PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Lasse Lindh: You Wake Up at Sea Tac

Devon Powers

Lasse Lindh

You Wake Up at Sea Tac

Label: Hidden Agenda
US Release Date: 2002-02-26

I'm going to go ahead and assume that the Sea Tac in Lasse Lindh's You Wake Up at Sea Tac is the Seattle-Tacoma Airport. I do have some clues that lead me to this. The album's cover has a caricature of a gent standing solemnly with a large jetliner in the background. There's lots of plane-y imagery within, too: boy sleeping on uncomfortable airport benches; boy looking beleaguered, with airborne aircraft in background. To confirm my hunch, I did a quick search on Google: yep, nearly everything related to the phrase "Sea Tac" had something to do with the Seattle-Tacoma area, and "SeaTac" is a bona fide nickname for that travel stop.

I'm convinced there's meaning in this, even if it's simply a coincidence. To go back to those drawings, they depict a boy in an uncomfortable situation, out of sync with where he is, waiting for either a departure or an arrival. Swedish Lindh, a pop star in his native land making his English debut with Sea Tac, is also on a journey: to a different market, through a different language and a different musical style (his past forays were teenybopper pop). What's more, that boy who appears in the album insert is simply a cartoon of a self -- a one-dimensional figure to whom we're introduced without context, who we can't quite identify. Is this boy Lasse? And if it is, does he want us to know anything about him?

Seemingly, on an album as confessional as Sea Tac sets out to be, the answer is yes. His songs are piled with stories of bleeding hearts and crushed egos and his singing, with undeniable likeness to Elliot Smith, sounds as if it takes all he's got to muster the pint-sized punch of his shuddering, scratchy tenor. Lasse Lindh wants us to know he's hurting, and he wants us to empathize with the pain. It's not surprising, then, that the singer's strongest suit is his ability to be nakedly feeble -- to key up a vulnerability that pales his already somber demeanor. Take "C'mon Through" as emblematic of this quintessential weakness. "What is the body if not a place where you store all anger and happiness and pain," he sings -- and that's one of the sunnier lines. Slow-strung and despondent, the piano builds the foundation of most of the number, strengthened by bass guitar, bass drum and cymbal.

There are brighter spots, though: a number of songs are clever etudes with an easy-going and boppy energy. Musically, "The Stuff" is a fervent dedication to the power of powerpop, and "The Heart is Old" is possibly the best and most put-together song on the album: a fantabulous low-riding gem of laid-back guitar lines and effortless harmonies. "Best Laid Plans", though hardly happy-go-lucky, has a slightly funky beat that makes it seem more up tempo, and "Walk With Me", a song about loyalty and ultimatums, has a definitively solemn groove.

But, like the insert, Sea Tac is ultimately self-effacing. Lindh's barely-there vocals sound as if he's forcing himself to sing, or trying hard not to disturb his neighbors. Lyrically, the songs are small and the words are smaller, making the ideas that they attempt to convey sound at best juvenile and at worst, lame. The album is thus like a diary where all the juicy bits have been edited out.

Despite the opinion of many of the genre's detractors, not just anyone can write an album of believable, emotional pop. It takes not only a certain sincerity, but also self-reliance that can openly embrace the chaos of one's experience and jettison it, full force, into the world. It's a difficult territory to travel, one that banks on proximity rather than distance. Perhaps on his next outing, Lasse Lindh will wake up a little closer to home.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.


20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.


Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.


The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.


Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).


Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.


Aalok Bala Revels in Nature and Contradiction on EP 'Sacred Mirror'

Electronic musician Aalok Bala knows the night is not a simple mirror, "silver and exact"; it phases and echoes back, alive, sacred.


Clipping Take a Stab at Horrorcore with the Fiery 'Visions of Bodies Being Burned'

Clipping's latest album, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, is a terrifying, razor-sharp sequel to their previous ode to the horror film genre.


Call Super's New LP Is a Digital Biosphere of Insectoid and Otherworldly Sounds

Call Super's Every Mouth Teeth Missing is like its own digital biosphere, rife with the sounds of the forest and the sounds of the studio alike.


Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.


15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.


Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.


Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.


Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.


Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.


The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.


British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.


Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.