Your Ad Here

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Melodifestivalen 2010: Heat Four

My thoughts on the songs/performances/etc:

First off, I'm gonna begin yet again by stating my annoyance with svt's crap streaming of the video. This week was the worst yet, buffering throughout almost the entire show. So, my thoughts on performances could change when I have the chance to watch them without a million stops in the middle.

Sibel: Kind of Veronicas-esque? Weird dress. The song's catchy, but I wish it was better. So far this year this type of uptempo, frantic pop song hasn't fared that well. I liked the weird background dancers, though, and the very strange ending. The audience didn't know when to clap.

Py Bäckman: My god, she looks like Ozzy Osbourne and Elton John mixed together! This is horrible, quite possibly the worst this year. The older voters better not put her through.

Neo: Of course the feed goes crazy when the one artist I care about this week comes on. Even with all the skipping (I really only got to hear about half the song), I can tell that this is going to be my favorite of the week. Now he needs to go direct to the final so I can see the performance in full.

Lovestoned: I love the sound of this, too, even though the feed was jerking around again. Why did it have to be perfect for that hideous Py song and horrible for the good ones? Anyway, this has a real jaunty feel to it that makes it a definite standout for me.

Anna Bergendahl: Hard to comment on this because I could barely hear it through all the buffering. From what I could hear, it sounded better than most ballads this year. I liked the lighting and Anna sounded good (I think). Could be a darkhorse.

Pernilla Wahlgren: I bet she goes through. The competition has been devoid of a good schlager entry so far, and this fits the bill, even though it's nothing spectacular. Catchy chorus, though. And better than Sibel's entry.

Noll Disciplin: If the song was better, I'd say they were a sure thing going through, just because they're different (and have pyrotechnics), but I don't think it's gonna work. I wouldn't be so angry if they found their way into andra chansen, just for some diversity in song style.

Peter Jöback: He gets the pimp spot, for sure, and it was a good finale. VERY dramatic, theatrical performance that suits his background and spectacular voice. Not my favorite entry, but very, very good.

My hopes to make it through: Neo, Lovestoned, Pernilla, Peter
Who will make it through: Neo, Lovestoned, Pernilla, Peter (yep, I'm thinking my hopes and the actuals will match up for once)

UPDATE: What I could see of that Malena Ernman skit was VERY funny. Pity the feed is cutting out literally each second...

UPDATE: Top 5 - Noll Discipline, Neo, Anna, Peter and Pernilla. And Anna direct to the final! And boy is she happy. Another shocker. Not entirely disappointing, though. Having followed her on Idol, I'm happy for her.

UPDATE: Now the question is, who's gonna get that dreaded 5th place spot? Better not be Neo, though with this group it could really be anyone. I'm surprised that Peter didn't get the highest votes, though.

UPDATE: Christine and Måns and some other famous Swedish folks are singing, though I can't see or hear half of it :(

UPDATE: Neo to andra chansen (he should have been through), which means of course that Peter is in the final and Pernilla is also in andra chansen (next week's show is gonna be strong, yeah? Lots of great second-chancers). And, crap! Neo has to go against that Underbart song. He better get through.


Friday, February 26, 2010

Rihanna - Sexuality

"You want me, then make a move"

Today's post is a little different than most because I usually write about indie or unknown artists, but that doesn't mean that I'm not 100% obsessed with mainstream pop music. It's been several months since Rihanna released her latest album and I've gotta say I haven't listened to it since 2009. This despite the fact that I gave it a very high grade in my review and even featured it in my top ten albums of the year. I don't take any of that back, but (as if it hasn't been said by everybody else already), it doesn't mean that it's a fun album. Doesn't make it bad or good, but it does make it something that I'm usually not in the mood to hear. Now, this brings me to Sexuality, an unreleased track that's light years away from the stuff on Rated R, yet could have easily been an example of the sound of a never-completed project. I'm not sure it's any better, but it's definitely more fun. The obvious inspiration here is Prince. In fact, it's nearly a carbon copy of his 80's work, even down to the title. I love the spare, funky synths and drum beat. Rihanna doesn't quite get away with the dippy lyrics (she needs a bit more funk), but this could've been a fantastic single in another world.

Rihanna - Sexuality by alienhits

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


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Is this the tracklist for the Ark's new cd?

Now, I'm not Swedish (as much as I'd like to be!), and although I can read bits and pieces of the language, I'm not so good with the aural part. But... the following list of songs appeared at the end of the Ola Salo documentary that aired recently on Swedish television. Two of the titles have already been confirmed by the band, and a demo clip of track two plays at the end of the same documentary. So I ask my Swedish readers, did the voice-over reveal anything I missed?
If it's really the finished list, then it is certainly quite interesting. Strange song titles, even for them. I'd love more than nine songs, unless one of those songs is a super long epic! Also, I hope that the final version of Singing 'bout the City is a little bigger sounding. Bombast has always been the Ark's best quality, in my opinion. Best of many.

1. Hanuman
2. Singing ‘bout the City
3. Have you ever heard a Song
4. Wonders of New Amsterdam
5. Do Right to me, Babe
6. Publicity Seeking Rockers
7. I Just Wanna
8. Change of Hearts
9. The Leadership Void

UPDATE: Okay, here's the clip with subtitles. Looks like this may have just been a kind of idea rather than actual songs. Though, as I said, two of the titles have been confirmed by the band. And I thought I remembered them saying that the album wouldn't be country rock. I hope that's right. I can't see country rock being something I'd like from the Ark, though if anyone could do it justice, it'd be them.
All in all, a really interesting look into the creative process. I love that he made a little idea book. That's something I would totally do.

What do you think of the new song? Keep in mind it's a demo. The musical direction could completely change. Melody and lyrics sound nice, though.


Rongedal - Because Of You

"I only do the things I do because of you"

Rongedal recently released their second album Absolutely Nowhere (I could make a really mean joke here, but won't) and, while I'm not on board with the entire thing, they've pushed themselves into more of an electronic 80's vibe on a few tracks and I'm all for that. Because Of You opens the album and is easily the standout. These guys can get a little too goofy sounding at times for my tastes, but when they scale it back they're fantastic pop songwriters. Because Of You is built around a dramatic, catchy synth riff that could have easily opened an Ark or Melody Club hit. I knew I was gonna love it before the vocals even came in. As with most of their songs, the lyrics aren't particularly memorable, but the melody is. I could see these two developing quite the lucrative songwriting business. They've got hooks and choruses in their blood. Plus a shiny disco ball attached to their heads, apparently.

Rongedal - Because Of You by alienhits

(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.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Melodifestivalen: Heat Four - Preliminary Judging

A couple of this week's clips leaked online, forcing svt's hand to reveal all eight clips several days early. So, my thoughts are coming earlier this week as well.

(Listen to clips here)

Sibel - Stop
This is about as different from her last entry as possible, and definitely preferable. It sounds like a good uptempo pop track, though it doesn't seem to fit with Melodifestivalen very well. 3.5/5

Py Bäckman - Magisk stjärna (Magic Star)
It's so dull that I forgot it as it was happening. It could be the worst song of the competition this year, though I'll have to hear the whole thing to be sure. 0.5/5

NEO - Human Frontier
Yes! This is more of what I expect from this contest. Neo's such a perfect fit, and although I'm not sure this is amongst his best stuff, it's a lot of fun. I hope the contest gives him the exposure he deserves. 4.5/5

Lovestoned - Thursdays
This is a lot catchier than I'd expected. It's different than most of the stuff this year and pretty refreshing because of it. Could be shockingly good. 4/5

Anna Bergendahl - This Is My Life
She was kind of boring on Idol, and this sounds like more of the same. As far as ballads go, I think there are many stronger ones in the competition. It sounds pretty lackluster from this clip. 2/5

Pernilla Wahlgren - Jag vill om du vågar (I Would if you Dare)
This has Melodifestivalen written all over it. I mean, an uptempo schlagery song written in Swedish? It's alright, but I bet it'll improve from a full listen. 3/5

Noll Disciplin - Idiot
Not terribly original for the genre, but it's pleasant enough. The chorus could be a lot stronger. I can't imagine this song going down all that well in the context of the contest, though it sounds very radio friendly. 3/5

Peter Jöback - Hollow
The one sure thing this week, in my opinion. He's just got such an outstanding voice. I'm not as sure about the song, but I can't wait to see him perform. 3.5/5

It's a weird heat, with a lot of contrasting styles. It kind of feels like the leftovers from the past three weeks. I think Peter, Lovestoned, NEO and either Pernilla or Sibel will go through.

*I'll be blogging Saturday throughout the show, so be sure to check back for my thoughts (and to see if my predictions come true!)

Labels: ,

Monday, February 22, 2010

Taio Cruz - Keep Going

"Keep going 'til we run out of road"

Taio Cruz is one of the UK's best kept secrets. He's quite successful over there, most recently with his fantastic single Break Your Heart, and is easily one of the country's best producers. Other than a couple of tracks (which try too hard to sound American), his newest album borders on perfection. Rather than settle for simple r&b, Cruz deftly brings electro, club and straight-up pop into the mix, creating a sound that feels like what the Black Eyed Peas wish they were doing. It's just massive... almost symphonic at times. Keep Going is one of the album's poppier tracks, and something I can imagine being performed by one of Sweden's top hit-makers like Ola Svensson or Darin. It's got its sights set on "soaring" and never lets go of that mission statement. It is, to use my favorite descriptive word, quite epic. I wouldn't be surprised if American companies try to launch him over here. Our r&b/dance scene could use the kick in the butt.

Taio Cruz - Keep Going

(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.