Magnet’s latest album The Simple Life, though covered with an indie-pop blanket, delves not so boldly into different directions underneath the sheets. Songwriter Even Johansen has taken care of all duties on this record. Although I’m sure he’s very proud to step back and look at what a nice sounding album he has made all by himself, outside input might have added a little artistic tension and musical dynamic to make these tuneful numbers more engaging and memorable; its easy-going nature reflects the fact that he recorded at his farm on the coast of Norway with wife and children close. I hear the warmth of his surroundings and the safe emotional range that this kind of life provides, and subsequently it seems that nothing is at stake here.
As an artist operating under the indie-rock regime, Magnet is attracted to typically subversive and personal songwriting, while at the same time, it seems he’s trying hardest to make a nice pop record. The Simple Life doesn’t emote with gusto or try to hammer you with hooks; it comes off as kind of bland. Magnet’s riding the line between these two worlds of indie-conformity and indie-weirdness, which may seem refreshing to some, but these same people who think they’re hip may wake up one day and realize they just want to listen to what’s on VH1. I guess that’s not really a bad life after all.