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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Melodifestivalen 2013: Heat Four

Up to this point in this strange 2013 competition, I don't feel like we've seen our winner yet. Yohio's the closest I can think of, but even that doesn't seem quite like it's going to happen. Will this week change that? Let's find out! Please, Sweden... vote wisely!!

* Every single pair of pants Danny has worn this year look... weird. But this opening is still fantastic. And I love Petra.

* Ulrik and Army Of Lovers getting the most applause at the outset. I would so love them both to progress, but the way voting has been this year, I'm not holding out much hope.

ARMY OF LOVERS: This is certainly the type of camp cheese that the contest has been sorely missing this year, and easily one of the weirdest performances the show's had for several years. This is, of course, an amazing thing. This performance had so much to look at, and the song wasn't bad either. Will the Swedes be as infatuated by it? Some of them surely will, but I just don't know...
(But I love it)

LUCIA: Now for the boring Adele rip-off. Can we just ban these types of songs from now on? To me, this just brings nothing to the table. Absolutely nothing. An eighth place finish would be suitable, but the way the voting's gone this year, you never know. Her voice sounds very grating on the chorus.

ROBIN: Okay, the song's alright, but the dancers are really funny and necessary. He hits the high notes well, and the performance is quite polished, but I feel like the song's just missing that little extra something. I know he's popular and may have a shot at Andra Chansen, but it was a bit underwhelming for me. The audience sure liked it, though.

AHHHH! SARAH DAWN FINER!!! Please come back and host!!

SYLVIA: Oh, Sylvia! How I love her! This song, not so much. I do enjoy watching her cavort around the stage. I'd imagine she'd get a few votes from her Sa Mycket Battre fanbase, but the song just isn't right for MF or Eurovision, so this will probably end up somewhere between 5 and 8.

RALF: A big favorite to progress this week. To be honest, I'm pretty sick of these "credible" hard rock artists entering the competition, but this song is alright. I was actually expecting a bit more after all the hype, but this and Army Of Lovers are my favorites so far. The audience responded well.

BEHRANG: The hook on this has actually grown on me. I just find the rapping kind of annoying. Not that I find rapping annoying in general, but his tone irks me a bit. But yeah... that hook. I'm getting Andra Chansen vibes from this. I think it has to be considered the dark horse this week. Oh, and that background singer was on last year's X-Factor, wasn't he? This song got a great reaction from the crowd.

TERESE: Oh god, this is so boring. Total fodder (at least I hope so). It's pleasant enough, but is just so forgettable. I can't imagine it stands much of a chance.

ULRIK: Oh my god!! He's entering to the Ark's Calleth You, Cometh I!!!!!!!! You have just made me very happy, Ulrik! He's in a dangerous place, being the "favorite." I just hope Sweden still votes. The song's alright... not quite as good as I was hoping, but the staging and performance was excellent (even though the stream conked out pretty bad for me).

My Predictions:
To Final: Ralf and Ulrik
Andra Chansen: Behrang and Robin (or Army of Lovers)

Ulrik, Ralf, Robin, Behrang & Terese (ugh)
6th: Army Of Lovers :(
7th: Sylvia
8th: Lucia (thank god)

EDIT: I stick by my Ulrik and Ralf top two, but now I've got a feeling that Ralf is going to rack up the most votes this week. What does that mean for the final?

EDIT: Alcazar!!! reminding us of how MF used to (and should) sound! Stay The Night is such a massive song. Should've won that year. And Danny "joining" the band is the best thing he's done this entire competition.

First act through to the final is.... Ulrik!! Yes!!!!!

Final results!
Andra Chansen: Behrang, Robin
Out: Terese

Pretty predictable results, but mostly correct I think. I would've replaced Army of Lovers with Robin, but otherwise I'm happy with the qualifiers (for once!)


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Melodifestivalen Heat Four: Preliminary Judgement

I have my preliminary judgement a day earlier, since SVT seems to be putting up the MF clips farther in advance. The quality of last week's entries was quite good, but the voting wasn't. Up to this point, I just don't see a viable winner. Will that change this week? Let's see!

(Listen to clips here)

Army Of Lovers - Rockin' The Ride
This sounds like a lot of fun--exactly what I would have expected. It reminds me more of Alcazar than Army Of Lovers, but this is definitely a good thing. Exactly the kind of Euro-cheese that this competition has been sorely missing this year. I don't hear a lot of melody (yet), but I can't wait for the full version. 4.5/5

Lucia Pinera - Must Be Love
Oh, jeez. It's yet another Adele/Duffy/Amy Winehouse rip-off. I'm so sick of this style of music, and I think others are starting to feel the same way. This feels pretty damn subpar. Not offensively bad--just very boring and expected.  2/5

Robin Stjernberg - You
If voters want to go for a soft-rock type of song, this is what they should go for instead of that boring State of Drama track last week. His vocals sound bad in this clip, but I like the anthemic production and (I think) I like the sound of the melody. Too hard to tell based on this clip. 3.5/5

Sylvia Vrethammar - Trivialitet (Triviality)
She's bound to get a bump from appearing on Sa Mycket Battre. Hell, I'm interested precisely because of her time on that show. I can't wait to see her, mostly because she makes me laugh, but this song is pretty much as expected. Jazzy and kind of boring. Love her... not sure about the song. 2.5/5

Ralf Gyllenhammar - Bed On Fire
Based on the voting so far this year, I wouldn't be surprised to see this go through. It's not really my thing, yet I like the drama of the song. It sounds like the type that builds up, rather than hit you right out of the gate. I'm gonna be cautiously optimistic. As far as rock goes, at least it sounds a bit different. 3.5/5

Behrang Miri - Jalla Dansa Salwa (Come On And Dance)
We haven't had much rap so far this year, and here we go. Unfortunately, it's just not the kind of rap I'm really fond of. The hook sounds alright, but everything in between is just kind of filler. I fear that this will make it through, though. 3/5

Terese Fredenwall - Breaking The Silence
A palate-cleansing ballad after that rap track. It's pleasant and boring, like a less-interesting version of Lisa Miskovsky's entry last year. If it wasn't for the Dead Fish song, this might have a better chance, but this sounds too similar and not as good. 2.5/5

Ulrik Munther - Tell The World I'm Here
Now, here we might finally have a winner. Not only does it sound like the most melodic track this week (though I'm guessing the clip we get here isn't really doing it much justice), but the epic anthem nature of the song, combined with Ulrik's popularity, could seal the deal. I hope voters don't become complacent, because I'm guessing this will end up as a worthy winner, especially in a weaker year. 4.5/5

It sounds to be an okay heat, with a couple of clear standouts (AoL and Ulrik). I'm going to guess that Ulrik and Ralf go through, with AoL, Behrang, Robin and Sylvia duking it out for Andra Chansen. If I could vote, at this point it would definitely be Ulrik and AoL!!

Don't forget, I'll be live-blogging the heat Saturday morning right here!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ben Ivory - The Righteous Ones

"You can close your eyes if you want to"

Who would've thought that Germany would be the country to watch this Eurovision season? Straight off of yesterday's track, I've got another non-Eurovision sounding song that competed to represent Germany in the contest. This time it's from Ben Ivory, who's constructed a biting, dark (yet ultra catchy) anthem for the freaks and weirdos. This kind of dark electronic music is the exact style I'd expect from Germany, yet it has the rock 'n' roll melody to give it wider appeal. The full album isn't released until March, but I'm hoping that this is a harbinger of the type of thing we'll hear from him. Artistic, yet mainstream. Unusual, but incredibly well produced and easy to sing along with. Think Patrick Wolf meets Depeche Mode.

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


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

BLITZKIDS mvt. - Heart On The Line

"Was it something you said, or my imagination?"

Is BLITZKIDS mvt. not the coolest new band name you've heard in some time? I'm not sure about the capital/lowercase formatting, but it definitely caught my attention instantly. Luckily, the band's image and sound live up to the title. Inspired by avant garde fashion and 80's electro synthpop, this is one seriously awesome new group. The song Heart On The Line was in the running for Germany's Eurovision pre-selection contest, but there's nothing really "Eurovision" about it. Now don't get my wrong... you all know how much I love Eurovision. But this is so much cooler. It's got incredibly funky production, a hooky melodic structure, and a real strut throughout. It's like Goldfrapp mixed with Chromeo mixed with Bertine Zetlitz mixed with Lady Gaga. And the good news is... the album's just as good! I think it's gotta be 2013's first qualifier for my top ten album list at the end of the year! They even manage to include a cover of Ladyhawke's brilliant My Delirium that equals (and honestly might even trump) the original.

(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.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Isac Elliot - New Way Home

"I dream a little dream of you"

So, it's no secret that Melodifestivalen has been a bit of a bust so far this year, but luckily there are so many awesome non-MF Scandinavian releases coming out to make up for it. For the past month or two, it's really felt like a resurgence of my favorite musical region in the world. I've played this song by Finnish 12-year-old phenom Isac Elliot approximately twenty times already since discovering it from other like-minded blogs late last week. Yeah, it's easy enough to call him "Finland's Justin Bieber," but this is so much better. This song is freaking amazing. It borrows heavy from the type of dance production that singles like Rihanna's We Found Love and Jedward's Luminous have used, but honestly it's not really the production that I'm interested in. It's that AMAZING melody. The chorus is truly one of the best so far this year--propulsive and huge and sung really, really well. I hope the album, when it's released, is more of this and not just subpar Bieber-esque teen fodder. Because this is something really special.

(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.