Release Date: Feb 16, 2015
Record label: Sonnet Sound
She’s a huge star in her native Norway, but it seems like it’s taking the rest of the world a bit longer to catch on to the genius of Susanne Sundfør. Indeed, despite profile-raising guest vocal appearances with the likes of M83, Röyksopp and Kleerup, it’s unlikely that many people outside of her homeland will know of her five previous albums of brilliantly off-kilter electro-pop. Whether that will change with the release of her sixth record, Ten Love Songs, is anyone’s guess.
Halfway through Susanne Sundfør’s sixth album, the listener stumbles across a monolith: a vast, 10-minute edifice made up of sepulchral organ, weeping strings, Abbaeseque chord changes, a lyric in which Sundfør asserts she’s barely noticed “the cosmic war raging in the sky” because she’s so darned sad about the heartless man who took off her dress, and then – five minutes in – a chamber music section that lasts three and a half minutes. Memorial, then, is fittingly titled: it’s lachrymose almost to the point of self-parody, yet utterly magnificent. Sundfør is a bona fide star in her native Norway, No 1 albums and all, and it’s completely understandable.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. On paper, Susanne Sundfør's Ten Love Songs is far from beguiling. Conceptually speaking, "love" isn't exactly a topic pop stars have shied away from, even in its most broken and perverse forms. With her subject matter stacked against her, Sundfør manages to craft a record that is musically captivating without being thematically original.
With the release of The Brothel in 2010, Susanne Sundfør enacted a revolution on herself. She started working with Jaga Jazzist's Lars Horntveth and shifted from an existence as a quaint and largely inoffensive singer with an impressive voice, to an artist whose every word and note has gravitas. The foundations changed from basic to expansive and dense.
Though the sounds of Top 40 remain largely stagnant this year, there have been several mold-breaking exceptions in Q1, eschewing the typical pop format for subversion that doesn’t sacrifice hooks. Most of them, not shockingly, come from overseas, where producers are still churning out the world’s most off-course, exciting melodies. Knowing full well that there’s plenty more to come this year, here are the best pop releases of 2015 thus far.