Gyllene Tider

“Dags att tänka på refrängen” – the review

So, here we are again.  The TDR team meets in the ‘Virtual-Record-Review-Room’ to review the latest album from Gyllene Tider.  This time Thomas, Kai, Paul & Colin discuss the album.  Find out their thoughts below…

Thomas: What strikes me is that this album sounds like it was recorded in between Gyllene Tider (1980) and Moderna Tider (1981). It has the sound of the former, but the melodies of the latter. Moderna Tider is likely my favorite Gyllene album so I kind of like that. On some days Puls (1982) wins though… The band sounds as good (if not better) as ever, and especially Fritte is outstanding on this album! The Farfisa Fantom is adding another dimension to almost every track on the album. He wrote on Facebook during the recordings “Well, if it isn’t time to go and Farfisa-lize some tracks already!” I don’t find the album is as Red Bull/Green Day sounding as Per led us to believe, but at least half the album is on steroids. I know I’ve been knocking C&C’s productions lately, and while I still feel that Per should try new partners, this time the production suits the material. By the way, did anyone else notice that they’ve switched Anders’ face from the preview sleeve to the real one? Some trivia that will make no sense to non-Swedes: The album’s working titles were Sex laxar i en laxask and Duga. I’m not even going into that… Let’s review the record!

Paul:  Sex laxar i en laxask would’ve be an ‘interesting’ title…!  This album is definitely old-skool Gyllene Tider.  This sounds a million miles away from The Heartland Café (1983), which is a good thing (although I am fond of “Heartland”!), and there is a much edgier, harder sound.  Especially to the uptempo tracks.  If you’ve read previous TDR reviews, you’ll know that I like that!  It’s possible that GT have never sounded this good…

Kai: Don’t forget that at least Christoffer is a long-term Gyllene Tider fan. Judging from what has come to the surface, the boys seemed to enjoy the collaboration. And this you can hear.

Colin: I love The Heartland Café but it is different from the rest of the Gyllene Tider albums, I think. This album has a rough edge to it, the sound reminds me of the Per’s Garage songs!

1. Det blir aldrig som man tänkt sej (It Never Ends Up the Way You Think)

Thomas: Oh what an opener! Heard it on TV4 a few weeks ago and was blown away. Such energy! This was the first track they recorded for the album and when the last chord rang out they just stood smiling at each other in the studio. Micke’s arms almost fell off, he said. Used to be named “Är det jag?” 1979 and has never been released. The first time I heard the demo (available on MP’s birthday album MP30! (1989)) I thought it was a cover of the Buzzcocks’ “Ever Fallen in Love” but it wasn’t… Very loud and fast. New lyrics and slightly different music. Love it! This may be single #2, and should be.

Colin: I remember finding a bootleg CD of the very rare ‘Birthday Album’ which contained a recording of “Är det jag?” in a record store in the Netherlands and it has been one of my favorite GT songs ever since. This new version sounds even better and is my favorite track on the album.

Thomas: The first verse is the same as in 1979, the rest is changed.

Paul: This NEEDS to be the opening track for the upcoming concerts! The energy in this song is incredible. The whole band sounds like they’re in the 30s rather than 50s across this new album. And yes, it does remind me of the Buzzcocks’ song.  Maybe Per was channeling “Stepping Stone” whilst writing this track? You can really tell it was written back in that era.

Kai: Kinda suprised that Vallarum can produce an album in the good old GT style. If the sound wasn’t so crisp, you might get misled and think you’re facing an old demo. Good turn, good starter, keeping the hopes high.


2. Man blir yr (One Gets Dizzy)

Thomas: The first single, and a very good first single in my opinion. To paraphrase; one gets happy. Another fast song, more Moderna Tider than Gyllene Tider. Good lyrics, with fun puns and rhymes. The lyrics seem inspired by The Hollies’ song “Sorry Suzanne.” Alan (on the boat) is the singer of The Hollies.

Paul:  This is the most ambiguous ‘Gessle-song’ on the album.  This would fit solo, GT or Rox in my opinion.  Not a bad thing at all, and a great choice for a first single.  

Kai: Easy-to-remember summer song qualities. Featuring an “Oh oh oh”, thus it got to be a radio hit. Looking forward to the live version. This one has huge potential when being played live at the venues.

Colin: I imagine Gyllene Tider playing this in a full stadium on a warm summer night. The song just feels right, excellent choice for a single!


3. Singel (Single)

Thomas: Back to the Red Bull frenzy. I like this song every other listen. Very very nice guitar and some nice harmonies from Syd on this one. I do hope they play this on the tour. By the way, Gyllene Tider again.

Paul:  This is going to be great live, if they play it…!  Does it remind me of Gyllene Tider?  No, not really.  More Moderna Tider for me.  I really liked this song on first listen, and with multiple plays I like it even more.  This is most likely my favourite track on the album.  

Colin: I guess we all hear something different! I love the energy, bring it on!

Kai: Here it comes, the Addams Family. Surprising theme for a GT song. And I like it. Stomping feet potential ahead!


4. Allt jag lärt mej om livet (har jag lärt mej av Vera) (Everything I’ve Learned in Life (I’ve Learned from Vera))

Thomas: Aaaaand back to Moderna Tider again. It’s just like they had that in mind when putting the track list together. Fun song, makes one happy. This song is summer! A good fourth single. And it has the best middle-8 of the album. Fritte’s cat is named Vera, by the way.

Paul: Ahh!  A fact from Thomas.  We’re used to these in TDR reviews.  Apart from “Knallpulver” this is probably the track I listen to the least.  There is nothing really wrong with it, but it just hasn’t grabbed me.  Yet.  I suspect this will change as I didn’t like “Crush On You” from Have A Nice Day (1999) at first.

Thomas: Hey, what can I say, I’m a trivia nerd!

Kai:  You’re a nerd in many respects. Take it as a compliment. This is the most Gessleish song on the album so far. Light weight, summerish. Like a sunny day in a cabriolet somewhere in Sweden. Wonder if TDR will get a little financial support when I point out that hopefully Per’s new summer wines will fit in here perfectly? Not for the driver, of course.

Paul: The wine which I’ll be taking to the concerts perhaps?? 😉

Colin: Oh, I expected them to sell these boxes of wine as merchandise? I guess Swedish laws wouldn’t approve. Summer, wine and Vera.  

Thomas: Sadly there will be no merchandise wine nor can you bring wine to the venues…


5. Tio droppar regn (Ten Drops of Rain)

Thomas: Per and the guys put in the fifth gear. This is another song that will sound awesome live, if it ever makes it to the tour. Fast, noisy, adrenaline-filled, almost as fast as “Det blir aldrig som man tänkt sej” and on top of that is has Per’s coolest “Eeeeeey” in a long time!

Paul:  “Eeeeeeey”??  Nice description…! Another cracker live (Per – we know you read these reviews, you have to play this and “Singel” live during the tour please).  On the uptempo tracks on this album, there is a side of Per that we have not seen for a long time.  He seems to really enjoy being back with these guys once again.

Thomas: He really does. In fact they all seem to enjoy themselves.

Kai: Why do I already have the video track of this song for the upcoming 1080p GT live Blu Ray completely edited in my head? Keep this review in mind once that disc will be released in 2015 or so: Per banging his hairs, Syd going crazy behind the drums and MP gets a little sweaty on the forehead. And has anyone noticed? Tio Droppar Regn = “TDR”. Guys, think!!!

Colin: This is the chorus that really sticks around – second single anyone? I think I have a very similar edit in my mind, Kai!


6. Jag tänker åka på en lång lång lång lång lång resa (I’m Going on a Long Long Long Long Long Journey)

Paul:  I saw the number of långs in the title and thought it was a mistake.  “It’ll Take A Long Long Time” anyone?  Anyway, the number of långs doesn’t bother me.  Nice song, and a typical Gessle-chorus.

Thomas: At least two too many långs in this title! Ha ha! Great song with good lyrics. Per’s hero David Bowie with his “Diamond Dogs” is in it. No one plays songs like this except Gyllene. And it follows the pattern switching between GT and MT. A favorite.

Kai: Just listening and enjoying. Loving it. It has gotten so many different vibes in it…

Colin: A title like this is a joy to type for the rest of us who aren’t used to lots of fancy signs in their typing… For me this is the kind of Gyllene Tider track I tend to skip a lot until at some point in time I rediscover it and start listening to it a lot. Sounds like a great driving track though, will try it on the road soon.


7. Lyckopiller (Happy Pills)

Thomas: The only ballad of the album. Nice to get a break from all the Red Bull! A piano ballad à la “Kom intill mej” that’s very sweet. I don’t like the piano sound though. MP wanted this on the album.

Paul: To be honest, I only like one or two of Gyllene’s ballads.  This song doesn’t really change that.  Its got nice lyrics and music, but to me Gyllene is upbeat power pop!

Kai: The tune sounds very innocent. Dreamy. Lovely. And then happy pills. Hmmm. Well, we know that Per loves misleading us with song titles. One would expect a crazy hippie song but you get a ballad instead. Yes, why not?

Colin: Every album needs a ballad and this one sounds really sweet. Too sweet? Not sure, once you imagine yourself on a hot summer night in Sweden it kinda feels right.


8. Chikaboom

Thomas: Basically a 40 seconds shorter version of the single B-side. Two songs in one. Love it as well. Typical Per lyrics. “Kaboom kaboom kaboom, chikaboom…” The intro makes me think strongly of a ‘70s song which title refuses to come to mind. Is it “Get it On Bang a Gong” by T-Rex??

Paul:  Yes! It is definitely T-Rex. This has a very glam-rock vibe going on.

Thomas: The single version is better I think.

Paul:  And the ending is great!  Love the way it takes on a whole new sound and atmosphere!  Well done GT for trying something a bit different!

Colin: I like the concept of the song, but I have to agree with Thomas that I like the single and longer version better! That said, I’m always a bit sad to discover that the single has a tracks that are also on the album. I would prefer an outtake on the single and the longer version on the album!

Kai: I love how they have bits and pieces of other songs in here but still follow a completely different path. Makes you think a little more about the creative process behind it. Although the song itself is not exactly among my all time favs. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad. It just has not reached me yet.


9. Anders och Mickes första band (Anders and Micke’s First Band)

Thomas: Could have been a weird song, it has a joke factor to it, but it never crosses the line and the awesome lyrics make it work. It’s a kind homage to the late ‘70s when Anders and Micke indeed had a band together. The band’s name? Yggdrasil. (Paul: Thomas fact!!) Micke plays his drum cases during the first verse. This song is Linnéa’s (my 3.5 yo daughter) favorite. Very nostalgic, I can easily see this on stage. Funny how it changes to a 6/8 beat in the end.

Paul:  I was a bit skeptical about this one before I heard it due to the title.  I was wrong.  Another great song and works as a kind of opposite to “Chikaboom” – it slows down towards the end.  

Kai: History lessons. What does Micke say in the beginning? Expected a duet of Micke and Anders here. Guess it’s good I was wrong. Nice tune and production.

Colin: Now I’m actually very curious about their first band’s music. are there any recordings? Great vibe!

Thomas: Dunno, I’ll have to check with Syd.

10. Tiden är en dåre med banjo (Time is a Maniac with a Banjo)

Thomas: Uh yeah, banjo? But no, this is a great track that does have a banjo in it. But only for the last few seconds. The lyrics are about time moving so fast. I guess the title is referring to the movie Deliverance where the inbred crazies play the banjo while grinning like, well… crazies. Maniacs. The essence of this song is that time is slipping away for us all. And this is a Moderna Tider/Puls kind of song.

Paul:  Another one with a strange title that turns out to be a pretty decent song. This one got stuck in my head after the first listen. I didn’t expect there to actually be a banjo featured, but then again, it was recorded at AGM with Chris’ massive collection of instruments so this should’ve been expected I guess

Kai: The most catchy song for me on this album. Having this Farfisa in my head every now and then. You can hum it so easily. Too easily. Will I ever get rid of it again? Hopefully not.

Colin: I expected a crazy banjo tune stuck in my head but instead we get this ultra-catchy Farfisa – like Kai, I don’t think this will ever leave my mind.


11. Knallpulver (Cap Gun)

Thomas: Instrumental track that’s very Morricone light. I guess the name is sort of a pun. Nice Farfisa by Göran playing the lead together with MP’s guitar and lovely cowboy choirs. Do I also detect whistling?

Colin: Western soundtrack! The sequel to “Kurt, the Fastest Plumber in the West”? Nice one to open a show with before the band mounts the stage.

Kai: “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky,” anyone?

Thomas: Ha ha, yeah, it has that sound. According to the book “Att vara Per Gessle” there is already a “Knallpulver” which was recorded for En händig man (2007), but that’s a different song with the same title, Per told me.

Paul:  Obviously this is the most ‘un-Gyllene’ song on the album.  This could be on SOAP (2005), Mazarin (2003) or Small Apartments (2013).  I think I’ve heard this 2 or 3 times and I’m not really keen on it.  I do agree with Colin though – it will be played as the band are walking to the stage.


12. Dags att tänka på refrängen (Time to Think About the Chorus)

Thomas: This must be the best song Per has written in years! It starts off slowly and melancholy, but when it reaches the chorus it just explodes (still melancholy though.). Great lyrics about not wanting things to end, again. I want this for single #3. It would work as the second single, but third is just right. This is not a normal album closer for Gyllene or Per, since it’s not really a ballad. Good job guys!

Paul:  Wow!  Where did this one come from? This surprised me as much as “Doesn’t Make Sense” from Party Crasher (2008) did.  As Thomas said, this is not your typical album closer, but the song is fantastic.

Thomas: Another fact: when they decided on the album’s name, which Anders blurted out, Per bolted off and wrote this track.

Colin: Wow! Just when I thought I had picked my favorites, this song changes everything. It rises above the album, incredibly well-written. 

Kai: This is so Gyllene Tider. Passionate, catchy, surprising, melancholic and vivd, all in one song. Thank you!


Thomas: Is this the best ever Gyllene Tider album? Is this even a good Gyllene album? Well, let me put it like this: the only problem I have with it is that it’s a mere 37 minutes long… To me it doesn’t surpass albums like Moderna Tider or Puls, but it’s right up there with them. The previous album Finn 5 fel! (2004) had some tracks that were truly outstanding, but the album itself wasn’t cohesive. Like Per told us lately, some (half?) of the songs were leftovers from Mazarin and even though we didn’t know it, we felt it. This album is written exclusively for the golden five, and I feel it in the energy and the vibe it puts out. An extra plus for the lyrics this time. I give this record 4/5. Now I want my LP! Oh and I have to add that the arrangements of the songs are excellent, compared to the demos I heard online!

Paul: I had high hopes for this album and for the most part I am not disappointed.  There are a couple of songs that don’t really do it for me, but this is the same across all of GT’s albums. It’s interesting for me to read through this review – so many different ‘favourite song’ choices mentioned.  Is this better than Finn 5 fel!? Hands down!  Is this album too short?  Too right!  Do I still love “Singel”? Oh yes!  As I said at the start of the review, GT has never sounded this good. It’s a 4/5 from me also. Roll on #GTSOMMAR!

Kai: To make it short, 4/5 also from me. I found only good songs in here but I lack the red line in this album. Each single song is excellent for itself and I wouldn’t know how to improve them still. Yet I miss the flow you could easily find in albums like SOAP. I know this is not a concept album but merely a collection of possible singles. Maybe I simply need to hear the album a third time? Anyway, I’m looking forward to a great inspiring warm and eventful summer with Gyllene Tider. And with an album like this, it can only get awesome!

Colin: I guess we all agree on the 4/5. What more is there to say? Summer now, please!

This article was written for an earlier version of The Daily Roxette.
Technical errors may occur.

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April 23rd, 2013

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TDR:Editorial, TDR:Exclusive, TDR:Gyllene Tider, TDR:Releases, vintage.

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