courtesy photoMaja Ivarsson

courtesy photoMaja Ivarsson

Sounds bigger than ever in Sweden

Maja Ivarsson doesn’t put much stock into the adage that you can never go home again.

Two years ago, as her Swedish power-pop combo the Sounds released its fourth album, “Something to Die For,” the blond bombshell made what she thought was a permanent move to Los Angeles. She fit in with its beach culture, and her then-new California beau, nicely.

But soon enough, she was pining for the fjords.

“I broke up with that boyfriend, so I live in Sweden now. And it has been a very crazy and super-intense year for me back there.”

Sensing that the Sounds, who play the Fillmore on Monday, had gotten too cerebral with “Something,” the vocalist and her bandmates flipped the script for their fifth release, “Weekend.” They disappeared into the spacious Gothenburg studio Svenska Grammaphon, where they resided for seven weeks, mastering every new song live before attempting to record it — the exact opposite of how they worked before.

The concept clicked. Effervescent songs such as “Animal,” “Great Day” and “Young and Wild” are the group’s punchiest since 2002’s Blondie-brilliant debut, “Living In America.”

While Ivarsson was rediscovering Sweden, Sweden was rediscovering her. She was invited onto the third season of one of the country’s most popular reality TV shows, which translates to “So Much Better.”

“They reach out to seven different artists each year, from seven different musical genres, seven different ages,” she says. “It’s not like ‘Jersey Shore’ — it’s serious television.”

The concept is simple: Everyone lives, eats and fraternizes together in a secluded summer house. “But each night, after dinner, we interpret each other’s songs. So to hear six different people performing Sounds tracks? Just a total surprise,” she says.

Another notable incident was when, worried that her broken tailbone hadn’t healed correctly, she Instagrammed a wish-me-luck message the day of her MRI. She says, “It ended up in the Swedish tabloids, with the headlines all exaggerating it like crazy — I was dying! Or in the emergency room!”

A brutally frank interview she did for national radio station P-1 for its annual “Summer in P-1” broadcast — in which she revealed abuse she suffered as a child — became the series’ most downloaded piece. Now, strangers feel so familiar with her, they approach her on the street just to chat.

All of these things combined have made the band even bigger in Sweden. She says, “We’ve always been big, but now I think Inga — 56 years old, from a tiny little village in the middle of nowhere — she knows about the Sounds, as well. Now everybody knows!”

IF YOU GO

The Sounds

Where: Fillmore, 1805 Geary Blvd., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. Monday

Tickets: $25

Contact: (415) 346-6000, www.livenation.comartsMaja IvarssonPop Music & JazzSoundsWeekend

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Students in an after-school community hub move quickly through a social circle as they play a game at the Mission YMCA on Friday, May 7, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Parents scramble for ‘Summer Together’ spaces

City program offering free camps sees high demand, confusion over enrollment

The San Francisco Giants celebrate team legend Willie Mays' 90th birthday before taking on the San Diego Padres at Oracle Park on May 7, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).
Willie Mays returns to the ballpark for a special birthday bash

Giants celebrate No. 24’s 90th in an intimate party for a few thousand friends

Legislation introduced by Assemblymember Phil Ting has expanded the range of people who can request a gun violence restraining order against someone. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Use of gun violence restraining orders continues to rise

For the fourth year in a row, the number of gun violence… Continue reading

The Port of San Francisco, which controls much of the The City’s waterfront, faces potential layoffs due to a financial crisis caused by the pandemic. 
Steven Ho/
Special to S.F. Examiner
In a financial ‘crisis,’ SF Port officials lobby for stimulus funding

Looking to right their financial ship, Port of San Francisco officials are… Continue reading

Police Chief Bill Scott on Wednesday said a rebranding and reoganization of the former Gang Task Force amounts to “more than just the name change.” (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Faced with surge in shootings, Chief Scott reenvisions SFPD’s Gang Task Force

New Community Violence Reduction Team adds officers with community-policing experience

Most Read