Review Summary: Take a trip to The Wintergatan Dimension
Goddamn, where am I supposed to begin with an album like this? I suppose I'll start by saying that I don't really know anyone who loves this album as much as I do. Sure I know people who like or even love this album, but I've never seen anyone really talk about this record with that really shows the same intense adoration that I have for it. Hell, sometimes I wonder if I like this album even more than Martin himself.
To me, Wintergatan evokes feelings of imagination, joy, childlike innocence, and nostalgia throughout its runtime, but there are four tracks that I feel do this especially well: Sommarfagel, The Rocket, Biking is Better, Starmachine2000, and Paradis.
Opening with Sommarfagel, there's something immediately enticing about Wintergatan; the simplistic melody teases the user about what's to come, giving hints about the fantastic world that Wintergatan creates with its sound. Sommarfagel then begins to evolve, turning from a highly simplistic melody to a layered track, with several moving parts; Sommarfagel feels like you are entering a new dimension that exists inside of Wintergatan for the first time, a dimension of pure imagination (which I will subsequently refer to as "The Wintergatan Dimension). A lot of people talk about music being "otherworldy" and I feel as if Wintergatan is the most extreme example of this; Wintergatan doesn't sound like it just exists within another world, it sounds like it is another world. Honestly, this track reminds me of playing the PS3 platforming game LittleBigPlanet when I was younger.
The Rocket is a more laid-back track than Sommarfagel, but still suggests the same imagery as it does, just in a different way; instead of entering The Wintergatan Dimension, you are taking your time to explore The Wintergatan Dimension. Whether it's going deep into Imagination Forrest, or taking a gentle stroll down Excitement Street, you can get familiar to your new world around you very easily.
Biking is Better is even more relaxed and laid-back than The Rocket, and feels like what happens when someone has become fully accustomed to The Wintergatan Dimension; instead of exploring it, you are simply taking your time to appreciate the world around you. In The Wintergatan Dimension you breathe joy, you drink imagination, and eat fun.
Then, we have Starmachine2000. Goddamn man, Starmachine2000. My first reaction to hearing this track was "holy crap, how do you make a song this good?" And honestly, that's still my reaction every time I hear it. I don't think I've ever heard a track more full of fun and joy; the melody for Starmachine2000 sounds like what would happen if you could turn happiness itself into music. Every time the chorus kicks in at 2:47 I'm still amazed, despite having heard it countless times; it feels like getting bear hugged by the literal human embodiment of happiness. It's just so full of joy that it's almost overwhelming. Bloody musical euphoria.
Finally, we have Paradis. Paradis is by far the longest track on Wintergatan, at just over fourteen minutes. Paradis' length and scope gives a feeling of the sheer size of The Wintergatan Dimension, like you are standing on the peak of Mount Creativity, looking down on all the lands across this world, and the vastness and diversity. To me, this represents the power of human creativity and imagination. Whether it be crafting richly developed worlds full of deep symbolism and lore within our heads, creating characters with their own intricate personalities and backstories, or creating music full of beautiful melodies and fantastic songwriting. Paradis very much reminds me of one of the most amazing aspects of the human mind.
Listening to Wintergatan isn't the only way you can enter The Wintergatan Dimension; you can take a visit to The Wintergatan Dimension by reminiscing about joyful and fun times of the past, or by looking back at old TV shows you watched as a small child, or by reading/watching a story/film/TV show full of rich character development and worldbuilding, or by playing a fun, casual game, in real life or as a video game. You visit The Wintergatan Dimension every time you experience that childlike imagination and fun but with a lens of maturity. It's a beautiful place, but sadly you can't stay for long.