a short site about The Divine Comedy

French version


Lyrics & Music: Neil Hannon

Published by: BMG Music Publishing Ltd.

Originally interpreted by: The Divine Comedy (featuring Hilary Summers & The Crouch End Festival Chorus)

Covered by: Hendrik Richter


To see the lyrics, click on the name of the version you are interested in (on the left).




Played live first in versions insisting on orchestration and the grandeur of the song, it was then played, in 2001, in the hardest manner, putting the emphasis on guitars, played by Neil Hannon and Ivor Talbot. The live version released as a Bad Ambassador b-side is a very good example of how this song rocks. It was played again in 2008.

The chorus are very furnished, on the album version. There are three voices: Neil Hannon and Hilary Summers singing "Sweden" one after the other and, in the back, the Crouch End Festival Chorus, singing "Sverige", the Swedish name for Sweden.

As you have understood, the song is about a country, Sweden. Neil has declared to have been interesting by this country since his teenage years. To him, it is a quiet country, offering the perfect conditions for a healthy way of life. Quite the opposite of London, where he was living at the time, and which was described in 'Middle-class Heroes'.

The very first line, and its tune, could be an echo to 'Bosnia', by The Cranberries, another song about a country. The song includes many other references: "Where the snow lies round about /Deep and crisp and even" is taken from the Christmas carol 'Good King Wenceslas' and "Then at last our eyes shall see him" is taken from the Christmas carol 'Once In Royal David's City'.

Some names in the list by the end may sound familiar to you: Henrik Ibsen, who was actually Norwegian, is a playwright; Ingmar Bergman was a film director; Karin and Carl Larsson created the Swedish Style of interior design; Nina Persson is the lead singer of the Cardigans.

The tune, with another orchestration, was used for the song 'The Heart Of Rock'n Roll'.