Per Gessle – En vacker dag, the review
Another month, another Per album – another review! Join the team discussing the brand new Per Gessle album.
Thomas: En vacker dag is of course the sister album to this spring’s En vacker natt and the tour En vacker kväll… I wonder if there will be Ett vackert dygn (a double album) released for Xmas? Per has hinted at a live album at any rate. An LP even.
You should all know the backstory by now; Per recorded his two new albums in Nashville, Tennessee because both he, and especially his wife, thought he’d been in Aerosol Grey Machine too long. I second (third?) that.
Paul: So, here we go again. Another TDR album review so soon after the last one! I still think this could’ve been released as one album, even if that meant missing out “Far Too Close” from En vacker natt. The one English song seems out of place now that the one from this album has been skipped.
Kai: Does anyone actually know why it was skipped? And yes, I regard En vacker dag as a bonus album to En vacker natt. Just wondering why there is night first and then comes the day…
Thomas: Yes, Per changed his mind. “I do that sometimes” he said. I would say he’s allowed, no?
- En vacker dag
Kai: I like these medieval references and I must say the present band setup is just perfect for the mood this songs transports.
Thomas: Yes, this was released in 2005 (I think) by late Freddie Wadling, and was called “Måla mitt minne” at the time. It was recorded by Per for Mazarin, but too late to be included on the album. A very nice song, which in this version has of course gotten a tad more country than the original. I especially like how Per forces the second verse, it feels he really wants to be with this girl, or his memory of her. Nice guitars in the background. Also you can hear parts from the instrumental “View from a Bridge” in this (really from the old demo “Walk on, Lonely Eyes” from 1999). Of course, “En vacker dag” is an idiom for “Some day…” as well as saying it’s a beautiful day.
Paul: What more can I add that Thomas hasn’t already said? It’s a nice song, a pleasant opener for the album but, for me, nothing more. I didn’t know it was recorded way back for Mazarin though. Not sure it would’ve suited that collection so a good thing it was recorded too late.
- Det är vi tillsammans (duett med John Holm)
Thomas: “Breathe life into me…” is what Per sang in 2009 on Party Crasher. This version, which is a duet with his idol John Holm, is stripped down, but has the same sentiment. Many journalists which have heard this rave about it. I like it fine, but it’s not my favorite on the album. Acoustic guitars, a pedal steel and some laid back keyboards. Oh yes, there’s a harmonica too! Per brings back the children’s chorus from “Stars”. I can see why people would want to get married to it though. Per told me this is the original, and “Breathe Life Into Me” is the remake, with a new verse.
Paul: The melody is lovely, so is the production, but the vocals do not work for me unfortunately. Maybe John Holm’s role here is lost to a non-Swede?
Thomas: Couldn’t say, I feel a little lost myself. John was before my time and also played a genre I was never interested in. I will re-investigate him.
Kai: Interesting to see this song reinvented. Wonder if Per tried to adapt this song to John Holm’s style or was it Holm himself who came up with the new ideas during the recording? Maybe Per can reveal some?
- Känns som första gången (duett med Linnea Henriksson)
Paul: There seems to be a theme on this album so far – it hasn’t really kicked off for me yet. There has been no Första pris yet to get the album moving. That said, another nice enough song. Nice lyrics too.
Kai: Can’t decide if this is just a nice filler or it has hints of a never released SOAP pt.2. Lovely song but I’m having hard times remembering it after it ends.
Thomas: Linnea, who was the opening act in 2013, joins Per here singing this little ditty. The jury’s out on this one. I quite like Linnea’s parts now, I didn’t at first. But as a whole I don’t really feel this song reaches me. Another dreamy, ethereal even, ballad. Both albums are very ballad heavy, for better or for worse.
- Trodde inte mina ögon
Thomas: Now we’re talking! This is a Per-song by any means. Faster, silly, nice funny lyrics, and a weird keyboard roaming around. There’s no real Nashville feel in this, but I like it. I couldn’t believe my ears, get it?
Paul: Yeah yeah… ha ha! A welcome uptempo number! While the slow acoustic ballads are nice, you need something uptempo to lighten the mood. This does that! Chorus is rather catchy – Per can write these songs really well!
Kai: 1980s, here we come? I can easily imagine this to be a Gyllene Tider song. Please don’t get me wrong, this is a compliment!
Thomas: This could be the best song on the album! It’s got a back-beat, is heavily ‘60s influenced and the song has very nice lyrics. A slow cooker which I didn’t like at all the first spin. But it has certainly grown since. The bass guitar on this is excellent! I imagine the drums are programmed, hard to tell though, then there’s the amazing keyboard! A Hammond or a copy. Love this! Did I mention the lyrics?
Paul: What is going on here? This is certainly different! From first listen I loved this – it’s great to hear Per using his voice in a different way. Never heard him sing like this before. I very much doubt Per wouldn’t have come up with anything like this without his new Nashville friends. Don’t suppose we can hold out much hope to see this one live?
Thomas: Who knows… Per seems very reluctant adding songs to his live repertoire.
Paul: We (You, Thomas!) need to work on that in future…
Thomas: Oh… right.
Kai: Hmmm, this is smoky, this is waltzy, this is different. Great to see this can be made happen. A bit difficult to perform live though. You’d need more songs like this one to create the needed atmosphere.
Thomas: I just realized it reminds me of “Week with Four Thursdays”!
- Känn dej som hemma
Thomas: No. Didn’t like Marie’s version, don’t really like this either. Another ballad, a piano one this time. It feels like an underdeveloped demo to me.
Paul: Parts of the melody remind me of something from the Small Apartments soundtrack. I can’t put my finger on which track though. Again, nice enough. The vocals on the chorus are good – I love hearing Per’s voice on tracks like this when you can really hear the tone. But then I also love the uptempo overproduced stuff. I’m hard to please clearly!
Thomas: Have a beer!
Kai: Paul is so right and somehow we are so used to hear older songs in new recordings. Which is fine as Per obviously only recycles the better ideas. Underdeveloped demo? Nej, I like this stripped down version better than needlessly overproduced songs, it kept its heart alive.
- Ge allt du kan
Thomas: Another older song. “Ge allt du kan” was recorded back in 1996 by Swedish cult band Sven-Ingvars. This is what I think Per is all about. A medium paced pop song about love. I could easily hear this on Mazarin or En händig man. Now it popped up here, and is obviously a tad Nashville-ized. Sven-Ingvars’ version is a tiny bit rockier. (That’s something I thought I’d never say!) Per’s version has a great Tom Petty intro though!
Paul: Now, I could certainly hear this one on Mazarin! I like it – a nice summertime acoustic number. It’s just a shame summertime is over in the northern hemisphere now.
Kai: Sven-Ingvars?? I think my mother is a huge fan. You know, it must be a generation thing. Nice melody, otherwise a bit dull. Probably works better for you if you grew up with this song which is very likely if you belong to this album’s actual target group. I do hope this becomes a single.
Thomas: Ah yes, the “bastard” of the album. This was added instead of that infamous other ballad in English. (The one that brought the albums together…) Per changed his mind, nothing else to it. But what a replacement! Easily the best song on the album! Helena is a-mazing in this one! It’s a ditty, for sure. And the lyrics are rather silly, but then again not. The little quirky thing Helena does in the fourth “Det vill JAg inte tala om” is crazy great! The whole song puts a smile on my face. Not to mention the solo, is it a keyboard or is it some sort of woodwind instrument? Whatever it is it’s fitting the mood of the song perfectly.
Paul: If you only listen to two songs from this album make it “Parentes” and this one! I just love the melody to this one and, as usual, Per vocals mixed with Helena work perfectly and sound like something from high above. Can imagine being sat round a campfire on a beach in the night and just listening to both of them singing this – magical!
Kai: Great finish to a little different album. It sounds so innocent! Great that this kind of music can be still be written nowadays. Tack!
Thomas: Compared to En vacker natt this album is a bit more somber, but I have no idea if that’s on purpose or not. I still think Per should have put together one longer album, and kept a few tracks as single B-sides, but this isn’t by any means bad. I’ve made myself a list of my 12 favorites and I play that in my kitchen. Works like a charm! And 12 out of 16 is more than fair, right? It’s not an immediate album, it needs intense listening. I give this three solid Leifs out of 5.
Paul: I prefer En vacker natt that’s for sure. Like Thomas has already said, this needs multiple listens to really get into the albums grove. Not sure I’m fully there yet. I will! I too have also made a playlist but included all 16 songs in my own running order – lovely late night music. Looking to the future, where will Per take us for the next magical musical ride? 3/5
Kai: I agree with you both, this albums needs time to settle and you have to give it this time. Just as with En vacker natt you probably need the right mood to enjoy it, it’s nothing you would listen to while gardening or biking. Could be perfect on your favorite park bench on a sunny day. 3/5