Susanne Sundfør - "Ten Love Songs"

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Seen quite a bit of discussion about this in various threads but I think it deserves one of its own because it is quickly becoming one of my favourites of the year.

Every time I try to describe this album to people I keep ending up on variations of "goth Abba." The songwriting is really melodic and hook-driven but the production is a mix of industrial disco and lush orchestral arrangements. I'm reminded of Kleerup and Robyn's "With Every Heartbeat" and the first Goldfrapp album as much as Kraftwerk and Front 242 in the arrangements. I love Sundfør's voice too - its really versatile, going from intimidating and stern on songs like "Delirious" and then being soft and vulnerable on "Slowly", and the way she works with (if not against) the lyrics reminds me of Curve's Toni Halliday or Cardigans' Nina Persson before she started to sound like a country artist. It's basically an expensive-sounding grungey Italo disco album.

boxedjoy, Saturday, 28 March 2015 20:13 (three years ago) Permalink

Yeah, this album is fantastic. Only listened to it a couple of times but it's already one of my favourite albums of the year.

Kitchen Person, Saturday, 28 March 2015 20:22 (three years ago) Permalink

Memorial is the only song I wasn't totally sold on. Not sure if she quite pulls off what she was going for.

Kitchen Person, Saturday, 28 March 2015 20:25 (three years ago) Permalink

this is so good

katherine, Saturday, 28 March 2015 20:30 (three years ago) Permalink

I no longer care if Robyn puts out another album, or if Bertine Zetlitz's new one turns out to be crap, because this exists.

"Memorial" is like "The Winner Takes It All" raised to unbearably painful levels. Huge punch in the gut. Song of the year, except when it's "Accelerate".

oh, boy, .GIF! That's where I'm a Viking! (edwardo), Sunday, 29 March 2015 00:44 (three years ago) Permalink

Oh, and "Slowly". Oh my god, "Slowly".

oh, boy, .GIF! That's where I'm a Viking! (edwardo), Sunday, 29 March 2015 00:46 (three years ago) Permalink

Fade Away could be song of the year. Was not sure if Memorial needed to be that long at first but now I am... the way she sings the chorus at the end gives me shivers.

abcfsk, Tuesday, 31 March 2015 21:11 (three years ago) Permalink

Have had Fade Away in my head for weeks. This pushes so many of my buttons - John Carpenter vibe of Delirious, Valerie Dore Italo balladry on Slowly, love the production, so many hooks - current favourite album for sure.

ewar woowar (or something), Wednesday, 1 April 2015 12:03 (three years ago) Permalink

this album is absolutely amazing
the microwave ping halfway through fade away is a personal highlight

nxd, Wednesday, 1 April 2015 12:59 (three years ago) Permalink

"insects" doesn't get enough love though it is the clear standout and currently my song of the year

seeing her in may, should be amazing

katherine, Thursday, 2 April 2015 17:46 (three years ago) Permalink

I was sceptical about all this at first, but it really is a fantastic album, so lush and detailed. "Kamikaze" -> "Memorial" -> "Delirious" -> "Slowly" is a perfect sequence.

courtney barnett formula (seandalai), Wednesday, 8 April 2015 23:11 (three years ago) Permalink

Is there much writing about this album? I recall a short but rapturous review in the Grauniad but I'd be interested in reading more reviews if they're around

bae sremmurd (monotony), Wednesday, 8 April 2015 23:36 (three years ago) Permalink

There's a review list on wiki and some more out there.. not sure about the tumblr et al suspects.. I think some ilxors should do their part.

abcfsk, Wednesday, 8 April 2015 23:54 (three years ago) Permalink

The "ABBA w/ heavy eyeliner" quicktake writes itself. The Guardian, Mojo (print edn), Uncut, The Quietus, The 405, Music OMH have had their say.

Sanpaku, Thursday, 9 April 2015 02:14 (three years ago) Permalink

Yeah I checked metacritic and there were only 6 reviews (89% though so all very +ve)

bae sremmurd (monotony), Thursday, 9 April 2015 04:16 (three years ago) Permalink

abcfsk, Thursday, 9 April 2015 12:38 (three years ago) Permalink

There's a review list on wiki and some more out there.. not sure about the tumblr et al suspects.. I think some ilxors should do their part.

― abcfsk, Wednesday, 8 April 2015 23:54 (Yesterday) Permalink

believe me, I would love to be able to

katherine, Thursday, 9 April 2015 14:34 (three years ago) Permalink

also not sure what you mean about "the tumblr et al suspects" but w/e

katherine, Thursday, 9 April 2015 14:43 (three years ago) Permalink

I just mean there are some long form writers on tumblr and I don't know if there's any SS stuff of note up.

abcfsk, Thursday, 9 April 2015 15:09 (three years ago) Permalink

the jukebox wrote on "delirious" if that counts:

katherine, Thursday, 9 April 2015 15:59 (three years ago) Permalink

Album of the year for me, album of the past couple years probably. This kind of ambition is rare and actually pulling it off is even more rare.

Leonard Pine, Thursday, 9 April 2015 16:46 (three years ago) Permalink

I would love to see some longform writing on this too, I thought there was a Pitchfork review but I can't find it so I must have dreamed it.

boxedjoy, Friday, 10 April 2015 14:06 (three years ago) Permalink

Pitchfork, and lots of other review sites, have barely made mention of her.

MarkoP, Friday, 10 April 2015 14:34 (three years ago) Permalink

Who do we ultimately have to blame for so many Scandinavian pop singers sounding so *diffident* these days? A lot of these would be great songs but that mopey wet delivery just kills them.

Matt DC, Friday, 10 April 2015 14:46 (three years ago) Permalink

this album must be getting written about somewhere--it's currently rateyourmusic's #9 album of 2015

Is It Any Wonder I'm Not the (President Keyes), Friday, 10 April 2015 14:50 (three years ago) Permalink

A lot of these would be great songs but that mopey wet delivery just kills them.

I could not disagree more strongly.

Johnny Fever, Friday, 10 April 2015 15:27 (three years ago) Permalink

Yeah that's the most wrong thing ever written on ilxor.

abcfsk, Friday, 10 April 2015 15:59 (three years ago) Permalink

Greatest vocalist among scando pop stars atm by far.

abcfsk, Friday, 10 April 2015 15:59 (three years ago) Permalink

you mean Lykke Li? i agree

great record

nostormo, Friday, 10 April 2015 20:47 (three years ago) Permalink

Honestly, this is one of my favourite albums ever.

ewar woowar (or something), Sunday, 12 April 2015 12:15 (three years ago) Permalink

The quiet songs are weaker here imo

nostormo, Sunday, 12 April 2015 12:52 (three years ago) Permalink

I listened to this again and I think diffident was the wrong word, but she shares with Lykke Li this very widescreen croon that makes these songs feel so much less intimate and human than they should, it sweeps but it leaves me completely cold. It's the same thing that puts me off Lana Del Rey.

Matt DC, Sunday, 12 April 2015 12:52 (three years ago) Permalink

But that's equally wrong, she has a very specific delivery, a raw, human virtuosity and balls-out-ness more similar to early kate bush than someone like lykke li.

abcfsk, Sunday, 12 April 2015 13:05 (three years ago) Permalink

Florence sprung to mind most on my couple of listens so far

lex pretend, Sunday, 12 April 2015 13:09 (three years ago) Permalink

Her higher register is much more enjoyable, but really a "raw, human virtuosity and balls-out-ness" is the exact opposite of what I hear. I hear broad brush strokes, whereas with Kate I hang on every word.

Florence is particularly harsh though.

Matt DC, Sunday, 12 April 2015 13:17 (three years ago) Permalink

I kind of agree with Matt (I wouldn't say mopey, but a little detached?) but it honestly doesn't bother me at all. I love Lana, too. I think both Lana and Susanne do heroic scale music and while they both keep up vocally it's maybe difficult to get intense and intimate as well, idk. We can't all be Kate Bush.

Leonard Pine, Sunday, 12 April 2015 14:01 (three years ago) Permalink

I like Lana and can kind of hear similarities on some of the slower songs but I think the range, control and ability to sell a line put her much closer to Agnetha Faltskog territory, which is as about as high as praise gets imo. I hear something new in her delivery almost every time I listen to the album.

It's a phenomenal record and probably one of my two or three favourites this decade.

Ethnically Ambiguous / 28 - 45 (ShariVari), Sunday, 12 April 2015 16:31 (three years ago) Permalink

As a fan of Lykke Li, this is miles better both in terms of ~songcraft~ and delivery. On something like "Slowly" Lykke Li would sound strained and contrived and reaching for emotion, whereas Sundfør sounds much rawer, more honest and open. I think this album really works because there's a sense of committed earnestness to the performance of the songs, and while I can see how that element of theatricality could be off-putting, the mix of grandiosity and vulnerability is what holds this album together and makes it so great.

boxedjoy, Monday, 13 April 2015 00:02 (three years ago) Permalink

currently so obsessed with "kamikaze"


uberweiss, Monday, 13 April 2015 02:27 (three years ago) Permalink

good song but i hate it when she prounounce the word as "kamika-tsee"

nostormo, Monday, 13 April 2015 05:52 (three years ago) Permalink

I wrote the five-star Guardian review. Had never heard her before, and wasn't expecting much. But it just blew me away. It seemed so fantastically ambitious in its formalism: there's a real streak of classisism in it, but equally it doesn't just dwell on cliches. Brilliant record.

Unsettled defender (ithappens), Monday, 13 April 2015 16:24 (three years ago) Permalink

Still caning this...quite surprised at its longevity, the only song I'm getting fed up of is "Accelerate".

courtney barnett formula (seandalai), Friday, 24 April 2015 00:02 (three years ago) Permalink

the classical/pop tug of war reminds me of seili by jenni vartiainen

nxd, Friday, 24 April 2015 09:50 (three years ago) Permalink

this left me cold a month or so ago - it's

lex pretend, Friday, 24 April 2015 11:07 (three years ago) Permalink

this left me cold a month or so ago - it's quite an edifice - but really clicked today.

lex pretend, Friday, 24 April 2015 11:07 (three years ago) Permalink

It's heartstoppingly good
Can't wait to see her next month

got a long list of ilxors (fgti), Friday, 24 April 2015 11:55 (three years ago) Permalink

Had a chance to listen to it start to finish on a road trip today. Felt almost symphonic, the way the moods and rhythms ebbed and flowed.

something of an astrological coup (tipsy mothra), Friday, 24 April 2015 19:31 (three years ago) Permalink

Kind of drops off for me after "Memorial," at least right now

fuck me, archipelago (Simon H.), Friday, 24 April 2015 20:59 (three years ago) Permalink

this record rules

insufficiently familiar with xgau's work to comment intelligently (BradNelson), Friday, 24 April 2015 21:03 (three years ago) Permalink

it is dissolving my hangover rn

insufficiently familiar with xgau's work to comment intelligently (BradNelson), Friday, 24 April 2015 21:07 (three years ago) Permalink

Union Chapel gig was v special, even though she only played one song from 10 Love Songs ("Trust Me"). No band, just one backing musician/singer (would have loved to hear a pared-down version of "Kamikaze" or "Slowly" ah well). The peak of it all was the back end of "Undercover" - that voice!

I never realised so many of her songs are (at least partly) in the 2nd person.

Choco Blavatsky (seandalai), Monday, 2 October 2017 23:39 (one year ago) Permalink

I am devastated that I left it to a pal to book the tickets for tonight in Glasgow, because said pal was full of wine when he booked the tickets and managed to book them for London, and now Glasgow is sold out. We've booked to go to the March show in London as a trip but it is beyond frustrating to know I could have seen her tonight.

boxedjoy, Tuesday, 3 October 2017 08:49 (one year ago) Permalink

I ended up getting a ticket and I was so very glad I did. She spent just over an hour swapping between piano, guitar and keyboard-type synth, literally just her and one instrument and her incredible voice on stage.

boxedjoy, Tuesday, 10 October 2017 10:30 (one year ago) Permalink

Finally got round to the album last night. Hugely impressive. Will be buying.

Jeff W, Tuesday, 10 October 2017 13:21 (one year ago) Permalink

Kind of undecided about this. Moments stop me in my tracks (Undercover is breathtaking) but there's whole sections which seem pretty but lead me to dumb analogies about sunlight on the surface of glaciers and whatnot. I shall persevere.

The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums (Chinaski), Wednesday, 11 October 2017 19:42 (one year ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

Are any of the ILM crew going to one of the North American shows?

StanM, Sunday, 5 November 2017 10:35 (one year ago) Permalink

I went on Friday in Montreal. It's really intimate, just her and her keyboard and guitar. Her voice is astounding. She interacts a lot with the crowd, like actual conversation, she's fun and sweet. I don't want to give spoilers on the set list, but I'll just say it's very very downtempo.

LeRooLeRoo, Sunday, 5 November 2017 17:11 (one year ago) Permalink

Yeah, that reminds me, she is playing SF...should look into that.

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 5 November 2017 17:17 (one year ago) Permalink

everything LRLR said. she played an unexpected cover and it killed me. her singing really is incredible, like on a pure talent level maybe the best live singer I've seen

Simon H., Sunday, 5 November 2017 21:41 (one year ago) Permalink

Seeing her at LPR in NYC on Tuesday, very excited

bodak horseman (voodoo chili), Sunday, 5 November 2017 21:50 (one year ago) Permalink

i will be at the SF show!

joshywinty (josh), Monday, 6 November 2017 04:21 (one year ago) Permalink

"what did you have for dinner?"

StanM, Monday, 6 November 2017 10:03 (one year ago) Permalink

Seeing her TONIGHT!

Heez, Monday, 6 November 2017 13:15 (one year ago) Permalink

Susanne was really great, everyone in the room was blown away by the power and emotion in her voice. She's such a powerful performer that's it's a little jarring to see how charming, personable, and even funny she was between songs. The songs from the new album all sounded gorgeous. She only played Slowly and Darlings from 10 Love Songs, but they were showstoppers.

My one complaint was that it was a little hard for 5'9" me to see her over the tall, predominantly Scandinavian crowd

bodak horseman (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 8 November 2017 15:10 (one year ago) Permalink

Jealous that she sang "slowly". Wasn't on the Glasgow setlist. Agree though that the power and timbre of her voice are spine tingling at times.

lefal junglist platton (wtev), Wednesday, 8 November 2017 16:35 (one year ago) Permalink

omg yes slowly

Choco Blavatsky (seandalai), Wednesday, 8 November 2017 17:30 (one year ago) Permalink

My one complaint was that it was a little hard for 5'9" me to see her over the tall, predominantly Scandinavian crowd


Simon H., Wednesday, 8 November 2017 17:57 (one year ago) Permalink

Wow you got "Slowly" and "Darlings"! We only got "Trust Me", which is the one song I don't adore on TLS.

LeRooLeRoo, Wednesday, 8 November 2017 18:40 (one year ago) Permalink

My bad, it wasn't Darlings, it was Trust Me

bodak horseman (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 8 November 2017 18:52 (one year ago) Permalink

I thought it was an appropriately dramatic closer, though. It helped that the piano player/clarinetist she was playing with was incredible

bodak horseman (voodoo chili), Wednesday, 8 November 2017 18:54 (one year ago) Permalink

She was strictly solo in Toronto - I have to say, "Mantra" sounded way better on keyboards than acoustic guitar

I was sort of surprised at how close she came to selling out a decent-size venue considering I don't believe her albums have ever gotten a physical release here

Simon H., Wednesday, 8 November 2017 18:57 (one year ago) Permalink

one month passes...

I liked how Anja is always playing Music for People in Trouble in Joachim Trier's Thelma. Helped clarify a deliberately underwritten character.

geoffreyess, Friday, 8 December 2017 16:40 (one year ago) Permalink

I sprung for the vinyl copy of the record and, it's not cheap, but it's one of the most beautifully packaged records I've bought in years

Evan R, Friday, 8 December 2017 17:06 (one year ago) Permalink

i'm as bitey as a shark

I can't unhear this btw, but it makes me so happy anyway

Evan R, Friday, 8 December 2017 17:08 (one year ago) Permalink

More European dates for 2018 added:

I also bought the vinyl edition recently. The URL on the download card doesn't seem to be correct. Has anyone else been more successful?

Jeff W, Monday, 11 December 2017 21:01 (one year ago) Permalink

I had no trouble with my download url

lefal junglist platton (wtev), Tuesday, 12 December 2017 02:58 (one year ago) Permalink

Thanks, got it now. The issue was an http/https mix up on my part.

Jeff W, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 13:10 (one year ago) Permalink

Just got tickets for the Manchester show in March.

lefal junglist platton (wtev), Tuesday, 12 December 2017 16:26 (one year ago) Permalink

This album has gone from "meh" to "oh my god, this is fucking awesome" over the months. It's a beautiful record that deserves as much attention as the last one, even if it is a very different (and less immediate) record.

Gholdfish Killah (Turrican), Tuesday, 12 December 2017 19:14 (one year ago) Permalink

^^ yeah songwriting is still top notch, and there probably aren't ten better singers than Susanne in pop music

voodoo chili, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 19:24 (one year ago) Permalink

I prefer it over even Ten Love Songs. I admired that album's audacity but the songwriting is better here. It's really a feat.

Evan R, Tuesday, 12 December 2017 19:25 (one year ago) Permalink

making it your own, great artist

kolakube (Ross), Sunday, 24 December 2017 00:36 (one year ago) Permalink

so within a very short time, i learned about the lady who Bonnie Prince has covered at album length via another thread, and, reading this thread, mistook her for this lady. i am listening to ten love songs now and surely will be purchasing the physical version, and will check out susanna later today. has anyone made the same mistake? likes 'em both? likes one but not the other?

veronica moser, Wednesday, 27 December 2017 17:52 (one year ago) Permalink

who is this other artist?

Evan R, Thursday, 28 December 2017 03:16 (one year ago) Permalinkød

StanM, Thursday, 28 December 2017 04:03 (one year ago) Permalink

two months pass...

New one is sounding gorgeous today. Shift brings to mind Emiliana Torrini’s sparse “Fisherman’s Woman’ album, which is a gem

tinnitus the night (Ross), Sunday, 18 March 2018 00:23 (ten months ago) Permalink

that is actually a perfect analogy for why the new one was disappointing because "Telepathy" is so far and away the best thing Emiliana Torrini has ever done

aloha darkness my old friend (katherine), Sunday, 18 March 2018 17:40 (ten months ago) Permalink

one month passes...


StanM, Saturday, 12 May 2018 05:39 (eight months ago) Permalink

just came here post that stanm. i was lucky enough to be at that concert, the whole thing was filmed, so maybe there's more to come? lovely venue, great acoustics, and she was absolutely amazing from start to finish.

lefal junglist platton (wtev), Saturday, 12 May 2018 07:02 (eight months ago) Permalink

Jesus Christ. She's ridiculous.

The shard-borne beetle with his drowsy hums (Chinaski), Saturday, 12 May 2018 09:35 (eight months ago) Permalink


kinder, Saturday, 12 May 2018 13:07 (eight months ago) Permalink

that performance of 'Undercover' is breathtaking

flopson, Wednesday, 16 May 2018 06:03 (eight months ago) Permalink

four months pass...

New (?) radio doc on SS and Oslo:

Not sure if it's available outside UK.

Jeff W, Sunday, 30 September 2018 15:32 (three months ago) Permalink

Amazingly, it's available in the US

Uhura Mazda (lukas), Sunday, 30 September 2018 21:58 (three months ago) Permalink

it's even available in Europe! Is this the soft brexit then?

StanM, Sunday, 30 September 2018 22:02 (three months ago) Permalink

three months pass...

StanM, Sunday, 13 January 2019 08:54 (one week ago) Permalink

(= new song, performed on a Norwegian awards show at the end of October)

StanM, Sunday, 13 January 2019 08:54 (one week ago) Permalink

waiting for her own arrangement on that to be honest, feels a little generic movie sound track to me. :-/

Same show:

StanM, Sunday, 13 January 2019 08:57 (one week ago) Permalink

that performance of Undercover is particularly brilliant isn't it, the things she does with her voice 2.50 onwards - not just a technical skill of voice mastery but the way she really sells the sense of loneliness and longing at the song's core

boxedjoy, Sunday, 13 January 2019 10:58 (one week ago) Permalink

Wow, it's stunning!

Johnny Fever, Sunday, 13 January 2019 15:10 (one week ago) Permalink

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