Nordic Music Central Viking Hero

Anja Björk (Sweden) – Last Day in Oslo (single)

Anja Björk is a songwriter and singer from Umeå, which is sufficiently far north in Sweden that I get vertigo just thinking about it.

I came across her by chance and decided to check out what she has to offer on the strength of the fetching red hat she wears in her press photos, which is the sort that railway ticket collectors used to have in the UK, when we had railways that work and aren’t on strike.

Turns out that it’s a sailor’s hat; and that in wearing it and the £1 red jacket her mother found at a flea market she’s trying to conjure up an image of her being in a marching band.

And that’s half the story of the song, a military snare drum beat. The other half is a sympathetic piano ballad and the two gel into a delightful little song in which she reminisces over living in Oslo, a place she fell in love with, but which, for reasons that are not fully explained but probably include an ex-lover, she feels compelled to leave.

“Good bye my sweet Oslo/You treated me so good/With love and dignity/But you’re not the one for me/So please just let me be.”

That military beat reminded me immediately of Regina Spektor, and there is much of her vocal delivery that makes me think of the Muscovite as well. You could easily substitute Moscow for Oslo.

The song is innovative, it’s snappy both musically and vocally, and it changes direction enough to keep you on your toes without making you dizzy. It’s different. It’s even got all the hallmarks of early Kate Bush.

I rest my case.

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