Monday, February 19, 2007

You struck a match inside this frozen heart of mine

As much as it's the hope of a Jessica Andersson album that has me salivating, her former Fame partner Magnus Bäcklund has surprised me by coming up with some songs I like. They are, to be fair, more on the MOR side of things, but they're catchy in a not-particularly-aggressive guitar-based way. I suspect I may regret this post at some time in the future, but at the moment, I'm enjoying listening to some of his work. Magnus won a season of Fame Factory and was later a member of the duo Fame, which represented Sweden at Eurovision 2003 with the great "Give Me Your Love." After an album, some singles, and another try at Melodifestivalen, Magnus and Jessica are pursuing solo careers; Magnus made it to the final round of Melodifestivalen 2006, released an album, and now has a single out that I presume must be the lead single for his second album.

Burn--a ballad and Magnus's new single. I read somewhere that he was planning on releasing it in the U.S. and some places in Europe outside of Sweden, and it definitely has that "designed to be a hit" sound to it (whether or not one thinks it actually should be a hit); I can, if nothing else, imagine this being used to soundtrack TV shows. When I first heard it, it had an instantly familiar feel to it, which at first I thought was just a sign of writers tailoring a song to fit perfectly into the current music environment, taking the tropes of this sort of music and working them to their advantage...but a little research revealed why it felt so instantly familiar: it's a cover. The first version I know of is Shannon Noll's (the Australian Idol runner-up who's gone on to have continual success), but please let me know if you know of an earlier version (a version of it was released in the Netherlands by Van Velzen, but Shannon's version predates that one)! Whoever is responsible for Magnus's version seems to have decided they really wanted to go for drama and pathos--everything, from the new violin part to Magnus's voice, somehow managing to seem both stronger and more broken, is taken up a notch...and, do you know, I actually prefer it to the original. If you're going to go for a power ballad of this sort, go all the way, and the producers have, punching up "Burn" to make it more...anthemic.

"Sweet Catastrophy" (yes, that's how they've spelled it) from his first album, Never Say Never, is also good, if you want to look into what he's done any further; it's more upbeat and sort of reminds me of Anders Johansson.

You can buy Magnus Bäcklund's single "Burn" here (physical).

Next up: something far more danceable, but not from does have a Eurovision connection, though.


Paul said...

he looks very stern in the picture ;) Sometimes i like a bit of drama, pomp and circumstance in music... this probably wouldn't be out of place in One Tree Hill if they weren't so obsessed with music they deem cool. Sigh.

Poster Girl said...

Yeah, Magnus might not be cool enough for these really amuses me that Van Velzen covered this song, too, because I get the impression he's trying to market himself as all hip and edgy and "credible," when really his second single was a cover of a song by someone from Australian Idol that's also being released by a 40-something adult contemporary rocker off of a reality TV show that once competed in Eurovision. Magnus's version really is a great example of how to make a cover better than the original, though--I may have to go into more detail comparing the two at some point, because I really am impressed at what they've done to a song that never really stood out that much to me!

Schlagerboys said...

The Schlagerboys saw Magnus on the Diggiloo tour in Gothenburg... Singing cabaret songs and dressing up... a far cry from the rocker he obviously wants to be...

At least Jessica Andersson is hanging on to her schlager roots..

Poster Girl said...

I need a Jessica album now. Even if "Kom" is not as good as "Kalla Natter," it's sure to be great!