Pop Essays #18: BWO, ‘Sunshine In The Rain’

Pop Essays. It’s the series where every Thursday I shine new light on a forgotten pop gem from my vast library for you all. Eurovision fans – and Swedish ones in particular – may be rather familiar with our featured song this week…

  • Artist: BWO
  • Song: Sunshine In The Rain
  • Release Date: 25/02/2008
  • Writers: Alexander Bard / Anders Hansson
  • Producers: 2N Productions
  • Chart Run: 69

It’s funny that, for all of the talk of Sweden being to pop music what wine is to France or pyramids are to Egypt, on a wider scale very little of it seems to penetrate the global music scene beyond the obvious touch points – ABBA, Max Martin etc. And yet its track record with producing shining pop moments of glory is indisputable.

But something happened around the late 00s which sent record labels in this country hunkering off in pursuit of the next big pop moment from that country; chiefly, the surprise success of Robyn’s ‘With Every Heartbeat’. If megahits like that could crossover to a wider audience, it stood to reason that more were waiting in plain sight.

A sort of supergroup, masterminded by Alexander Bard, formerly behind Army of Lovers, Vacuum and Alcazar to name a few, Bodies Without OrgansBWO for short – consisted of lead singer Martin Rolinski, who had been a contestant on the country’s version of Popstars, Caroline McDowell on B/Vs and art dealer / sometime member of Vacuum, Marina Schiptjenko.

Formed in 2003, they had already been in action for five years, with a string of hits behind them by the time they came to release a greatest hits album titled Pandemonium: The Singles Collection in 2008, and were gaining new notability after they entered their song ‘Lay Your Love On Me’ for Melodifestivalen, the annual show that decides Sweden’s entry for the Eurovision Song Content.

One song on this hits package which had caught the attention of Blanco y Negro, the UK indie label that had guided Catatonia amongst others to success, was ‘Sunshine In The Rain’. The track had initially been released in their home territory as the sixth single off their debut album Prototype back in 2005.

It sets its stall out right from the get go; a galacial drop of synths on the melody line ushers in a slightly melancholic number about keeping the spark alive in a long distance relationship: ‘When I’m in Berlin you’re off to London / When I’m in New York you’re due in Rome / All those crazy nights we spent together / As voices on the phone’.

There’s an insistent energy amplified by the menomic structure of the dual – yes, dual – chorus: ‘Can you feel the rain drops in the desert? / Have you seen the sun raise in the dark? / Do you feel my love when I’m present / Standing by your side while miles apart? / Sunshine in the rain, love is still the same / Sunshine in the rain’. The mix of longing and reassurance here is certainly a captivating, universal one.

But perhaps because of their being signed to a smaller label here in the UK, it seemed as if there wasn’t a clear plan for BWO beyond getting the song on the playlist at BBC Radio 2, where it entered rotation very quickly. Not to mention that they were launching them with a song that, whilst an absolute highlight of their discography, was readily available and in plain sight of those who cared to look out for it.

You can thus guess what happened next when it was finally released here in February 2008: a peak position of #69 before it was on its way back out again. Not even a release for their Melodifestivalen entry here in August of that year could improve interest.

Sad but true to say, but in this modern age pop as glorious as ‘Sunshine In The Rain’ needs the oxygen of additional interest in order to become a hit of magnitude. It is this deficiency that sadly meant it was – commercially speaking – on a losing streak from the off.

Don’t forget to follow our brand new Pop Essays playlist on Spotify, which includes all the songs we’ve written about. What are your memories of this week’s featured song or band? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or message us on our Instagram.

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