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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Melodifestivalen 2010: Heat Three

My thoughts on the songs/performances/etc:

Oh no, it's not good when the video stream starts out bad. What is going on? I mean, why even offer the service if it's not going to work?

Oh well, it's back on now. The only question is... how long will it last?

What the heck, by the way, was that "commercial" thing Måns was doing?

Alcazar: Somehow their songs always get better when watching them live. The vocals struggled just a little bit, but I loved the staging and the song's quite good as well. An easy qualifier, and one of my favorites so far this year.

Johannes Bah Kuhnke: I liked the anthematic quality of this, but the vocals didn't live up to the song. I bet the studio version's great, though.

Elin Lanto: Wow, she sounded GREAT. I actually loved everything about this. Maybe the girls have a chance this year after all.

Erik Linder: I feel like this melody has been stolen from another song, at least during the verses. To me this was boring as hell, but I wouldn't be surprised if he gets to andra chansen. Trotting out the background singers at the end was a wise move.

Getty Domein: I could be in the minority here, but I really like this. Something about it feels very refreshing. It's probably not catchy enough to make a dent in the competition, but I enjoyed the strangeness of it all, even though his voice did kind of grate after awhile.

Timoteij: This was one of the most cheesy-bad performances I've seen in awhile. The whole instrument thing was weird, especially at the beginning, as were the various facial expressions. The accordion was probably the most ridiculous part. On second thought... strike that, it was the flute.

Darin: It started out a little rocky but improved quite a bit after the first chorus. I love the melody and especially the instrumentation, but the lyrics are still really, really bad. Still, it's probably my favorite ballad so far this year.

Crucified Barbara: I feel like this was a missed opportunity. The vocals were great, but I didn't love the song as much. Still, depending on voters' tastes this week, this could find its way into the top five or even knock out Erik or Elin. It sounds like something that would do really well in Finland. And the fire was cool.

My hopes to make it through: Alcazar, Elin, Getty, Darin
Who will make it through: Alcazar, Elin, Erik, Darin (with Crucified Barbara in the top 5)

UPDATE: Top 5 - Crucified Barbara, Timoteij, Alcazar, Darin & Erik. WHY THE HELL WASN'T ELIN IN THE TOP 5?!?! And Timoteij are the highest vote getters? I've completely lost faith in the Swedish voting public this week. They were probably my second least favorite act today behind Erik, who better get knocked out the next round of voting.

UPDATE: My new prediction - Darin to final, Crucified Barbara & Alcazar to second chance.

UPDATE: Wow, Blue Man Group were kinda awesome. Maybe they should go direct to Globen?

UPDATE: Crucified Barbara and Alcazar to andra chansen and Darin to the final. Can't say I'm 100% excited about these results, but at least Erik's out.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Melodifestivalen: Heat Three - Preliminary Judging

Now this is more like it! On names alone, this was bound to be the strongest heat and listening to the clips only confirms that.

(Listen to clips here)

Alcazar - Headlines
While I can't tell if this will be another Stay The Night, the clip sounds very strong. Alcazar were pretty much made for this type of competition. The strings in the verses are especially nice. 4/5

Johannes Bah Kuhnke - Tonight
This very Andreas Johnson style ballad sounds pretty promising, though the clip they chose makes it impossible to tell since it's the end of the song and basically the hook repeated over and over. 3/5

Elin Lanto - Doctor, Doctor
This has everything I'd hope for from a Nilsson song. I like the aggressive pop song and the hook sounds unstoppable. I'm looking very forward to hearing this in full. 5/5

Erik Linder - Hur kan jag tro på kärlek
I get the impression that this guy's one of the favorites going into the heat, but based on this clip the song sounds very forgettable to me. A ballad like this needs a stronger melody. 2/5

Getty Domein - Yeba
I really like this. It's 100% different than anything else in the competition, but the African element of this dance track makes it something very special. I may even like it more in full. 4/5

Timoteij - Kom
I've liked a lot of Johnson's past material, though this sounds a little tepid. It goes for "soaring," but may just end up being "boring." It's hard to tell from the clip, especially with this kind of song. Right now it's pretty average. 3/5

Darin - You're Out Of My Life
I'm not the biggest fan of Darin ballads/midtempos, but this sounds promising (despite some truly cringe-worthy lyrics). I especially the like guitar and the dramatic chorus. 3.5/5

Crucified Barbara - Heaven Or Hell
This could have worked, but isn't doing it for me. I'm not loving the singer's voice on the chorus and the melody doesn't strike me as being all that strong. It could just be the short clip, though. 2/5

There's a lot to love this week, and I hope all of the performances are as strong as the clips suggest. I think Alcazar, Elin, Erik and Darin will go through, though I hope Getty pushes his way in.

*I'll be blogging tomorrow throughout the show, so be sure to check back for my thoughts (and to see if my predictions come true!)

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cassette Kids - Lying Around

"Nothing's gonna happen if you're lying around"

Australia's Cassette Kids is a band I've been meaning to check out for some time now. Based on their description, I knew I'd like them, but for one reason or another I always passed them by. Now I'm kind of addicted to their song Lying Around, a single off their upcoming album. I think the biggest reason I like it is that it reminds me a little of No Doubt when they were first coming out. Lead singer Katrina Noorbergen has a similar pop/punk warble as Gwen Stefani and here the band go for a disco-infused track with plenty of synthesized strings. As you can see from the promo pic, they've also got a similar look. The comparison's not meant to take anything away from the band, though. They stand quite well on their own. And if this and their newest single, Spin (which sounds more like Surferosa actually), is any indication, the album is going to be pretty fantastic.

Cassette Kids - Lying Around  by  alienhits

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy their first "mini-album" here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Capra - Low Day

"What you say just fades away"

Don't let the title fool you. This is one of the jolliest pop songs of the past few months. Low Day sounds like something the Kooks would have come up with in their heyday, which is pretty surprising given that Capra is being marketed as a "Radio Disney" band. The lead singer, Kelly Blatz, stars in Disney XD's Aaron Stone (a real treat for anyone that likes cheesy live action kid's adventure series, btw), among other productions on the channel. Unlike most young actors-turned-singers, his vocals sound totally authentic and the band feels like something that formed naturally, rather than through corporate meddling. There's no resisting the hook here, or the bright, hand-clappy, summery beat. It's easily one of my favorite songs to come out of America recently and deserves to fully crossover into the adult market. Preferably during Summer, because this was made for the beach. Give it a listen. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised (and then unable to purge the melody from your head). Now, the question is, can they maintain this quality when it's time for their debut album?

Capra - Low Day  by  alienhits

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the single here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pop Blitz 2/16/10

Cascada - Pyromania
My suggestion to Cascada: take more time between releases to create something a little more original. I could give the same grade to practically any of their songs. Everything sounds the same. This is perhaps a little more obnoxious than usual, though. C-

Eric Saade - Sleepless
Not brand new, but given his success in Melodifestivalen with Manboy (still can't get over that nasty title), I thought I'd give it a review. In a word: better. It's a great pop song. A-

General Larry Platt - Pants On The Ground
As predicted, here's the official version of the song, about a month too late. Funny enough, the production strips all the funny/endearing charm of the "original." Plus, there aren't enough lyrics. He just has to start making up gibberish. It's gone far enough. C

Miley Cyrus - When I Look At You
Aka: The Climb, Part II. Luckily, I quite liked The Climb. She's really got a good thing going with these dramatic, cheesy ballads. I shouldn't like it, but I do. A-

Toni Braxton - Make My Heart
Not gonna do anything to revive her career. This sounds very dated to me. C-

Play - Famous
I was never much of a fan of these girls in the past, and this isn't really gonna change that. It's fine dancepop, I suppose, but the lyrics are bad and the melody's not all that memorable. C

Kris Allen - Alright With Me
Unlike everything else on his album, this track is fantastic. It's got a funkier sound than his last single and a dynamite melody. This could be a very big hit for him. B+

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Semi Precious Weapons - Put A Diamond In It

"Put a diamond in it and bite down"

I was lucky enough to see Semi Precious Weapons open for Lady Gaga a few months ago and it was their energetic live performance that really sold me on this band. Before that, I was a casual fan, but now I'm really looking forward to their Spring debut. Now they're signed to Gaga's label, have shot a new video for their self-titled single (though I gotta admit I prefer the old one), and are ready to conquer the world. Put A Diamond In It is one of the new songs on the album and one of their catchiest. It's a sleazy party-starter, for sure, and carries a bit more of a glam groove than past songs. Best part? Right after the first chorus and into the second verse. These guys have the potential to be huge. Justin Tranter is one hell of a frontman and with the extra polish professional producers can give them, I have high hopes for their major label debut. Right now we'll have to settle for the EP, which includes a pair of re-recordings from their indie debut plus this new track.

Semi Precious Weapons - Put A Diamond In It by alienhits

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the EP here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.