"Don't You Worry Child"
What comes to mind first when you think of Sweden's musical contributions to global pop culture? Perhaps ABBA's infectiously singable anthems from the '70s and early '80s? Roxette? Ace of Base? Or maybe one of the many songs penned by über-producer Max Martin for the likes of Britney Spears, Katy Perry, P!nk or Kelly Clarkson?
Respectable answers, all.
If you happen to be an electronic dance music aficionado, however, another group likely popped into your mind first: Swedish House Mafia. This trio of DJs hailing from Stockholm (Axel "Axwell" Hedfors, Sebastian Ingrosso and Steve Angello) has wielded significant influence in the burgeoning EDM scene as it's surged toward the musical mainstream over the last few years.
Now, with the help of guest vocalist John Martin, Swedish House Mafia has landed its first hit in the Top 10 of Billboard's mainstream singles chart … just as the group has announced that after the current tour, its three members will go their separate ways. For those of us who hadn't heard of Swedish House Mafia before now, then, our first exposure is likely to be our last.
And that's not necessarily a good thing. Despite this group's suspiciously thuggish sounding moniker, "Don't You Worry Child" delivers a surprisingly optimistic note of spiritual encouragement. In a nutshell, the song involves a father's admonition to his struggling son not to let anxiety get the best of him. Why not? Because God's got everything under control.
The track begins with a young man's recollection of the safety and security he felt in his father's house while growing up. "There was a time," Martin sings, "I used to look into my father's eyes/In a happy home/I was a king, I had a golden throne." Even though Dad has passed on ("Those days are gone/Now the memories are on the wall"), something substantive from that formative season still shapes and soothes ("I hear the songs from the places where I was born").
One important lesson came in a moment of wounding, when the boy suffered his first romantic disappointment. "Upon the hill across the blue lake," Martin tells us, "that's where I had my first heartbreak." But Dad was there for him in that critical moment, gently affirming (albeit subtly) the guiding hand of God: "Don't you worry, don't you worry, child/See, heaven's got a plan for you."
It's a message—and a hopeful exhortation—that's repeated again and again against the musical backdrop of lunging synthesizers and building drumbeats so characteristic of the EDM genre. And when the boy experiences another, similar rejection a few years later, Dad's there again with the same message: "Don't you worry, don't you worry, child/See, heaven's got a plan for you."
As Swedish swan songs go, then, this one's got to rank among the most poignantly positive as it recalls a father's tender encouragement and a reminder to keep your eyes on the bigger, spiritual picture in life.