Stina Nordenstam's chilly examination of soured love evokes the austerity and drama of an Ingmar Bergman film on "Another Story Girl", a cut from her underappreciated debut, Memories of a Color.
Stina Nordenstam was never going to be a household name. But the highly reclusive Swedish songstress carved a niche for herself so distinctive, she made an art out of art-pop-obscurity. Much of Nordenstam’s power lies not in what is revealed through her music, but what she keeps private, highly guarded and ultimately hidden from the listener. Memories of a Color was a highly notable debut when the album was released in the singer’s homeland of Sweden, but it failed to make a dent or impression at the time in the North American market. Nordenstam has since dismissed the album as being misrepresentative of her art and, therefore, inessential. But Color managed to capture the sweeping mythology of the cold Swedish winters of despair. An album that explored the psychological desolation of a young woman teetering on the brink of a nervous breakdown, it soon gained a following once Nordenstam hit paydirt with her follow-up, And She Closed Her Eyes, a far more realized effort that pared back the grander arrangements of her debut for a purely minimalist approach. Color, however, offered up some of the Swede’s most cinematic and unusual studies in pop music, sketching out chamber dramas of dismal love-stories worthy of Bergman and Sjöman.