Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The reason I'm living without you

Aww, I love Anders Johansson! It may be incredibly uncool to do so, and not all of the songs on the Swedish singer and Fame Factory winner's albums are must-owns (I don't own the the third album yet, so I can't speak in regards to it), but if you combine his first two albums (well, first two under the name Anders Johansson--he released some singles under the name Anders before going on Fame Factory, but I don't think he actually released an album--please let me know if I'm wrong!), you'd have something very worth listening to, and he has some songs I absolutely adore, like "Lost and Found" and "Missing You Crazy ('80's Revival)," among many others. My first instinct is to say that he sounds like a one-man boy band (and on today's song he does), but about half his songs aren't quite what you'd expect based on that description--they're more guitar-based, driven, though I wouldn't call them rocky. His albums also seem to inevitably include some covers on them, but (surprisingly for me) I don't mind (well, with the exception of the cover of Bryan Adams's "Heaven," but that was on his first album and it seems to be practically obligatory for most reality TV grads to include a studio version of some definitive performance they gave on TV; also, don't let the fact that he covered "Heaven" throw you off); he covers songs that most people probably wouldn't know and they seem to work well for him--they're good choices. I think the fact that he has a very distinctive (but pleasant) voice helps prevent me from thinking too much about the originals. Well, I say he covers songs--it's sometimes difficult for me to know who performed it first, but at the least some of his songs seem to be in rotation in the Pop Eats Pop circuit.

Is He The One--this song is one of those in that circuit, though I'd guess that Anders's version is the most famous; the other two versions I know of are by a Portuguese boy band (used as a TV show theme) and another Swedish singer who actually released the song in Swedish, I think, as "Stannar Han Kvar." I'm very confused as to how the whole thing worked, so if someone could fill be in, I'd really appreciate it! From what I can make out, though, it seems as if this Swedish singer, named Daniel, released his version of the song in April of 2004. I guess it must not have charted, though, or at least didn't become really famous, because Anders--also from Sweden--released his version of the song, in English, in October of 2004. I suspect the song was written in English first, though, given who was involved in writing it, but I'm not sure. I'm surprised it didn't do better in the charts (it peaked at #26) because it sounds like a song that should be a big hit. I'm also surprised that (eep) Westlife haven't covered it...but then again, I probably shouldn't be, given that one of the co-writers is Brian McFadden (I know, I've just mentioned Westlife and Brian McFadden and have probably driven off most people before they've even listened to the song)...and, you know, I don't know how much it would actually suit them anyhow. As for what the song actually sounds like, it is--continuing the theme of the week--a very boy band-esque ballad with only the slightest hint of bounce but still catchy. I love it, and not just because at the end, out of nowhere, you suddenly get handclaps (hanclaps! handclaps! they improve any song), which completely seal the deal. As I mentioned before, Anders has a distinctive voice, and it really could limit him, but I love it and he makes good choices in regards to song style--he or whoever he works with seems to have a very good sense for what styles suit it; even the upbeat songs he does--and he does do them--take full advantage of it and don't try to overwhelm him. He also avoids the sort of "wall of sound" impenetrable mess of guitars some singers use, which is another reason I love him.

To buy Anders Johansson's second album, When I Become Me, go here (physical) or here (digital). I really recommend picking up it and his first album, If It's All I Ever Do, as they both have some great songs on them.

Next up: back to the UK.

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