Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Fever Ray

  • Fever Ray [Rabid/Mute, 2009] A-
  • Plunge [Mute, 2017] A-
  • Radical Romantics [Rabid, 2023] *

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Fever Ray [Rabid/Mute, 2009]
You say pretty, beaty, bummed-out electronic background music isn't your thing? How about ethereal tracks with a firm grasp on reality--and also discernible feelings about reality? On a solo debut by the woman who's the reason you liked that Knife album against your better judgment? These are not songs about how depressed Karin Dreijer Andersson is, though the long winter does get Scandinavians down. They're songs about the destructiveness of greed, the difficulties of nurturance, and the very real adjustments every human must make from the dreams of youth to the constrictions of adulthood, which in my lifetime have never been worse than they are right now. As good as it gets: "Work as I've been told/In return I get money/Small feet in the hall/And I long for every moment." A-

Plunge [Mute, 2017]
Karin Dreijer's solo debut was about money when you listened up. This long-aborning follow-up is about sex. The tentative openers "Wanna Sip" and "Mustn't Hurry" end up where she and you had hoped before concerns about unsafe spaces and fraught hookups culminate with the free-abortion-on-demand "This Country": "This country"--and she means Sweden!--"makes it hard to fuck." Yet strangely or maybe not, that attack of nerves is the turning point. Immediately the title instrumental leads directly to "I want to run my fingers up your pussy" and an open if complicated beyond. Take the plunge, she's hinting. It'll be fine. You'll be glad you did. A-

Radical Romantics [Rabid, 2023]
Proving as clearly as is mete not just that sex doesn't get any easier as you get older, but that neither does music no matter how strange yours was to begin with ("Even It Out," "Kandy") *