Music

Tidens tern

C.V. Jørgensen (1950-)

By Peter Elsnab, journalist and Jesper Nykjær Knudsen, music editor og journalist, 2006

Verbal slaps 

No punches are pulled when “CV” - otherwise known as Carsten Valentin Joergensen - lambasts Danes in his Tidens tern album. Here petty bourgeois attitudes are subjected to a totally unsentimental thrashing in those rainy minor key tones, which are so much CV’s trademark. Here charter holidays and credit card consumerism are unable to conceal loneliness and meaninglessness. Danes living in Spanish tax havens are subjected to a pitiless verbal going-over in the catchy hit “Costa del Sol” (“Costa del Sol”) - a number that we still bawl out even today! But is everyone fully aware of the sarcastic message that lies packed in behind the happy refrain “Costa del Sol where the sun dances”? 

Original renewer of the language 

It should surely ring a bell when the fun life on the sun coast is characterised as “our nazi, anti-social feeling of togetherness.” CV’s poisonous pen and pessimism come to expression in an utterly appealing, American-inspired rock sound provided by producer Billy Cross and this album is his most popular and folksy to date. By this point, North Copenhagener CV Joergensen had developed from being a mere Bob Dylan-inspired folk musician at the time of his début in 1974 to become an original, modernistic singer/songwriter with an inventive language and a sharp, critical eye. 

Powerful impression 

“Summer’s over now/it almost fleeted by/you’re left empty-handed and can’t keep up/everything goes black/while you stand back here and stare/as yet another dead heat is run with you as stowaway”, as CV so elegantly sings in his melancholy romantic number “The Season is Over” (“Sæsonen er slut”). 
CV’s at one and the same time inventive, precise and subtle grasp of language has long since set its indelible mark on Danish music history. His immortal texts have been a source of inspiration for some of the greatest local songwriters in modern times such as Peter Sommer, Jens Unmack, Klondyke and Mikael Simpson, none of whom are afraid of dishing out more or less friendly verbal slaps in the face to the public. 

C.V. Jørgensen in Sweet Silence Studio 1985. Photo: Gorm Valentin.
Cover for Tidens tern, 1980. ©Warner Music.

The committee's justification

By the Committee for Music, 2006

It’s been a long time since this album could be described as young and blonde. For Carsten Valentin Jørgensen, it’s a misanthropic and sharp observation of not only Denmark but the egotistical downside of the Danish temperament. Tidens tern was released in 1980 after critically acclaimed albums such as his ‘Storbyens små oaser’. The album was the cause of the best and worst of times of his life. He hates public life just as much as he loves music. In Billy Cross, Jørgensen found a producer and fellow composer who could refine the music so that it became as treacherously sharp as an innocent-looking razor blade. Cross got Jørgensen to realise that up to this point he had in vain tried to become part of a band. Now he stood alone, and the focus was on his rasping Dylan-esque voice. 

Tidens tern is a rock music extension of Svantes Viser, but with a more venomous sting. ‘Costa del Sol’, the flamenco about Danish tax exiles, became the hit of the year, and it says everything about the strength of the song that it was also a hit on the Costa del Sol, where they joined in, yelling about having a wonderful time in our “neo-Nazi and antisocial solidarity”. “Guerilla rock” could perhaps be the name for this music that undermines the mainstream.
However, when ‘Costa del Sol’ is done, there is room for greater songs such as ‘Sæsonen er slut’ and ‘Amor & den sidste pil’, where the language, with a Rifbjergian sensuality, in itself becomes the bearer of the melody. A Danishness with the same dangerous delicacy as a spider’s web.

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