Week 144: “Silver Cruiser” by Royksopp

Have you ever had one of those strange moments when you realize that you’ve been reading a word wrong your whole life? Then you hear someone say it out loud, and your mind is blown?

A friend of mine spent years thinking that the Sealtest brand of milk was “Seleste”. Then one day I made some comment about how “Sealtest” was a weird name for milk, and she looked at the carton with a confused expression, as if she hadn’t quite understood what I said. Slowly, her eyes widened, and she laughed so hard that her Sealtest almost came out through her nose.

Well anyway, for years I had seen articles written about an electronic band called “Royksopp”…only I had misread it as “Royskopp”, as in “the-kopp-that-belongs-to-Roy”. I didn’t realize my mistake until I decided to Google them to try and find out the meaning of their unusual name. The search returned very few results, and Google gently asked me if I had meant “Royksopp”. I couldn’t believe my brain had been steering me wrong for so many years.

But whatever you call them, the eclectic Norwegian duo is worth listening to. Known mostly for happy dancey tunes, they do occasionally throw in a slow beauty like “Silver Cruiser”, from their 2009 album, Junior.

Oh, and in case you were wondering what the name “Royksopp” means, I was able to find an interview the band gave in which they answered the question with this:

“If you want to translate it in English, the one word would be “puff ball”, which is a small fungus which grows on pavements, a quite ugly little thing. If you step on it, it explodes in a small cloud and all the spores will spread around and they will grow other new mushroom. The way they have sex is if people step on them.”

So, yeah. Maybe “the-kopp-that-belongs-to-Roy” isn’t such a bad name after all.

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. Fake drums & real guitar. The drums are typical of their euro-synth style, while the warm, slightly distorted guitar tone sounds more like something Radiohead would produce.

2. Casual bass & big strings. I love the bass line. It almost sounds like the bass is humming “do-be-do-be-do” as it strolls down the street. The strings, on the other hand, are big and soaring, with plenty of reverb to fill out the song.

3. A quiet ending. As everything else fades away, we’re left with a funny little synth noise that sounds a bit like a robot powering down for the night.

Recommended listening activity:

Throwing made-up words into an email to a friend just to see if they’ll notice.

Buy it here.