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Thursday, May 23, 2013

UAO - Moving On

"After all these years, don't know who I am"

I'm surprised that this track hasn't received more online attention. I chalk it up to the fact that there are dozens of like-minded dance tracks fighting for attention at any given moment. Plus, UAO have pretty much no online presence. I can't figure out who they are, where they're from or if they've ever done anything else. All I know is that I like the song, and sometimes that's enough. I'm a big fan of unusual vocals on dance/club tracks. In a rock setting, there'd be nothing unexpected about the scratchy tone to this guy's voice, but coupled with the production here, it really stands out. It sounds to me like what Ulrik Munther would come up with if he was collaborating on a dance track.

Moving On by UAO on Grooveshark

(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.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Top Ten Singles By... Darin!

Decent solo male popstars are few and far between, especially in America. By all accounts, Darin should be the world's number one conquering pop idol. I really do think he's that good. Unfortunately, like many other amazing popstars, his music has only really sustained popularity in Sweden. In a way, that's fine, because it keeps him a bit of a secret, but I think some would be surprised to know that he's been releasing albums and singles for nearly a decade now. Here are my favorites:

10. Perfect (2006) - Up until this point, Darin had been a pretty typical r&b singer. With this song, and the accompanying album, he branched out to explore more of a pop/rock angle and laid the template for his best work (which would come a few years later). I consider this track to be very underrated.

9. Astrologen (2012) - Part of his stint on Så mycket bättre, this classic Magnus Uggla ballad was given a real touching update. Darin's vocals match the melody perfectly and this has quickly become one of his best ballads.

8. Breathing Your Love (2008) - A duet with singer Kat Deluna, and perhaps his biggest hit outside of Sweden. It would mark his last big RedOne collaboration before he adopted a somewhat new style.

7. Want Ya! (2006) - Most would probably put Step Up on their top ten list, but I much prefer this follow-up, which is less trendy in sound but far more indebted to the vocal tics and production of Michael Jackson (clearly one of Darin's biggest influences). It's one of his best videos, too.

6. You're Out Of My Life (2010) - His big Melodifestivalen ballad, and the first taste of his collaboration with renowned songwriter/producer Tony Nilsson. Unsurprisingly, it's huge on melody and big pop drama. Yeah, it's overblown, but in the best way possible.

5. Money For Nothing (2005) - His debut single after coming second on Swedish Idol, and still one of my favorites. Part of that is down to the fact that it was written by fellow-Swede Robyn, and part of it is that carefree, bubblegum pop sound. It holds up!

4. Viva la Vida (2009) - I consider this to be the definitive version of the song. I can't even listen to Coldplay's original any more. Darin's delivery and production gives it a dramatic flourish that takes the melody to a new place. It's truly transcendent pop.

3. En Apa Som Liknar Dig (2012) - The second of his Så mycket bättre songs on this list, En Apa is another cover, but completely twisted and reimagined from the original. It's one of the best dance tracks of the year, in any language.

2. Lovekiller (2010) - Taken from my favorite album of his, Lovekiller is pure drama. We're talking soap opera lyrics, choirs and notes that hit the stratosphere. This was an utter shock when it came out. Up to this point in his career, I had no idea what he was really capable of.

1. Nobody Knows (2012) - One of the biggest POP moments of the past few years. It's hard to imagine that a song can sound this big. From start to finish, it's an unadulterated blast of energy and marks the high point (thus far) in his career.

So there you go! But here's the thing, no list is complete without hearing what you think! Leave your top ten Darin songs in the comments!

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Panda Da Panda - Vår Värld

Now this is kind of cool. I don't know how I hadn't heard of Panda Da Panda before. It seems that he's been offering awesome Swedish dance pop for a couple of years now. This is the new single, and like the others, it's sung exclusively in Swedish. Vår Värld is a complete synth attack -- it's all about that monster riff that repeats throughout the track. I'm totally on board with Panda's Adam Ant look, too. It's about time somebody brought back face paint and costume in pop music. And of course it would be Sweden!

Var Varld by Panda Da Panda on Grooveshark

(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.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Zlata Ognevich - Gravity

"Dancing on the edge tonight"

As predicted by most, Denmark won Eurovision 2013 this past weekend. Strangely, they also won last time the contest was hosted in Sweden and I'd put money on the contest being held in Copenhagen next year, which is only 20 minutes away from where it was held this year. Pretty crazy. It wasn't my favorite song, but I'm content with the result and thrilled that the contest is staying in Scandinavia. My favorite, Love Kills from Belgium, did pretty well, while a few I thought would do alright (Finland, Ireland) absolutely tanked. But it's Zlata Ognevich's powerful Gravity that I just can't get out of my head. It did well for Ukraine, finishing in third place, and I wouldn't have been upset if it would have won. The track is a dramatic hybrid of seemingly incongruous genres. It sounds like a poppy, world-influenced outtake from Wicked via the Lion King. Should be utterly campy and ridiculous, but somehow it just works. If you're looking for something WAY over the top, you need this in your life.

(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.

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