dashing men in suits and floppy hair. My Kryptonite. Their newest album Aelita? Totally different story…

Pass This On by The Knife is a seductive, creepy song set to a tropical beat. I can’t explain why, but I’ve always been mesmerized by the video and the slow motion dancing that occurs throughout. The location of the video is also weirdly reminiscent of common areas in my student lodging in Uppsala…I wouldn’t be surprised if I had walked in on this scene back then.

Tove Lo is the newest Swedish crossover success (last was Robyn). Everyone knows Habits, but this was the first song I heard from her. I loved the honesty and nakedness of her lyrics. Also, girl’s got confidence to run around in her underwear like that.

The folksy sweethearts of First Aid Kit first gained notoriety with their cover of Fleet Foxes in the Swedish forest. Their music still makes me imagine the dense, beautiful, woods in an Uppsala spring.

Sweden will always be churning out the hit-makers, so keep an eye on this cold, but on-fire country and its music scene.

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