January 27th, 2009 9:06am

Darling, I See That You Torment Yourself

Veronica Maggio “Inget Kan Ändra På Det”

This is the sort of song where it really doesn’t matter much if you can’t understand the words because it’s all right there in the music, and in Veronica Maggio’s lovely, soulful voice — the heartbreak, the regret, the doubt, and the guilt. Nevertheless, I went through the effort of getting a rough translation of the lyrics from a Swedish-to-English online language tool, and it just confirmed what I’d already gleaned. The title translates loosely to “Nothing Can Change That,” and though the words come out all scrambled, it’s pretty obvious that it’s about a crumbling relationship. (Cheating may be involved, but I can’t be certain.)

To a certain extent, we already know this song, or at least its archetype. Maggio draws on that instant, Pavlovian emotional response and carves out her own niche in its familiar, comforting melodramatic melancholy. Her phrasing recalls a young Michael Jackson — warm and human, but carefully controlled and never overwrought or over-sung. Maggio sings to convey precise emotion, not to showcase her formidable voice, and the result is a piece of music that is both gorgeous and casually devastating.

Visit the official Veronica Maggio website.

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