Swedish Language Blog

Swedish Indie Pop at its Finest: Annika Norlin Posted by on Feb 4, 2022 in Culture, Music, People, Swedish Language

Photo by Jordan Whitfield on Unsplash

Fans of Swedish pop rejoice as Annika Norlin (also know as Säkert! and Hello Saferide) has recently released a brand new album! In my opinion, her music is a perfect example of svensk indie pop – often melancholy, or painfully honest lyrics set to mostly upbeat melodies. This week we’ll learn more about the artist before listening to a song from her new album, Mentor. 

Did you miss last month’s music blog on nyårslöfte and Sarah Dawn Finer? Check it out here!

Vem är Annika Norlin? Who is Annika Norlin?

Annika Norlin, f. 1977, is a svensk sångare, låtskrivare, författare och journalist (Swedish singer, songwriter, author and journalist). She grew up in Östersund, and spent a few years in Stockholm before moving back north again to settle in Umeå. 

A multi-talented writer, Norlin composes beautifully honest songs in both Swedish (as Säkert!)  and English (as Hello Saferide). Throughout her career, she has received a host of awards including several grammisar (Swedish grammy’s), and Taubestipendiet (an award in honor of beloved Swedish national poet/troubadour Evert Taube). She has even turned her hand to writing fiction, and her debut novellsamling (short story collection), Jag ser allt du gör (“I see everything you do”) was nominated for an Augustpris, Sweden’s prestigious literary prize, in 2020. 

Despite all this critical praise, typical of Swedes in general, and northern Swedes in particular, Norlin is not particularly comfortable with uppmärksamhet (attention). In a recent interview for Kulturprogrammet Sverige! (watch the whole interview here), the host Fredrik Önnevall asks why it took her until she was in her thirties to debut as a musical artist even though she had been writing for most of her life. Norlin explains that for a long time she didn’t find the need to show off her work in a public way as for her, “njutningen är själva görandet” (the enjoyment is in the actual process). 

Luckily for us, she eventually did decide to share her music with the public, and her latest album Mentor doesn’t disappoint. Let’s learn a bit more about it below. 

Mentor Mentor 

Mentor starts with six songs in English followed by six på svenska (in Swedish). Because it contains songs in both languages, she released it as Annika Norlin rather than as Säkert! or Hello Saferide, her other artist names. According to Norlin, a lot of songs on the new album are tillbakablickande (looking back), and especially on the years she spent living in Stockholm in the early 2000’s. 

Working as a music journalist at the time, she would often go to venues which had VIP rooms. She noticed that the people outside of the VIP room were always extremely conscious of its existence in the venue while those inside never once looked out from it. In the years since, she has carried that image with her as a fitting illustration for society at large – those in power (those in the VIP room) don’t think much at all about the money they have that allows doors to open for them, while those standing outside can’t help but be hyperaware of the rooms they are unable to access.

Pengar / Money

This specific image made its way into the song Pengar (Money), which is a bit more lowkey than many of her other songs, but just as beautiful. Now that you have the context, try giving the song a listen once first to see how much of the svenska you understand. Then read through the lyrics below.


1. alla dessa drömmar 

som fyrtorn i mörket 

blinkar där borta 

men helt utom räckhåll

och man ombes att gå med 

nedböjt huvud

göra sig liten 


2. jag stod med

en varmkorv i handen

kolla in i en bar

såg dom interagera

det syntes i rummet:

en lätthet i stegen

att dom hade glömt 

och därinne flyger pengarna runt 

som dammkorn i vinden

och ingen kollar ut

och människorna går mitt ibland dom

som ingenting särskilt

som det var syre, skulle aldrig ta slut

3. om jag kryper

vid golvet, under röken

om ingen ser mig

snabbt, sen genom en dörr

jag rör mig längs väggarna

hör hur dom pratar

om skönhet och kunskap

och härinne flyger pengarna runt som dammkorn i vinden

inte viktigare än så

om jag strack ut handen och tog dom så var dom väl mina 

och jag kunde se världen genom dom

och det är då jag hör jag mig själv säga:

nej pengar betyder ingenting


4. och våren

våren ska komma

oavsett konto,

den är till för alla

men det är att kunna andas

att hinna tänka 

att det är vår

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About the Author: Liz S

Liz is a Swedish language instructor living in Minnesota, USA. She has degrees in Scandinavian Studies (B.A.) and Second Language Education (M.A.) from the University of Minnesota and has taught English and Swedish to students of all ages in the US and abroad. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, learning Polish and finding ways to make the Minnesota winter more mysig (cozy)!