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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Melodifestivalen 2011: Heat Three - Live Blog

Here we go! I wasn't so impressed by the clips yesterday, but I'm hoping this heat will end up as entertaining as the first two. I'm expecting the overriding theme/feeling is going to be the coronation of Eric Saade, but who will get that second spot in the final?

EDIT: And more importantly, why won't my stream start?

EDIT: Hmmm... this could be a pretty boring blog post if SVT don't get the stream working.

EDIT: Eleven minutes and it's still not started. NOT a happy camper.

1. LINDA: The song grew on me a little, even though I only got to hear half of it because of the stupid stream. She's as charming as ever in person, but she's got so many better songs than this!

2. SIMON: Extended interview with the beloved Kempe before this song could help its chances. I still think this song is boring as hell, though. And with the poor showing of ballads so far this year, I don't think its chances are all that great, though he did perform it rather well. And judging by the applause, he may actually make it through.

3. SARA L: She looks good and I like the staging, but this song is still sounds very bland and derivative to me. Still, I'm liking it better than I thought I would. I just wish her vocals were better. It feels quite amateur.

EDIT: That "Snemy" sign at the end cracked me up.

4. PLAYTONES: We had the drag queen last week, now the dansband. MF cliches are being checked off left and right. This song is enjoyable, but pointless. It'll make the top four, I'm sure, but there have been better dansband songs in years prior. Plus, didn't Brolle do this ten times better just last week? Nice flaming piano, though. Fire worked for Crucified Barbara last year!

5. SHIRLEY'S ANGELS: Wow, you'd only see something like this in MF. I'm still not sold on the song, but the performance was simple and well-executed. When those back-up dancers skipped out at the end, I couldn't help but laugh. These ladies could do well, though I wish the song was better.

6. SEBASTIAN: Why did Sebastian shave his head?? That aside, this is easily the best song so far. I still think, in some regards, that this sounds like some horribly cheesy religious song. I'm choosing to believe that that's not the case, as I thought Sebastian had a bit more edge than that.

7. SARA V: Oh, how I wish she was actually performing to the track they played during her intro! This is a pretty song, but it's just so misplaced here. And she's quite boring. She looked terrified up there!! And so happy when it was over!

8. ERIC: Here we are... it's the second coming of Jesus! Well, not quite, but you'd think it was from everyone's reactions. If he wins the whole thing, it will be down to his popularity (ironically, given the title of his entry), and not the song. Not saying this is bad. It's the best of the night, easy. But it's the same as all of his other songs, and I don't think it's as effective as last year's entry to be honest. Still, he'll sail through. Obviously.

OK, my (probably wrong) predictions:
Straight through: Eric, Playtones
Andra Chansen: Sebastian, Simon, and maybe Shirley's Angels

As I feared, though, it's a weak heat.

EDIT: Go Lena! This is kind of cool. And way to put yourself out there, unlike lame I Love Europe guy last week.

EDIT: Top 5 - Shirley's Angels, Sebastian, Eric, Playtones & Sara V. Well, I got 4/5. Surprised about Sara, but I thought that Linda would finish 6th.

EDIT: Highest votes go to... Eric. Duh. I think he would have been very surprised and embarrassed if he didn't get the highest.

EDIT: This Eric song sounds just like "It's Gonna Rain" in the verses. Seriously. Except "Rain" is a better song.

EDIT: Weird that they don't have the smashing glass in the encore as well? As it was the coolest thing about the performance.

EDIT: Now that Sara seems to be popular with the voters, I think she could really cream the lackluster competition here if people want something different.

EDIT: Linda looked pissed in the background of the green room, then all of a sudden she made this huge, unnatural smile, as if someone prodded her from behind.

EDIT: Sebastian's out. I thought he might be after the lackluster applause. And Sara becomes andra chansen fodder.

EDIT: And the Playtones to the final, as I predicted. Blech. Shirley's Angels to andra chansen. This is really such a disappointing heat. I didn't love anybody. Bring on Melody Club next week!!

And our updated list of finalists. Is is just me, or do we still not have a winner here?
1. Danny
2. Swingfly
3. Sanna
4. Brolle
5. Eric
6. The Playtones


Friday, February 18, 2011

Melodifestivalen 2011: Heat Three - 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)

Linda Sundblad - Lucky You
I'm worried about this. I've been a longtime Linda fan, but I'm not into this clip. It sounds far too much like too many other songs and the repetitive chorus isn't grabbing me. I hope that it improves when I hear it in full, because I was really looking forward to this entry. 2.5/5

Simon Forsberg - Tid att andas (Time to Breathe)
A slow, syrupy ballad. Ballads have had rotten luck in the competition this year so far, so I'm not sure what his chances are. I'd rate them better than Elisabeth's last year, but this song sounds equally as dull. 2/5

Sara Lumholdt - Enemy
I'm not all that thrilled with this entry either. From the clip, it sounds like some sub-par American pop song ( a Jordin Sparks b-side?), without a lot of creativity. I hope I'm wrong, but so far this is looking like the weakest heat this year by far. 2.5/5

The Playtones - The King
A little bit of rockabilly. Why not? It's not my thing at all, but at least it's got some energy. It'll probably do well, but won't go down as one of my favorites. Still (and quite sadly) it sounds the most promising of the songs so far. 3/5

Shirley's Angels - I Thought It Was Forever
I expected such a different sound from this. I wish it was more dramatic and more uptempo. Right now, it sounds like a forgettable Ace Of Base album track. Still, I hear a bit more potential in this than in many of the other songs. 3/5

Sebastian - No One Else Could
I love Sebastian, and I love the sound of this song. This isn't some weird religious song, though, is it? From the lyrics in the chorus, I'm not so sure. But that aside, this is easily the standout so far. 4/5

Sara Varga - Spring för livet
I don't see this working at all. MF is just not the place for a pleasant jazz song. On its own, this is nice, easy listening. It just shouldn't be in the contest. 2.5/5

Eric Saade - Popular
Well, they couldn't have given him easier competition, could they? This year's most likely winner comes back with a song that sounds like all of his other songs. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though I kind of wish for something a little different. Still, this is quite obviously the best song of the week and a no-brainer to qualify to the final. Like Danny in week one, all he really needed to do was get on stage and burp and everyone would have voted. 4.5/5

After the quality of the past two weeks, this seems like such a comedown. I only hope that things improve with the show tomorrow. My guesses based on these clips? Eric and Sebastian direct to the final, Linda and the Playtones to second chance.

And next week we've got MELODY CLUB!! And, as the interval act, THE ARK! It's like my dream come to fruition :)

*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!)


Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Sounds - Something To Die For

"Don't say goodbye, just leave an open door"

To The Sounds: Thank you! All is forgiven. I say this because I was not a huge fan of the last album. This was a little difficult for me because I thought the first two albums were about as close to perfect as possible. I'm not sure what happened with that last one, and I know a lot of people liked it just fine, but the sound and songs just didn't coalesce the way the band's best work does. But so far, the tracks from their upcoming release have me very excited for what's in store. Teaser track, Better Off Dead, was great, but this song --the single-- is even better. I've heard some people say it's "boring" or "doesn't sound like the band," but to me this is exactly what I want from the Sounds. It's like a cut from their first album -- simple melody, heavy on the electronics, with snotty, charisma-filled vocals. That squiggly bit before the chorus is immense. If the rest of the album's this good, then I can't wait to hear it.

The Sounds - Something To Die For by alienhits

(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.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ollie Wride - Pop Music

"I'm losing control in the music"

I just realized that it's been four months since I last mentioned the wonderful Ollie Wride. Luckily, it's the perfect time to write about him again because he's just revealed the radio mix of Pop Music, an excellent 80's sounding track that's been floating around for awhile in a much rougher form. I don't know if this means that it will be the upcoming single he's been hinting at (I'd personally vote for the immense Head Rush instead), but I'm happy to hear this song given the oomph and polish that it deserves. Things seem to be moving quickly in the Ollieverse. He's set to release his first single this spring and has begun to enjoy radio play in the UK. Along with Set Fire Run, he is my most buzzed about artist of the year. I'm hoping for big things!

Soundcloud, for some reason, is not letting me embed this track (yet another reason why soundcloud has really started to annoy me lately), so here's the link to listen to it: Ollie Wride - Pop Music

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


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sunrise Avenue - Hollywood Hills

"I'm gonna miss you wherever I go"

Finnish rock band Sunrise Avenue have always been in striking distance of making music that interests me, but with their new single (and hopefully new album), they've hit the mark dead-on. Hollywood Hills ups the drama, turns up the synths and becomes the exact kind of rock anthem I love. Sound-wise, it's a little Ark-ish, though the vocals sound nothing like Ola. It builds slowly in the first verse until you reach the excellent chorus. Then, after that, it's no holds barred. And pop snobs, don't ignore this just because it's guitar-based. Like The Pusher's recent hit Blinded By The Dark, this has some serious hooks. I'm worried that the album will be a disappointment, but the band has gone for a "new" sound, so hopefully the histrionics of this track aren't just a red herring. Whatever the case, this is their best single by far.

(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 14, 2011

Alienhits Celebrates its 5th Birthday!

Last Saturday, two days before my fifth anniversary, this blog was deleted.

It was a panicked morning, logging onto blogger and discovering that everything--all five years of it--was gone. Luckily, it turned out to be a weird error unrelated to my activity, and the blog "magically" reappeared eventually. But that hour of panicking really made me realize how important Alienhits has become to me.

I'm in the camp that firmly believes that music can not only soundtrack a life, but really become a life. So many of my recent memories have been tied to specific songs. In the past few years, I've lived and taught in England (twice), traveled thousands and thousands of miles to see my beloved Ark in concert (three times), and written/published my first novel. And I've had a fistful of songs with me at all times.

Because of this blog, I've had the opportunity to discover and chat with developing artists, meet some truly wonderful fellow bloggers and, most importantly, have an excuse to keep up with the ever-changing music world. And even though I try to keep the focus on the songs I'm posting, I realize now that, like it or not, this blog has become a sort of journal for me.

Half a decade... whew. Who would have thought?

So as per tradition, I'll leave you with the song that started it all--the very first track I posted, and still one of my all-time favorites (though long-time readers are probably sick of me blathering on about it year after year!).

The Mo - The Right World by alienhits