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Saturday, March 01, 2014

Melodifestivalen 2014 - Andra Chansen

Here we are in the second chance round and, whereas the main competition is looking ever-less competitive (it's going to be Sanna or Ace, surely), this round feels like anybody's game. Of the eight, Helena has to have the best chance going in, but Andra Chansen has a history of being pretty surprising.

Personally, Martin's song is my favorite tonight by a mile, but I doubt he'll find his way through.

Edit: Not a fan of this opening.

1. AMMOTRACK - Still not much of a fan of this song.

2. LINUS - This has grown on me quite a bit. Wouldn't mind it going through.

3. JEM - This song's grown on me as well. I just feel that someone like Linus could edge them out.

4. STATE OF DRAMA- Like this one too, but I don't think it'll go anywhere.

5. ELLINORE - Don't get it. Pleasant song, but no stage presence and not much of a voice, either.

6. MARTIN - I ADORE this song. I have my doubts about it going through, but I would be ecstatic if it did.

7. HELENA - I've never been as enamored with this as many others, but I think it'll make the final. I wouldn't be upset if it did.

8. OUTTRIGGER - I don't hate this as much as I first did, and actually if they didn't go into the horrible screamy part, I probably wouldn't hate it at all. Still don't want it in the final, though.

My Predictions (in order of likeliness for making it through):
1. Helena
2. Linus
3. JEM
4. Martin
5. Outtrigger
6. Ellinore
7. State Of Drama
8. Ammotrack

Still, this is obviously a SHOT IN THE DARK

EDIT: Okay, this is the first time I've liked the male host all year. Of course, it took some drag...

Top 5 - Martin, Outtrigger, Helena, State Of Drama, Linus
(why they're doing a top five this round, I don't know)

First Duel - Outtrigger vs. Helena (this could be deadly...)
I guess we can assume that this is the 1st vs 4th place duel and Helena was first? 

Second Duel - Linus vs. Martin
Well, at least I love both songs, but I'm sorry to see one kicked out. I hope Martin wins, though!

Through to the final - Helena and Linus!
(sad for Martin, but at least Outtrigger didn't go through)

Oh, and by the way.... who predicted this result? That's right, me! haha


Friday, February 28, 2014

2014 Oscars Forecast

This has been a weird Oscar season for me. I mean, I've seen over half of the main contenders and enjoyed them all to at least a certain extent, but I'm having a hard time mustering up a lot of passion for this year's films. There is no Hugo or Les Miserables or There Will Be Blood that really appeals to my taste for sweeping, at times fantastical epics. In fact, my favorite film of the bunch is one of the smallest. Also, the awards seem like they've been spaced so far away from all the other awards ceremonies this year... so much so that they seem almost an afterthought when they should be the main course. Still, it's a competitive year, at least in some categories, and that's not something we see very often. Here are my picks for what will probably win, and what I'd personally choose.

Best Picture
Will Win: 12 Years A Slave
I'm giving this the edge to Gravity, but only slightly. I feel like there's just more to celebrate here. More actors, more historical relevance, more meaty drama. Gravity, for all its technical marvels, has gotten some (deserved, in my opinion) criticism for its writing. 12 Years A Slave feels more important in a lot of ways, even if it wasn't much of a hit.
My Choice: Dallas Buyer's Club
My favorite of the bunch, even if I realize that as a movie it's probably not as well-made as others in the category. But, while the others left my emotions cold to some degree or another, this was the film I couldn't stop thinking about days after I'd seen it. Luckily, I think it will clean up in the acting categories.

Best Director
Will Win: Alfonso Cuaron - Gravity
My Choice: Alfonso Cuaron - Gravity
I've got a match on this one, as I feel like the direction was probably the best part of Gravity and totally deserves the award. That's not to mention all the great work Cuaron's done in the past, which should help his chances as well. I think it'll be a split year, and this will be the Academy's way of honoring both of the frontrunner films.

Best Actor
Will Win: Matthew McConaughey - Dallas Buyers Club
My Choice: Matthew McConaughey - Dallas Buyers Club
My pick lines up again. You just can't discount the work he did in Dallas Buyers Club, even if his competition in this category is also very strong. I feel like he gets this based not only on this performance, which was riveting, but on all of his performances in the past year or two. He's clearly having a creative renaissance, and I'm as surprised to be writing that as anyone.

Best Actress
Will Win: Cate Blanchett - Blue Jasmine
All signs point to Blanchett. I haven't seen the movie, so I can't really comment here. I'm solely basing this on the precursors.
My Choice: Amy Adams - American Hustle
This is another one where I just think she deserves it based on all the amazing work she's done over the past few years. Plus, to me she was the revelation in American Hustle, playing against type in a role that was pretty spellbinding to watch.

Best Supporting Actor
Will Win: Jared Leto - Dallas Buyers Club
My Choice: Jared Leto - Dallas Buyers Club
He'd better win! His was one of my favorite performances of the year -- top two if not number one. The emotional heart of the movie, for sure.

Best Supporting Actress
Will Win: Lupita Nyong'o
My Choice: Lupita Nyong'o
Jennifer Lawrence could easily steal it from her (just as easily as she stole every scene of American Hustle that she was in), but I can't help but feel that this is the performance most deserving of the award. Like Leto, she was tasked with carrying the emotional core of her movie and did an absolutely breathtaking job.

As you can see, my choices are lining up pretty closely to what I think will actually happen. If there are going to be surprises, I'd say they are most likely going to pop up in the Supporting Actress, Director, Picture and maybe Actor categories.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Gravitonas - Playing With Fire

"When I'm playing with you, I crash and burn"

Gravitonas is a band I really should have been a bigger fan of over the past few years. I mean, I love Alexander Bard's work with Bodies Without Organs (and really, his work in general), and Gravitonas feels quite similar in a lot of ways. Well, I'm making up for lost time, and it's all do to their new EP, Garden Of Men And Machines. It's the release that has officially turned me into an obsessive fan. And while some of the more downbeat moments, namely Smoke In The Mirror and People Are Lonely, are probably my favorite tracks on the EP, I'm going to share the one that first caught my attention. Playing With Fire is a massive, Avicii-style dance anthem. I didn't even know this band made music like this. It's like a big 80's AOR soundtrack song augmented for clubs. It's a surprising jolt of energy and demands to be heard. And if you're like me, it'll just be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this band.

Playing With Fire by Gravitonas on Grooveshark

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


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Josef Johansson - Hela Natten

There's one in Melodifestivalen every year. I'm talking about that jaw-droppingly awesome piece of pop that, for some inextricable reason, finishes towards the bottom of the voting line-up. I'm thinking about epics like Magnus Carlsson's Live Forever, Melody Club's The Hunter, Alcazar's Headlines and Charlotte Perrelli's The Girl. These usually find their justice on the charts, where they earn more success than they did on the show. Josef Johansson's Hela Natten is one of these cases. Honestly, I would have liked to see it win the whole thing. Perhaps if it hadn't directly been competing against Anton Ewald, it would have found more support. It's a gargantuan slab of pop music, complete with a background choir reminiscent of some of Michael Jackson's best ballads. Josef himself also seems like a potentially interesting pop star. I hope the track's success on itunes spurs him on to make more music, because if he can keep churning out masterpieces like this, the future should be very bright. Plus, on a selfish note, whenever I hear music this affecting, I desperately want more of it.

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

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Monday, February 24, 2014

Ruth Lorenzo - Dancing In The Rain

"Keep on 'til the light of day"

I'm in a bit of a Melodifestivalen haze right now, and I'm sure I'll post more about it this week because now that the official album is out, I'm realizing that this was actually quite a strong year as far as the songs go. BUT, today I feel compelled to post a Eurovision entry from another country. Longtime readers will probably remember Ruth Lorenzo, who was my favorite contestant in the great 2008 season of UK X-Factor. I've been keeping my fingers crossed for her ever since, but I'm ashamed to admit that I somehow hadn't heard her EPIC 2013 single The Night. It's absolutely amazing, and bodes well for her debut album out at the end of this week (apparently... I'll believe it when I see it). Dancing In The Rain is her newest single, and just won the right to represent Spain in this year's Eurovision. Now, I can't pretend to predict how the contest will go this year, as there are many factors at play, but as of now my money would be on this song to win the entire thing. It's a massive, dramatic ballad with an even bigger vocal performance and given the right push, I could see it launching Ruth throughout Europe. I mean, how could you not like this? It's so gratifying to see Ruth finding the success she so deserves. I hope the album is just as good.

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