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Righteous Boy | I Sing Because Of You | review | alternative | rock | Lollipop
I Sing Because Of You (Future Farmer)
by Jamie Kiffel
In the sunny bedroom at the top of the stairs, behind the unlatched door, sits an envelope marked Personal. The air smells of quiet, of loneliness and of his thoughts - still perfuming the air - as you quietly pick up the envelope off his well-loved floor. You can almost still hear his footsteps as you slowly bring the letter to your nose and sniff - he's so close. He's not here, but as you start to read, you can hear his handsome, half-whispered voice speaking frankly into your ear.
Personal - personal like this, like a lover who steps out to let you tiptoe inside, find his most intimate thoughts, and read them to yourself - this is the character of Magnus Sveningsson's new CD, I Sing Because of You. The Cardigans' bassist has assembled a gentle disc that plays like a journal over old Parisian jazz and purple-blue snifters full of disillusionment, the vocals seeming to sing directly from the stereo's diaphragm to your lips. The sound waxes mystical, sentimental, sweet, wounded. Starkly contrasted to the production the music world has come to devour, Sveningsson's music seems fragile, like revelations in a worn journal. Even its accompanying website, www.righteousboy.com, appears too self-conscious to be called an advertisement. In fact, all the tracks are available for free listening on the site, which is written as if to a handful of friends. It reveals Sveningsson's thoughts about the project - from seeing a chiropractor to crack his lower back ("I could hardly walk It got better during the weekend though...") to facing anxieties about publicity ("It's hard for me to adjust to the fact that the record's out and to read reviews. I sometimes feel that my album is like a diary, which by nature can't be criticized"). Sveningsson even notes apologetically "None of the other Cardigans played on the album, but that is just the way things turned out."
This vulnerability isn't just a gimmick. Sveningsson's thoughts are practically touchable throughout the album, and startlingly present in tracks such as "I'm Not Shielded," a slow, minor-key sing-song of gentle bitterness and self-questioning. The music is beautiful and finely-crafted, suggesting emotional British pop, secrets shared, and lonely afternoon bedrooms. Accept Sveningsson's invitation to come inside and be trusted. I'm nearly convinced he really does sing because of me.
(PO Box 225128 San Francisco, CA 94122)