Sweden has long been a breeding ground for magnificently morose electro-pop and – spoiler alert – this isn’t the last we’ll see of it in this countdown. First emerging through the Swedish incarnation of Pop Idol, and with the pipes to prove it, Loreen combines the tortured introspection of Lykke Lie and Robyn with the powerful diva belting of Leona & co, though thankfully with more conviction and less melisma.
My Heart Is Refusing Me was her breakout hit this year, spending over four months on the Swedish charts. It’s a masterclass in controlled tension, with the moody, understated verses giving way to an explosive chorus.Crossover dance hits in 2011 have tended to be of the vacuous Alexandra Stan variety, but it’s still a surprise that this song hasn’t yet been given a push beyond the Swedish borders. Leona Lewis’ unconvincing attempt to reinvent herself as a club diva earlier this year would have been far better served by a song like this than the dreadfully limp Collide.
Still, these things take time, and with an album due later in the year, Loreen may yet get the attention she deserves. Get on board now and prepare to look really cool when everyone is talking her up in six months time*.
*this might not actually happen.