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Shaking the Habitual by The Knife
The band coming in at number 29 is odd at best. From Sweden, The Knife are a brother and sister electronic music duo, and depending on what song you’re listening to, their music could be described using any of the following words: dark, unlistenable, complicated, dancey, difficult, abrasive, awesome. The relationship a listener develops with The Knife is one of miscommunication, heartbreak, and the kind of love you have trouble describing the why of to a friend.
And here we are, playing them again, and torn as ever. Shaking the Habitual is the duo’s fourth album in their 14-year history, and their first since 2006’s amazing Silent Shout. (Half of the duo, Karin Dreijer Andersson, appeared at #18 on the 2009 Musical Bacon Calendar with her solo project Fever Ray.) I first discovered The Knife thanks to a cover of their 2003 song “Heartbeats” by José González that was featured as the soundtrack to one of the most beautiful commercials for a television set you’ll ever see, back in 2005. While the song González plays sounds nothing like The Knife’s original, I was hooked on both artists.
True to form, this new album is not an easy listener. You really have to dedicate yourself to hearing it if you’re going to put it on. And if you’ve got company, be prepared for some strange looks. But it’s this uniqueness, this otherworldliness, that keeps me coming back to them. There are definitely some “songs” worth skipping on the album. But those songs that you choose to listen to? Those are going to crawl under your skin for a long while.