27 September, 2014 in Music Reviews
Dubbed the ‘music licensing queen’ by The Wall Street Journal, the Swedish pop princess looks to big beat for inspiration
rom 70s super troupers ABBA to the King Midas of noughties pop Max Martin, not forgetting The Cardigans, the Swedes have shown the world they have a knack for producing chart-dominating songwriters. Salme Dahlstrom is one of their latest exports who, despite being nurtured on classical music throughout her childwood, trades in unashamedly trashy electro-pop and has also shown to have a keen ear for commercial songwriting.
Pop Propaganda Volume 2: Retro Funk Soul Junction is a return to her love of British big beat, after a successful stint in the mysterious business of ‘sync’ songwriting – all the tracks from her 2008 album The Acid Cowgirl Audio Trade were licensed for major ad campaigns and television programs.
This lengthily titled EP consists of six individual songs that Dahlstrom has kept complete creative control over – “I played all the instruments, I programmed, produced, edited and mixed it all myself”. Of course, it’s her vocals as well, apart from a few guest vocalists.
Opener Love + Shine is a well-structured, punchy Minogue-esque (more Dannii than Kylie) pop song reminiscent of Girls Aloud’s Sound Of The Underground and is the best of the bunch. Throughout, Dahlstrom’s production successfully harks back to the 90s big beat of, say, Bentley Rhythm Ace, which will please those who recall the genre with fondness, but runs the risk of sounding dated. The lyrical content here won’t provoke much thought, but this is throwaway pop that’s designed to be fun and energising, and in that sense it meets the brief.
Pop Propaganda Volume 2 finishes with three remixes of Pop Ur Heart Out, which feels a little unnecessary, but with Dahlstrom enjoying being in complete control of every aspect of this record, we can forgive a little indulgence.
Verdict: A fun homage to big beat and girl band electro-pop