Hidden Gems: The Sounds – Living in America

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The Sounds are an epic Swedish new wave band that formed in 1998, with Living in America being their debut English-language album. Despite being released in 2002, the album feels completely unique and brand new; there’s a rawness in this record, being told through a multitude of different genres. It’s hard to tie this down to just one genre! Living in America blends punk, rock, pop, disco, technopop and more, making it a brilliant, varied listen.

Living in America merges my two clashing personalities; I love dance music like Eurodance, and also have a punkier side. This album brings those two aspects of my musical library together. ‘Hope You’re Happy Now’ is a clear display of these two personality clashes, it opens relatively rocky with a strong guitar and bass line then comes in the synth. However, when the track gets to the bridge,  it starts with just guitar then transforms into an 80s disco track where the synths are the main aspect of the song. It’s absolutely epic! Lead singer Maja Ivarsson screams “fuck you and fuck your liars” in her punk raspy voice and all the elements of the track just come together. I can’t explain how empowering the track is, but to give you an idea, the opening lyrics are “you can call me a slut, you can call me a liar”; it’s about totally owning yourself and not caring about what people think.

The best track from the album is ‘Hit Me’; unlike the other tracks on the album, there’s a lack of synths in this song. ‘Hit Me’ is the first song I had heard from the album and I absolutely adored it; it gets you up and moshing in your front room whilst your dissertation sits abandoned in the background. It’s punk, edgy and the lyrics are so repetitive it’s the perfect track to just scream your anger away.

The Sounds have been regularly compared to Blondie, and you can definitely see this in tracks such as ‘Like a Lady’ . ‘Like a Lady’ has one of the most epic choruses, with heavy guitar and a smooth 80s synth in the background. I love how this track takes you on a journey, the synths are prevalent throughout the whole track but change dimensions throughout, going from loud to quiet. As the song develops the synths become louder and the whole song seems to change pace and direction by the end.

Living in America is dancy, angry and ridiculously catchy, the lyrics are easy to learn, it’s the perfect album to listen to when you can’t tell what emotional state you’re in. Each song feels completely different and takes you to a different journey, all thanks to synths and amazing musicality of the band.

Living in America is available to listen to now via Woah Dad/Telegram Music. Check out ‘Hope You’re Happy Now’ down below!

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Editor 2020/21 and a History student with a Britney Spears addiction.

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