Playlist: Swedehearts

There must be something in the lingonberry jam and kaffebröd for Sweden to have given us so much great pop music in the last four decades. In the 70s, ABBA rapidly became the first family of disco music. In the 80s, Neneh Cherry collaborated with every oddball rocker, from Michael Stipe to Geoff Barrow. Her brother, Eagle Eye, would wield his own one-hit wonder in the mid-90s.

But it’s not just about the tunes. Sweden’s also given us a considerable amount of queer and/or genderfucking eye candy in the form of Maja Ivarsson of The Sounds, Ola Salo of The Ark, and–queen of relationship advice–Robyn. Whether you’re looking for a new punk band fronted by a Joan Jett doppelganger or a synthpop band with an affinity for masks: Sweden is the go-to place for quality tunes and alternative lifestyle haircut inspiration.

The Knife



Alright Alright (Here’s My Fist Where’s The Fight?) – Sahara Hotnights
A Postcard To Nina – Jens Lekman
All That She Wants – Ace of Base
Yours to Keep – Teddybears (featuring Neneh Cherry)
You and Me Song – The Wannadies
Young Folks – Peter, Björn, and John (featuring Victoria Bergsman)
Make Out Fall Out Make Up – Love Is All
Spoon Me – OHM
Until We Bleed – Kleerup (featuring Lykke Li)
The Girl And The Robot – Röyksopp (featuring Robyn)
My Favourite Game – The Cardigans
4 Songs & A Fight – The Sounds
Like A Pen – The Knife
Too Late, Too Slow – Shout Out Louds
Heartbeats – Jose Gonzalez (The Knife cover)
I Love It – Icona Pop
Winter Beats – I Break Horses
One Of Us – ABBA
Pale Fire – El Perro del Mar
Chosen One – The Concretes
Save Tonight – Eagle Eye Cherry

Swedehearts from Autostraddle on 8tracks Radio.


Tell me your favorite tracks by Swedish Fish artists below!

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Sarah Fonseca’s essays, book reviews, and film writing have appeared in Black Warrior Review, cléo: a journal of film and feminism, Posture Magazine, and them. Catch her obsessing over Eartha Kitt at

sarah has written 57 articles for us.


  1. Ah, Sweden. I’d like to add First Aid Kit, JJ, Fever Ray, Koop and Lykke Li. Ooh and The Hives. They’re not all pop but I hope it still counts.

  2. A Swedish playlist without Roxette?!?! Sorry, but playlist FAIL. Per and Marie epitomise all that is wonderful about Sweden and pop music.

    • I second that emotion, Roxette is essential!
      Plus “It must have been love” is a pretty lesbian break-up song. I mean
      “Make-believing we’re together,
      that I’m sheltered by your heart.
      But in and outside I’ve turned to water
      like a teardrop in your palm. “

  3. Love so much of this….

    And, ok. I know they’re Danish and not Swedish but can we pretend for a bit and add Alphabeat to this mix? They make me feel so happy and their sound fits right in with everything quite nicely.

  4. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you name-dropped Ola Salo, but why no songs from The Ark on the playlist? “The Most Radical Thing To Do” and “Let Your Body Decide” are such fantastic queer anthems. Everyone should check those out! (Bonus points, however, for Ace of Base! I know they’re obvious here, but I still love them.)

  5. Yay Sweden! I have been there and I have relatives there, so I love this country!

    Also when I was 11 my Destination Imagination team had to do a skit that was international-flavored, so we picked Sweden for our country and the script (which I wrote) included people on our team wearing blonde wigs and pretending to be ABBA members, and at the end we all did a dance to “Dancing Queen.” Among many other stereotypically Swedish things.

  6. Ah, Sweden represent! :D I would like to add Jakob Hellman (even though he only sings in Swedish), Lisa Ekdahl, Stina Nordenstam, Laleh, Emil Jensen (probably only Swedish), Säkert (or her English-speaking alter ego Hello Saferide) and The Soundtrack of Our Lives. Good music, y’all!

  7. Oh I love this! I’m surprised at how many of these songs I know(: <3 autostraddle and your playlistssss

  8. Great playlist!

    I would definitely add My Best Friend by Hello Saferide. I mean, “Damn, I wish I was a lesbian.”

    And also her swedish project Säkert:

    Säkert + Anna Järvinen’s cover of Robyn’s With Every Heartbeat:

    Other swedish artists worth checking out:

    Anna Ternheim

    Frida Hyvönen

    Jonathan Johansson

    Markus Krunegård

    Håkan Hellström

  9. Yes please. Add Summer Heart’s “I Wanna Go” and Air France’s “June Evenings” and “Never Content.”

  10. Some of my favorite groups are Swedish! Of course Fever Ray/The Knife and iamamiwhoami, JJ, Miike Snow, and Air France. Niki & the Dove is also a good newish group.

    My favorite song from iamamiwhoami, in case you want to check them out

  11. Ugh I just saw Jens Lekman at this intimate concert in Seattle and it was gorgeous! And Postcard to Nina was one of the very last encore songs he sang, and it was a very happy moment (lots of queermos in the crowd too!). :D

  12. I am going through the playlist tags bc I can’t sleep BUT IGH HOW DID I MISS THIS THE FIRST TIME AROUND?

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