9 Songs, 28 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

In the hands of a lesser artist, the girl-with-a-laptop music of Sweden’s Molly Nilsson might sound amateurish and inchoate. But her third album, Follow the Light, clearly shows an artist with a fully realized musical vision. Even the slight cheese factor of her ‘80s synths and the lo-fi production values don’t degrade her turns of phrase, her haunting melodies, or, above all else, her voice. From the bizarrely catchy and funereal “The Closest We’ll Ever Get to Heaven” to the reluctant buoyancy of “Never O’Clock” and the elegant melancholy of “A Song They Won’t Be Playing on the Radio” (a hit-bound tune begging for orchestral pop treatment), the songs here float on hollow piano notes, glinting drum machines, plumes of radiating synths, and Nilsson’s reverb-glazed voice, which rings with vulnerability and resignation, often at the same time. It makes sense that John Maus covered her wonderful “Hey, Moon!” (which can be found on her 2009 release These Things Take Time). Both artists fall into an interesting genre of skilled songwriters playing off-kilter pop on their own terms.

EDITORS’ NOTES

In the hands of a lesser artist, the girl-with-a-laptop music of Sweden’s Molly Nilsson might sound amateurish and inchoate. But her third album, Follow the Light, clearly shows an artist with a fully realized musical vision. Even the slight cheese factor of her ‘80s synths and the lo-fi production values don’t degrade her turns of phrase, her haunting melodies, or, above all else, her voice. From the bizarrely catchy and funereal “The Closest We’ll Ever Get to Heaven” to the reluctant buoyancy of “Never O’Clock” and the elegant melancholy of “A Song They Won’t Be Playing on the Radio” (a hit-bound tune begging for orchestral pop treatment), the songs here float on hollow piano notes, glinting drum machines, plumes of radiating synths, and Nilsson’s reverb-glazed voice, which rings with vulnerability and resignation, often at the same time. It makes sense that John Maus covered her wonderful “Hey, Moon!” (which can be found on her 2009 release These Things Take Time). Both artists fall into an interesting genre of skilled songwriters playing off-kilter pop on their own terms.

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