.

Peter Bjorn and John Experiment With Hip-Hop, Afro-Pop on 'Living Thing'

January 13, 2009 1:28 PM ET

In 2006, Swedish trio Peter Bjorn and John delivered one of the year's most memorable jams, "Young Folks." (You may recall it as that insanely catchy tune with all the whistling.) In March, the group will return with Living Thing, which they recorded last year in Stockholm, New York and Los Angeles. While the new album doesn't contain any whistle-happy cuts, fans will be psyched to hear the group trade in folk-pop tunes for tracks that experiment more with electro-pop, hip-hop and Afro-pop. And the new direction totally works. Even Kanye West approves of the group's sonic shift: "PETER BJORN & JOHN... SHIT IS DOPE!!," he blogged in his signature shouty style. "DRUMS ARE CRAZY AND I LIKE THE KIDS ON THE HOOK."

"Nothing to Worry About" layers a heavy boom-bap, some funked-up bass licks and electro hand-claps with a crew of children turning out some Bollywood-esque chanting on the chorus. "Doing this thing, this type of thing," they yelp. "Put a little money in this type of thing/ I got nothing to worry about." Other highlights include "It Don't Move Me," which sounds like a long-lost Flock of Seagulls gem and the title track, which sort of evokes Solomon Linda's stone classic "Mbube" (more commonly known as "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"). And if you ever thought Swedish dudes weren't the most street-tough of folks, Peter Bjorn and John lay those claims to rest on "Lay It Down," where they chant "Hey! Shut the fuck up boy! You are starting to piss me off."

"Our plan was to take our songs as far as possible and use sounds in some not-so-obvious ways," says Bjorn Yttling. "We want [the record] to be magical and sexy. We don't want people to think, 'Oh, here comes the guitar.' It can't be so easy all the time." Yttling — who has recently produced new records by Lykke Li, Sahara Hotnights and Primal Scream — also has some more producing projects on deck. First up? Tokyo-based female garage-rock quartet the Suzan. "I was just surfing around the Internet and heard them," he says. "I think the record will be really good and hopefully some really good-hearted people will pick it up."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

prev
Music Main Next
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.

X

We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Love Is the Answer”

Utopia | 1977

The message of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" proved to be a universal and long-lasting one, which Utopia revisited 10 years later on this ballad. "From a lyrical standpoint, it's part of a whole class of songs that I write, which are about filial love," Todd Rundgren explained. "I'm not a Christian, but it's called Christian love, the love that people are supposed to naturally feel because we are all of the same species. That may be mythical, but it's still a subject." Though "Love Is the Answer" wasn't a hit, a cover version two years later by England Dan & John Ford Coley peaked at Number Ten on the Billboard singles chart.

More Song Stories entries »
 
www.expandtheroom.com