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Quick critical re-evaluation: Kent – En plats i solen

14/05/2011
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A year back I talked about the then-new Kent album briefly, and I’m still willing to sign my name under most of it. The quick and somewhat random appearance, the hasty and sneaky single releases without videos or b-sides and general lack of any fuss around the album (shocking, considering we’re talking about one of the largest bands of the Nordic/Scandinavian region) give the impression that it’s not really a proper, thought-out continuation of the band’s discography and instead it’s leftovers from the previous album’s sessions mixed with some new things. It’s a bit unusually disjointed for a Kent album as well, especially coming after the insanely album-centric Röd.

Thing is, the more I’ve listened to the album throughout this year or so, the more that slight disjointedness has become the point of the album, if you will. Look back when Kent did this last time – 2002’s Väpen & ammunition was an album of 10 individual songs bound together, an attempt to write 10 kickass singles without trying to turn them into a cohesive unit. En plats i solen is a new attempt to do that. And not only that, it’s seemingly also an attempt to make something more upbeat. The title translates as “A place in the sun” and, well, that’s what it is. The raveouts and massive dance-rock choruses of eg “Gamla Ullevi” and “Skisser för sommaren” are meant to blare out in summer dance parties, people singing every word. It’s an album of ten massive singles in the making, loaded with hooks and going as far as the band can in terms of sheer pop mentality. It’s Kent letting their hair down.

At the time I was probably too fogged down by all the hastiness and rush of its release, alongside other things. It’s weird to think I felt a bit iffy in some regards about En plats i solen or thought that it was a bit Kent-by-numbers occasionally. These days, it sometimes sounds like a singles collection. It’s a really bloody good album and contains some absolute stunners. If these are indeed outtakes and hastily written companions, then holy hell – it just drives further the point that Kent are Rather Good. But moreso, I’m starting to think that these were songs the band has been writing over the past few years and felt they were too upbeat and poplicious to fit on their albums, and that last year they had finally gathered enough to fit on an album of their own.

If this was somewhat robbed from its summer album status last year by other things, I think it’ll be on heavy rotation now. A year late, but who cares.

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