Sunday, February 11, 2007

I've waited tonight

My incomplete guide to this week's Melodifestivalen semifinal.

I'm far from an expert on Swedish pop, but I thought I'd give some brief background based on what I do know about the artists who'll be competing this Saturday. (If any of this is wrong or you know more, please let me know!) Since Melodifestivalen seems to take over this blog on the weekends, I thought some information ahead of time might be a good idea to give a better idea of what to expect and what's happening.

1.) Måns Zelmerlöw--a former competitor on Idol (he took fifth) and later the winner of Let's Dance, Sweden's version of Strictly Come Dancing/Dancing With The Stars, so, even though he's only twenty, he's practically a veteran of televised performance competitions. Originally, he wasn't going to be in Melodifestivalen, but after Agnes's (who beat him in Idol) song and another one were disqualified, he was called in. He's described his song, "Cara Mia," as danceable, with some ABBA and BWO influences, starting out sad but building up to something much happier. Enjoy it while you can, though, because he's also said his CD will be in a more singer-songwriter style.

To watch: he hasn't released any music yet, but you can watch him singing Roxette's "The Look" on Idol.

2.) MissMatch--I don't know anything about them except that they're made up of two girls--does anyone know more? All I've got from their Melodifestivalen profile is that they're best friends and neighbors. Their song is called "Drop Dead." Expressen compares them to t.A.T.u, though I'm not sure why, and there's a reference to schlager, though the girls do say they're not typical schlager.

3.) Magnus Carlsson--former Barbados and Alcazar member turned solo artist. He competed in Melodifestivalen last year (he's actually competed in it every year since 2000 except for 2004) with the great "Lev Livet" (one of the three happiest songs of last year), making it to the finals and placing eighth. I think I've heard that there's been a lot of positive buzz around his song this year, "Live Forever," which he's said is '80's-ish (he compared it to a-ha, among other things), happy, and fast, and has said it's typical of his upcoming album (which he's also said will be pop and disco).

To watch: his performance of "Lev Livet" at Melodifestivalen 2006

4.) Shieda--I don't know anything about this group--does anyone? Their song is called "I mina drömmar" and, from what I can understand from their Melodifestivalen profile, is sung in three languages. From what I can understand from Expressen, their song is "ethnic" or "world" music.

5.) The Attic feat. Therese--the Attic released a brilliant album last year which they described as pop-house, and that's about right. They've been around for longer than that, though, releasing singles and remixing songs for other artists, and they made the music for Lena Philipsson's entrances at Melodifestivalen 2006 (she was the host). Therese, too, does really danceable music; she might be most famous for "Put 'Em High," which she did with Stonebridge, but her song "Time" is also great. Together listed as "The Attic feat. Therese," they'll be singing "The Arrival."

To watch (for the Attic): or actually, don't...just let it play so you can hear the music, but it's a typical dance video featuring a bunch of scantily clad women...which is a shame, because a truly brilliant song like this one deserves so much more. The album version is much better than this video mix, too (that quiet part in the middle doesn't exist). You don't see the two members of the Attic until the end, in the police line up.

To watch (for Therese): the music video for "Time."

6.) Sebastian--a former Idol contestant, he's a little bit of a rocker and was in the same season as Måns, ultimately placing second. He released a debut single that I couldn't stand ("Do What You're Told") but followed it up with the good "Indifferent" and the excellent (as in, one of the best singles of last year/this year) lead single for his new album, "Words And Violence." At the rate his singles are improving, his song for Melodifestivalen, "When The Night Comes Falling," should be absolutely out of this world. However, if I'm understanding his interview in Expressen correctly, he compares the song to Bruce Springsteen circa 1975, and I think it's also saying a lot of people have criticized it, but I could be completely wrong.

To watch: his live performance of "Words And Violence" on the Idol 2006 finale (not the season he was competing in).

7.) Sonya--or Sonja Aldén, as I guess she is going by. She used to be one of Shirley Clamp's backup singers. Sonya competed in Melodifestivalen 2006 with "Etymon," but didn't make it out of the semifinals. She also co-wrote the Poodles' fourth-placed "Night Of Passion." She's contrasted her song this year, "För att du finns," with "Etymon," saying that while the latter was energetic and wild, this year's is calm and will contrast with the many uptempo songs she's up against; it's a lighters-in-the-air sort of song, according to her. The co-writer of her song also worked on "Etymon," Carola's "Invincible," Shirley Clamp's "Min kärlek," and Alcazar's "Not A Sinner, Nor A Saint," among other songs.

To watch: her Melodifestivalen 2006 performance of "Etymon."

8.) Nanne Grönvall--brilliant and maybe crazy, Nanne's competed in Melodifestivalen a bunch of times, sometimes as part of a group and sometimes solo, and also tried to represent the UK once, too. In 2005, she was the viewer favorite with "Håll om mig", but the jury's votes were enough to give Martin Stenmarck the win. Her song this year is "Jag måste kyssa dig," which means "I Must Kiss You." She's definitely one of the contestants to beat, and with good reason; given her history in Melodifestivalen, her performance is sure to be entertaining and her song should be great.

To watch: her Melodifestivalen 2005 performance of "Håll om mig."

Sources: Moopy, ESC Today (1, 2), Catchy Tunes Of Sweden, Wikipedia, SVT's Melodifestivalen site, Expressen. A huge thanks to all of these sites!


Paul said...

i quite like the ark and sebastians song, and of course magnuss is a given. Is it shallow to judge someone on appearance? If not then Måns Zelmerlöw (kudos on getting all the wiggly bits in!) is a bit RAR and i look forward to his debut cd

J'ason D'luv said...

This is great! Now I actually have a frame of reference for these folks when you talk about them, since I'm too lazy to look them up myself...

Jamie said...

Therese was also the front woman for Dromhus who sang the sensational 'Stjärna På Himmelen' in Melodifestivalen 1999 which came second to Dame Charlotte of Nilsson.

This weeks semi is a real tough one. I think Nanne will be in the final without any shadow of a doubt. Not because of her 'fame' but because she has the ability to write and perform great songs.

Poster Girl said...

Paul, it is entirely possible one of my reasons for doing this post was to get to post pictures of Måns.

Oh good! I was hoping it would be helpful :) Yeah, I realized I'd been giving pretty much no background whatsoever, and it'd probably be pretty hard to be interested in something if you have no idea what's going on.

Really? I probably should have known that--thanks for letting me know! And coming second to Charlotte is quite a feat--there's no shame in not winning there! I'll have to go look up the song. I think you're right about Nanne--I don't know how she couldn't be in the final, if the strength of what she's done in the past is any sign of what she's got lined up for us.

Adrian said...

This is great. Now I can say I really know who they all are, rather than just declaring that they're "Swedish popstars and that is that".

Poster Girl said...

I think you probably know a lot more about Swedish pop than me, Adrian :) but thanks! I'm glad it was useful.