This week marks the fifteenth anniversary of the Swedish pop artist known as September. On June 2nd, 2003, the popstar (real name Petra Marklund) released ‘La La La (Never Give It Up)’. A top ten hit in her native Sweden, she went on to release four albums in Sweden, and various compilations of those albums around the rest of the world, depending on which songs hit big in which territories. Outside of Sweden, she’s most remembered for ‘Cry For You’. But at home in Sweden, she’s most remembered for being the breakout star of the first series of Så Mycket Bättre, and subsequently shaking off the September artist moniker (forever?…) to write and release a different style of music under her own name – and very successfully at that.
For eight years however, September was one of the very best artists coming out of the Nordics. And we’ll always have a very fond opinion of her and her music. So let’s mark this 15 year anniversary with a definitive ranking of her 15 best songs.
Every tune on this list is a corker, a classic, and a clear case of why we love this genre of music so much. A retrospective of what we feel to be her finest moments up until Petra Marklund couldn’t be September anymore.
15. La La La (Never Give It Up)
We kick off with the birthday song itself. The old cliche of ‘that difficult second album’ never applied to September. ‘La La La’ is the only song from her first album to make the cut on this list. For September, the only way was up from here on in.
14. Something’s Going On
For her fourth album ‘Love CPR’ in 2011, September branched out into using more writers and producers than before. This gem though, was one of the few from her old writing team. And it captured the magic of September far better than the majority of that record did.
13. Because I Love You
Latin-tinged and ever-so-cute. A playful track that ended up being a big highlight from her third album.
12. Resuscitate Me
The first single from ‘Love CPR’ – which at the time was much anticipated. Not only was it her first new single since her big UK success, but it was also her first new music since her increased Swedish popularity from Så Mycket Bättre. Given how soon after this, Petra Marklund wanted to bury September, in hindsight this feels more like a contractual obligation to her than something she was truly passionate about. But whatever – some amazing writers/producers submitted some great tracks to that album, and the lead single was most definitely one of the best.
11. Kärlekens Tunga
If any song bridges the gap between September and Petra Marklund, it’s this one. A cover version that she performed on Så Mycket Bättre, turning it into a whole new Swedish classic.
The infamous ‘Mikrofonkåt’! Another Så Mycket Bättre cover, it’s not her usual style dancepop, but instead a more intense club track. But that chorus she delivers brings it right back into line with the rest of her catalogue. It’s an anthem. And in Sweden at least, it’s never ever going to be forgotten about.
09. Leave It All Behind
This was supposed to be the next single in the UK for September after ‘Can’t Get Over’. It was commissioned and composed especially for the UK, in light of ‘Cry For You’s success there. But was unfortunately canned as a single, and instead limited to a release on the digital-only UK album. Underrated bop.
Her first hit single outside of Sweden, the song took her to number 1 in both Spain and Poland. Along with ‘Cry For You’ and ‘Mikrofonkåt’, it’s the most enduring part of her legacy.
07. Can’t Get Over (UK single mix)
One of the rare occasions in a pop song where the melody of the verse actually far outshines the melody of the chorus. Most September fans prefer the original version of this song (which still bangs hard, we might add), but we loved the trashier remake for the UK market. You know the drill around here.
06. My Emergency
“911, what’s your emergency?”
“I’d like to report the crime of this banger being nestled away near the end of a quickly-neglected album, and never given the single-status it deserved”
“We’ll send someone right over”
05. Looking For Love
STRINGS!!! Oh my Christ, the strings on this song!!!
04. Flowers On The Grave
September goes chill. And in the process, delivers an absolutely chilling track. A rare ballad in a sea of dancepop gems. And by far her best slow song. This one still gives us all the feels, well over a decade later.
03. End Of The Rainbow
The closing track on the ’In Orbit’ album is perhaps a bit of a hidden gem. But what a gem it is to uncover! Ballad-turns-into-banger. This song perfectly encapsulates the genius of September’s main producer, Jonas von der Burg. And for us at least, we’ve always associated it with just how perfect the relationship between producer and artist was.
02. Heat Rising
An album track from ‘Love CPR’. We were living in Sweden at the time, and recall visiting her label’s office a few months before the album came out. This was played to us as a potential first single, along with ‘My Emergency’. We rallied for it, we really did. But alas, we ain’t in the business of releasing records, just recommending them. And we cannot recommend this song to you enough.
01. Cry For You (UK single mix)
One of the best songs ever made. They just don’t make them like this anymore, do they?