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When I was a teenager I would frequently fall in love with a song and after racing down to the local CD store after school to purchase whatever wonderful tidbit of 90’s chart-topping glory it was, would then proceed to play it over and over again until the words were seared into my brain and my family’s hair lay on the loungeroom carpet in frantically torn out clumps.

You would think that in my advanced years (I’m 25 – don’t laugh, I’m ripe for a quarter-life crisis) I would have moved beyond this level of obsession, but sadly I’ve recently discovered that this is not the case.

Earlier this week I spent three days down at the beach, and as I drove the winding roads by the ocean in the warm spring sunshine, the indie pop stylings of Swedish outfit Hello Saferide was pretty much my only soundtrack. And since I only have a handful of their songs so far (that will change in a couple of weeks or so when a highly anticipated package arrives at my house from the good ol’ USA – thank you, internet) I was forced to play them over and over again, with the four featured in this post getting a good old fashioned flogging.

Hello Saferide is fronted by journalist Annika Norlin, who is also responsible for the quirky lyrics, sweet yet sometimes biting vocals and acoustic guitar. Other band members are Andreas Söderlund, Maia Hirasawa, Fredrik Hultgren and Jens Lagergren. Together they create infectious indie pop that I just can’t get enough of.

From their 2005 LP Introducing Hello Saferide, ‘Get Sick Soon’ is a quirky song filled with love and devotion.

Sleep on my shoulder! I won’t wake you even if
My back turns crooked and I have to walk with a limp for a week

You can hold the remote, I won’t try to steal it
And the best cushion is yours and you can have your feet on me,
Even though I’m scared of feet and even though I had a hard day at work

From the same album comes ‘San Francisco’, a wonderful tongue in cheek track. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the lyrics of Hello Saferide are merely ‘cute’ – every now and then a line will appear with a sting in its tail.

Time to take your sweetheart by the hand and lead him to the Promised Land
The only place in North America not destroyed by the government
San Francisco! You’re going
San Francisco! We’re going
Don’t you know you’ll never ever want to turn back

From the EP Would You Let Me Play This EP Ten Times A Day? comes ‘2006’, a seemingly upbeat track about new year’s resolutions, though there is a definite undercurrent of longing and sadness.

This years resolutions:
I will exercise more
Call my grandma
Tell my family that I love them
Learn more about the world wars, and forget
I will learn a new word each day
Today’s word is dejected

and on the top of the list there’s you
I’m going to be with you
I haven’t told you yet but I’m going to be with you

And from the upcoming release More Modern Short Stories From Hello Saferide (out at the end of the month) comes the wonderful ‘Anna’. I’ve actually posted this track before, but I didn’t write about it in the way that I should have, so I’m going to redeem myself a little bit here.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard a track before that’s so catchy, yet so moving at the same time. Anna is the daughter that the protagonist in the song always hoped to have.

You know we could have had a daughter
And we could have named her Anna
And she would have been a sweetheart
But with punk rock manners

Could have supported us when we retire
Bought us a cottage near the countryside

She goes on to describe all the things that Anna would be and all the things that she would do with her life, but the song takes a sudden turn with the line

And she’d never have to know what it’s like when your heart breaks

and when an electric guitar crashes in the mood of the song shifts noticeably, finishing with the lines

Well I’m real sorry Anna, you never got to be
Because your daddy moved on and left me

Hope, possibility, loss and longing delivered in under three minutes, all wrapped up in an infectious bundle of twee indie pop. It’s all wonderful and it’s all highly, HIGHLY, recommended.

Get Sick Soon – Hello Saferide

San Francisco – Hello Saferide

2006 – Hello Saferide

Anna – Hello Saferide

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