Year 2, Day 40: The Finale… Never Seen the Light of Day

Year 2, Album 40: Mando Diao – Never Seen the Light of Day

Tracklisting

  1. If I Don’t Live Today, Then I Might Be Here Tomorrow
  2. Never Seen the Light of Day
  3. Gold
  4. I Don’t Care What the People Say
  5. Mexican Hardcore
  6. Macadam Cowboy
  7. Train on Fire
  8. Not a Perfect Day
  9. Misty Mountains
  10. One Blood
  11. Dalarna

About the Album

Never Seen the Light of Day is the fourth studio album from Swedish rockers, Mando Diao. The album was recorded in 2007 while the band was on an exhausting tour of the world. Released on October 22 2007, the album was produced and recorded independently in a small studio with producer, Björn Olsson. At odds with their management and tired of the tediousness of the studios, the album was titled Never Seen the Light of Day due to the fact the band was afraid that the album might not be released, thus never see the light of day.

Thoughts on the Album

So here we arrive at day 40, the final day of the project for year 2. We traveled the world through musicians, artists, bands, and music. Year 2’s final (and today’s) album is from Swedish rock band, Mando Diao. It is their fourth studio effort, Never Seen the Light of Day, aptly named for the fear that the album might not have seen the light of day after growing dissatisfaction with their label and management. As with all Mando Diao albums, their style is their own unique sound; and this album, like the albums preceding it and succeeding it, don’t sound the same.

So what does this album do differently from other Mando Diao albums? Almost everything. The songs are calmer and more sensitive (if you could call it that) compared to the other songs in the band’s repertoire. The album, was produced by Björn Olsson, who is famed for Union Carbide Productions and The Soundtrack of Our Lives among other projects. One who is familiar with Olsson’s work can definitely tell from hearing the songs that he left his imprint on them.

The album is calmer, focusing more on acoustic guitar and orchestration. However tracks like the epinonymous Never Seen the Light of DayTrain on Fire, and One Blood incorporate the Swedes’ plugged-in and full garage rock electric guitar driven songs. The songs on this album, produced by Olsson, had a mix of rock, folk, country/western, string arrangements, and choirs.

Olsson’s production of the album suits the band incredibly well; excellently. The string arrangements found throughout the album shine brightest on the album opener, If I Don’t Live Today, Then I Might Be Here Tomorrow. The dual acoustic guitar riffs of frontmen Gustaf Norén and Björn Dixgård are crisp and sharp. The string arrangements are a perfect fit on this track. The following track, the titled track, Never Seen the Light of Day is a beautiful number mixing acoustic guitar from Norén, electric guitar from Dixgård combined with Olsson’s trademark string arrangements.

My personal favorite off this album is the aggressive and furiously paced, Train on Fire. It combines the Olsson strings with acoustic and electric guitar riffs from Norén and Dixgård. Also, the keyboard work on this track by Mats Björke is bar down, his best work.

Quick hits: tracks like If I Don’t Live Today, Then I Might Be Here Tomorrow and Mexican Hardcore have an American Southwest feel to them, with steel guitar and mariachi strings on Mexican HardcoreMisty Mountains and Gold are upbeat and uptempo filled vocal harmonies. One Blood, is a probably the heaviest song on the album outside of Train on Fire. One Blood, is supposedly about how tightly knit the band is. But I guess it can be construed many different ways. The album closes with the over seven and a half (seven minutes, thirty-four second) minute instrumental, Dalarna.

Conclusion

What a way to conclude year two, eh? This album is (one of) the reason(s) why I love this band. Their sound is ever changing as not become cookie-cutter, stagnant, or dull. That’s what separates this band from others; that’s the true Mando Diao sound. Never Seen the Light of Day provides a subtle and understated sound that doesn’t lose it’s focus or the band’s heart, soul, or spirit. And that my friends, is what music is all about. I hope you enjoyed this year’s project. Stay tuned for year three!

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