The end of an era
Gyllene Tider’s final album. Lots of fans doubt this, but I get the feeling it’s true. Sad but true. They’ve conquered all that’s needed, they’ve been on the absolute top for 40 years (give or take) and have nothing left to prove, to anyone.
This shows on the album. It’s a very confident band we get to hear. True, the album doesn’t reek of hits, but the 13 songs (and one instrumental) make an excellent, cohesive experience. Rarely have I heard an album fit together as well as this one does.
Do I miss the “Sommartider” hits? Yes, yes I do. Can I live without them? Yes I can. I’ve heard the album 15 times or more now and I really like it. It’s not Moderna Tider or Puls and certainly not The Heartland Café, but it’s playful, sad, introspective and first and foremost an homage to themselves. Per sounds 25 again, Micke is beefier than ever and Anders, well Anders eats his nuts! A good album to remember the 5 golden boys by. What I may miss here is Per’s goofy lyrics, basically the only goofy lyrics on the album is Fluortanten. Yes he has his word twisters, double entendres and you name it. But they are more mature, grown up, 40 years older coincidentally…
Gyllene comments: “We are truly happy with our final album. Our ambition was to maintain our inexhaustible love for pop music, at the same time as time has passed and we’ve grown older. It’s been 40 years since we started playing together. Everything has changed, but everything has also remained the same in some remarkable way…”
Recorded at La Fabrique in France, Micke Syd says to TDR that it was a great two weeks with good friends. No rush, no problems, just lots of good food, wine (not for him though) and lots and lots of recordings. They recorded basically one song a day, with some additional instruments and vocals added in the Aerosol Grey Machine and in good old T&A. Let’s get into it!
Skrot och korn
Thomas: The album opener, obviously. A sad one despite the music, about old friends. Single material for sure. Great Farfisa in this and strings in the background.
Kai: The usual contradiction: When a song sounds funny, it’s actually sad. At first I thought the song is about the GT boys being friends but it turns out it’s actually a sad song about two friends who lost each other. Or is about GT indeed?
Paul: For those expecting the usual GT album opener, don’t. This is not one of them. As the others have said, a touch of sadness to the lyrics. I like it. Sort of sets the tone for what is a not-a-typical Gyllene album.
Det kändes inte som maj
Thomas: A Stones intro! Fritte takes over with his Farfisa, and I recognize this melody from somewhere but I can’t for the life of me remember from where. One of the faster numbers. “But what do I know, I just play music…?” MP rules this.
Paul: Here we go! The first uptempo obviously Gyllene song. I’m with you Thomas, I recognize the melody as well. Maybe it’s just a typical Gessle melody? I like this – I get a “Tylö sun” vibe from it.
Kai: Oh, dance music. You are all so right, this is a typical GT uptempo song, it just lacks a sing-along chorus.
Jag drömde jag mötte fluortanten
Thomas: One of the weaker songs on the album, it’s still a mystery to me how this became the single. And by “weaker” I don’t mean that it’s weak, but comparing… maybe not the single I would have chosen. Then again, they don’t have to pick hit singles anymore.
Paul: An interesting song to have picked as the preview to this album. It’s not very typical GT, but maybe they didn’t want to release something obvious? When I first heard this, I wasn’t keen, but it grows on you. The melody ear-worms its way into your mind.
Kai: A song that puts decades of Swedish life into a few lines. Indeed an interesting choice and in hindsight also regarding the tone of the whole album, it was a good decision. No false promises made.
Någon att hålla i hand
“Somebody to Love” by Brad Newman. First released in January 1962. Swedish lyrics by Allan Forss. Covered by Sven-Ingvars, also in 1962.
Thomas: Maybe the fastest track of the album, with some “Tylö sun” vibes. Lots of happiness and Farfisa in this, and it’s cute to hear Per mimic Sven-Erik’s Värmland dialect in “följa mä mäj…” which is how you pronounce it in Värmland. So far my favorite, and it beats the original and Sven-Ingvars 50 times around! Well, the original is almost 60 years old…
Paul: I had no idea this was a cover, it doesn’t sound like it either. Gotta love the Farfisa on this. And, obviously, I didn’t notice the Värmland dialect…
Thomas: Ha ha, really? It’s quite obvious…
Paul: Well, Swedish isn’t my first language you know.
Kai: Read TDR, they said. You always learn new stuff, they said. Nice uptempo but a bit un-GT-ish if you ask me. It does sound older than that.
Vid hennes sida
Thomas: The first ballad and it doesn’t disappoint at all! MP on acoustic guitars, Anders on bass and digital fx, with Fritte caressing his Farfisa in the background. Wonderful lyrics on this one. Helena and Malin-My fill in like angels with Fritte. “She smiled with her eyes, I said I was from town. Maybe I bent the truth a little and played dumb, but I just wanted to be by her side for a while…” A very sweet love ballad that keeps growing with each spin.
Paul: I wonder if this was originally written for a PG-solo project? Certainly would not have sounded out of place on either En vacker dag or En vacker natt for example. Not very Gyllene to me, but it’s a nice song
Kai: Very good question, Paul. Time for another interview, maybe. I like the laid back tone of this song, and it still keeps growing on me, too.
Thomas: VERY Gyllene! I even hear other Gyllene songs in this one, “Nere på gatan” for one. I love it! Another cutesy love song, possibly written for Woody. And how about those background vocals: “Bye Bye Love!”
Paul: The intro could be from Puls. This is Gyllene from 1982 to me. I like this, another one that has gotten stuck in my head after the first listen.
Kai: Did you notice this is the first song ever Per uses his name in? Fine, the second one after “Reporter”. I mean, there have been personal references here and there but this one is really obvious. Must be him, who else would be the Three Chords guy? Gentle love song, would have expected it on Per’s solo stuff.
Thomas: Oh I did!
Thomas: More Keef from MP! And we get more of those patented 3-harmony Gyllene vocals. Can’t hate this even if you try! A phat Fritte solo and a very non-Per middle 8. And jeez, doesn’t he even get “Bitcoin” into the lyrics?
Paul: It wouldn’t be GT without those so-called ‘patented 3-harmony Gyllene vocals’ Thomas. They are almost as vital as the Farfisa! Another fave here as well – I wonder if this will be added to the setlist this summer? Would be great to hear this live!
Kai: Guys, you’re getting too technical here. Let us just enjoy this masterpiece. On tour, please (but they never listen anyway).
Thomas: Another one I recognize other songs in. I like the Farfisa in this, but apart from that it’s not in my top 5. The harmonies in the middle 8 are amazing though!
Paul: Is this the result of too much wine during the recording sessions? This is probably the one that I have listened to the least. It’s not bad, there are just many other songs which are better.
Kai: The middle 8 is fascinating, I would like to hear more of this. The rest though…
Låt denna trumslagarpojke sjunga!
Thomas: Micke Syd’s comeback! 1981 and now 2019. This time it’s a ‘60s inspired waltz, that may be inviting people to dance! I’m game. Micke sings this very nicely. He told me he was alone in the studio since it was quite an emotional experience. Proud of ya. And of course Fritte Farfisas the sh*t out of it…
Kai: The most famous running gag in GT’s history has received the finale it deserved. Syd was finally entitled to sing, and he does it better than expected. Quite a good voice there, maybe he still has a chance in the music business after all?
Thomas: One can only hope.
Paul: After all those years Micke Syd has finally been allowed to re-enter the vocal booth. I’m pleased the final album has given him his time to shine again.
Mannen med gitarr
Kai: This song sticks out from the rest of the album, not only because it is so familiar to us. For me it is the most melodic piece of the album, although compared to the other songs it almost sounds too superficial already. Still fun to listen to it once more.
Thomas: To most Per fans this song is old, from 2003 actually, a leftover from Mazarin. (Or rather it was finished too late to make the album.) It’s more or less the same as the recording previously released. Fresher of course, and with some nice Farfisa harmonies laid all over it. Monia Sjöström released this in 2003, I think, and it makes more sense when a girl sings it. Still a good song.
Paul: I like this. A lot. I liked the demo as well. Yeah, it does sound a bit out of place on the album, but when the Farfisa kicks in, it all makes sense again. To me anyway. The most Gesslish song on the album.
Bara i en dröm
Thomas: A mid-tempo number, a tad country inspired, sounds slightly like Per’s Nashville things, with MP on the accordion, and it sounds like Syd plays spoons? I may be imagining things.
Kai: Must be the Coke that flows through your body. Cool and light summer song, I like the accordion here. Would like to see this song performed live on this tour although chances are low of course.
Thomas: I would say there’s a 52 % chance that we get to hear this live.
Paul: Yes, in a medley with “Tuffa tider” perhaps? They’d definitely work well together. Another one that I like – a nice little melody.
Henry har en plan på gång
Thomas: Henry grew up! I hear other, unknown, songs in this too. Henry has a plan cooking. I wonder what he’s planning. This song is true Gyllene. Sounds like it could have been on Moderna Tider really, combined with Dags att tänka på refrängen. Anders has a finger in this too, nice keyboards.
Paul: Maybe Henry is planning to return to that disco once again? Like you say, Thomas, this song is true Gyllene. It has everything you need from GT!
Kai: Thomas, one hidden song you might have heard was “Regn” from Per’s solo work. Then I hear references to Roxette’s “June Afternoon” in the second verse.
Thomas: Which of course was recorded by Gyllene!
Allt det andra
Thomas: Thoughtful, a smidge sad. Still it’s not a ballad. Mid-tempo rocker again. This is the end. Yes there’s one more track, but this is it. To be a Gyllene album this has very few ballads, come to think of it.
Paul: I LOVE THIS! Nothing more I can add to that statement.
Kai: Have to agree with Paul once more. Sometimes it doesn’t need words.
Thomas: The Finale. An instrumental, to me very sad. Interestingly enough, quite a lot of the piano on the album is played by Per! However Fritte plays most of the piano and definitely on this one, and he does it magically. Per plays the Omnichord. The melody fades out into nothingness with a thoughtful echo… Elvis has left the building.
Kai: Yes, an instrumental, as so often in Per’s recent productions and also a very nice and fair way to end Gyllene Tider’s musical career. No one had the last word, it’s only the music that keeps lingering on. And it was the music this was all about in the end.
Paul: I get an image in my mind of a sad clown on his own, crying, the end of the show has been and gone and he’s left alone with just his thoughts and memories. A sad melody – an epic way to end 40 years.
Thomas: I’m quite pleased with this, as you may already have noticed. I was more than a little nervous. It takes a few spins to get hooked, but when you bite you get the hook, line and sinker. I will be sad to see these boys go, but I understand the reasons for it. Gyllene has meant so much to so many. I myself have been with you for 38 of the 40 years. So sorry for the first two… You’ve been there when I needed it. No, I didn’t get married to your songs… but my daughter was supposed to be born to your music. She struggled so she came out to “Strawberry Fields” instead. And regardless what Per thinks and believes – he’s never better than when he’s with Gyllene. From the bottom of my heart, thank you guys. You did good.
Kai: Tough one. On the one hand, this is maybe the most untypical GT album, on the other hand it has so much of this certain Swedish summer spirit in it. Hard to put my finger on it, maybe it sounds better once you listen to it when you’re actually in Sweden. It’s just like köttbullar and this fruit cider you sell up there, it tastes better there where it comes from. I appreciate that they managed to get this certain vibe in this album. The warmth of the sun, the big sky, small people’s stories in a country that is sooo wide. Not only through the lyrics but especially through the production of the music and the unagitated way of performing it here. GT has been something to hold on to for many many people of our generations in Sweden, they grew up with their music and now they have to let them go. The album is not an obvious hit sampler or maybe anything later generations would cover. Those would take “Sommartider” or “Gå & fiska!” because they were some of their trademark hits but maybe this final album is the one that closes the circle of Gyllene Tider’s musical art. It’s as grown up as a band can get and it says farewell with dignity.
Paul: Being from the UK, I was pretty late to the GT-party. I didn’t join until 1996 when an old pen pal sent me some tapes with a few of their songs on. Immediately hooked, I ordered the Kompakta Tider box set and the ’96 edition of Halmstads pärlor with the EP included. I couldn’t get enough! And now, as with Roxette, this part of Per’s career is seemingly coming to an end. This album is certainly a great way of finalizing a 40-year career – it has all the elements that you have come to expect on a GT album. What more could you ask? So, a massive thanks to the five guys from the Swedish west coast who decided to start a band all those years ago – you’ve given many people, not just in Sweden but all over the world, so many memories and the Sommartider will never be quite the same again.