Approximately 10 percent of Iceland’s population owns Ásgeir’s debut album from 2012, but maybe you’ve never heard of the Icelandic troubadour. At 21, he released Iceland’s largest-selling debut album ever, and now at age 24 he’s just released a new single. The song “Unbound” comes from his soon-to-be-released album, “Afterglow.”
Ásgeir Trausti Einarsson’s original best-selling album, “In the Silence,” was completely recorded in Icelandic, and due to its wide popularity he translated it into English. I prefer the Icelandic version. I don’t know exactly what he’s singing, but it sounds so magical.
Reviewers liken his folky tunes to those of his American counterparts: Bon Iver, Ben Howard, and Iron and Wine. Based in his talent with the guitar, most of Ásgeir’s music is low-key and easy listening. Some of his older songs infuse electronics, and his newest song emphasizes a change from acoustic flavor to modern pop. You might call Ásgeir’s style folktronica.
He’s no American hip hop star, but his music is catchy and a joy to listen to. Put “Was There Nothing” and “King and Cross” (which has more than 20 million plays on Spotify) at the top of your list of songs to check out.
In particular, “Going Home” from his original album is a masterpiece composed of contemplative words and indie folk vibes. The lyrics are lonesome: “Long is the path ahead / And though my body tires /And I have far to go / I know I’m going home.” The little electronic beats combined with Ásgeir’s smooth voice seem to convey what the young man experienced growing up in Iceland.
Although he’s young, Ásgeir seems to carry the weight of many years and learning experiences. This makes more sense after you know that his father, Einar Georg Einarsson, writes the lyrics to most of Ásgeir’s songs. They are often about life in Iceland, life and death, and other meaningful topics.
Ásgeir’s brother wrote his newest single. Obviously, creativity runs in the family. The 75-year-old Einarsson says about songwriting: “I like to think of it as venturing into a fairytale. You take off and head for the space of creativity, and you feel renewed. It is a good way to live.” Check out this video of him reciting poetry in Icelandic.
Ásgeir told NPR that his newest single is “about living in the now and not getting stuck on the past and what we can’t change.” Ásgeir will want to heed his own advice and enjoy the now before his stardom skyrockets. He’s sure to break more records when his new album is released this year.