Drew P A Smith

I can buy you (oh yeah, oh yeah)

On my way to Gothenburg again. From the air, the Randstad is doing its best impression of Cuyp’s The Maas at Dordrecht, all low light hitting broadside through the early morning haze.

Excited to be travelling and wary of the futility of it all, too. It will be what it will be. At the very least, I’ll park myself in the staff cafeteria and hope to run in to some friendly faces.

After The Cardigans, Lovefool and Gran Turismo, lead singer Nina Persson created a solo project called A Camp. The sound is melancholy country, and the lush orchestration is a warm ground that allows Persson’s husky voice to float like whisps of morning fog.

I never understood how a Swedish band could produce such American-sounding music. Then I moved here and saw the “Swedes for Trump” bumper stickers and encountered raggare culture, a kind of proud, Nordic redneckism.

Doused in booze and carried aloft beat-up Cadillacs and Chryslers to rockabilly tunes, the ragga runts were some of the most surprising discoveries of my time living here. They showed just how hard Sweden fell for post-war Americana.

It’s a love affair that’s also reflected in the doe-eyed glances that Swedish car industry folk have cast towards Silicon Valley over the past few years, but that’s another story.

Gothenburg’s is a dream airport. With hand luggage, I can be off the plane and in a taxi in 5 minutes flat. Within 20 minutes I’m in town. The pleasures of small town living with an international airport.

Sat in the beige-leather-and-dusky-wood back seat of a Volvo V90, A Camp’s I Can Buy You came on the radio.

The light hits different here. Lower again than in Amsterdam and unencumbered by haze, its rays turn to gold everything that can be, and warm the morning cold. And yet, that melancholy twang, sounding for all the world like a corporate breakup song:

And I can buy you, oh yeah, oh yeah

But I can’t make you do what you don’t

And I can hire you, oh yeah, oh yeah

But I can’t make you love me, I can’t make you care