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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Melodifestivalen 2015: Heat Three

I'm back! And hoping for a Heat that gives me at least a few songs that I'd actually want to listen to outside the context of the competition. So far, there have been about three tracks this year that have impressed me in some way. Three out of fourteen is not a very good ratio, and definitely not the way MF usually treats me. I'm probably just being extra picky this year...

EDIT: No idea what's going on. This year's MF seems to be particularly Swede-centric, without much of an appeal to the international audience... not that that's necessarily a bad thing.

EDIT: Ellen, Andreas and Jon seem to be getting the most applause at the outset, though nobody seems to be an overwhelming favorite in this heat.

ELLEN: This is SUCH a different Ellen from last year. I'm not sure how such a big change will go down with the voting public. It could easily be another Dilba. Luckily, the song's quite good, even though it never goes off the way I wish it would. It needed a dance beat so badly.

KALLE: My feed went dead for almost all of this, which sucks, but I can say that this is my kind of Swedish indie pop track. It will go nowhere, but I like it a lot... even if the singer himself is a bit of non-presence.

And of course the stream reconnects right in time for the boring skit between songs...

ANDREAS W: Why was I reminded of John Stewart as soon as I saw this guy? Regardless, he totally stole John Newman's beat and song structure. I guess he's just a fan of guys named John. I'm not really a fan of this song, though. It's just too bland and derivative.

ANDREAS J: Two Andreas's in a row? That's just poor planning. This Andreas has given us some amazing MF entries in the past. This is simply not up to par. It's an inoffensive enough ballad melodically, but isn't that hook a little depressing for Eurovision?

ISA: Well, at least this is upbeat and catchy. That's about all I can say about it. Very forgettable and bargain basement. MF deserves SO much better than this. What is up with this year? Has Sweden forgotten that it is one of the preeminent producers of pop music?

KRISTIN: I'm not sure what I was seeing in this track, based on the clip yesterday. In it's full form, this is nothing but a boring Adele rip-off. Bad... just bad. And she doesn't sound particularly great, either. Probably means that it'll go direct to the final.

JON: I guess I didn't realize just how popular this guy is in Sweden. The audience is ready to crown him before he even performs. Luckily, this is one of the better songs tonight, despite not being a pop song at all in the traditional sense. I wish it had more variation in it, though.

Well, for me, I liked Jon, Kalle and Ellen's tracks the best, but I'm guessing the results will end up something like this...
Final: Jon and Kristin
AC: Andreas and Andreas

* I hate Filippa SO much. As if I haven't said it enough already, MF really sucks this year.

Top 5 - Kristin, Isa (!), Ellen, Jon, Andreas W
6th - Kalle
7th - Andreas J (wow, how the mighty have fallen!)

EDIT: Oh god, Kalle Moreaus... and he's not even singing. He's giving, like, a lecture?

To Final: Jon and Isa (what the actual hell?)
To AC: Andreas and Kristin
Out: Ellen

Bad heat, bad year, but I kinda wouldn't mind it if Jon won the whole thing. Looks like he's in with a chance, too.


Friday, February 20, 2015

Melodifestivalen 2015: Heat Three - Preliminary Judgment

Oh, Melodifestivalen. You've fallen out of my favor this year, and I find that kind of depressing. Maybe that just means it'll come back much stronger in 2016. From the sounds of it, Heat Three seems to at least be an improvement from last week' dire selection.

(Listen to clips here)

1. Ellen Benediktson - Insomnia
This is certainly a 180 from her entry last year. I think I was hoping for something a little more uptempo. I like the sound of this, but I'm not a fan of these midtempo, plodding beats that are supposed to be anthemic but just end up sounding repetitive. 3/5

2. Kalle Johansson - För din skull (For Your Sake)
I like the sound of this quite a bit. It has that classic Swedish indie feel to it, but the beat sounds uplifting and the hooks seem to be there. I don't think it'll do very well tomorrow, but the clip has piqued my interest. 4/5

3. Andreas Weise - Bring Out The Fire
This has potential to be good, but also to be quite lame. I'm underwhelmed by the melody in the hook, but at least the whole package seems to sound slightly more Eurovision-esque than what we've been dealt so far. 3/5

4. Andreas Johnson - Living To Die
I've been an Andreas fan as long as I've been a MF fan, so I was happy to see his name. Again, though, I wish this was an uptempo and not some dreary rock ballad. From the clip, it certainly seems like a lesser entry in his catalog. 2.5/5

5. Isa - Don't Stop
This reminds me a bit of Linda Sundblad mixed with Ace Wilder. The live vocals sound a bit shaky, but there's potential. Still, I don't see it going anywhere when it comes to results. 3/5

6. Kristin Amparo - I See You
This girl's tipped to do really well tomorrow. I'm not a huge fan of ballads, but I can tell that this will at least be a decent one. I'm hoping that the song explodes even more as it goes on. Key change, maybe? 3.5/5

7. Jon Henrik Fjällgren - Jag är fri (Manne Liem Frije) (I Am Free)
What? Hmmm... this is not what I was expecting. I might end up loving it, because I'm a big fan of this sound in general, but from the clip it doesn't sound like there's an actual song here... just a lot of chanting. It's definitely the red herring on the heat. I hope it's awesome. 4/5

From these samples, I'm happy that there doesn't seem to be any clunkers. I'm not finding much to be inspired by either, but I have more hope going into tomorrow than I did this time last week!

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Thursday, February 19, 2015

4minute - Crazy

It's been an oddly slow year for Kpop so far, which has been driving me crazy. There have been quite a few new debuts, and a decent amount of decent songs, but none of the big groups have come back yet, and I feel like at this point it's getting kind of ridiculous. This drought has steered me toward 4minute, even though I wasn't a fan in the past. Still, they're the biggest group releasing music so far this year. I had to at least check them out. I love HyunA, and have always wondered why I could never warm to her group. It turns out, I was waiting for a song and album like Crazy. Now, Crazy is basically a lesser retread of HyunA's own Red from last year, but Red was so freaking spectacular that Crazy is still really exciting. In a lot of ways, it feels like the first big Kpop moment of 2015. It's not a particularly tuneful track. Instead, the aggressive, beat-driven production offers a get-outta-your-seat urgency. It's been my big pick-me-up during these dreary winter nights. And the video's spectacularly glossy.

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

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

MyName - Reason

I was vaguely familiar with Kpop group MyName before they released their newest mini-album last week. I had some of their Japanese stuff on my ipod, but never found a song that transformed me into a real fan. And while I like their new single quite a bit, the song that I can't stop playing is actually an album track. Reason, by all accounts, should have been the single. And if hip-hop weren't the newest trend for boy groups, it probably would have been. One listen to that propulsive, anthemic chorus and you know that you're hearing something special. It's really a shame that more people won't end up hearing it. The song itself has some of that Shinee Lucifer-esque breakneck speed in the melody, but it's tied to a much poppier structure and an irresistible electro beat. This year's Melodifestivalen could take a few cues from the incredible catchiness of the chorus, as well!

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

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