Thursday, May 31, 2007

Listen to me, I'm setting you free

I'm really enjoying Måns Zelmerlöw's debut album, Stand By For.... The former Idol contestant, Let's Dance winner, and third place finisher in Melodifestivalen has not given us the album full of "Cara Mia"s that some people were probably hoping for, but the genre (or subgenre) hopping is fine by me--for my taste, all the songs don't need to be schlager or straight-up Melodifestivalen-style pop (not that that's what everyone disappointed with the album was expecting). It's too early to review the whole album, so let's just get to one of the songs for now; as a warning, my writing will probably be very sketchy and run-on-sentence-oriented. Question, though: does anyone else keep hearing "I'm just a steel town girl" at the beginning of "Maniac"? I'm sure he can't really be saying that, but it's what I hear every time.

Brother Oh Brother--"Cara Mia" was a song of desire, with a somewhat ominous opening that exploded into a huge powerful chorus, not shouted but with the feeling out a shout, calling out for someone, before pulling back, almost wary, or perhaps circling, before returning to the verse. Though story-wise "Brother Oh Brother" is almost the opposite (though conceivably just from a later perspective, I don't think you truly get the feeling in "Cara Mia" that those pleas are going to be in vain)--a post-breakup warning to avoid this girl or she'll break your heart--it borrows some of the same tricks: that ominous opening that moves into a bigger catchier chorus--but right on the line "Cara Mia"'s template would have Måns exploding with emotion, the "leave her tonight," the song defies expectations, going down, not up. With that one tweak, the sadness of the song becomes obvious; gone is the exuberance, in its place is a world-weariness. I'm not claiming this song will leave you in tears--it's still very danceable, but with a decidely different feel than "Cara Mia" ("Dreaming" is probably the song on the album closest to that song, but it's not as good as "Cara Mia" in my opinion; though most songs we hear this year won't be as good as "Cara Mia," a very direct comparison hurts "Dreaming," so a song that takes at least one step away from the "Cara Mia" style has an advantage--it can't be called "just a less good 'Cara Mia'"). A few more touches--some "woah-ohh-ohh"'s, a handclap-beat oriented part in the middle--and you've got a pretty, poppy, catchy song that manages to feel both upbeat and downbeat at the same time. All this writing isn't really necessary for a song like this, though--just listen and enjoy.

To buy Måns Zelmerlow's debut album Stand By For..., go here (physical).

Next up: I'm not sure--maybe another Swedish singer.


Paul said...

Måns Zelmerlöw ~ sigh. You can post about him (and mcfly) til the cows come home and I swear i won't get bored :P hehe. Brother Oh Brother totally stood out to me too in the car yesterday - i kept having to repeat it to listen to it's magnificence again. What is it that stops the Shayne Wards and Gareth Gates of this world making music like this? PS don't get me started on GG Angel On My Shoulder :(

Troy said...

AMAZING... I LOVE Mans' album...
And Brother Oh Brother is by far my favorite track on the album besides Work Of Art...

I was going to do a post on Brother oh Brother eventually but again... you beat me to it!

It's uncanny how alike our tastes in music are!

Another FANTASTIC post by the PosterGirl!

Jamie said...

The problem with artists that start out from Melodifestivalen is that they get put into the category of 'schlager' artists when in fact they may have so much more to offer than just straight forward schlager. Admittedly I am the first to want an album full of fab schlager songs but isn't diversity what music is all about?

Oh and am I the only one who finds the acoustic version of 'Cara Mia' as equally fab as the original?

PS. Thanks for posting the Mans in make-up pic again.

Poster Girl said...

I have to admit, Paul, I'm pretty interested to hear Shayne's new material--maybe that's something to do with the potential you keep talking about having seen in him--and I can see it now, too. The question is, can he get the right material? Fingers crossed.

Troy, it is sometimes! Feel free to write about "Brother Oh Brother" if you still want to :) And thank you, too.

I probably would've loved an album full of "Cara Mia"s, "Dreaming"s, and "Brother Oh Brother"s as well, but this works for me, too. And no--you're not! I surprised myself by liking it a lot, too. I even like the acoustic version of Danny's "Play It With The Girls"--I'm worried about myself!

(I had to use it ;) )

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