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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Melodifestivalen 2011: Heat Two - Live Blog

It's week two! Here we go :) Refresh this post, as I'll be live blogging the show.

EDIT: Is it just me or do these hosts look like Same Difference in this Aqua parody?

EDIT: And the video after that. Oh my god. That was actually scary...

EDIT: Oh god, it's that "I Love Europe" guy. It just reminds me how much I hated that song. Not sure why he's doing this opening, but it's unnecessary.

EDIT: Ooh, this preview is in English!

BROLLE: I really liked this. Of course, I've been a fan of his for awhile. The vocals were excellent, the song was great and the styling was perfect. For some reason I still sort of worry for his chances, but this is a personal highlight, regardless of what happens.

LOREEN: That thing (tattoo? paint?) on her lips is very distracting. And she looks like she's wearing a mop! The vocals were excellent, but the song still hasn't won me over. And with her lack of name recognition, I don't think it will be enough. But the voters could surprise us. Maybe a 5th place finish?

BABSAN: It's time to bring in the drag queen. What MF would be complete without one? I get the entertainment value, but this song is not good. The video screen thing was a bit odd, too. And the video feed kept cutting out on this performance. The audience loved it, though.

ELISABETH: Lots of holding out of the arms in a "this is me, aren't I grand?" fashion. As far as MF ballads go, this was pretty middling. Still, the vocals were flawless and she'll get the older vote, despite the song sounding very similar to many others. This could, unfortunately, be a qualifier.

SANNA: Goodwill alone should get her in the final (in my--possibly unpopular--opinion, she should have won in 2008). And this song is excellent. I'm not sure what that thing was supposed to be that she was performing in. It really restricted her movement, but it doesn't change the fact that this was good schlager! And the people flying up at the end was AWESOME.

THE MONIKER: This, as the lyrics described, was a wonderful surprise. The song was good, the staging was fantastic and Daniel sounded pretty good. I fear this will follow the Le Kid route and fail to qualify, but I quite liked it. Funny how it's the second song in a row shouting "I'm in love" over and over.

ANNIELA: Cool staging! I still love the chorus to this, but I don't think anything about the song is distinct enough to make much of an impression. The verses really let it down. It just sort of came and went.

CHRISTIAN: Um... bad beard. That aside, I like this song but sort of wish it was sung by a different singer (like Darin). It's very much a retread of Darin's entry from last year. I still think it will qualify easily. Unfortunately, my feed kept cutting out towards the end. Why couldn't it have done that with Elisabeth's song instead?

OK, my (probably wrong) predictions:
Straight through: Sanna, Christian
Andra Chansen: Brolle, Elisabeth (and maybe the Moniker if audience reaction is any indication)

EDIT: Oh my... the I Love Europe Guy is gonna do glam rock. This should be interesting. (And it's gonna be "Life On Mars"? My ears! My ears!!)

EDIT: And moving on are Christian, the Moniker, Brolle, Sanna and Loreen. Couldn't have asked for much better! And that stupid ballad was last place! YES!

EDIT: I am feeling all sorts of love for The Moniker...

EDIT: And Sanna is the first to go direct to the final! Well deserved, for sure :)

EDIT: I say that Loreen is the obvious fifth place finish, but I've been surprised before....

EDIT: As stated before, I have a hunch that the Moniker may beat out Christian for the second direct to final spot.

EDIT: What an interesting assortment of outfits in that green room!

EDIT: Despite a couple of clunkers, I think I prefer the songs from this week to last week's.

EDIT: Wow, "Cosmos" sure went all out in the glam rock department, didn't he? Lame. This PERFORMANCE is a "saddening bore."

EDIT: Christian is out! Wow, that's a huge surprise. And Loreen to andra chansen. Brolle direct to final! Another huge surprise, which means that the Moniker is in andra chansen. I guess my hunch about him was only slightly right. VERY happy for Brolle! Very well deserved. This performance is amazing.

EDIT: So now we have our first four finalists. Danny, Swingfly, Sanna and Brolle. Is there a winner here yet? I don't think so, but I like all four!


Friday, February 11, 2011

Melodifestivalen 2011: Heat Two - Preliminary Judging

Okay, here we go. As always, these quick reviews are based only on the short clips svt has provided and are likely to change. Makes it more fun!

(Listen to clips here)

Brolle - 7 Days & 7 Nights
This is certainly different for MF, but I'm loving the clip. It's an odd mix of the old and the new, and Brolle's popularity should help him. I'm not sure about the chorus yet, but I love the overall sound. 4.5/5

Loreen - My Heart Is Refusing Me
Knowing next to nothing about this singer, I didn't expect much out of this song, but I'm pleasantly surprised. It does sound like the type that isn't represented well by a short selection, so I'm hoping it will grow even more on the full. The sound is more upbeat and electronic than I thought it would be. 3.5/5

Babsen - Ge mig en spanjor (Give Me A Spaniard)
Hmmm... I was expecting a lot of entertainment value from this. The visuals will probably deliver, but the song sounds very weak. I hate the Latin sound for a song like this, and the melody isn't anything special. Too bad. 1.5/5

Elisabeth Andreasson - Vaken i en dröm (Awake In A Dream)
The kind of schlager ballad that has its place in the competition, but always bores me (then usually grows on me). This sounds like it's going through the motions, hitting all the right notes, and managing to be quite a bore. 1.5/5

Sanna Nielsen - I'm In Love
Wow, I'm loving this! Sanna's yet to have a bad entry, but this could be her best yet! It's the kind of thing you'd only hear in MF, and an excellent example of uptempo schlager. Should qualify easily. 5/5

The Moniker - Oh My God!
Now this is weird. I loved his last single a few years ago, but this is so different. It's like he threw a hundred genres in a blender and came up with some odd waltz. This could go either way when I hear the full thing. For now, I'm being optimistic. 4/5

Anniela - Elektrisk (Electric)
The chorus here sounds very strong, and for that alone it's getting a high mark. The verses are a little less memorable, but may grow in time. Unfortunately I don't see this doing amazingly well, but it could surprise. 4/5

Christian Walz - Like Suicide
A Tony Nilsson song, and you can definitely hear it! This sounds like a cross between Darin and Salem's songs from last year and that may be just the trick to get him to the final. I'm hesitant about the vocals, which sound underwhelming on this sample, but the production's amazing. 4.5/5

Not as consistent as last week, but I think there are more highs here. I think it'll be Christian and Sanna straight through, with Brolle and Elisabeth (if only for the ballad factor) to andra chansen.

*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!)

*OH YES, AND GAGA'S NEW SINGLE IS AMAZING (I can't be the only blog that doesn't mention it, right?)

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Dangerous Muse - Fame Kills

"Kissed you for the first time"

Oh, Dangerous Muse. The only thing 'dangerous' about them lately has been their danger of falling off the public radar by not releasing anything. Seriously, the debut album has been in the works for years now. This isn't a dig at the band, who are fantastic, but at an industry that doesn't support this kind of music. The duo have created track after track of excellent, dark electro-pop that deserves to be heard. Luckily, their video to the single I Want It All (not their best, by the way), has become number one on the tv network LOGO. And as a celebration, they're giving away this song for free. It's not a single--and would be too long, subtle and moody to be one anyway--but it's a reminder that this band is still very much alive and well. Maybe one of these days we'll actually get an album, too!

Dangerous Muse - Fame Kills 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.


Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Same Difference - The Rest Is History

"There will be a moment in your life"

I'm a little surprised to be posting this song today. In the context of X-Factor several years ago, Same Difference were a fun brother/sister duo to watch--always happy, upbeat and cheesy. I never thought that their music after the show would be worth listening to. And, other than a few tracks, the debut album didn't grab me. But this second one? What an amazing pop album! It's mega cheesy, of course (what else would you expect?) and this song has definite eye-rolling lyrics, but you can't deny that this is excellent pop music with a capital "P." Free from restraints of a misunderstanding record label, the duo has connected with some of the best pop producers and writers out there, including the man behind this song, Swedish talent Tony Nilsson. Nilsson is my favorite songwriter in pop right now (yes, better than Max Martin) and this track continues his winning streak. Amazing, bombastic melody. I really wanted to find a complete list of Nilsson-written or co-written tracks, but wasn't able to, so I'm going to start one in the comments of this post. Please feel free to add songs that I'm missing, as it's my goal to hear them all!

Same Difference - The Rest Is History by alienhits

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


Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Clare Maguire - The Last Dance

"I promise you I will kiss your crown"

I'm far from the only one blogging about this artist, but I think she needs more exposure than she's getting. To my ears, this is the Florence + the Machine success story of the year waiting to happen. Clare Maguire, above all, has an astonishing voice. But more than that, she's got a fistful of epic, stately pop songs ready to conquer the world. She's already appeared on countless best-new-artists-of-2011 list, but the buzz seems to be decidedly muted only a few weeks before her album is released. This is the current single (with a beautiful video) and one of my favorite songs that I've heard from her. The vocals are especially lush on this track and the whole thing's got an icy, 80's vibe that (not surprisingly) I love. If you've yet to listen to Maguire, it's definitely time to jump on this bandwagon.

Clare Maguire "The Last Dance" by arjanwrites

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


Monday, February 07, 2011

Skyship Academy - The Cover!

No music post today, because I've got something much more exciting. After three years of writing, revising, hunting for a publisher, etc etc, my debut young adult novel will be released this September. And today, I get to reveal the gorgeous cover.

So here's the first book in the series, Skyship Academy: The Pearl Wars. I'll have preorder links on the blog when they become available, but for now you can find more information on my newly launched website, my personal facebook page, or the facebook fan page I've set up for the book (go ahead and "like" it! You know you want to :)

Short blurb: When a fifteen-year-old slacker discovers that he has the power to control Pearls – fragments of space debris that are a dying Earth’s most important energy source – the government’s forces work to capture him.