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Saturday, February 14, 2009


I stand corrected, and despite what I said yesterday I actually think this second heat of the contest was one of the strongest yet. I actually liked all the performances. The weakest song, in my mind (and strangely enough), was Amy Diamond's. It just sounds like a weak BWO castoff to me. And she's not a very good live singer.

My picks to advance straight to the final are Måns and H.E.A.T., with Lili & Susie, and Cookies'n'Beans going to the andra chansen, but I could really see anyone going through at this point.

UPDATE: Yay for H.E.A.T.! They're certainly not the most attractive band, but I love the song and their singer sounds amazing. Amy looked pissed. Yay also for Måns and Lili & Susie. Too bad for Cookies'n'Beans, though I bet that song becomes a big radio hit. Sweden actually got it mostly right this time!

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Sounds - No One Sleeps When I'm Awake

Definitely sounds more like an album track than a single to me (maybe it is?). As expected, it's terrific. I can't wait to hear the album, as well as the studio version of this song, which I hope features more prominent synth.

Alienhits loves… Bridget Marquardt and the Girls Next Door!

My biggest guilty pleasure on TV is the Playboy reality show, Girls Next Door. Most reality TV, save for my other fav--Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels, is filled with manufactured drama. Girls Next Door is certainly manufactured, as are 95% of the body parts on display, but it’s refreshingly drama-free.
Instead, the series relishes in its own campy nature. Episodes are always fun, never a downer. Each of the three main girls has a distinctive personality or (since this is reality tv) “character-type.” There’s Kendra the tomboy, Holly the Queen Bitch (without being very bitchy at all), and my personal favorite, Bridget Marquardt.
From her perma-grin to her obsession with Halloween and scary/campy movies, this is a girl after my own heart. Just looking at her makes me smile.
It’s hard to describe why I love Bridget so much. Maybe it’s her ever-optimistic personality, or maybe it’s the way she gets overly excited and obsessed about things. Maybe she just reminds me a little of myself.
Of course, I’m not a playboy bunny, but it’s amazing how “non-porn” the show is. Nude pictorials and magazine covers in GND are treated as commonalities--a day-to-day part of the job. It’s not particularly sleazy or glamorous. In fact, despite living in a mansion and traveling and hobnobbing with celebrities, all three girls are refreshingly down-to-earth. They’re the type of people you’d want to hang out with--the kind of celebrities that would gladly stop and pose for a picture because they’re just so grateful that they have fans. (And they should be--I mean, they’re certainly not possessing of some enormous talent, at least in the traditional sense).
And more than that, they’re bubbly. Bubbly and self-effacing, which is a rare combination in reality TV. If they’re stuck up, they certainly don’t act like it (unlike most reality stars). It’s a shame that the series is ending this year, due to all three breaking up with Hef. I heard that Kendra’s getting her own spin-off, and I’m sure I’ll check it out, but I’m really waiting for the Bridget show. From her aversion to hoity-toity foods to her insistence in dressing up in a costume for every event, reality TV needs someone like her. And it’s not like she doesn’t have enough hobbies to base a series around. Maybe she could moonlight as a ghost hunter? Talk show host? Trapeze artist?

Melodifestivalen - Round 2

So here goes my attempt at rating the song clips that will be participating in Melodifestivalen tomorrow. Overall, this is a much weaker group than last week's. I hope the next two rounds make up for it.

Lili & Susie
I like this on record, though I have my doubts about how it will sound live. I’m not crazy about the chorus, but maybe it will grow on. Parts sound remarkably like Abba (and that’s not just because they sing “gimme gimme gimme”). ***

Lasse Lindh
Definitely doesn’t sound like Melodifestivalen fare, but I like the sound of this. It’s very Swedish-indie, and 100% better than his last entry. That being said, there’s not a chance in hell of this winning. **

Jennifer Brown
Big Whitney Houston type ballad, though Brown’s voice kinda gets on my nerves. It’s really pretty boring. I don’t like seeing this kind of middle-of-the-road stuff in the competition. *

I really like this. It’s like a Poodles song, but without the annoying voice. I don’t think it’s the type of song I’m going to fall in love with, but it’s definitely one of the best of this round. ****

Not being fluent in Swedish, I’m sure the humor here is being completely lost on me. I hope there’s an interesting performance to brighten up this snoozefest of a song. I like his uptempo stuff much better. *

Amy Diamond
Not crazy about the chorus in this one, but I like the beat. It’s definitely not as catchy as Thank You was, so I’m pretty doubtful of its chances. Not bad, but I was hoping for better. ***

Cookies & Beans
The Swedes could very well like this, though the verses sound strangely like last year’s Empty Room. Surprisingly, given the genre, I kind of like this song. I have a feeling it could do well, though obviously not win. ***

Måns Zelmerlöw
Well, he’s definitely a shoe-in given the competition in this round. It’s definitely not as good as Alcazar’s entry last week, but this will probably end up being my favorite this week. ****

Thursday, February 12, 2009

"I love you just for the things you do"

Dolly Daggers are one of Sweden's best bands on the brink. I adore their image, their sound and, most importantly, their songs. Never Ending was absolutely epic when first released a few years ago (though not many heard it). Their two newer songs (Circle Line and People Like You) are just as good--perfect examples of post-80's glampop. The problem is, these two songs have been around for awhile and the band have been in the studio for what seems like forever. I am so eager to hear an album from them, or at least a new song. As an obsessofan of the Ark and Melody Club, these guys have a sound that definitely appeals to me. Circle Line is very Duran Duran and (I hope) is what we should expect from a full-length. My gut says we'll hear more from these guys this year, but who knows...

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the EPs here.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

"Always on the run and hard to please"

Why is every genre of music better in Sweden? This track, decidedly rock with a pop edge, is currently riding high in the country--and for good reason. Kim Fransson took part in Made In Sweden, some sort of show (I'm guessing talent/reality) that I know shockingly little about. Doesn't matter, though. Attached to a show or not, this is a major hit waiting to happen. It's catchy from the get-go, with some very addictive guitar riffs and a Bon Jovi-esque energy, though I've never really been much of a Bon Jovi fan. This would have been a great comeback song for Sebastian Karlsson, given that Kim's voice is somewhat similar, though a little more ballsy (at least in this track). It really becomes more bombastic--bordering on hair-metal--as it goes on. I love the gospel bits toward the end. I have a feeling this guy is gonna be one to watch.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the single here.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

"You can be the modern man for me"

I'm not quite sure how this one passed me by last year. Music For Modern Man is the side project of Asger Tarpgaard, who was a member of Denmark's pop band Superheroes and is now a part of Private. It's not so much a band as it is a collection of experiments with different vocalists and sounds. Modern Man is the funkiest of the bunch, a sort of neo-disco track with some...ahem...interesting vocals that almost sound country-ish during the verses. mixed with Scottish. They may rub some people the wrong way because they're pretty cheesy, but that's the intent of the song. Another track on the album features vocals by the lead singer of Oh No Ono, which coincidentally released their new single today. It's alright, but not very poppy.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album here.)

Monday, February 09, 2009

"Cock! C-c-c-c-ocktails!"

The new album by Hot Leg (aka: The Darkness Pt. II) comes out today and I must say I'm impressed. I went in pretty skeptical, but the thing is you can't really be skeptical with this kind of music. I mean, it's meant to be stupid. And stupid it certainly is, but boy it's fun. And the thing is, Justin Hawkins has got a real ear for melody. It's in full display on Cocktails, the track I'm totally smitten with right now. It sounds like the kind of AOR anthem you'd hear from Journey or Survivor in the 80's. That is, until the frantic choral hook comes in. It's one of the poppier songs on the album, and the kind of rock song that you can actually dance to. The verses are just perfect. Like most of the tracks on the album, it's very much a Darkness song with some new musicians playing it. It would have fit perfectly on One Way Ticket, an underrated album if ever there was one. There's also a very 80's video to this. I guess it's the new single??

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album here.)