Peter Morén – “The Odyssey” (Stereogum Premiere)

Late last year, Peter Morén of Peter Bjorn And John released Broken Swenglish Vol. 1, an EP that took some of the choice cuts from his Swedish-language solo albums and translated them into English. Now, almost a year later, Morén will release the second volume, and today you can hear its first single, “The Odyssey.” This was already a catchy track in its original Swedish incarnation on 2012’s Pyramiden, but for English-speaking fans it takes on a humorous new meaning. If you’re only hearing it in context now you’ll realize this is a catchy pop song about the weary routine of making catchy pop songs. Listen to it below (along with the original) and read Morén’s own reflections on the meaning of it.

“The Odyssey” was co-written with a good songwriting friend of mine (also called Peter) with even more years in the business than me. And he had this contradictory idea of doing a very catchy pop-song but with a lyric about being tired of pop-songs or at least the pop-music-industry.

And I guess we’ve all felt that way now & then. This love-hate-thing; I love pop, but the industry sucks, you know? It’s not fair and it doesn’t make sense. But music is great, music’s the best!! So I took that as my cue and developed the lyric from there. I was thinking of that Costello-line ‘I want to bite the hand that feeds me’ from ‘Radio, Radio’ and how we all want to get on the radio but at the same time who can stand to listen to all the shit that’s on the radio? Depends on the channel obviously but you’ll get it…A bit of a ‘catch 22.’ Anyhow the verses then is sort of in an impressionistic way about touring America. I think it was our 2009-tour with Depeche Mode or that period at least. But it’s just in my head obviously…I really dig the production on this one. Really new wave but still a little modern. I hope!”

Broken Swenglish Vol. 2 is out 10/7 via INGRID.

Tags: Peter Morén