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Saturday, March 02, 2013

Melodifestivalen 2013: Andra Chansen

Here we are with the second chance round. If I were a betting man, I'd be looking at Anton, Robin and Behrang as having the best chances today, but we'll soon see! Since we've already heard all the songs this week, I hope there are some other entertaining bits to keep the show fresh.

The unofficial Applause-O-Meter: Robin, Behrang, Anton and Martin getting the most love at the outset. Ah, just as expected.

WHOA... stream is dying worse than it's ever died...

ROBIN: Now that the video's back, Robin's here. I do like this song. It's not my favorite tonight, but I wouldn't be sad if it made it through. It's just not as good as Ulrik's, which is in a similar vein. The falsetto is gorgeous, though. And he's really giving it his all.

ERIC: I like this song, too, but I don't think it has a chance. It's just not a winning track. Very nice/pleasant and I definitely listen to it quite often, but it's not for MF. Those piano production flourishes are still to die for, though.

CAROLINE: Two of the "oldie" votes in a row. I love Caroline, and I like this song, but it's not nearly as good as her last entry. Of all the anti-pop entries today, I think she could be the one to benefit from a split in the voting for the teen acts. I hope not, even though I could watch her perform all day. No back-up performers this time, which was kind of weird. I liked them.

BEHRANG: A song that has grown on me immensely. This could do quite well tonight, particularly because it screams Eurovision (and rips off Eurovision). The hook is ridiculously catchy. It's like a tolerable version of Sean Banan. It definitely plays to the crowd. But of course, the crowd aren't the only ones voting.

ERIK/TONE: I just don't like this song. It reminds me of an annoying, cutesy American track that would be played on commercial after commercial until it becomes torture. I think I'm in the minority, but I would be happy with a last-place finish today. It won't happen, though.

ANTON: I think this is my favorite song of the night. I really like Martin's, too, but I've been playing the hell out of this since it was released. Plus, the dancing in the performance is really impressive. Very Michael Jackson without being a total rip-off. I'm watching a lot of people on twitter complaining that there's no "substance" to the song, which is the funniest thing I've ever heard. Do you people know what competition you're watching??

COOKIES: Oh, Cookies 'n' Beans, the sacrificial lambs of tonight's show. I don't see how they could progress any further, but I've been surprised before (several times this year!). It's a pleasant enough song, but not for the competition.

MARTIN: I would love for Martin to go through tonight just based on his past work alone. It helps that the song is excellent. He really needs to boost so that he can release a successful solo album. I fear that it's the kind of pop music that only hardcore pop fans love, leaving out the masses. We'll see.

Top 5: Robin, Caroline, Behrang, Anton, Martin
Top 2: Anton, Behrang
(not feeling at all confident about these predictions, by the way...)

EDIT: Ooh! Peter Joback singing Phantom of the Opera. A pleasant surprise. He's got a stunning voice. Check out his epic duet with Laakso on "Italy Vs. Helsinki" if you haven't. One of the best songs of the last decade.

EDIT: The stream is not liking Mr. Joback... totally cutting out and mangling the sound. This is even worse than last week.

EDIT: Stream is entirely gone. No idea what's happening.

EDIT: Stream is back in the middle of the results, and we've got the top five! All the pop acts made it through! It's like Sweden finally came to its senses! Better late than never, I guess.
Top 5: Robin, Behrang, Erik/Tone, Anton, Martin
Sixth: Caroline
Seventh: Cookies
Eighth: Eric

EDIT: Danny singing Jedward is oddly awesome. If only Jedward were Swedish, they'd be in MF every year. Watch this track soar up itunes after the broadcast. Say what you will about Jedward, but they know how to put on a show. They;re certainly game for anything.

EDIT: More results:
First Duel - Behrang vs. Anton
Whoa... tough, tough, tough. I'm pulling for Anton, but this could be close.

EDIT: I wish these songs would actually have to duel... like perform simultaneously on stage. Anton's vocals sound so much better this time around.

EDIT: More results:
Second Duel - Robin vs. Martin
I would LOVE a Martin victory here, but I think Robin clearly has the edge. We'll see. At least the dreadful Erik/Tone song is out of the running.

Hey, I just realized that the four best songs actually got the most votes! Why didn't this happen throughout the entire competition??

EDIT: And we have our two last finalists for next week!
Anton & Robin
As expected, then. A good result. Would have liked Martin to get through, but very happy for Anton. Now I just hope that both don't take massive chunks out of Ulrik's votes.


Friday, March 01, 2013

Melodifestivalen 2013: Andra Chansen Preview

Ahead of tomorrow's live-blogging, I wanted to write a little about the Andra Chansen ("second chance") round of this year's MF. It's always the week where I'm more excited to see who goes through than to see the performances (since they're basically all repeats). This year, the duel format is--mostly--out, so things could really be up in the air. My favorite song is already in the final (more on that next week), so I'm not too bothered by who makes it through tomorrow, though of course I do have my preferences.

A reminder of the acts competing tomorrow:

1. Cookies 'n' Beans - Burning Flags
2. Eric Gadd - Vi kommer aldrig att förlora
3. Anton Ewald - Beggin
4. Erik Segerstedt & Tone Damli - Hello Goodbye
5. Caroline af Ugglas - Hon har inte
6. Martin Rolinski - In And Out Of Love
7. Robin Stjernberg - You
8. Behrang Miri - Jalla Dansa Sawa

That's the order they made it through, though it seems that Robin will be opening the show while Martin closes.

If I were to place the tracks in order of favorite to least favorite, my list would look something like this:

1. Anton/Martin (too close for me to say, really)
2. Behrang
3. Robin
4. Eric
5. Caroline
6. Erik/Tone and CnB (both of which I simply don't like)

Now, let's take a look at the current itunes chart standings (as of Friday night Pacific Time), which can often be a good indicator of who's popular at the moment. Some have two entries on the chart--the single version and the compilation album version:

ITUNES Rankings
Robin (#8/49)
Behrang (#10/67)
Anton (#21/26)
Martin (#22/117)
Erik/Tone (#34/80)
Eric (#54)
Caroline (#58)
Cookies (#101)

From these, it seems that Robin and Behrang have it in the bag. But don't forget, Anton's track was in the number one position for almost 24 hours after the songs went up. No other andra chansen entry has done that this year. Plus, I'd never discount the "older" vote, which might favor an act like Caroline or Eric, despite their low itunes showings.

Still, I think it's safe to say this will probably end up as a three-horse race between Robin, Behrang and Anton, with Martin offering a possible upset (particularly if he's performing last). And honestly, those are the four best songs this week, so it's as it should be.

Now if Ulrik can just win the whole damn thing, I'll be happy.


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Bastille - Pompeii

"The walls come tumbling down"

I'm a sucker for choral elements in a pop song. Throw in a men's/women's/children's choir and I'm sold. And you better believe that's the first thing I heard in this Bastille track that's currently conquering the UK. I'm not sure if he's the type of artist I'd normally care about, or whether I'd enjoy any of his other tracks, but this is really something special. Those male choral vocals that form the backbone of the song's production add a massive, stately sound to what would normally be a forgettable indie-pop release. I swear, every track should have them!

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


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Frankmusik - Map

"I never wanna find my way back"

You've gotta admire Frankmusik's work ethic. He releases more music than almost any other pop artist that I can think of. You get the feeling that we're allowed to listen to anything and everything he's worked on, which means there can often be a varying degree in quality. This new EP, aptly titled Far From Over, is actually pretty amazing. It hits the pop jugular while still retaining his more experimental electronic influences. The single Map has a real corker of a chorus. It actually sounds like something I'd expect to hear in Melodifestivalen. Just out and out pop. The song switches between quiet, slow verses and that enormous, propulsive chorus. It gives the hook the spotlight it deserves.

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


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Nicole Sabouné - Unseen Footage From A Forthcoming Funeral

"The gate is wide and the road is straight"

Have you ever been in one of those phases where you just keep going back and replaying the same two songs over and over again because they're so amazing but also the only two songs that the artist has released so far? I am in this phase with Nicole Sabouné. Her music is really just becoming an obsession for me. It's the exact style of pop/rock that first drew me to Swedish music a decade ago. Conquer Or Suffer is my favorite new song of the year, and her previous single Unseen Footage From A Forthcoming Funeral is nearly as good. It's a fantastically retro slice of 80's alternative rock (with a cool/creepy video). Sometimes the most simple melodies are the most effective, and this is especially true with this song. Taken together, her two singles are an amazing statement of intent that I hope carries forward to a full length album soon. This woman needs to become massive, and I need a debut album ASAP, if only so I don't wear out these tracks.

(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.


Monday, February 25, 2013

The Royal Concept - World On Fire

"The pieces come together and I let it all go"

I'm keeping the focus on Scandinavia today, because after months and months of underwhelming output, the region's position as the Motherland of Pop is reinstated. Seriously, more amazing songs have come out of this area in the past two months than in all of 2012 (and very few of them actually have anything to do with Melodifestivalen). The Royal Concept used to be known as Concept Store (they really like concepts, don't they?) and I wrote about them a long time ago. They've been chugging along since, and this is their most recent (and amazing) single. While past hits like Damn and D-d-dance were super-catchy, World On Fire is the one that really hits it out of the park. The production's bigger, the melody more focused and the lyrics more anthemic. This is the type of track that really piques my interest. See what you think. I can't wait to hear what they do next, as their progression so far has been very promising.

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