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Nordic Music Central’s Top 10 most read articles of 2023

Before we get going with 2024 here is a quick summary of the 10 most read articles in Nordic Music Central in 2023, in order from one down to 10. They do not include ‘Weekend Intermission’ articles which are usually ‘non-Nordic’ (and of which there would otherwise be two included), or administration-related pages.

Sweden accounts for four of them, Finland three (including two related to the same band), Norway and Denmark both one, and the other is the ‘Songs of the Year 2023’ review.

NMC rarely covers big, well established international bands or artists so perhaps it is little surprise that when we do they occupy the top spots and that was the case with Finland’s Nightwish, with its huge global following and which is on live performance hiatus presently and for the foreseeable future but which will release its 10th studio album in 2024.

  1. Nightwish – Floor Jansen; is she the #1 female rock singer in the world?

So Nightwish holds #1 with an article, first published in July 2022, which asks whether singer and front woman Floor Jansen can be regarded as the leading female rock singer in the world.

  1. Nightwish – live show review from Birmingham

Following on in second place is another Nightwish article, this one from the end of 2022, and which is a review of their show in Birmingham, England in November of that year. I suspect that one of the reasons for the popularity of these two articles (and others) is that many NIghtwish fans are concerned that they may never play live again but I also note that many of the views came from Latin America where I know their fans are hungry to read anything relating to the band.

  1. Interview with Johanna Brun (Sweden)

Coming in at #3 is the September 2023 interview with rising Swedish singer-songwriter Johanna Brun, who has recovered from a lengthy and highly debilitating illness to release her first English language single (November 2023) with more singles and her debut album to come in 2024. I know that Joanna is creating a lot of interest and not only in Sweden.

  1. Sylvatic Black (Sweden) – Deadly Kiss (single)

Occupying the #4 spot and this did surprise me a little, is Sweden’s melodic metal songsters Sylvatic Black (Christopher Labi Rance and Miriam de Silva) with their debut single ‘Deadly Kiss’, which came with an entertaining video. There’s always one that surprises you, this is this year’s, and it augurs well for their future.

  1. Solblomma (Sweden) – Pale like a Clown [Hall 1] (single and track from album)

In fifth position is one of my favourite Swedish writers, the perennially quirky Solblomma, with the first release (‘Pale like a Clown [Hall 1]’) from her concept album ‘Tiptoe into Limbo’, which was subsequently reviewed in its entirety. As I said at the time this ambitious album marked, for me, a ‘coming of age’ moment for Solblomma and I reckon many others noticed that too.

  1. Di Leva (Sweden) – Winter in Paradise (single/album track)

Another Swede follows on in sixth position, the experienced and long-established Di Leva with ‘Winter in Paradise’, a track from his album ‘The Hybrids’ – a concept album that takes as its starting point how we relate to our own humanity and questions whether technological development should have been allowed to go as far as it has, but with a hopeful outlook.

Di Leva, who is known as Sweden’s answer to David Bowie and who regularly performs a nationwide tour in homage to Bowie, has performed the track on national TV in Sweden, and it concerns orphans in wartime. This is a new single version of it.

  1. MATD (Finland) – Me and my dog (single)

To be honest I didn’t think this novelty song about ‘man’s best friend’ and the benefits of dog ownership from MATD would do so well and that the other single of theirs that we featured was better, but it did just that.

And to be fair, and as I said at the time, ‘Me and my dog’ is friendly, zippy and catchy without question. Moreover there are some guitar riffs in there that wouldn’t be out of place in a much more serious song.

  1. Nordic Music Central’s Songs of the Year 2023

The Top 30 songs including EP and album tracks as well as singles that we reviewed in 2023. Third place went to Norway’s Das Body, second to Brimheim from the Faroe Islands, and the number one accolade to Johanna Brun.

  1. OK Echo (Denmark) – It is over (debut single)

OK Echo’s debut single was accompanied by a video from a band that aspires to be an echo from earlier times; interpreting compositions in a new way, focused on vocals and melody and paying homage where they can to the guitar-based song writing of the 90s and early 00s. Theirs is a rich style with excellent harmonies and a little guitar solo that is just so.

  1. Dagny (Norway) – Heartbreak in the making (single)

And last…no not ‘Tubular Bells’ (note to self, that is another piece of music I must analyse in the ‘greatest songs’ series, following on from ‘Classical Gas’ yesterday), but Norway’s dynamic starlet Dagny.

I’ve often thought of her to be a sort of ‘nearly girl’, floating around on the edge of critical acceptance if not of stardom, without quite crossing that final frontier.

But I think that with ‘Heartbreak in the making’ we can safely say now that she’s ‘arrived.’ It is catchy from the ascending chords it kicks off with (pretty much the same ones as The Verve’s ‘Bittersweet Symphony’), to a sustained strong melody that never flags, to the acoustic guitar that plays it out.

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