Review Summary: A nice and varied introduction to a Swedish singer/songwriter making splashes on Spotify.
These days, almost every aspiring musician is trying to use the online trail - Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Spotify to make it. Stockholm, Sweden singer/songwriter Jon Magnusson is no exception. Most of his music, most of it on EP’s have been floating through online media for a while, and he just came up with his new one, Always A Rebel.
But while other artists usually let their music simply float online, and set up their Facebook, Twitter and other social media accounts without any specific idea what they want to do with them. Jon has taken the whole process a bit more seriously. He has set up a very active Facebook group connected with his curating activities on Spotify, and he seems to be reaching quite a few more people than usual as far as a relatively unknown artist is concerned.
The thing though is that such online activity, can do two things - one is, you devote it too much time and your music suffers, or you encounter much more different music and musical genres and incorporate and enrich your music.
Luckily, it seems that Jon has taken the second route. As somebody who seem to be in music from his teens, and somebody with an obviously curious music mind, those influences have definitely seeped in into his music, as evident on Always A Rebel. He also seems to have honed his home production skills, and the bedroom production is all but gone. Not that it is a bad thing, but that doesn’t seem to be the sound Jon is striving for.
The five songs on the EP (of which one is an alternate mix of the title tune), exhibit that ‘standard’ knack for a good pop melody that is often attributed to musicians originating from Sweden. Maybe it has something to do with smorgasbord! Joking aside, Jon definitely has a good ear for a right tune, evident in all of the track presented on the EP.
What is also interesting is that Jon has carefully set up the playing order, leaving the really strong tracks like “Set Me On Fire”, and the two versions of the title song for the second part, with the alternate version being the only track that would give away Jon as a singer/songwriter, here under the influence of Paul Simon, and actually good for it.
Of course, it is a bit hard to pass an extremely positive judgment just based on an EP, but by the manner in which Jon is handling the whole online music process, and even more so with what he has come up music wise, he is certainly on a right track.