my bad, margaret berger

i’m trying to bring feature columns back into my blogging, beginning with one that i like to call “my bad” where i spotlight artists that i missed the first time around and make up for it by giving them props here. hopefully you’ll discover some new music like i have and we can learn a little something along the way…

full disclosure: had i actually heard of margaret berger back when she first broke overseas and online, i probably wouldn’t have paid attention anyway. after all, her initial claim to fame was placing second on the norwegian version of “american idol.” you can imagine the negative connotations that come with such a showing in the american indiescape.

little would i have known then that sweden’s version of pop music is far different from and often farther superior than what we get here – bare in mind, robyn’s eponymous masterpiece wouldn’t receive a stateside release until two years later. i guess i should have known given how my musical bible at the time, stylus magazine, had given her a rave review. even with this new knowledge and wider musical pallette four years later, i still had no idea of margaret berger’s existence or how much i would like her…

thank goodness for the ongoing and increasingly frustrating iamamiwhoami campaign, then. back before everyone pretty much agreed that her fellow swede jonna lee was or at least working closely with those who are behind the mysterious viral video series, people began throwing around margaret’s name on message boards as a potential suspect. this prompted me to check out her second and what i gather to be best album, 2006’s pretty scary silver fairy. though i’m fairly certain at this point that berger has nothing to do with iamamiwhoami, this record made me almost prefer that she was.

as stylus had tried to tell me, berger bravely broke out of her “idol”-imposed prison and blended elements of björk, daft punk and the knife to create what in my mind is a slick, seductive set of synth pop that’s at least on par with if not better than much of what contemporaries robyn and annie have put out in the past decade. the highlights and entry points for beginners are plenty. what berger lacks in lyrical savvy she more than makes up for with stylistic versatility; the stock, aitken & waterman update of “will you remember me tomorrow?,” the empowering, would-be dancefloor juggernaut “samantha” (which was quite the hit elsewhere from what i hear), the antsy, cobrastylin’ “get physical” and the haunting, stormy closer “have you never ever?”

if what i read online is to be believed, berger is finally working on the follow-up to silver fairy in london. it might be better that i’m only just getting around to listening to her as the wait between albums must be something awful for her longtime fans. nevertheless, i have no excuse for sleeping on this the first time around when she embodies so many of the qualities i look for in good pop music today.

in other words, my bad.

pretty scary silver fairy is out there for those who want to acquire it in some shape, way or form. in the meantime, check this official video from 2006 for “samantha.”

sorry for the clipped beginning. it was the only embeddable copy i could find…

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One Response to “my bad, margaret berger”

  1. Scott Curtis Says:

    word

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