The New Swedish House Mafia Track Is Here, And It’s Deeply Confusing

'It Gets Better' lives in a world entirely of its own making.

Swedish-house-mafia photo

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The return of Swedish House Mafia was only ever going to be strange.

After all, the world is a very different place than it was back when we last heard from the supergroup, almost a decade ago. Not only have we grown collectively savvier as a listening public, our tastes have changed — pop hip-hop have taken over as dominant genres, nabbing the chart leads from heavier rock fare and EDM. The entire landscape of pop is different, not to mention the way that we consume it.

On the plus side, Swedish House Mafia seem to understand that they are now veritable outsiders when it comes to making music. Instead of trying to slip back into the mainstream as though nothing has happened, the group have leaned heavily into both nostalgia and weirdness, releasing a song that sounds like an acidhead’s dim recollections of an already faded past.

How else to describe ‘It Gets Better’, a mosaic of aggressive beats and disparate tones? As the title implies, the track is openly optimistic, filled with promises of a brighter future that awaits just around the corner. But how weird is that? Hope is out of fashion these days, what with that whole global pandemic thing, and so there’s a joyous obliviousness to a song so determined to look at the brighter side of things.

Is the track good? Is it bad? Ultimately, it seems to defy easy categorisation into either of these states. It’s neither embarrassing nor uplifting; not timely nor timeless. It exists in a world entirely of its own. The best thing to do is merely to lay back and let it happen to you.