28 December 2015

Denmark #1: Welcome to Aarhus

Oh well, I did say that I will soon start writing again, but that soon has yet again stretched; the school things have taken over all of my time and they, slightly unfortunately, are the number one priority. Now that the exams are closing in (yikes!), you would think I would have even less time to write, but I have realised a mastermind plan (insert a fitting laughter): I need writing practice for the written exams, so if I write my blog during my extended study breaks, I both get to do something I like and also "study" for the exams! It is a win-win situation here! I think my posts might be a bit shorter than before for the lack of time and also because I have not been all happy about the structure of my posts since summer, so I will be working on that too, trying out different things.
But yeah, now here it finally is, the first actual post for a long time. Oh my, what will become out of this...

Wikipedia: Denmark

To the main point now. This post was not up next in my schedule, but I gave it a permission to do little queue jumping. As I have told in various places, like in my other blog and social media sites, I moved to Denmark at the end of August. So now that I come back after a break (caused hugely by moving to Denmark), it feels only natural to have a post about Danish music. Besides I have been very into two of these songs this year (one is probably on my top list for 2015).

This was not done on purpose (I swear it was not!), but actually all the three artists of this post are coincidentally from the city of Aarhus, the city where I am now living in! This was honestly not done on purpose, even though it seems so; I did not even know where they were from until I had already chosen the songs for this post and found it a bit creepy coincident when I checked it out!

Here we go with the first song. I wanted the first song to be the one that is in Danish, the others in this post are then obviously in English. This is actually one of the songs I had on repeat this past summer, and actually I still listen to it a lot months later. But before we get more deep into the songs, let's have a look at the singer.

Anne Gadegaard. Anne, who also has gone by an artist name Anne G, was born in Aarhus, November 7, 1991 (making her just under two weeks younger than me). Anne started singing professionally already as a child and she represented Denmark in the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in 2003, when the competition was held in Copenhagen. Her competition song was Arabiens Drøm, with which she placed 5th. The following years after that, she released multiple albums.

After the release of Anne's 2006 Christmas album (Annes Jul), she has had a bit more quiet phase. Though in 2013, she released the song Bag Skyerne (above), which apparently hit number one in the iTunes charts in Denmark and Norway, number 10 in the overall Danish charts. But more about that in the next paragraph. In 2015 she participated the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix, and this is also where I found out about her.

So, the first song is called Bag Skyerne, which means "Behind The Clouds". You might be able to guess by the title, that the song tells about death, the death of Anne's mother actually. In the song she sings how she misses her mother, but knows that she has found a peace behind the clouds. Anne promises to live her life and make her mother proud of her. I know it sounds a bit clichéy topic maybe, but the song is actually really beautiful and from what I can understand of the lyrics, I find it touching. It has that feeling that she is not just singing about something random, but something that is meaningful to her.

I personally think that Anne's voice fits this type of songs. The other song has a similar feel to it, though it is not telling a story as sad as death of a loved one. This song is called Suitcase and it was Anne's song at the Dansk Melodi Grand Prix, the competition where they select Denmark's Eurovision representative. She actually came very close to winning and I am still slightly bitter that her beautiful song did not win (from my Eurovision 2015 posts, you can get that I was not much of a fan of the song that actually won).

But yes, about the song. Suitcase tells about a girl named Sophia, who decides to go follow her dreams even when people say she will not make it. I know, I know, I very cliché topic, but this is is actually very beautiful. It has meaningful lyrics and calm, catchy music. That Sophia girl is in a bit of similar situation that I was in this Autumn, catching the rain with my suitcase. Well, my story would not turn into this pretty song, but maybe the similarity makes me feel connected to this song.

Anne Gadegaard has not released an album since the releases of these songs, but they are both available as singles.

This next artist you may be more familiar with: Medina. Medina Danielle Oona Valbak, birth name Andrea Fuantealba Valbak, (phew, I hope I got that all correct) was born in 1982, in (surprise, surprise) Aarhus. Medina has a Danish mother and a Chilean father. I could not find out why she chose Medina as her stage name, though I would of course be interested to know (ah, me and my eternal obsession with names taking over). Medina debuted as a singer in 2007, with a single Flå. She sings in both Danish and English. She seems quite famous around here in Denmark, since I have seen her face in many places, like ie. at bus stop commercials for anti-smoking campaign (you go, girl!).

Besides being highly famous in Denmark, Medina has gained international fame and is considered as one of the most famous of current Danish artists, if not the most famous one. Medina's first big hit in Denmark was the song Kun For Mig (tr: Only For Me), released in 2008. This also became Medina's first international hit, when in 2009 it was released in English, under the title You And I. It seems to have charted in a lot of countries and I remember hearing it all time in Finland too. You can listen to the Danish version here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHuWj6ycquQ

But since I am more accustomed with the English version (Danish is not bad either!), I feature that one. So, the song was released in 2009 and it is an electropop song. A type of song, you would expect me to like, maybe a hinch darker shade. I do not know why, but for whatever reason the song feels quite dark and gloomy to me. But in a good way. The lyrics are maybe not the most innovative think, but the awesome music and Medina's brilliant vocals cover up for that flaw. Then again, most electropop songs have quite simple and repetitive lyrics, which is not necessarily a bad. This song gets easily stuck in my head and I can feel it deep inside of me. I cannot believe it is already that old of a song, since it still is amazing after these years.

Medina has many other great songs too, but since I cannot simply feature all of great songs in the world (now that's the dream), we will have to settle for this one, though I recommend you to search more of her music.

You And I is from Medina's 2010 album Welcome To Medina, while the Danish version Kun For Mig, is from 2009 album Velkommen Til Medina (you do the translation).

And now to the most exciting part of the post. Even though I of course love all of the songs in this post, I have somewhat been obsessed with some of the songs from this following band. I mentioned that one of these songs in this post is going to likely (more than likely) be in my toplist for 2015, but honestly, it could be that both of these end up on it. But at least to second song. But before the songs, let us introduce the band itself.

Carpark North, ladies and gentlemen. Carpark North is a electronic rock band formed in Aarhus (wow, who saw that one coming), back in 1999. The three members of the band are singer and guitarist Lau Højen, drummer Morten Thorhauge and Søren Balsner, who plays bass and synthesisers (synthesiserist? I have no idea what I am doing right now..). Over the years, the band has released five studio albums and a collection album, which have done well in the charts. Obviously, since they are going on after all these years.

The story goes that originally they wanted to call the band Cemetery North, but due the apparent serious gap in their English skills, they though Carpark meant Cemetery. When they found out the mistake, it felt too late to change it, so they kept it. To me the story feels rather odd, considering how good English Danish people speak (even some sweet old ladies, I have talked to) and the fact that they sing in English. Anyway, I am happy that they are NOT called Cemetery North, since that would sound very generic and wannabe-badass-like. But when I read the name Carpark North, I found it very interesting and I just had to see what kind of music a band with such name makes! Cemetery North would probably not have gotten my interest and I dread to think of a scenario like that.

Now the songs! Actually I think it is best that I keep this part very short, since I could go on and on about how much I love these two songs, but that would be boring and this post has dragged into a quite long post already (whatever happened to that keeping my posts short). So, I will now say as a collection that both of these songs have touched me deeply and I can feel lots of emotions while listening to them. It is very rare that a song takes over me this badly, and even more rare that it happens with two songs from the same band. There are not too many bands out there that can affect me this deeply with their songs!

The first song is called Burn It and even though the name sounds a bit generic and dull, the song is definitely not. It is a song where the singer wonders if their loved one has been faithful and goes into a bad-ass pyromaniac rave during the chorus. Or something like that. The music is absolutely awesome and Lau has one of the most interesting voices I have heard in quite a while.

And finally, the song. THE song, that is: Everything Starts Again. I heard this in the summer and it has been on repeat every since then. The song is fastly creeping up to become one of my top favourite songs of all time, and I promise you that the competition on the top is fierce. I could go on a deep analysis as why I love this song so much, but I am not here to write a book and I promised before to keep it short. But I suppose it has by now became obvious that I seriously love this song. Lyrics, music, vocals, everything. I am sure not everyone would agree with me, but for this song is very special.

Both Burn It and Everything Starts Again are from Carpark North's collection album Best Days (Greatest & Live), released in 2010.

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