LISA MULLINS: And finally today, pop music from Sweden. The country that gave us ABBA has produced plenty of other pop acts. One of them is a duo that's called Club 8. Like ABBA, they write their lyrics in English. The World's Gerry Hadden met up with the musicians backstage recently at a show in Spain.
GERRY HADDEN: Take a listen to this song by Club 8. It's called, Whatever You Want. It sounds really Swedish, doesn't it? But what does that mean, exactly? Before a show last Friday night, Club 8 partners Karolina and Johan tried to pin it down.
KAROLINA: Sometime I imagine that I can hear when a band comes from Sweden, actually. But I don't know why. It's some sort of atmosphere that I just recognize, and I don't know what it is. It's not only the accent, it's more a feeling.
JOHAN: I think there's a nice tradition of having a focus on the melodies. I think Swedish pop music is very melodic.
HADDEN: Undeniably true. This little melody alone took another Swedish group, Peter Bjorn and John, to the top of European charts in 2009. Swedish melodies can definitely be catchy. And melancholic, like this Club 8 song, Jesus Walk with Me. But Club 8 is trying to push the Swedish envelope a bit. Let in a little more sunshine, as it were. On their last album, called The People's Record, they incorporate some upbeat rhythms from Cuba, Brazil and Africa. Club 8 are touring in Spain right now. They actually got their start here, in 1995, as teens, when they signed with the Madrid label, Siesta. But their first live show was in New York. They haven't been back to the States since, says Johan.
JOHAN: We do get [INDISCERNIBLE] quite a lot. But we usually, we don't get paid enough, so we couldn't afford to go there and play.
HADDEN: You'd be losing money?
JOHAN: Yeah, exactly.
HADDEN: Most Swedish musicians have to work day jobs. Many collect unemployment under Sweden's generous welfare system. Swedes just voted in a conservative government, as the country debates whether it can sustain its strong social safety net. But Club 8's Johan says artists aren't worried. Sweden's new right-wing government, he says, is still far to the left of the Obama administration. For The World, I'm Gerry Hadden, Vallvidreira, Spain.
MULLINS: If you want to see Club 8 performing in Spain, we've got the video. It's at TheWorld.org. That's our program for today. From the Nan and Bill Harris studios at WGBH, I'm Lisa Mullins. Thank you for listening.