“It Came Too Fast”… but perhaps not soon enough?

It’s taken a long, very long time, but finally, we have been exposed to a different side of Per Gessle. 

Perhaps there have been times in the past where Per has delved into his memoirs and expressed his inner most personal thoughts and feelings in Swedish, but this feels like the first time he’s really opening up in English – and he’s doing so in “It Came Too Fast”. 

Recently, Per has, somewhat uncharacteristically, spoken openly in the media about the unfortunate loss of his mother, sister and brother – Per has explained that a lot of the material written for his previous Swedish albums “En vacker natt and En vacker dag”  were somewhat inspired by those tragic events. 

I feel as though, those feelings and thoughts have manifested themselves into “It Came Too Fast”. This song feels like a look back, it feels like reminiscing and reflecting on how quickly life can change. It also feels like Per is in mourning; the loss of his mother, the loss of his childhood. 

Without a doubt, Per is and always has been at his best when he’s singing about “green tambourines” and “wonderful balloons” – but he needs to be applauded for this brave step in exposing himself so openly in this haunting ballad. 

The take-home message from this track in particular is that this song could be the trigger to push Per down that reflective path – in a more bold and sincere way. Sure, the song isn’t always perfect, nor is it for everyone – but overall, the listener is granted a special peek behind the curtain of a man who has proudly made a career on “na na na nas”. 

He ever so briefly touches on this personal reflection and his desire to transition from a place of pain in the opening track There’s a Place – “…I would give anything for kinder winds…” – fair to say this song is not about the climate, it seems like a metaphor for Per to finally escape the hurt of the horrible turn of events of the past few years that have left him hurting like “needles on the skin”?

But back to “It Came Too Fast” – it feels like the mourning of his childhood and it feels like he is sharing with us the connection he had with his late Mother. There’s a real feeling of drowning in this song, it’s quite enchanting. The symbolism of the ocean and water are prevalent – upon the first listen, it feels as though the water serves as a metaphor for death, or at least the “…sickness wave”? 

The song is brimming with some dark reflection lyrics we’ve not accustomed to hearing from Per. 

“…until my mother turned my face away from the ocean…”

“…I wasn’t a child anymore”

“…taken her under… it came too fast…” 

“…no one could cry because our eyes were all empty…” 

There’s real poignancy here, these lines speak for themselves. 

But let’s take a moment to look at one interesting line that really caught my attention, where I personally believe, the song pivots towards Per’s career as an artist. “The Avant Garde one… turned to mainstream”. Could this be a self reference? Growing up Per was enamoured with critically acclaimed wordsmiths such as Bowie, Cohen and Lennon, in the end, the name “Gessle” became known internationally for lines such as “she’s a juvenile scam” – which is as about as mainstream as one can get – and it’s further compounded by the fact that it topped around 30 countries on the planet. Not a criticism, but perhaps an admission of a perception of Avant Garde that turned mainstream? Who knows, for sure… 

Musically, the song has a haunting, eerie production to it – a throw back to the blissful ode to summer on Son of a Plumber’s “I Never Quite Got Over The Fact The Beatles Broke Up”.  

Granted, this song, indeed this whole record, is not for everyone. And “It Came Too Fast” is not the song that you will listen to, to kick off a fun Saturday night, I suspect a lot might skip this one and get to the bouncy “Name You Beautiful” or “Simple Sound” – and who could blame them? After all, those songs signify the same Per we all fell in love when we were all “whistling his private tune”. 

But every now and again, when you need a moment to reflect, to ponder, to think about life as you sip a glass of red wine alone in the dark… hit play on track #9 and see where it takes you. 

Every person has their own journey, every person has a story to tell… thank you Per for finally having faith in your songwriting skills to step out of the “June Afternoon” room and delve into some of your more private, personal and sombre thoughts. 

Hopefully this song is a positive first step forward towards Per trusting that he does have other stories to tell every now and again, perhaps this song will be the catalyst for that roomful of memories to be left open on the next project too.  

“It Came Too Fast”… but perhaps not soon enough?

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  ★ Publishing date:

September 7th, 2018

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