If you haven’t heard this song just go and listen to it. (You may recognise it — it was used in the sproutface DiCaprio Romeo and Juliet). That’s all I should say.
However, to make the your perhaps-momentous discovery more possible, you may need preparing.
If you have not heard Stina’s voice it’s because you’ve never seen an Ariston washing machine advert, and it’s her voice that could be the deal breaker. There are songs you cannot persuade people they will like, and often it’s because of the vocal. If a voice is like nails on a blackboard to you, you won’t get past that. Similarly if it’s like being repeatedly limply patted on the shoulder by a wet teddybear, you’re going to get fed up quite quickly. Still, I made an effort to like Neil Young and Morrisey, so you could have a go with winsome Stina, eh? She’s Swedish — you love Swedish pop right?
In a way this is the song to get past her twee etiolated voice. Like the little star, her voice might feel initially weak, but it’s got a hidden and precise power, and it’s set among such glory — contrasting simple and luxurious instrumentation, a rising-bird-song clarinet melody and a tasteful amount of latin chanting. Well, it is a eulogy — and there should be generous room for tasteful at a funeral. The lyrics supposedly recall a friend who killed themselves (those crazy Swedes), which explains the extreme bitter-sweet feeling it conveys.
The song is from an album of equally moody jazz-blues soaked and sullen songs that manage to avoid being passive-aggressively ‘sensitive’. Her other albums have varied in tone a lot — she’s done dreampop guitar-noise, collaborated with Mew and Vangelis (the washing machine ad!), and had Brett Suede guesting on one of her own tracks. So if this piques your interest and you want more, you’ll find she’s got quite a range. Just not as a vocalist.
Man I love her voice.