Cancelled flights are the worst, just ask Swedish synth-pop artist Molly Nilsson. Trapped in the airport confines between starting point and final destination, Nilsson’s restless night spent beneath a large billboard boasting Tokyo’s 2020 Olympics sent her mind to wander.
Right from the beginning of her 10-year career, it feels like Nilsson has been in a constant state of re-evaluation. Since her and John Maus’ reimagination of ‘Hey Moon’ – a track originally from Nilsson’s 2008 debut, ‘These Things Take Time’ – Nilsson’s been forever developing her music’s innate properties. The call for a drastic reassessment of human behaviour is embedded deep within her eighth album, ‘2020’, and feels like a wake up call carried by a slightly less weighty intention.
Sitting regimented in the future, yet already almost completely tangible, the year 2020 and the construct of time itself looms in Nilsson’s mind. She tackles each gloomy forecast of our collective future with vigour and optimism. Time and time again she dances over pressing matters threatening our continual existence and uses her sharp and sparkling synth-pop working tirelessly to reassure us.
“Every night is new,” she sings on the opening track; we may be in a hopeless spiral of climate change (‘A Slice Of Lemon’) and trapped in a worsening political depression (‘Gun Control’), but let’s not go out feeling sorry for ourselves. It’s a message of conflicted interests but still resonates powerfully in each calculated track. Whether she’s warning or comforting us, the future still appears bleak, but Nilsson doesn’t want us crying about it.