The Concretes – The Concretes

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist

I 100% bought this album because of the Target commercial featuring “Say Something New,” and it is hands-down the best thing Target has ever brought into my life. The band is from Sweden and arrived in 1995; lead singer Victoria Bergsman left in 2006, though the band carried on, which is . . . surprising. Her voice is such a big part of this band for me. The musicians are excellent, but she brings a unique element to the sound.

What I Think of This Album

I adore everything about this album:  the Diana Ross worship; the lush, rich production; the unabashed indie framework of strings, horns, mandolin, piano, and harp; and Victoria Bergsman’s adorable accent. This is an album to get lost in, blindly (and slowly) wandering from the Spectorish pillow of sound to Bergsman’s lackadaisical vocals to the unbeatable melodies.

“Lonely As Can Be” somehow escapes from its thousand layers of gauze to unleash a sonic frenzy worthy of the Velvet Underground. Hit “You Can’t Hurry Love” is a sugary Velvets/garage rock/Motown mashup, with a pumping organ in the background and Bergsman’s ice-cold yet seductive vocals giving way to triumphant horns. This song is way too short at just over two minutes long. The horns compete with a stinging guitar lead in rollicking “Seems Fine.”

Majestic opener “Say Something New” thrills with a guitar hook, a luscious organ, Mo Tucker drumming, some brilliant auxiliary percussion, woozy horns, and Bergsman’s detached singing, and then only gets bigger and better. There is a part of this song that reminds me of “Dear Prudence,” but I could be wrong.

The band takes the staccato approach of “Waiting for the Man” to another level on “Diana Ross,” which delivers the equivalent of a love hangover through its narcotized swoon. “New Friend” proves even Nordic hearts can break – the way Bergsman sings “she gave you the phone” kills me every time. “Warm Night” is perfectly titled, sounding like a Classical or Romantic piece. Mazzy Star as played by Spiritualized is the reference point for “This One’s For You.”

The producer here was Jari Haapalainen (Camera Obscura).

The Best Thing About This Album

“You Can’t Hurry Love,” though “Seems Fine” and “Say Something New” come very close.

Release Date

May, 2003

The Cover Art

I dig this. You go, you sassy leopard!

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