Taylor Swift's Swedish success
American singer Taylor Swift sold 4 million copies of her new CD in 24 hours. And she did so with some Swedish help. Super producers Max Martin and Shellback are being celebrated by both the star herself and American media, for the three tracks they’ve helped her with on the album titled “Red”. When Swift performed live from a stage at Times Square last Tuesday, she sang “We will never get back together”, a song she recorded in Stockholm and wrote together with Max Martin and Shellback and also produced by the duo. In an interview with Los Angeles Times, Swift says it was something of an experience for her to watch Max Martin create the hit single in the studio. "I wanted to watch Max Martin conceptualize a pre-chorus that gets stuck in your head as much as the chorus. I wanted to see him suggest a post-hook, or a bridge that sounds like another chorus. I wanted to see how all that unfolds.... I loved watching everybody have their own process. I think moving forward that just gives me more colors to paint with." The other two songs the Swedes contributed with, “I knew you were trouble” and “22”, are also considered top numbers. And USA Today writes that the three Swedish songs are the absolute best ones on Swift’s album.

A new king in Versailles
And this time he's a Swede. It is soccer star Zlatan Ibrahimovic who has bought a home outside Paris in the quiet suburb of Versailles (also home of the Palace of Versailles, of course). According to French daily Le Figaro, Ibrahimovic will have to pay around 360 000 SEK ($53,876) monthly for the home. Ibrahimovic and his girlfriend Helena Seger and their sons Maximilian and Vincent moved to France in July of this year, as he signed a contract as a striker for Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain. The couple found the place after having moved around quite a lot in and around Paris.

Record prices on Swedish art
When the stock exchange trembles, investors flee to the art scene. Specifically to paintings. A painting by Swedish artist Nils Dardel was recently sold for a record 25 million SEK ($3,740,326). It was sold during an auction at Bukowski’s, and the bid began at 14 million SEK ($2,094,851). After ten intense minutes and six bidders, the final prize had escalated to 25 million SEK. Says information officer at Bukowski’s, Paulina Sokolow: “It’s the most expensive Swedish modernistic painting ever sold.” Neither the seller nor the buyer of the painting is known. Nils Dardel (1888-1943) painted it in 1921 in Paris, and the title is “Vattenfallet” (the Water fall). The older record for most expensive modernistic painting in Sweden is also for a Dardel painting: In 1988 Dardel’s “Den döende dandyn” (The dying dandy) was sold for 13 million SEK ($1,945,050). That painting now hangs at Moderna Museet in Stockholm. That prices on art go up when finances in general are so unsteady is nothing new, according to Sokolow: “It’s a global trend. While stocks go down, the art market expands.”

Sweden has the highest taxes
Sweden still has the highest marginal taxes (the tax that the high income earner has to pay) among industrial countries, though European states that are raising their taxes due to crisis are closing in, according to a new report. “During the last year there are several countries that have raised their marginal taxes,” says Helena Robertsson, head of KPMG Skatt. Sweden is for the third year in a row on top of the OECD countries with a marginal tax of 56.6 percent according to KPMG’s annual report. Second on the list is Denmark with a marginal tax of 55.38 percent and third is Spain with 52 percent. The lowest marginal taxes can be found in the Czech Republic (15%) and Hungary (16%).

Jerry Williams says good bye
Mark your calendars for January 17, 2013. That's when the Swedish King of Rock n' Roll, Jerry Williams, bids farewell at his last show at Cirkus in Stockholm. In the spring, Williams turned 70, and last year his first studio album in nine years, “Alright," was released. Jerry Williams was born Sven Erik Fernström in Solna in 1942. In 1963, he toured with the Beatles through Sweden. He has been the lead singer in many Swedish rock and roll bands, but is mostly known as a solo artist. He has also been in musicals and worked as an actor.

Anita Björk has died
Actress Anita Björk has died. Born in Tällberg in Dalarna in 1923, Björk became one of the greatest Swedish actresses. She was for many years a leading lady at Dramaten (where she performed in over 100 parts), and also did a lot of film. Perhaps she is most known for her role as Miss Julie in the celebrated film adaptation (Directed by Alf Sjöberg in 1951) of Strindberg’s play with the same name. Other films with Björk includes: “Det kom en gäst”, “Moln över Hellesta”, “Damen i svart”, and “Tärningen är kastad”. Anita Björk was married to Swedish author Stig Dagerman from 1953 to his death 1954, and also had a relationship with author Graham Greene.