There’s a certain aspect of the indie electronic scene that I’ve never been able to understand: Why is it that (in a large number of cases), the country that an artist comes from has almost nothing to do with the language in which they do their work? For a genre of music that holds some serious power in a huge number of countries around the world, it seems we’ve developed an overabundance of English speakers. I mean, obviously, there’s some sense in a British, Canadian, or American artist putting out an English record, but look at Daft Punk, Justice, Digitalism, and The Bloody Beetroots; All huge names from non-English speaking countries, and yet all of their albums, lyrics, websites, and promos are done in English.
In a certain respect, I suppose there is a bit of sense in the concept of “appealing to a larger audience”, but who’s to say that English speakers would not buy it if they couldn’t understand it? Justice doesn’t seem to have much trouble making their way throughout the rest of the European countries. And I realize that some of your minds are likely filling up with fury at the fact that I would think to complain about having so much music written for me to listen to, but personally, I feel that though it is indeed nice to hear and understand words in my native tongue, that I have lost a part of music that’s even more important to me.
Think about it this way. Musicians (and don’t hold me to this, because I’m sure there are several significant exceptions), do not become musicians because of their overflowing need to deliver their poetry; They would otherwise simply have become poets. Musicians become musicians because they want to create, feel, understand, and live for the music, and as such, I don’t believe lyrics need to be understood for the message in a song to be delivered. Sigur Ros, for example, chooses to make use of their native Icelandic, a language spoken by less than 300,000 people worldwide, for most of their music, and this has allowed us as listeners to devote attention to the emotion in their vocalist’s voice, without the worry of being distracted by his words. Needless to say, the success of the band has, in no way, been hindered by the choice.
I suppose my goal here was to address this matter, rather than to provide an explanation. Considering I don’t have any real evidence with which to draw conclusions, I’d be delighted to hear from anyone who’s got anything to say on the subject, however, before you go commenting, I should leave you with my latest discovery to ponder…
I’m entirely thrilled that a simple stroke of luck put me in touch with Familjen, a curious producer and vocalist from Stockholm, Sweden. His work, though it makes use of the expected driving kick drum like so many these days have come to know, captures a style that I believe its fair to say has not been heard before. His tracks develop in a fashion that could be considered highly simplistic, and yet the huge amount of invisible detail in them gives them a bit of a spark that moves them into an unusually satisfying dimension. The best part about it, however: His vocals (and just about everything else for that matter) happen to be composed entirely in Swedish.
Quality beats, indeed.