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Saturday, February 08, 2014

Melodifestivalen 2014: Heat Two

Here we go... week two of MF. I'm decidedly less optimistic about these songs than I was last week, so I'm hoping to be pleasantly surprised. At least the opening seems to be more in typical MF spirit than last Saturday.

* Haha, I love how winded that male host is right now. Not as easy as it looks, is it sir?

* Onto the unscientific audience applause poll, which didn't prove to be all that useful last week. For what it's worth, Refreshments, Sanna and Martin seem to be winning here (not surprising, as they're the best known)

JEM: I just can't stand that one girl's half-shaven head. I hated it during Xf, and I can't believe she's still sporting it. So ugly. Anyways, this song isn't bad. The thing I've got against it is that it sounds way too much like something Black Eyed Peas would put out. In other words, crappy mainstream American music. In other words, exactly what I go to places like MF to get away from. BUT... the song in full is a lot better than I expected.

REFRESHMENTS: Oh god, we always get some crap like this in the competition. The annoying thing is that this band is huge and very well loved, which gives them a real chance at going DTG. If this was any other band, I don't think they'd stand a chance. The song is alright, but very basic. It feels like a cover of a hundred songs already written.

MANDA: I really enjoyed Manda when she was in XF (even though she's rocking the half shaved head thing too). That said, this is kind of a sub-Firework rehash. The corny lyrics are the worst part. The melody's actually alright and she sounds good. I kind of wish this was sung in Swedish. The song grew on me throughout the performance.

PANETOZ: I feel like this is missing just a little something that would make it amazing. Still, it's probably my favorite so far (though that's not saying much). I think they'll definitely fall within the top four in some capacity. I wouldn't be surprised with a DTG placement, but I think AC is more likely. I feel like the staging could've been a little more interesting.

PINK PISTOLS: Oh yeah! This is the stuff MF was made for! I would be shocked if this did anything in the competition, but at least it's here. Still, I think the song needs a chorus that is 110% stronger than the one its got. Can't wait to hear the studio version.

* Edit - what the hell just happened? That was... disturbing.

SANNA: MF royalty here. And the song's actually pretty good, but more importantly, she performs the hell out of it (as she always does). I wish it was uptempo,  but my god that girl can sing. It feels very much like a classic Celine Dion track.

LITTLE GREAT THINGS: I really want to like this, and there are aspects that I do, but I just don't like the singer's voice and the I feel like the chorus is really weak compared to the verses. However, it will be to their benefit that they don't have any direct competition in the genre this week. It feels very "high school talent show," though.

MARTIN: Another MF veteran with another ballad (ish), this time in Swedish. I actually love this... the song, not him. I don't think it's going to do much this week, but I will be playing the hell out of it. I love these big anthemic pop songs.

Predictions: This is not an easy one, as most of the songs seemed to be on a level (ie: average) playing field.
Top 5 - Refreshments, Sanna, Panetoz, JEM and Martin (though it could conceivably be anyone)
Top 2 - Refreshments and Sanna?

* I hate to say it, but these are probably my least favorite hosts since I started watching the competition eight years ago.

Top 5 - Sanna, Refreshments, JEM, Panetoz and Martin (was I right or was I right?)
6th - Little Great Things
7th - Pink Pistols
8th - Manda

* God... Sean Banan. why? Why? WHY? I hate this man so much.

First DTG - Sanna (she's kinda like the Meryl Streep of MF, yeah?)
Second DTG - Panetoz
AC - JEM, Martin
Out - Refreshments (thank god!!)

Well, not a terrible result. Let's hope that next week is stronger all around!


Friday, February 07, 2014

Melodifestivalen 2014 Heat Two: Preliminary Judgment

Okay, so I might have gone a little overboard/excited about last week's heat. Although I liked a lot of the songs (more than average), I don't think we've seen the winner yet. Could they be among this week's contestants?

(Listen to clips here)

1. JEM - Love Trigger
I was never a big fan of them on XF, nor did I like what they released after that. This is way too trendy for me. I hope it comes across better in full. Right now it sounds like every other bit of radio fodder playing in the States. 2/5

2. The Refreshments - Hallelujah
A huge band in Sweden, that's been around forever. It's not my kind of music AT ALL. Also, I really don't think it has any place in the context of MF. Since so much of the clip is instrumental, it's hard to tell whether I'll end of liking this. It seems doubtful as of now. 2/5

3. Manda - Glow
Another X-Factor alum, with what sounds like a much better track. I'm still not getting very inspired (this is way, way schmaltzy), but I like the strings... 3/5

4. Panetoz - Efter solsken (After the sunshine)
The best sounding clip so far, and I'm a bit surprised to be saying that. I really like this kind of summery, euro-urban party music, at least as a part of MF. Still, it doesn't sound as strong as last year's Jalla Dansa Sawa. 3.5/5

5. Pink Pistols - I Am Somebody
Think god! I was getting really worried about this week's songs. This will likely be way too camp to progress, but it's the kind of thing that MF needs. It's the lifeblood of the competition. 4/5

6. Sanna Nielsen - Undo
Sanna's last three entries were epics and pretty much instant classics, so I've got high hopes for her performance. This is a bit underwhelming for now, but I have faith that she'll sell it. Doesn't sound like another Empty Room, though. 3/5

7. Little Great Things - Set Yourself Free
Rock can either sink or swim in this contest, and I have no idea how this will do. I'm intrigued by the melody, but I'm definitely not sold on the singer's voice. This could go either way for me. I'm going to be cautiously optimistic. 3.5/5

8. Martin Stenmarck - När änglarna går hem (When the angels go home)
I actually really like the sound of this. If the full thing's as epic as this clip is leading me to believe, it could end up being my favorite track of the week. And believe me, I was NOT expecting to say that. 3.5/5

Unfortunately, this seems to be a comedown from last week, as nothing is really standing out to me in a major way. I have high hopes for Martin and Pink Pistols, and a few others might surprise me. I'd imagine Sanna will do well... perhaps Martin and Panetoz too. It's a weird week. Hard to predict.


Thursday, February 06, 2014

Plastic - I Want U

"Only you can bring me back to life"

What a wonderful, weird little piece of retro pop music. To be honest, it's the cover of this single that first caught my eye. The bright neon colors and pop-arty band name instantly piqued my curiosity. It turns out the track sounds pretty much exactly how I'd expected (and hoped). Fans of Norwegian pop princess Annie will LOVE this. It's also got some of the dry funk of Danish bands like Studio Killers and Oh No Ono, not to mention that the central riff here pretty much apes that of the Ting Ting's Shut Up And Let Me Go. And then there's that saxophone, which really brings it all over the edge. The band's Polish (a first for alienhits) and has been around for more than a decade. They've got some other tracks on their website, and there are also quite a few songs on itunes credited with their name, but I don't think it's the same band.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy their music here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.


Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Crayon Pop - Hero

I just love this song. From the get-go, I was smitten. Crayon Pop became the unlikely breakthrough group in K-Pop last year with their riotously catchy Bar Bar Bar. They've released a few things since then, but this is my favorite. Hero, a duet with rock singer Kim Jang Hoon, is a charity single for firefighters (which quickly becomes apparent when you watch the music video), but it's not one of those boring, slow, super-serious "tributes" we're used to associating with charity. No, this is FUN. For some reason it reminds me of an 80's track, albeit sung in a very J-Pop, almost video-gamey, style. Most important is that chorus, which is as jubilant as a chorus can be. This is pure happiness bottled into a pop song.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. No idea where to preorder the single, but it's out tomorrow. Follow me on twitter and facebook.

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Monday, February 03, 2014

Nanne - Ingen dansar dåligt (Lika bra som jag)

This weekend may have been all about Melodifestivalen Heat One (well, at least on this blog...), but in addition to that massive Swedish schlager event, another schlager legend revealed some new music. Nanne's latest album, Drama Queen, was released last week, and as a fan of the poppy, overblown schlager sound, I am loving it. Nanne's always reminded me of a Scandinavian Charro. I mean that in the best possible way! Her music isn't afraid to be big and silly and stupid, but she's got the melodies and vocals to make it all work. Her new album is excellent from top to bottom (though I realize it might not be to everyone's taste). This is the opening track, and it's the exact kind of thumping, galloping anthem that I absolutely adore. One listen and you won't be able to pry those "doo, doo doo!" bits from your head.

Ingen dansar dåligt (Lika bra som jag) by Nanne on Grooveshark

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the album (worldwide) here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.