An Incomplete History of Swedish Pop Geniuses

1972  Four friends (and lovers) named Anni-Frid, Björn, Benny, and Agnetha begin writing songs together in Stockholm. ABBA goes on to achieve international superstardom with platinum-selling smashes like “Dancing Queen” and “Take a Chance on Me.”

1993  “The Sign,” by the Gothenberg dance-pop quartet Ace of Base, crashes onto #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Seventeen years later, the song lives on in countless roller-skating rinks across America, and through current pop queen Lady Gaga, who counts the group as an influence.

1996  Baz Luhrmann’s William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet features not only a baby-faced Leonardo DiCaprio, but a dreamy and unforgettable song called “Lovefool” by the Jönköping band the Cardigans. Thirteen years later, Justin Bieber borrows “Lovefool”’s chorus for his sugary synth-pop track “Love Me.”

1998  27-year-old Max Martin writes a sexy little ditty called “. . . Baby One more Time” that makes its way to a Louisiana teenager named Britney and becomes one of the best-selling singles in music history. Martin goes on to write a string of other bubblegum smashes, including Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” and Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl.”

2004  Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg—also known as Bloodshy & Avant—write and produce the explosively hooky song “Toxic.” Recorded and brought to notoriety by Britney Spears, the track earns the duo a Grammy for Best Dance Recording.

2009  Karlsson and Winnberg team up with New York producer Andrew Wyatt to form the electro-dance trio Miike Snow. Their eponymous debut album, which wins over the hip kids at the clubs. In the ongoing trend for glossy dance-pop, songs like “Animal” and “Black and Blue” stand out for their deep sentiments, moody synth waves, crooning vocals, and absolutely impeccable production.

2010  Thirteen years after recording the gold pop single, “Show Me Love,” as a teenager, the svelte singer Robyn resurfaces with the freshly innovative dance records “Don’t Fucking Tell Me What to Do” and “Dancing on My Own,” on her albums Body Talk Pts. 1 & 2, winning the unlikely enthusiastic favor of Pitchfork and The New Yorker’s Sasha Frere-Jones.

October 13, 2010 Miike Snow appears live at the Showbox SoDo, after selling too many tickets to fit into their original venue at the Showbox at the Market. “It will sell out Showbox SoDo,” says Chad Queirolo of AEG Live, “which is about 650 more tickets than I initially projected when buying the show. It’s pretty exciting to sell so well in a recent climate that has been very hard to move tickets.” Such is the power of Swedish pop.

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