Icelandic Pop

Icelandic Pop
by Arnar Eggert Thoroddsen – a new title in the Reverb Series for 2015/16 – will examine the evolution and characteristics of Icelandic popular music in the last half century or so. From the dance-hall bands that emerged through the influence of the country’s US Army base in the 1950s, to Iceland’s own 60s beat boom, its later turn to folk- and prog-influenced performers, and the later emergence of punk, hip hop, and hardcore movements. The book will also examine the country’s unusual musical relationship to other parts of the world (to the Anglo-American world, the Nordic countries), the importance of factors such as heritage, language and place on its music and performers, as well as the peculiar aesthetics and distinctive ‘sound’ of Icelandic music.

Icelandic Pop will be essential reading for anyone who has stumbled across artists and performers like The Sugarcubes, Björk, Gus Gus (pictured above), Sigur Ros, Quarashi, Emiliana Torrini, and Of Monsters and Men in the last twenty years, offering a thought-provoking cultural history of a music scene that continues to attract worldwide interest in its distinctive creative output.



ARNAR EGGERT THORODDSEN began writing about pop music the the Icelandic daily newspaper Morgunblaðið in 1999. His writing on music has also been published in other Icelandic newspapers, music trade and academic journals, books and on various music websites, and he is a member of the Nordic Music Prize Committee.

He has written three books on Icelandic music, Umboðsmaður Íslands: Öll trixin í bókinni (‘Iceland’s Manager: All The Tricks In The Book’), 2007, co-authored with Einar Bárðarson; 100 bestu plötur Íslandssögunnar (‘The 100 Greatest Icelandic Albums Of All Time’), 2009, co-authored with Jónatan Garðarsson; and a collection of his writing from from the newspaper, Morgunblaðið, entitled, Tónlist … er tónlist: Greinar 1999 – 2012 (‘Music … is music: Articles 1999 – 2012’).


By John Scanlan

John Scanlan is the Series Editor of Reverb with Reaktion Books.