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Saturday, February 21, 2009


I think it speaks to the underwhelming state of this third heat that my actual favorite melody was by an aging 80's star. Mikael Riskfors' song would have been 100% amazing if delivered by a band with a better image. As it stands, though, it was still the best actual track today. I didn't particularly care for EMD's song or performance, though it didn't help that my video stream absolutely sucked during it. Velvet's song and performance were both very good...above average for her. Sofia's track was better than expected, as was Maja's. I'm not jumping out of my seat for either of them, but I wouldn't necessarily mind them going on further. If I'm judging on everything put together (song, performance, um...outfits), BWO was probably the strongest today. It's still not one of their best songs, but the whole thing was too weird not to be good.

My picks to move on: BWO, Velvet, Mikael Rickfors and nobody else, really (though EMD will most certainly sail through). Molly will probably make it through too.

UPDATE: Poor Velvet! Melodifestivalen just doesn't favor her, does it? I'm surprised she keeps competing. Honestly, The Queen was miles better than Deja Vu. I can't believe that Mikael's song made it to the top five! It deserves it, though I think he was pretty shocked.
On another note, I love this "history of melodifestivalen" thing they've been doing during the voting times. The old clips are hysterical.
Also, why is the video stream so crappy this week? Or is it just me?
Thank god that EMD made it over that shitty I Got U song. I'm still not sold on the EMD performance though. I HATE the top hat/cane thing. They just look stupid. And my video stream messes up horribly every single time they come on to perform. It must be the manic yellow flashes in the background.
I had a feeling the second duel would be the battle of the ballads. In the typical versus the strange (aka: something I would NOT listen to versus something I would) the typical won. I had a feeling this would happen ever since I heard the clip of BWO's song, though it has grown on me each time I've heard it and I'll probably end up loving it. I hate that Molly song, but I guess they needed one of those big, boring schlager type ballads this year. She just happened to fit the mold.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Alienhits loves... The Oscars!

Best Picture
I would have voted for Doubt, had it been nominated, or even The Dark Knight. Given the five nominees--I've seen all of them--I’d go for Milk. It was the most powerful story of the five and the most relevant, with some incredible acting. The Reader’s second, followed by Frost/Nixon, followed by Benjamin Button and then Slumdog Millionaire--a rather overrated movie if you ask me. Generally I go with what movie affects me the most and has the most to say. Milk ticked off both of those boxes.
Should Win: Milk
Will Win: Slumdog Millionaire

Best Actor
This is a tough race this year. I liked The Wrestler and Mickey Rourke’s performance in it, but I felt like the character wasn’t too far off from the actor in that movie. Contrastingly, Sean Penn’s electric performance in Milk couldn’t have been farther from Penn himself. It completely made that movie, and elevated it from a stale biopic (like Ray was a couple of years ago). Frank Langella also gets props for Frost/Nixon, but it’s not at the same level as Penn’s performance in my opinion.
Should Win: Sean Penn
Will Win: Sean Penn

Best Actress
I’m a huge Streep fan and a big fan of Doubt in general, so Meryl just slightly edges out Kate Winslet for me on this one. Kate was great in the Reader and it was definitely a difficult role to play, but Doubt would have been much less without Meryl. To me, she made that movie. Melissa Leo was by far the best thing about Frozen River, and I wouldn’t necessarily mind her winning either, but the movie didn’t strike me as much as Doubt or the Reader did.
Should Win: Meryl Streep
Will Win: Kate Winslet

Best Supporting Actor
This is sorta a no-brainer. Heath Ledger’s performance in the Dark Knight made that movie what it was. None of the other nominees except Philip Seymour Hoffman (whose really much more of a lead than a supporting role) come close.
Should Win: Heath Ledger
Will Win: Heath Ledger

Best Supporting Actress
I think this category is the best chance for Doubt to win an award with Viola Davis’s striking performance. If it were up to me, though, I’d actually give the edge to Amy Adams, who gave a truly supporting performance and (at least for me) portrayed the emotional core of the film. It was an understated, brilliant and necessary role. A pity she’ll never win.
Should Win: Amy Adams
Will Win: Penelope Cruz or Viola Davis

Best Director
I actually wouldn’t mind seen either Danny Boyle or Gus Van Sant pick this up. Both are directors I’ve admired in the past and, although Slumdog Millionaire is far from Boyle’s best work, it would be nice to see him pick up a trophy for past glories. Van Sant’s direction in Milk is the more understated of the two, but equally compelling. I actually can’t decide between the two of them, though I think Boyle‘s pretty much guaranteed to go home with the award.
Should Win: Danny Boyle or Gus Van Sant
Will Win: Danny Boyle
Melodifestivalen Heat #3

Velvet - Based on the samples alone, this is my favorite song of the bunch, and one of my favorite Velvet songs I’ve heard. It’s very catchy and sounds a lot like September. I still have my doubts about the full version, but I love the electronic squiggles and the melody. ****

Rigo & The Topaz Sound - I can see this getting through, but that doesn’t mean it’s good. I can’t say I hear much of a hook in this song. It’s just kind of irritating. *

Molly Sanden - Boring, boring, boring. Why must there be ballads like this?? It just puts me to sleep. *

E.M.D. - Thank god this is an uptempo track! It actually sounds more like Danny’s solo work than typical EMD. I think the verses sound better than the chorus, but I bet I’ll like this more once I hear the full version. ****

Mikael Rickfors - Okay, was not expecting to like this, but boy do I! I love the beat, the “Addicted to Love” type instrumentation, and the melody of the chorus. This guy certainly doesn’t look like the type of singer I’d care about, but this clip is very promising. ****

Maja Gullstrand - This was better than I was expecting, but I wasn’t really expecting much so take from that what you will. It won’t make it through, and it certainly doesn’t have a place in a competition like this, but it’s pleasant enough. **

Sofia - I am not a fan of this “euro-ethnic” type of pop music. I guess that’s why I wasn’t as gaga over Cara Mia as everyone else seemed to be. Make no mistake, though, this track is no Cara Mia, and Sofia is no Mans Zelmerow. Still, the chorus shows some promise, though it’s ultimately forgettable. **

BWO - This was the song I was most looking forward to hearing, so I’m sad to say that I’m kinda disappointed in the clip. It doesn’t feel like it has much oomph to it, though the very end sounds pretty good. It could just be a case of the wrong minute being selected as a sample. The full song, hopefully, will be better. ***

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"You said love would last"

Lake Heartbeat is the dreamy sort of Swedish pop group whose songs sound divine on the radio. There was a track a few years back that this one reminds me of by a band called the Honeydrips. Pacific is another Swedish band that fits in this category as well. Mystery is a little jauntier than either of those artists, but it still has that ultra-cool calming feel to it that plays perfectly on a hot summer afternoon. Lyrically it’s not the most upbeat of pop songs, but it makes me feel good anyway--something about the strummy instrumentation just washes over me. I'll be interested to see what the other tracks by these guys are like. They could easily be a dancier or even more of a chill-out. Regardless, this song has been playing in my head for the past week. A lot of times this genre doesn’t have particularly memorable hooks, but with Mystery that couldn't be further from the case.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the single here.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

"Up ahead there's trouble"

Roger Joseph Manning Jr (that's a mouthful) was the man behind bands like Jellyfish and Imperial Drag, bands that I have a general knowledge of but haven't really listened to all that much. He's known for his ultra-catchy, prog influenced pop songs, and Down In Front is no exception. What makes this track ultra-irrististable, though, are two things. First, from the beats to the melody, it sounds like a good old fashioned glam track. I could imagine a band like Sweet recording this. Second, about halfway through, these massive synths come in and morph the song into something totally overblown and memorable. It's a pity this track, along with the album that goes along with it, will probably be relegated to cult-status. I would love to hear a band like Melody Club record a track like this and rocket it to the top of the charts.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album here.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Melody Club + The Galvatrons = One Amazing Spring

A couple of updates today on two of my favorite groups...

First, Melody Club's new album, entitled Goodbye To Romance, will be released on April 22nd. Their new single, Girls Don't Always Wanna Have Fun, gets its official release next Monday. I hope it does well for them. It's a great song.
In addition to the single, we know from their myspace that there will also be a song on the album called Devil In You, featuring saxophone for the first time in Melody Club history. I can't wait for an official tracklist and cover art (not thrilled with the single cover art [below]... I hope they'll go in a different direction for the record).

Also putting out a record in the Spring (though an official date has yet to be finalized) are Australian synth-rockers The Galvatrons. The album, Laser Graffiti, is said to be very futuristic sounding (in a wonderfully 80's way). Judging from this bands' influences and sound, it feels like they've been created just for me!
Below is a six-song concert, filmed last month, where two as-yet-unheard songs (in bold) were performed. Everything sounds great! I cannot wait for this album!

Tracklist to concert: 1. She's In Love 2. Molotov Cocktail 3. Lazer Beams 4. When We Were Kids 5. Cassandra 6. Robots Are Cool

I hope they're still going with Cassandra as the next single. It's such a fantastic track.

(If the embedded player doesn't work for you, click here to watch it on the site)

With these two and BWO, April is gonna be one hell of a month! Not to mention The Sounds, Superfamily, Frankmusik, and all the rest.

ALSO, in somewhat related news, Swedish Idol winner Kevin Borg's new single Street Lights is out today and you can hear a clip of it here. It's not what I thought it would be, but from the small sample I might actually end up liking it. It's hard to tell.

"It's just a game between me and the lord"

Empire Dogs is a soulful rockband that have been around in Sweden for awhile, though I've never been all that interested in them before. What caught my eye about this song, their new single, was the guest star...Ola Salo from the Ark! Ola doesn't have really all that much to do on this song, but (and I'm probably biased) his little refrains--as the devil, no less--are my favorite part. Even without Ola, though, this would be one of the catchiest new singles of 2009. It's definitely a throwback, and sounds more than a little bit inspired by Jesus Christ Superstar (odd, since that's the musical Ola's currently starring in). I wouldn't have been surprised to discover this was a cover of a hit from the late sixties or early seventies. It has a very authentic sound to it, sort of like what fellow Swedes the Caesars get up to.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Listen to more here.)

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Monday, February 16, 2009

"This space is mine"

I just heard this track on Swedish radio for the first time a few days ago and was instantly hooked. Cartwall sound like the Similou combined with Lo-Fi-Fnk and Le Sport. In other words, it's a very electro-Swedish sound with one foot firmly planted in the world of pop. How We Do is hyper-catchy and reminds me so much of the summer that I wish it was July already. I love the androgynous vocals and surging synths. I can picture this song being a huge hit this spring, mostly because as soon as you hear it once you've gotta hear it again. The other tracks on their myspace, including former single Frankie, are also very good. A full-length is on its way and I can't wait to hear what else they've got in store for us.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Listen to more here.)