It’s not at all difficult to understand what Raimond Dagfjäll says when he sings, but the lyric video for his song “Fever Dream,” the title track of his newest EP as Rain on Monday, is far from unnecessary. In the video, the song’s lyrics appear in blocky text against grainy, slowly-moving bays of static, and this combination of font and background recall the VCR era. The video thus achieves the vital task of affirming that the nostalgia-washed, slapback-drenched dream pop of “Fever Dream” belongs squarely in the 1980s and ’90s, when tales such as the song’s guy and girl get in the car and run from all their problems narrative were at their peak in movies and TV.
Think back to what teenagers and college kids were watching in these decades and who they were seeing: thin, varsity jacket-clad, early adult men with poofy, often blond hair, and women whose wardrobes prioritized a glamorous, makeup-soaked face and a fairly monochrome outfit. It’s hard to see the characters in “Fever Dream” in any other attire: as the Kiruna-raised, Uppsala-based Dagfjäll sings, “I can be your backseat lover if you want me to” to open the song, makeout sessions in drive-ins in ’80s teen flicks come to mind pretty much instantly. When he later sings, “I can be your getaway driver when the stakes are high,” it’s almost as though he’s personally reviving “Danger Zone.”
Or maybe “Fever Dream” feels couched in nostalgia simply because Dagfjäll sings in the same manner that Bruce Springsteen did on Born in the U.S.A. Dagfjäll beckons his words with a rough, guttural growl that fits right in with the Springsteen-including lineage of artists about whom the question arises: Can he actually sing, or is he just grunting? Technically sound or not, Dagfjäll’s singing makes it pretty difficult to resist hopping into his passenger seat and going on a long, unending ride.