It’s been an unusual few months for me in music listening terms. I’m normally big on variety, skipping from soul to hip hop to pop to punk to reggae from one moment to the next. However, a kind friend gave me over 500 albums early in the year (on DVDrs), and they are three quarters funk, the rest jazz, and I’m three quarters of the way through listening to them, so my music listening has been very dominated by one style. Nonetheless, when I’ve had an hour or less to play some music, I’ve gone back again and again to two singles from this year – there has hardly been a day in the last few months when I haven’t played them at least five times each. They are the two singles by Norwegian pop singer Marit Larsen.

First out was Don’t Save Me, which smashed all previous records for the highest average score on the Stylus singles jukebox (mine was one of the reviews). ABBAesque piano, almost Dylanish harmonica, biting lyrics, an irresistible tune. Tom tells me he will be playing it at Poptimism next week. I loved it pretty immediately, but I seem to love it more with every play.

The second single was Under The Surface. This is a slow number with romantically sweeping violins. Again, when you listen carefully, it’s full of bite and edge – one friend to whom I sent it recently described his reaction to the words as “open-eyed terror”. This one is even more of a grower than the previous one.

So, beautiful pop songs of the highest calibre, but I think the thing that has made them so rewarding for repeated listenings is her singing. Both are beautifully modulated performances, with subtle shifts and pauses and drops that are almost too small for description at times, but carry potent force. The hint of obsessiveness and restrained hysteria in the line “Did you love her the way you love me?” on Under The Surface would be my guess at the moment most likely to induce terror, but both are packed with gems of this sort.

The album has some other terrific tracks too, but although this is the most excited I’ve been by a couple of singles by one act since, I guess, Pulp hit their stride in the early ’90s, I’m doubtful about whether I’ll love her future records. I heard a hint of someone who wants to be an adult singer-songwriter the first time I heard Don’t Save Me, and some googling revealed that her favourite artists and inspirations were Alanis Morrisette and Oasis. I hope she sticks with this gorgeous and sharp pop, but I fear she may become less interesting and loveable rather than more.