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Saturday, February 09, 2013

Melodifestivalen 2013: Heat Two

* I'm back for week two of the Melodifestivalen live blog! I can't say the song previews really impressed me much yesterday, but I'm hoping (and ready) to be surprised.

* Anton, Joacim, Erik/Tone and Sean getting the biggest cheers at the beginning. Will these be the final four?

* Cute granny version of Eric Saade!

ANTON: This is definitely one of my favorite songs that we've seen so far in this year's competition and will probably be my favorite by far this week. It's a great song and the dancing was fantastic. I can't see this missing out on the top four. I just hope it makes top two. Vocals could have been a bit stronger, but that's not really what he's know for so I don't think it matters so much.

FELICIA: Ugh... I already hate the song she's entering to. I'm just predisposed not to like this. This kind of midtempo soul is so not my thing. The hook is alright, but overall this is just not something I would ever listen to. I hope it comes somewhere between 6-8 in the ranking, and that's also what I'm predicting.

JOACIM: I get the feeling that this guy is a big favorite tonight. And I can never remember how to spell his name. I'm betting this guy takes the annual "old man" spot in either the final or andra chansen (bad news for tonight's second old man). I actually quite like this song... much more than the preview led me to believe. It's no Eurovision winner, but it's a fine folky Swedish rock track. Kind of reminds me of a laid-back Moneybrother track.

SWEDISH HOUSE WIVES: The thing about them is... they need a better song! This could have been (should have been) legendary, given the pedigree of everyone involved. But, just like the preview hinted at, this is just so boring melodically and production-wise. I have a feeling they're going to struggle tonight. Fifth or sixth place, I'd bet.

ERIK/TONE: Danny has a lot of connections to this week's performers, doesn't he? These two have the best intro music yet (Icona Pop), but I wasn't feeling the song preview yesterday. Like song #2, this is just a genre I don't like. Strummy, inconsequential, cutesy acoustic pop. I have a feeling they may score an andra chansen place out of this, but it's not my cup of tea. I'm still team Anton this week.

LOUISE: Now this is a pleasant surprise. I love that it has perhaps the most awkward title in Melodifestivalen history ("Only the dead fish follow the stream"), yet manages to be super catchy and accessible regardless. I don't see this making much waves in the competition, but it's probably my second or third favorite track tonight so far (well, maybe fourth once that damn harmonica came out).

RIKARD: I pretty much fell asleep during his intro, and I don't think the song's going to do anything to change that. This is like Professor Snape singing. The general feeling is kind of creepy, and the song really is just one decibel above a whisper the entire time. Not my thing.

SEAN: Why are people continuing to support this act? Just looking at his facial expressions makes me want to slap him. He could sing the most amazing song ever written and I would still despise him. I just want him to leave this competition forever. Permanent ban. He will win tonight, and I have no idea why. I only hope people think that he's safe and don't vote.

My guess: Sean and Joacim in the final, Anton and Erik/Tone in andra chansen
My wish: Anton and Joacim in the final, Swedish House Wives and Louise in andra chansen

EDIT: Here come the Swedish grannies again for some interval entertainment. It's at least nice to hear these songs again, though this is certainly an odd shtick.

EDIT: Results!
Top 5 - Sean (ugh), Anton (yes!), Louise (wow!), Erik/Tone, Felicia (woah)
6th: Swedish House Wives (as expected) 7th: Rikard 8th: Joacim (surprised at this)

EDIT: Does the female presenter have a cold or something? What's with all the sniffling?

EDIT: I'm feeling Sean and Anton for the top two, now, with Erik/Tone hot on their heels followed by... who knows? I didn't expect Louise or Felicia in the final five. I much prefer Louise, though.

EDIT: The much-hyped Bollywood version of In The Club is upon us. Danny looks like he's playing Aladdin in a cheap school play. I've never liked this shouty song and it fairs no better here, but whatever...

EDIT: I don't know what this "Swedish House Family" bit is about but it is seriously freaking me out.

EDIT: SERIOUSLY freaking me out.

EDIT: Results!
First through to the final is... Sean. I have no words for how much I hate this result.

Final results: 
2nd in final: Louise (wtf?)
Andra Chansen: Anton, Erik/Tone
Fifth (and knocked out): Felicia

EDIT: Bad heat, terrible result (though Louise was a nice surprise). I hope that Anton can take that Andra Chansen Final spot. I need the third Heat right now, just to inject some life into this year. Can you imagine if Sean wins the entire thing? It would be the worst result in the history of the contest.


Friday, February 08, 2013

Melodifestivalen Heat Two: Preliminary Judgement

Last week's heat was pretty solid, if not spectacular, and resulted in winners that were probably the best we could have hoped for given the entries. Will this week's heat be the same? Let's see...

(Listen to clips here)

Anton Ewald - Beggin
I have high hopes for this one. I like the sound of it and the fact that it's a young guy performing means that it probably has a good chance. That whole dubstep breakdown part is a little worrying, but the hook seems fun. 4/5

Felicia Olsson - Make Me No. 1
Boring ballad number one. This is a vintage sounding soul song and, from the clip, sounds like a real snorefest. This just isn't my kind of music at all and I don't see how it has a chance of qualifying.  1/5

Joacim Cans - Annelie
I imagine this guy has a good chance of progressing based on his pedigree, but this isn't anything like I thought it was gonna be. It's so gentle and folky. I don't think he'll be another Nikke Borg, but he may easily move on to Andra chansen. 2/5

Swedish House Wives - On Top Of The World
I was really excited for this one, but I'm finding the clip a little underwhelming. The sound is pretty much as expected, but the melody doesn't do anything interesting. Not bad, but nothing to write home about. 3/5

Erik Segerstedt & Tone Damli - Hello Goodbye
Duos have never done well in Melodifestivalen, and I don't expect this to really break the trend, despite the fame of each of its singers. The song is just super cheesy/boring. Ugh... why? I want this to be good! 2/5

Louise Hoffsten - Only The Dead Fish Follow The Stream
I did not expect to like this (I mean, look at the title!), but I'm actually really enjoying the clip! Finally! The melody is instantly catchy and has that sort of polished acoustic sound that Lisa Miskovsky used last year. A nice surprise. 3.5/5

Rikard Wolff - En förlorad sommar (A Lost Summer)
Boring ballad number two, the boring-er version. This is so typical of Melodifestivalen. They have one of these horribly slow Swedish language songs sung by some old man that always does well and ends up growing on me. For now, it's a 1.5/5

Sean Banan - Copacabanana
Ugh. Hate this man. Seriously, it wasn't enough that he inflicted his painfully unfunny shtick on the competition last year? They had to bring him back? To his credit, as a song this actually sounds a lot better than last year. Kind of a Gangnam Style influence. It's still gonna suck, though. 2/5

Not a very good heat based on the previews, I'm afraid. I hope to be surprised tomorrow, but I'd imagine we'll see Sean through for sure (ugh), with Anton, Rikard, and Joacim fighting for second.


Thursday, February 07, 2013

Darin - Check You Out

"You're used to always getting what you want"

Last week, when I said that Give It To Me was my favorite new track on Darin's just-released album Exit, I was totally mistaken. It's still true that Nobody Knows towers far above everything else on the album (it's one of his top three best singles), I'm quickly becoming almost as enamored with Check You Out. Not only does it adhere to the new dancier sound he's establishing, but it doesn't skimp on the melody. This is big POP music, especially the chorus. The lyrics are great fun, too. It seems that Give It To Me is the next single and, if itunes charts are to be believed, quite beloved by the Swedish public. It's a fine choice, as I outlined last week, but this is better. It should be single #4--just in time for Summer.

Check You Out by Darin on Grooveshark

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


Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Michael Feiner & Caisa - We're Still Kids

"I was drawn by the sparkles in your eyes"

Oh, god... this song. This song is all about Michael Feiner, who's one half of Swedish dance/DJ act, The Attic. I've been a huge fan of the Attic's work since they first gained popularity about the time this blog started six years ago. In addition to composing the current theme to Melodifestivalen, they've released two excellent albums of melodic dance-pop. You'd think, given his connection to Melodifestivalen, the contest's voters would cut him some slack. Unfortunately, neither of his entries have made it through during their week. This year, even though We're Still Kids is a spectacular single, I can understand why it didn't progress further in the competition. It all comes down to the live vocals by Caisa, who just seemed such an ill-fitted match with this particular song. The recorded version is fine, but it really didn't come across well in the performance. This track is all about the saxophone riff, which is totally 80's and undoubtedly the catchiest of the song's many hooks. But that doesn't mean the rest of the song is chopped liver. I especially love the melody in the verses. For some reason it gives me slight Boys Of Summer vibes. This is just further proof that even the "losers" of Melodifestivalen often give us amazing songs.

(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.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Joshua Micah - When The World Ends

"We'll tear up the town"

I feel like this song just kind of came out of nowhere--an effortlessly catchy and supremely produced radio-pop track by an unknown artist. But if Joshua can keep up this standard, I don't think he's going to be unknown for long. Yesterday I complained a little about the vocals in an otherwise flawless song. When The World Ends isn't as interesting as yesterday's song, but Joshua's vocals have that kind of urgency and presence that really sell it. Lyrically, it borrows the "world ending" theme that seems to have become so trendy the past few years, but the big production and polish really help it stand out. I love the melding of dance and rock--sort of a Cobra Starship gone even more clubby.

(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.


Monday, February 04, 2013

A Great Big World - This Is The New Year

"I will give the world to you"

This song was featured on last week's episode of Glee and, like with Fun.'s We Are Young, I hope it's the beginning of a popularity explosion for it. This is an astonishing piece of pop/rock, the kind of track that's finally starting to come back in vogue. This is theatrical piano rock (aka: my favorite kind of music EVER). It has that kind of powerful, driving propulsion with a focus on strong, anthemic melody and power chords throughout. It's absolutely life-affirming in the way the best pop songs are. It doesn't even take a full listen to sink into your brain, though you'll want to stick around until the end because it just builds and builds. My only slight problem, and I've gotten more used to it on further listens, is the vocal performances. This is a two-vocal band, though they sound pretty similar. Both have that kind of reedy, indie-boy tone that's so popular right now. That's totally fine, but I'm not sure it necessarily fits this huge of a song. Imagine how much power it would have if it had been sung by a real powerhouse in the glam/theatrical rock genre (I'm thinking Ola Salo of the Ark, Eric Nally of Foxy Shazam, or maybe even Adam Lambert back in his Idol days). Still, it's an amazing track -- an instant favorite of mine.

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