You may already know of David Fridlund as the frontman of the Swedish indie pop band David & the Citizens. Recently, he recorded a solo album called Amaterasu, which is very similar to his work with the Citizens yet somewhat simpler. While I’ll admit to not having heard much of their material, the songs I have heard were grand compositions with mutltiple layers of instrumentation that created an orchestral feel similar to Ben Folds’s music. David Fridlund’s solo material has some of that unabashed extravagance, but overall the compositions are more down to earth and somewhat minimalist.
However, there are three things that have remained unchanged between the two projects. One is David Fridlund’s somewhat unconventional vocal delivery. His singing voice is one of those things that you’ll either love or hate; you’ll either love it for being evocatively honest and down to earth or hate it for being simple and unrefined. The second thing that remains unchanged is Sara Culler’s frequent contributions. Her voice is probably acceptable to more people because of her sweet, smooth delivery. The third thing that hasn’t changed is Fridlund’s bitter lyrics that often defy the tune over which they’re sung.
For example, “April & May” has a playful, light-hearted tune conveyed by the gentle intonations of the piano that makes one think of the pleasantness of springtime. There is also some beautiful harmonization between Sara Culler and David Fridlund. However, most happy songs don’t start off with the lines, “Caught like a fish out of water / a hand in the fire, a heart on display,” or pleadingly desperate chorus that goes, “April & May are you ok? / talk to me, say I don’t have to go that way / pictures in frames – all misplaced.”
Songs like “White Van” and “Busride & Carsick” sound a bit more like previous works by the Citizens than other tracks on Ameterasu. “White Van” is one of the more conventionally arranged songs on the album and keeps with the trend of the tune defying the lyrics. Once agains, Sara Culler provides a beautiful performance.
However, “Busride & Carsick” is a little less conventional and the tune relates to what is being conveyed in the lyrics. This song has a slightly erratic structure and definitely has a hectic feel to it. If I were to make a mix CD called “Songs for Rush Hour Traffic,” this song would make the list. And lyrics convey feelings of chaos as well. I interpret it as being a song about being unable to get away from somewhere and someone. First it starts out describing the town, “Down where the road turns / and the buildings grow high like rockets / Shooting into the sky, in the countryside,” then describing the escape and whom he’s leaving, “bus ride and carsick and lovesick; that’s when I felt it / thank you darling for being a friend / next year this time, I’ll see you again,” and then later in the song, “back in that small-town where the stupid is king, / smart kiss the ground.” It strikes me that he doesn’t want to be near this town or the person he’s talking about in the song (most likely a lover of some sort). And yet he keeps ending up back in that same town no matter how many times he leaves. A very bitter song and definitely one of the best tracks on Amaretasu.
Buy David Fridlund’s solo debut Amaterasu
David Fridlund – April & May David Fridlund – White Van David Fridlund – Busride & Carsick
On another note, I hate having to repost when the previous entry was eaten.
5 thoughts on “David Fridlund”
Thanks for the excellent post. I picked up April & May on some other blog a few weeks ago and was dying to know/hear more.
FYI though — the 3rd song (carride and bussick?) has a link that doesn’t work.
Hi; Do you know where I can find the lyric of April & may?
hi i`m arefe from iran & i very searched internet to find lyrics of april 7 may but i cannot find .like amir mehdi i ask u do u have lyrics of it?!
Lyrics to April & May from Amaterasu’s liner notes:
Caught like a fish out of water
a hand in the fire, a heart on display
everyone sing hurray, ’cause the truth was revealed
and the fire was friendly hanging around, passing time,
let the word be announced
that she sings like a bird, little girl in my hand
build a nest, come closer under the cover
pass through the park covered by the dark
walk like a man – if you can
head over heels ’til you’re safe again
back at her place, open the gate
please don’t let it be too late
the wind moves around, building maces, drawing a picture that
no one will see, it’s a sight for sore eyes
and sore eyes are all around me
well, come have a drink, let the afternoon vanish
we’ll talk about old times and people we hate
’til the hour is late and we find we have wasted our last reserve
April & May, are you ok?
talk to me, say I don’t have to go that way
pictures in frames – all misplaced – back in a haze
I swallow my tongue
please don’t let the race be run
look at me girl and sing me a song
I’m longing for words ’cause mine are all gone
but we’ll be all right, after all it’s just a nightmare
April & May are you ok?
talk to me, say I don’t have to go that way
pictures in frames – all misplaced
back at her place
open the gate
key in the lock
the door opens up
what was it you said?
a fever in your head?
enough is enough
let the music stop!
Why can’t you just wake me up?
Whilst I genuinely like this post, I think there was an spelling error near towards the end from the third paragraph.