Theater of Cruelty

People's Rating or P3's record collection?


Thomas Talseth is not surprisingly dissatisfied that I criticize the rating of "the best song of the time" under the auspices of Spirit and NRK P3 to give a skewed and near-sighted picture of Norwegian pop history. Instead of discussing the criticism, Talseth swirls a series of diversion maneuvers in which he concentrates on my person.

But this debate is not about my or his taste in music. Personally, I think the list of the 100 songs is a great selection of Norwegian music, and if I had managed to put together a list of my own favorites, I would probably have ended up with something that was suspiciously similar. The problem is that both I, Talseth and P3's music director Håkon Moslet are music journalists born in the early 1970s, while this award is meant to be a reader and listener poll – and not a list run by music journalists.

Spirit and P3's list of the 100 best songs is strongly characterized by the fact that it is composed of people who became musically sexually mature to the tunes of Knutsen & Ludvigsen and The Kids, was awakened by deLillos, Jokke and DumDum Boys and has since followed the Norwegian music scene with journalistic trend glasses. The list is also so strongly adapted to P3's musical profile that those who are to vote must do so with both hands tied behind their backs. Kåringa is not an attempt to find out what P3's listeners actually like, but what they prefer of the music that is already good tone on the channel.

One thing is not to list contains a single song released before 1980. That the 1990s and 2000s are most represented on the list is fair scouring, but the selection could take into account that artists such as Lillebjørn Nilsen, Alf Prøysen, Erik Bye and Jan Eggum can still have an audience under 30 years. This is, as Talseth points out, primarily a poll of and for people born after 1975, and such a rating will be characterized by musical freshness. But here we talk about the result, but in this poll, the list of nominees is so dominated by age and taste apartheid that it does not even open the possibility that some of today's 20-year-olds actually prefer DDE, Hellbillies and Odd Nordstoga to Rune Lindbæk, The Margarets and Equicez.

When the readers of the music magazine BEAT voted the best Norwegian music from 1994, for example, the lists were not only dominated by "real" bands such as deLillos, Motorpsycho and DumDum Boys, but also Di Derre, Anne Grete Preus and Tre Små Kinesere. The difference between that award and this year's P3 award was that BEAT did not provide any editorial guidelines in relation to what readers could vote for.

So why is did not see "En solskinnsdag" by Postgirobygget, "Det går likar no" by DDE, "Tir Na Noir" by Vamp, "My first love" by Jahn Teigen, "Mysteriet deg" by Bjørn Eidsvåg, "La det swinge" by Bobbysocks , "Evening song for you and me" by Odd Nordstoga, "Light and warmth" by Åge Aleksanderlate, "Cheerio" by The Monroes, "Har en drøm" by Jørn Hoel, "Nocturne" by Secret Garden and "Noenganter er det ålreit" by Odd Børretzen among the nominees? Has it been read and agreed that no one under 35 likes these, or could it be that P3's great fear is that their own listeners will signal that they want to hear something other than P3 music?

PS! One last word from an old man: When Åse Kleveland sings about her old husband, the song is called "Nothing is new under the sun", not "I know of an old man". Such music historical knowledge must be allowed to be requested, even from a Spirit editor.

Øyvind Holen is a cultural journalist at Ny Tid.

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