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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Melodifestivalen 2013: Heat Three

Yes, this week it's not exactly a "live blog," but I'm watching it now with no knowledge of the outcome, so it's gonna be pretty damn close! Fingers crossed for Martin!!

 * Eddie, Amanda and Martin getting the most applause at the outset. I certainly wouldn't mind that outcome!

* I can't remember, did Italy really give Sweden no points in last year's Eurovision? I doubt many of the people she was interviewing even watch Eurovision...

EDDIE: That's certainly an interesting stage outfit he's got. I like the bedazzled knees. This is a great song, though I feel like it's going to suffer a bit because it sounds so similar to the previous weeks' opening performances. It's no Euphoria, but at least it's in the right vein. Staging could've been more interesting. 

ELIN: Oh my god she looks awkward during that intro bit. There's not much to say about this song or performance. It's pleasant, but very boring. Of course, that worked for Anna Bergandahl a couple of years ago, so you never know. Still, this seems like an obvious seventh or eighth place.

RAVAILLACS: Old men haven't been very successful in this year's competition. Could a supergroup of them fair better? I fear that they might, as this kind of act always seems to get through to at least the top four. Still, this is a strong heat, so who knows? The song is actually pretty catchy and they're an amusing bunch. I just hope they don't knock one of my favorites out.

AMANDA: I like her stage outfit, definitely, and she's already got more charisma than all tonight's previous performers before even singing one note. The song's pretty good and she's definitely got presence, but it's hard to understand what she's saying! Still, I'd be happy to see this go through. It's not winner material, but at least it's different.

MARTIN: Oh yeah! I've had this song in my head all day and I hadn't even heard the whole thing yet. It's impossibly catchy. I loved the performance, too. It worked very well on TV and the staging was original/cool. I just hope he gets the votes. I'm scared for him, even though this was the best song of the night so far, easily.

CAROLINE: I really do love this woman and think that she's so fun to watch perform. That said, this isn't nearly as good as her last entry. I really think that, if people are voting for her, they're voting for her as an artist and not the song. I do think the staging was very effective, though, and I could see this going through very easily.

STATE OF DRAMA: That lead singer's facial-expression entry was very... um... interesting. I could describe this song in many ways, but a "state of drama" is definitely not one of them. It just needs a little more oomph. It's not bad, but it's pretty boring. "Inoffensive" would be a good word. The singer's got a good voice, though. It all hinges on whether or not the voting public are in a soft rock mood or not.

JANET: Now that's quite a bodysuit! Wow, you've gotta be pretty confident to wear something like that on TV. I definitely like the song a lot more now that I've heard it in full, and she put on quite a performance. This feels like a winner (of this week, not necessarily the whole competition), but it's such a strong heat! Ugh... predicting is going to be hard.

My PREDICTIONS: Final - Caroline, Janet Andra Chansen - Amanda & Ravaillics (and maybe Martin, though State of Drama could sneak in, too) I'm pulling for Martin, but the competition is so stiff!
The only act that feels truly out of the race is Elin. God, who knows. My hopes? Martin and Janet through.

Top Five (or as Danny said, "resultation" ?) - State of Drama, Caroline, Martin (yay!!), Ravaillics & Janet (yay!) 
6th Eddie
7th Amanda (surprised it was this low, but I guess it was the vocals)
8th Elin (knew it!)

Now, I'm hoping Martin and Janet go through to the final and Caroline and Ravaillics go to andra chansen, though State of Drama feels like an "andra chansen" act if ever there was one...
One thing's for sure: this is gonna be TOUGH. Strong songs, all around.

EDIT: The transition to this retro interval act was very nonexistent. Is every interval act this year going to be the hosts performing? Hate to say it, but it's getting a little predictable. It's basically just been a chance for Danny to show off different styles of dance, and none has been as entertaining as the first week.

EDIT: I'm missing that "family band" from last week. I think you need to have a better grasp on the Swedish language than I do to find this dansband sketch funny.

EDIT: The first act through to the final is... State of Drama
Ugh. Really? It's an okay song, but first to go through to the final? Against the four others? Not cool. As it's shaping up, we're gonna have a weird, underwhelming Final this year.

Andra Chansen - Martin (should've been to the final), Caroline
Out - Janet (WTF?!?)
2nd to the Final - Ravaillics

Jesus... so our Final thus far looks like this:
David Lindgren
Sean Banan
the Dead Fish lady
State of Drama

Seriously??? This is one WEAK final so far. I hope Ulrik has a good song next week, because otherwise I really don't know who's supposed to win this thing (even though I kinda like the stupid Ravaillics song - sadly)


Friday, February 15, 2013

Melodifestivalen 2013 Heat Three: Preliminary Judgement

Finally! After two weeks of below-average quality, there seems to be some winners in this bunch. Unfortunately, I'll be out of town tomorrow so I won't be live blogging. I will be watching later that day, though, and plan to "live blog" at a slightly later schedule (hey, it's habit!), so check back here several hours after the competition's ended.

(Listen to clips here)

Eddie Razaz - Alibi
This sounds quite similar to previous solo-male tracks that have already been performed this year. For now, I'd say it's better than David Lindgren, worse than Anton Ewald... but that can definitely change when I hear the full version. 4/5

Elin Petersson - Island
Well, she's continuing the tradition of the "webbjoker" by being really boring. It sounds like there might be a pleasant melody in here somewhere, but it's so damn slow.  2.5/5

Ravaillacz - En riktig jävla schlager (A Real Damn Schlager)
We haven't had any old man "dansband" type of music this year (which is surprising), so I guess this fits the bill. It sounds okay, but a little "backyard hoedown" for my taste. I hope it's not a threat to some of the better acts this week. 2.5/5

Amanda Fondell - Dumb
Since she's a Swedish Idol winner, I'd imagine she enters with a certain amount of favoritism. I really like the sound of this song (very Marina and the Diamonds), but it doesn't sound like something that fits with this competition. It'll be interesting to see what happens. 3.5/5

Martin Rolinski - In And Out Of Love
Yes, yes, yes! This was probably my most anticipated track in this year's competition and it doesn't sound like it's going to disappoint. Even from the small clip, I can tell the chorus is incredibly catchy and fun. I PRAY that this advances, though I imagine it could have a bit of trouble in a strong heat. 4.5/5

Caroline Af Ugglas - Hon har inte (She Doesn't Have)
I'm a huge fan of her last Melodifestivalen track, and while this doesn't sound like it's as strong, it's still nice to hear her again. I reserve judgement until I hear the final version, as it's really hard to "get" her songs from a short clip. 3/5

State Of Drama - Falling
For some reason, I was expecting a much poppier, uptempo track. This is like 90's grunge rock minus the grunge. I don't know how to feel about it. It's not horrible, but seems an odd fit this week. 2.5/5

Janet Leon - Heartstrings
This arrives with high expectations (as in, it's been forecasted by some to win the entire thing). I don't see that happening. I mean, it's certainly no Euphoria. It sounds like a nice uptempo dance track with a competent, if not overly excited female vocal. Should be good, but nothing groundbreaking.  3.5/5

So there you go! I don't hate any of the songs, which is refreshing. If I had my way, Martin and Eddie/Amanda/Janet would make it through. I'm thinking Caroline and Amanda have a great chance here, but we'll see tomorrow.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Alienhits turns Seven! (+ my favorite song of all time)

Seven friggin' years. I honestly can't believe it. I'm starting to think that I can't remember a time before I worked on this blog.

And you know what seven means? Only three more years until TEN. Here's to another great year of music. For now, though, I'd like to highlight what I feel is the best song ever recorded.

Now, "best" songs can change, and mine has quite a few times since I started writing the blog. But at this moment (and for... let's say the past year or so), I have decided that The Ark's Calleth You, Cometh I is the best song ever recorded.

I know many people will scoff at me for picking a track that was only recorded ten years ago, but music is highly subjective and often tied to memories and moments. I'm only 29 years old, so it would make sense that my favorite song would come from my own lifetime. I'm certainly a fan of music from the 80's, 70's and 60's, but I don't have the same perspective on those tracks that others might.

For my taste, and the tastes of this blog, you just can't beat Calleth You, Cometh I. It is the definition of life-affirming, galvanizing pop music. It includes everything I love in music: bombast, piano and guitar, choirs, glamour, strong/theatrical vocals, melody with a capital "M," anthemic lyrics, and that elusive, triumphant, transcendent sound. The last two minutes of this masterpiece may just be the most awe-inspiring, gorgeous sound ever recorded. At least, it is in my eyes. I'm not a religious guy, but to me it sounds like the gates of Heaven opening up. I still get chills. And as someone who's had the privilege of seeing it performed live on more than one occasion, I can say that nothing compares to a crowd of hundreds around you, singing it back.

If you're a longtime follower of this blog, I'm sure you've heard the song before. If not, I hope you find at least a little of what I do.

Calleth You Cometh I by The Ark on Grooveshark

And a recent stripped down, orchestral version if you're feeling a little more reflective:


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Willy Moon - My Girl

"I don't want no other, she's my girl"

It's been cool to see Willy Moon gain some notoriety in the States. I honestly wouldn't have expected, given how off-kilter his music is, but that was before I heard it used in a commercial. I'm not usually a fan of good songs being played to death in advertisements, but Moon's music actually kind of fits. Anyway, I've been playing the same 3-4 songs of his for months now, and it's nice to finally have something new. My Girl isn't officially out until March 3rd, but we get to hear the whole thing now. It, like his other material, mixes the retro and current in fresh and exciting ways. The melody of the chorus is especially good--very reminiscent of 70's power-pop bands like Bay City Rollers and Cheap Trick. Now when are we gonna get an album?

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


Monday, February 11, 2013

Nicole Sabouné - Conquer Or Suffer

"They don't care for us, or anyone"

This is just a wonderful surprise. It reminds me of the kind of music by bands like the Sounds, the Ark and Surferosa around 2004/05 that first inspired me to start this blog. I don't know a whole lot about Nicole Sabouné, except that she was in Sweden's version of the Voice on none other than Ola Salo's (lead singer of the Ark) team. That explains the sound of this song, which almost seems as if it could have been produced or written by Salo. Maybe it is... I haven't been able to find any info on that. Regardless, the song is an absolute stunner. The chorus, in particular, is that kind of big, brash anthemic refrain that we don't hear enough of in rock music anymore. Its production is very similar to one of my favorite Ark songs, Absolutely No Decorum. It's fuzzy, yet polished. Bratty, yet super pop. I'm totally smitten. It's definitely in my top three favorite new singles of the year so far.

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