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New Love's Dizzying Days

Thomas Dybdahl's delicate but lush music recalls that of Tim Buckley, Nick Drake and other forward-thinking folk-rock songwriters.
Thomas Dybdahl's delicate but lush music recalls that of Tim Buckley, Nick Drake and other forward-thinking folk-rock songwriters.

"A Lovestory" opens slowly, with Thomas Dybdahl singing, "Honey, I told you / that these things never last," portending a sad song about a breakup. But it's a feint: The track celebrates the beginning of a relationship, not the end. After Dybdahl croons, "One of these days now / you'll start dreaming of the past," the music speeds up and he switches to memories about the dizzying days of a new coupling.

A star in Norway, Dybdahl just saw his third solo CD, 2004's One Day You'll Dance for Me, New York City, released in the U.S. His voice has the emotional resonance of Jeff Buckley's (without the Robert Plant-isms) and the vulnerability of Chet Baker's. His delicate but lush music recalls that of Tim Buckley, Nick Drake and other forward-thinking folk-rock songwriters who surrounded their basic guitar chords with layered arrangements.

Dybdahl is a talented lyricist, too, writing detail-rich songs in English, his second language. "A Lovestory" offers several perfect lines that capture the intense feelings of nouvel amour, recalling an "endless summer without a fall" and "Sunday mornings that never ended / and hangovers that never mended / A love story at its peak." Like so many relationships, "A Lovestory" ends awkwardly — no big chord resolution or rhythmic crash, just a quick fading away, leaving only memories.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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Christopher Porter
Christopher Porter is a freelance writer, editor and photographer based in Silver Spring, Md. He has a bad back and great hair. His work has appeared in Alternative Press, Entertainment Weekly, ESPN the Magazine, Inside Entertainment, Global Rhythm, Harp, JazzTimes, National Geographic World Music, Time Out Chicago, The Stranger, Vibe, Washington City Paper and The Washington Post. He blogs and repurposes junk at www.christopherporter.com.