Nordic Music Central Viking Hero

Ove Markström (Sweden) – Var (single)

I joked with Ove Markström that the song title, ‘Var’ (‘Where’) meant ‘Video Assistant Referee’ but I guess it fell on stony ground as the real life football referees in Sweden are so good that they don’t need a bloke watching a video in an office 100 km from the pitch to tell them when they’ve given a penalty that they shouldn’t have done.

I also had to laugh when I asked him for the lyrics and he pointed out that the word ‘Glockenspiel’ in the middle wasn’t actually part of the song. Fair enough, if I was Joe Biden I would probably have included it as a lyrical exclamation!

To be truthful, even after reading the lyrics I’m none the wiser.

One thing I will say for sure is that he is normally a very emotive lyricist, as was clear in his last song we listened to, ‘Du & Jag’ which concerned the loss of his sister.

This one I can’t quite get my head around, it seems to concern itself with a dystopian event of some sort. But interestingly it is released on the day when possibly the greatest ever scandal to hit this country (the UK) is revealed, the deaths of tens of thousands of people who were contaminated with blood products by way of transfusions in the 1970s to 1990s, which were contaminated with HIV and Hepatitis C and which the medical ‘profession’ and the drug companies knew all about but did nothing.

No. pardon me, I’ll rephrase that. They did fuck all.

It’s the sort of thing that shatters your confidence in your country’s institutions and there are certain of the sparse lyrics here that I can’t tear myself away from, like

“Time just goes by, heals no wounds…

The madness is going on, because someone is getting very rich…

Is there hope, or is everything coming to an end?”

Those words are just so appropriate to this scenario, even if Ove could not have known that when he wrote them.

And musically it could fit a film or TV drama about such an event, or about the Covid pandemic (why has Hollywood not made one, if they’re waiting for the blame to be pinned on China they’ll wait a long time).

It’s replete with doom-laden chords from start to finish. I’m not musical enough to know what key it’s written in but mindful of the advice in ‘Spinal Tap’ that the most depressing one is D minor then this must be D minest.

And when Ove starts singing like he’s at a requiem mass what went before suddenly seems like ‘Agadoo’. It’s enlivened by the briefest of a synthesised bridge before it returns to Armageddon preparedness. Even the glockenspiel is depressing.

All very entertaining, believe me.

Actually, according to notes on his social page the song is a commentary on the political situation in Sweden, which is complex.

I just say let it all wash over you. You soon won’t be feeling better.

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