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Saturday, February 07, 2015

Melodifestivalen 2015: Heat One

It begins for another year, and I'm honestly not sure what to expect because I just haven't been following the contest as closely as I usually do. The previews yesterday didn't knock me out, but then again they were ridiculously short, so there is still a lot of room for a pleasant surprise. I think what I'm most hoping for this year is a brand new artist that just takes the competition by storm.

EDIT: God, Conchita Wurst was such an awesome Eurovision winner last year. That was an epic contest.

EDIT: I'm not familiar with this Robin Paulsson guy, but I'm glad Sanna's co-hosting this year. I just hope it means a lot of musical moments in between the actual performers.

EDIT: Unofficial audience applause o'meter is not surprising. Eric and Jessica seem to be the favorites, with the weird opera duo getting some love too.

MOLLY: Awwwwkwwwaaard. She seemed a little.... drunk... in the opening clip? The song doesn't really do anything for me. It's just not my preferred style at all, although she's obviously very talented and it's well produced. The stage, however, is beautiful to look at this year. It seems a bit smaller, but with a lot of depth to it.

DANIEL: I liked his song with Pain Of Salvation a few years back, but that doesn't mean that these are the types of songs I want in this competition. And, this is not as good as the PoS entry. It's pretty, and fragile, and nice. But it's also just kind of... there. That stage, though!!

RICKARD and ELIZE: This is easily my favorite so far, but I also feel like it could have been so much more. It seems oddly lifeless on stage, especially when it sounds so epic on paper. I think it needed a higher tempo and much, much more impactful production. Wasted opportunity.

DOLLY STYLE: Oh my god, the cheese. Why do I love this so much? It's so STUPID, yet it has everything the prior three acts were missing. The lyrics are beyond cringey... so bad that they're somehow good. I would be shocked if this got through, but I'd also love it.

BEHRANG MIRI: Although this is not what I was hoping for from Behrang at all, I don't hate it. I love the production and the hook is alright. The rap, I could leave or take, which is probably not a good thing. Ooh, and that final chorus bumped it up a bit. For now, it's this and Dolly Style for me. (And they couldn't be more different, right?)

JESSICA: This is the song that made Jessica cry? Sorry, but it's pretty basic... an unending list of cliches. I like Jessica. She's given us some great pop in the past, but this is not her best. She'll probably take one of the top four spots on name recognition, but I can't say anything about this performance is that exciting.

ERIC: Unpopular opinion alert: Eric Saade has always annoyed me. I like some of his music, but his voice grates and his personality and facial expressions irk me. Still, this is a guaranteed finalist based on its weak competition alone. The song is actually quite good. The live vocals don't sound completely on-key, though. And "sting" sounds like "stink," so there's that...

My top 4, in a very weak heat:
1. Dolly Style (!)
2. Behrang Miri
3. Eric Saade
4. Rickard and Elize

My fearless predictions:
1. Eric Saade
2. Jessica
3. Behrang Miri
4. Molly
(Though honestly, I have much less confidence about this than I usually do)

Actual TOP 5:
Dolly Style (yes!!), Behrang Miri, Rickard and Elize, Eric, and Jessica.
6th place: Molly
7th place: Daniel

Good results so far!

EDIT: The Dolly girls remind me of E's The Girls Next Door reality series. Maybe that's why I find them somehow charming. I think Behrang's song may end up being my actual favorite this week, though.

To Final - Eric, Jessica (so, no surprise at all, then)
To AC - Dolly Style, Behrang
Out - Rickard and Elize

Final Thoughts - Boring heat, boring result. Sweden better do more in the coming weeks, because so far this is a disappointment.


Friday, February 06, 2015

Melodifestivalen 2015 Heat One: Preliminary Judgment

It's weird. Melodifestivalen is one of the best pop periods of each year, yet my excitement level is not nearly as high this year as it usually is. Maybe it's because there are less songs, or maybe it's because none of my favorite artists are competing this year... but I'm entering with lowered expectations. Hopefully, this'll mean that it will be easier to blow me away! As always, these reviews are based on the rehearsal clips of the songs provided by svt and my opinions may change when I hear them in full tomorrow.

(Listen to clips here)

1. Molly Pettersson Hammar - I'll Be Fine
I get that this is probably supposed to capture the Adele audience (it's way too late for that, btw), but it sounds much too adult contemporary for my tastes based on this clip. Not want I want to see in MF. 2/5

2. Daniel Gildenlöw - Pappa
Ummmm..... I just don't know. I like the pensive Swedish ballad as much as the next guy, but I can't tell a thing based on this short of a clip. It doesn't sound particularly memorable, but maybe it gets better? 2.5/5

3. Rickard Söderberg And Elize Ryd - One By One
At least this is the kind of bonzo MF concoction that I look forward to. Dang, why are these clips so short this year? I can't make out much, but it does sound like their entry will be memorable. I always love a bit of opera. 3/5

4. Dolly Style - Hello Hi
So far, this is the only track I can decipher a hook from, based on the sample. I doubt it'll do that well on the night, but I think this will be one of my highlights of the first week just because it sounds so cheesy and poppy. 4/5

5. Behrang Miri (ft. Victor Crone) - Det rår vi inte för (We Don't Control It)
I LOVED his last entry, but this is definitely a different sound. I like that it seems kind of anthemic, but I wish that the tempo was a little more upbeat. But unlike the first couple of entries, I'm actually excited to hear the rest of it tomorrow. I think I'll end up liking the chorus more than the verses. 4/5

6. Jessica Andersson - Can't Hurt Me Now
Every contest needs a big ballad. Hell, last year the big ballad won. I'm not sold on this yet, but ballads usually can't be expressed very well through a short clip. I'm willing to give it a chance, especially since I've like Jessica's entries in the past, but I can't say this sample is exciting me very much. 3/5

7. Eric Saade - Sting
This is basically a guaranteed qualifier, so I'm happy it's uptempo and seems to be interestingly produced. That said, I'm not getting much from this clip. Eric's vocals tend to grate (on me, at least), and the production is what catches my ear the most at this point. We'll see! 3.5/5

Well, I'm excited to hear the Dolly Style, Behrang and Eric songs in full, especially since you can't tell anything from these lame clips. My somewhat ambivalent feeling around the contest as a whole remains, so I'm hoping the performances will reignite the schlager spark!

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Thursday, February 05, 2015

Galantis - Runaway (U & I)

"I wanna runaway"

I've been meaning to post this for a few weeks now, which means you've probably already heard it. After all, Galantis' Runaway has now become a worldwide hit, and rightfully so. It's created by a Swedish supergroup of dance producers, including members from Miike Snow and Style Of Eye. The song itself is the kind of throbbing EDM that's all the rage. I'm not always in the mood for it, but I think this is honestly an example of top tier production in this genre. The build is there, as well as multiple hooks. It's got enough melody to stand on its own and a euphoric sense of bombast once the chorus(es) hit. I can't wait until we've got some massive curated compilation of these types of songs once the genre has gone out of fashion. This could very well be on that album.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy their single here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.


Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Years And Years - King

"I was a king under your control"

Years and Years have been tipped by many as a band that's going to have a big 2015. Sometimes this actually turns me off, since I assume that they're automatically going to be some boring "serious" artist that all the critics like, but I decided to investigate the band's latest music video and I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, their brand of synth pop veers a little on the indie side, but this new song is straight up dance pop. Frontman Olly Alexander has that inoffensive, soulful voice that's all the rage lately, and it works wonders when paired with what sounds to me like some ace early 90's dance production. It's like if Olly Murs decided to go electro!

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy their music here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.


Monday, February 02, 2015

Wa$$up - Shut Up U

A weirdly acoustic (but kind of cool?) Rihanna single made its way into the world last week, and it seemed like very few people were happy with it. So in response I present this track, which I think is much more like what I would have wanted from a Rihanna comeback (except in English, obviously). Shut Up U is from girl group Wa$$up and was quietly released back in December. I'm not a big fan of the group's music in general, but this is so infectious and awesome. I love the frantic, tribal-esque beat, but it's the ever-changing melody that seals the deal. That hook is so ridiculously catchy and it's carried off effortlessly. The entire thing sounds so carefree and organic, despite being laser-beam focused on its impressive production. The song hasn't really taken off in Korea, but it deserves bigger and better. If nothing else, it's certainly better than what Rihanna's been producing as of late.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the album here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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