Elevate Difference

El Perro del Mar

Listening to El Perro del Mar – a pseudonym for the Swedish singer Sarah Assbring – makes me feel like I should be a character in an early 1960s television show. The chipper, pop melodies, be-bops and sha-la-las that underscore her melancholy lyrics about life and love have earned her comparisons to the Beach Boys and girl groups from the 50s and 60s. Like those groups, she’s also a big fan of repetition, as in the song “God Knows (You Gotta Give to Get)”:

God knows
I've been taking a lot without giving back
God knows
I've been taking a lot without giving back

You gotta give to get
You gotta give to get back
You gotta give to get
You gotta give to get back
You gotta give to get
You gotta give to get back to the love

Seems boring. It’s not. And don’t all of our obsessive thoughts tend to loop through our heads in quite the same way?

Yes, you’ll find yourself bopping your head to the left and the right when you slip this CD into your player, but unlike the Shirelles’ voices that sound as if they’ve gotten a good night’s sleep and sipped plenty of chamomile tea, Assbring’s is that of a woman who has been up all night weeping and throwing back glögg. Assbring probably has a perfect voice underneath it all, but she’s just too tired and hurt to give a shit. The Shirelles give you cotton candy, Assbring gives you burnt sugar.

Written by: Margaux Laskey, January 18th 2007

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