Subscription 790/year or 190/quarter

The myopia P3

Can't they just call it the P3 song of the time?


Creating cultural cannons is fun. No sooner has the dust settled after Morgenbladet's award of Norway's ten most significant works of art after the war, then NRK P3 and the youth magazine Spirit invite their audience to announce what they call "the Norwegian song of the time". A commendable measure, just a pity that the 100 candidates are left with a bad taste of a music police driven by age and taste apartheid. Because it's been a long time since I've seen such a skewed and near-sighted picture of Norwegian pop history.

"We in Spirit have felt sorry for the fact that there are so many good Norwegian songs in circulation, without anybody having clarified which is the best," says Spirit number nine. The audience itself should stand for the audience, but as we all know, the power lies with those who nominate the candidates.

And in the list of the top 100 Norwegian songs, Spirit editor Thomas Talseth and P3's powerful music director Håkon Moslet and their henchmen continue to hammer in their narrow and snobbish views on Norwegian pop history. Then the debate on the NRK program The history of Norwegian rock raged at its worst last year, Moslet stated the following to Dagbladet: "It was not until the mid-1980s that Norwegian rock began to become an interesting scene, with groups such as Raga Rockers, DumDum Boys, deLillos and Jokke & Valentinerne." This perception of 1980 as year 0 for Norwegian pop is carried forward in the selection of the Norwegian song of all time. According to P3 and Spirit, "the times" began in 1980, more specifically with The Kids' "In love with the teacher" – the oldest song among the 100 nominees.

Otherwise, Norwegian pop history looks like this, according to P3 and Spirit's list. 1980s: 25 good songs. 1990s: 35 good songs. And from 2000 until today: As many as 40 good songs!

Such reader polls on music are always quite near-sighted and characterized by the fact that a young audience constitutes a majority. Thus we can get weird results like Radioheads OK Computer is voted the best album of all time, but it is rare that we experience such an age-old apartheid already among candidates as what P3 adds up to here. The slightly absurd list of nominees is also characterized by the fact that there are trend gnomes around 30 years in power. Do they really mean it when they nominate "Where Are You?" by Moonflowers, "Ok, kjør romskip" by Rune Lindbæk and "Sommerflørt" by Lille Philip & Sandra to the best Norwegian song of all time, at the expense of the entire 1950s, 60s and 70s pop history? Do they think any of us will hum "Equicez" Live From Pass It, Anneli Drecker's All I Know, or Kung Fu Girls' Maria Is Beautiful in ten, if only five years? Is anyone humming them today?

To take some obvious examples: Lista has disqualified artists such as Lillebjørn Nilsen, Jan Eggum, Kirsti Sparboe, Åse Kleveland, Finn Kalvik, Inger Lise Rypdal, Wenche Myhre and Øystein Sunde from participating. It is also not just that the taste judges in P3 have disqualified the older garden in Norwegian pop history, for the unacceptable side (for P3 well and brand) of modern Norwegian pop has also been pushed out into the cold. Neither DDE, Dollie, Di Derre, Odd Nordstoga, Postgiro ​​Building, The Monroes, Dance With A Stranger, Secret Garden, Hellbillies nor Sputnik are among the candidates.

From a P3 perspective, all the omissions are fully understandable, but then you have to be honest and call it the "P3 song of the time". This attempt to stack on the legs a Norwegian pop canon is so narrowly carried out already in the nomination, that it has disqualified itself before a single vote has come. The prize is not an expression of a desire to find out what people think are the best Norwegian songs of all time, such as Tor Milde's extensive CD-box of the year, published by VG, was at least an attempt. This award says more about P3's panicked branding than about Norwegian pop history.

You may also like