LOOK AND LISTEN: Ten Great Songs about Norway.
GALLERY: Ten great songs about Norway
Norway popster Maya Vik from the video Oslo Knows. Photo: Screen grab/YouTube
30 June 2014
How many artists have serenaded Norway in song? Richard Orange scours YouTube and Spotify to find ten great tracks, one of which is little more than an angry stream of obscenities.
Bruce Springsteen's longtime guitarist Steve Van Zandt, or 'Little Steven', is so captivated by Norway's music scene that he set up a record label just to sign up Norwegian bands. So far he's signed up four, the most famous being the all-girl punk outfit Cocktail Slippers.
"Who knows why but Scandinavia is the rock ’n’ roll capital of the modern world," he maintains.
This month saw Oslo pop duo Nico & Vinz reach number four on the US charts, the second year in a row a Norwegian act has hit the Billboard top ten. Last year, Ylvis's YouTube smash The Fox peaked at number six.
But how has Norway gone down among international rock acts. Not always so well, judging by Half Man Half Biscuit's sweary diatribe, Stavanger Töestub (with its confusing Swedish accent), or by Velvet Underground founder John Cale's song about escaping the country, or indeed by Of Montreal's description of sleepless summer nights.
Norwegian bands, on the other hand, tend to dismiss Oslo as a small-town backwater. Somehow, though, it all adds up to some pretty good music.