Private Has a Secret Lover


I try to spread the genres out a bit with my day-to-day articles. A little bit of pop one day, a touch of rock the other, and full-fledged electronica the next; diversity certainly makes our lives a lot less tiring. It also keeps me on my toes, disallowing me any opportunity to grow tired or ashamed of one particular genre. Like many of you, I have learned to love it all. Considering that I just featured the irresistible all-girl dance-pop of Girls Aloud on Saturday, I was admittedly a bit hesitant about posting Private so soon. Simply, I did not want to overwhelm people with, in my opinion, the two best dance-pop albums of the year by posting them in the same week. We all need time for albums to grow on us and there is no doubt in my mind that fans of one group will surely cherish the other as well. Sure, while neither Girls Aloud or Private serve up the masculine, guitar-powered form of indie-rock that has been the supreme choice for elitist showmanship, they are offering some of the strongest songwriting I have heard all year. Call me impatient, but I simply could not wait any longer. The “acceptable” norm gets dull sometimes anyways

I also suppose some might say that posting a band that the infamous Perez Hilton has already praised goes against the purpose of this site in its goal to expose quality lesser-known artists to an audience that truly deserves the opportunity to listen to them. However, as it seems now, their presence throughout music blogs is nearly obsolete. Maybe Hilton scared them off. Still, considering that Private’s debut offers some of the catchiest dance-pop tracks of the year, I find it hard to resist sharing. Much of this acclaim can be attributed to the stunning talents of Thomas Troelsen, a masterful composer and producer from Denmark. Though his name remains fairly unknown outside of Denmark, his work is cherished in his home country for good reason. Make no mistake though, he has had his share of time on the international charts; it was just not as a performer. He has produced several chart-topping hits primarily aimed at a dance aesthetic, notably Junior Senior’s “Move Your Feet”, Monrose’s “Hot Summer”, and Melody Club’s “Baby”. With those three acts hailing from Denmark, Germany and Sweden, respectively, Troelsen seems intent on capitalizing on the European craze for dance-pop. With his skills, I cannot say I blame him either.


The formation of Private dates back to Troelsen’s first breakout group as a performing artist. He manned the vocals and synths for the Danish six-piece, Superheroes, a group that saw three successful albums and three notable singles in their native Denmark. Upon Superheroes’ abolishment in 2006, Troelsen nabbed two of Superheroes’ other four members and formed Private. Now comprised of Troelsen, guitarist Asger Tarpgaard, and vocalist Tanja Simonsen, Private seems destined for ultimate success. They have already achieved a monumental amount of it in Denmark, as their outstanding single, “My Secret Lover”, sits atop firmly at #1. With their new album, the similarly titled My Secret Lover, starting to generate substantial hype amongst the dance scene, Private is truly one of the several breakout successes of 2007. I have found it to be one of the catchiest albums of the year, with gems like “I Can’t Wait” and the self-titled “My Secret Lover” being sparkling examples of what quality contemporary dance-pop should sound like. Troelsen’s style with Private recalls the dance sensibilities of Michael Jackson and Prince at their peaks, all while providing a futuristic sound of electronica in the process. Though the majority of songs on My Secret Lover are introduced by a glaring synth that sounds 20 years too late, the majority eventually fold into intricately layered dance masterpieces.

Though it can be overshadowed by the irresistible “My Secret Lover” in terms of initial appeal, my favorite track on My Secret Lover is “I Can’t Wait”. As it begins with a swanky synth and seductive bass line, Troelsen’s vocals immediately thrust the song into the category of “dancefloor favorites”. The chorus is unconventionally introduced immediately but, with it being the most likable part of the song, it proves to be highly effective. As the song nears its final stages with a Yellow Magic Orchestra-like synth solo, it should be recognizable to many that Private are quite different from other aspiring dance-pop acts. They are tighter, more fluid, and their bag of hooks seems bottomless. Though Troelsen’s use of a drum machine is spread throughout the album, “I Can’t Wait” shows wholeheartedly that it does not interfere with the crisp production and vocal delivery. Much of it is on the shoulders of Troelsen because, simply put, he sounds like a pop star in his prime. He can sing, produce, and write songs with excellent proficiency. There are not many artists who can say the same.

Tanja Simonsen is found singing backing vocals on “I Can’t Wait” and several other tracks but she most notably takes center stage on the serene “One in a Million”. It is a spacey treat that is a good display of Troelsen’s unselfishness, giving his fantastic voice a rest to give Simonsen a shot. She pulls it off just as well. He also takes aid from a few guest songwriters on three of the tracks, “Crucify My Heart” (with Tom Burris), “Killer on the Dance Floor” (with Remee)), and “Waiting for Tonight”; the latter was written by both Troelsen and Junior Senior member Jesper Mortensen. If you are a fan of ’80s pop and contemporary dance, Private’s My Secret Lover could very well be your favorite album of the year. Apart from a mediocre song or two in the middle, it is near flawless.


Private – My Secret Lover



Private – I Can’t Wait



Private – One in a Million



Official Web Site



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Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

Send your music to [email protected].


  1. This is definitely not my kind of stuff, but it’s an excellent post and it’s always great seeing Danish band getting some blogger love!

  2. haha. well, though I dislike this form of glamorized pop music 99% of the time, the hooks are really quite strong throughout the album. I don’t know if a “horrible” song could really dominate a country like “My Secret Lover” has, though I can certainly understand why you don’t like it. there is no doubt that Private isn’t everyone’s cup of tea… that’s why diversity is so great.

  3. You wouldn’t be too surprised about the band’s success, if you knew the general music taste of the Danes 🙂 Thomas Troelsen has always been considered a “wunderkind” (even though he’s in his mid-twenties now) getting lots of media attention, so it’s probably logic that Private has been received so well?

  4. being a dane and all.. let me just say it like this.. I really hate Private! Their “My secret lover” track has been played on almost every radio station lately and its driving me crazy!

  5. What an amazing record. Just got a copy from CD-wow. This record will explode when it’s reaches the UK

  6. Thank god for bands like Private, life is too important to be taken seriously …..all the time. Cant wait for them to be massive here in Britain.
    Well done for having the guts to talk about a wide range of music.
    P.S have you heard the sally Shapiro LP, its stunning, gorgeous pop.

  7. Private was a good act when I discovered and I congratulate the group for this. I consider it’s one of the best 2000s funk albums of the decade.
    I would now, after some listenings, make a remark concerning the songs.
    Nevertheless, I would have some things to note about this masterpiece, apart implicitly from the lyrics which would have to be more designed at the personality image of the singer.
    Also therefore, I think that most of the songs have a good basis some have even a very good one such “crucify” and “breaking up” but in most of them, there’s a feeling of lack of power in the dynamic of the song which have in some parts difficulties to suit to the global energy of the singer’s voice and the drums. For example, in the track 5, we would wait for more “surprises” in the bass line and maybe a discret guitar picking, same remark for the track 6 however there the bass line is more adventurous but the synth line is not very in phase with the vocals and lyrics, and furthermore both are too shy for me regarding the rythm of the song… The T 9 is poor and the T 7 is unfortunately too untemperamental.
    Maybe it’s a problem of musical dissensions between the writing, the production and the arrangement.
    In a other hand, I muchly appreciated the synth provocations in “secret lover”, the agressivity of “breaking up”, the gothic gospel of “crucify”, “waiting for”, the “Princy” “one in a million”, and the modern talking’s spirit revival in “stranger”. And… by the way that’s lot of inspirations on other bands in there, isn’t it? That’s ok for a first album but for the next ones, I would wait for more personal touch.

    Finally, I believe in the potential of this band and special mention for the singer who gains to be known, in better expressing his personality in medias maybe. He’s the kind of people we need to know more about.
    And I guess if the next tracks are in the same coherent energic mood as “hot summer” produced by the singer, the band will gain neutral success.

  8. I;ve been trying to find the “My Secret Lover” cd and am having a tough time. Nothing in the U.S., and I don’t understand German to be able to buy from overseas. Any ideas?

  9. I too am looking for “My Secret Lover”, does anyone know where to get it? Or a place that will ship to the US?

  10. your review not only has sexist undertones but you picked the worst songs on the album as your best songs. music is music, so what if it’s not what the society thinks is ‘masculine’

  11. KP, Thomas Troelsen took the time to personally e-mail me and thank me for the review after I wrote this, so if there are any “sexist undertones” in the article then even the band themselves must have overlooked it.

    I have no issue with you complaining that I posted the three weakest songs because that is your own opinion. However, it is a fact that there are no sexist undertones in this piece whatsoever. Your error is an insult to my character, which I don’t take well to. Perhaps you should listen to music a little bit more and you will be able to better establish between something that sounds feminine and masculine.

    Mainly, it’s pretty amusing that you’re accusing me of being sexist despite no criticism whatsoever of music that is contrary to the typical, masculine-sounding indie-rock that inhabits most year-end lists. Ironically, this article is praising such acts (Girls Aloud and other Xenomania affiliates) and not insulting them, so I’ll just take your comment as a joke gone terribly wrong.

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