This month I’m featuring my top 20 albums of the past decade, to celebrate 10 years of This Must Be Pop! Click here to see all the Decade of Pop posts so far.
The fact that Erik Hassle flopped in the UK despite a brilliant debut album and major marketing campaign is one of the greatest shames of 21st century pop. Unfortunately, although his record label knew the album had huge hit potential, they didn’t know how to market music which sounded mainstream but came from an artist who was not your conventional pop heartthrob. As Ed Sheeran went on to prove, male singers can be successful without models looks, even with teenage girls, if the songs and the marketing are right. Instead of hoping Erik would do well despite his quirks, they should have been his USP.
Regardless of commercial success, Hassle is still a classic pop album in my eyes, thanks to its combination of honest, intelligent lyrics, perfect Swedish melodies and heartfelt delivery. From uplifting to heart-breaking, the album is a 44 minute emotional roller coaster, and as soon as you get off you want another go! I love Isn’t It Obvious, All That I Wanted Was You (oddly absent from the UK edition) and The Thanks I Get, but lead single Hurtful is Hassle’s crowning glory.