"The Horizon" - Stina Stjern
Straightforward rock'n'roll with a scuffed-up edge, assured vocals, and a subtly powerful melody. The guitar work here is especially wonderful, all rough and crunchy and bendy, with a dissonant flair and offhanded discipline. There's a rumbly guitar at the bottom of the mix that gives the song a beat-up gravitas, and there's a rhythm guitar pretty much playing lead (I tend to like that, now that I think about it), and there's probably a regular rhythm guitar in there too but by and large everything coheres so agreeably that my mind resists further efforts to pick it apart. I'm just enjoying the vibe, a lot. Stjern herself says she's "a sucker for good melodies and edgy white trash rock music (whatever that is)," so there's as good a description as any. And be sure to pay attention to that great coda (3:06): a full minute of churning, squeaking guitars, held together briefly by a circular lead guitar line before disintegrating into a squonky puddle.
Born in Norway and now based in Copenhagen, Stina Stjern has one of those natural voices that gives the illusion that she's speaking more than singing; there's something in her full-bodied tone that brings to mind another wonderful Scandinavian singer/songwriter, Ebba Forsberg, but yikes that's an analogy that's going to mean nothing to almost everyone. Well, look her up someday. And then here's something that reminds me of nobody at all: Stjern has hand-knit (as in yarn and needles) covers for the 7-inch vinyl version of the single; she's made a video of many of the covers, accompanied by the song. MP3 via Stjern's web site.