Oh My God
t starts, like most Swedish pop, with Max Martin. But Linda Sundblad didn’t take the usual route of Martin-aided fame. In 1996, at age 15, she dropped out of school and joined a rock band named Lambretta. Their Martin-penned hit, “Bimbo,” was the first time that I became aware of her pop potential and now—a little over five years and (finally!) one debut solo record later—the world outside of Sweden is coming to know it too.
Scandinavia hasn't been short on pretty young blondes releasing high quality electro-pop music of late—Robyn and Annie, of course, are leading the way with others such as Bertine Zetlitz and Margaret Berger close behind. Linda stands out from the pack, though: she’s refused, on Oh My God!, to provide anything but pure, unadulterated, euphorically cheesy pop music. For fans of Lambretta, this may come as a shock. Their final effort was their hardest-edged yet. But Oh My God! is a clean break: “Back in Time” may easily be mistaken for a lost Kylie classic, “Cheat” is what Gwen Stefani should be doing on her new album, and the first single “Oh Father” (“I’ve been touching myself and I’m worried, is Heaven still open for me?”) is a “Like a Virgin” for the 21st Century.
The title is perfectly representative of the album’s content: melodramatic, slightly ridiculous, and the voice of every teenage girl in the Western world. Linda may have grown up in the media spotlight, living the dreams of her school-bound peers, but she speaks for “the babies born in the 80s” in “Pretty Rebels” and reminisces of how she “could never imagine a boy would love me.” This is an album every teenage girl can relate to—the confusion of puberty, the desire to rebel, and now grown-up Linda goes “back in time to tell her she’ll be fine.” Who needs Seventeen when you’ve got Linda Sundblad?
With an album of classic pop sounds, youth on her side, and that mix of stylish sophistication and girlish cuteness that’s a necessity for all legendary female stars, Linda seems surely destined for pop stardom. In fact, it may ironically be her Swedishness—the reason she’s been able to work with such great writers and producers—that holds her back from her deserved worldwide domination. Pity: while the rest of the world is sleeping, we’ll be awake enjoying one of the best pop debuts of 2006.
Reviewed by: Jessica Popper
Reviewed on: 2006-12-05