Sunday, February 03, 2008

My friends say that I'm crazy, that I'm just wasting my time

Once again, I'm way too excited about Melodifestivalen, so I thought I'd run through the artists and songs for this Saturday's semifinal, as I did last year. I'm not an expert, though, so please feel free to add things or correct me where it's needed. Obviously I haven't heard the entries and I don't have any inside connections, so this information is all based on media sources that we've all got access to. In other words, it's just me trying to provide one place where all we know about the songs has been gathered (as well as provide some background for anyone who doesn't follow Melodifestivalen at all, since it'll be dominating this blog for a while). In fact, let's cover those sources to begin with--I'm very much indebted to the following sites and articles for this information: Schlagerprofilerna (I can't emphasize this enough--this blog is the absolute must-read site for anyone interested in getting some insight into the Melodifestivalen songs before we hear them; it is in Swedish, though, but unlike official reports on the songs, you'll actually get opinions on whether a song is good or bad in addition to descriptions of them), SVT's official Melodifestivalen site, QX (this article and that blog writer are the same, I believe), an Amy Diamond site, Gylleneskor.se, P4's rundown, Epicentre's site, ESC.info.se, and Wikipedia.

1.) E-Type and The Poodles, "Line Of Fire"
Artist-wise, this is a surprising combination of two groups that have both made the finals in the past. E-Type is the stage name of long-haired Swedish man Martin Eriksson, who's been releasing Eurodance music (though usually with a female vocalist, like NaNa Hedin, accompanying him by doing the choruses) since the 1990's, even working with Denniz Pop and Max Martin, and had yet another big hit in 2007 with "True Believer." His song "Paradise" took fifth in Melodifestivalen 2004. The Poodles, on the other hand, do hard/stadium rock that sounds straight out of the '80's (or '70's?). They rose to fame with their 2006 Melodifestivalen entry, "Night Of Passion," which took fourth. Apparently "Line Of Fire" isn't really a typical E-Type or Poodles song, but has a great chorus. Schlagerprofilerna describes it as "more poprock in a schlager costume than expected" and better than Melodifestivalen fans are expecting.

To watch: E-Type, "True Believer" (at Sommerkrysset)



To watch: The Poodles, "Night Of Passion" (live at Melodifestivalen 2006)



2.) Face-84, "Alla gamla x" ("All old exes" or "Every old ex")
A debuting group (the "84" comes from their common birth year). "Alla gamla x" is apparently a '60's-influenced dansband song. I don't know why, but for some reason I'm hopeful about it (its quality, not its chances). The composers (not the person who wrote the lyrics) also did Linda Bengtzing's "Jag ljuger så bra" (with Lars "Dille" Diedricson having done a lot more than that).

To watch: umm...well, YouTube gives us this low quality live performance of "Greased Lightning." They've not released any music yet.



3.) Velvet, "Deja vû"
Jenny Petersson, a.k.a. Velvet, the former backing vocalist turned pop and dance solo artist, is back to Melodifestivalen. Velvet's solo career began with pop-dance songs like her cover of "Rock Down To (Electric Avenue)" and "Don't Stop Movin'," but the 2006 Melodifestival found her singing the Latin-inspired pop track "Mi amore" (which shares composers with her entry this year), where she made it to the second chance round but no further (she's the reason for the actual new performances we got for the second chance round last year, as opposed to just rerunning clips of the original performance, if I remember correctly; her semifinal performance wasn't as good as she could do and she probably would have done better if given the opportunity to perform again). The new songs she's given us since then, "Fix Me" and "Chemistry," have been distinctly dance-pop (and great). We were supposed to get an album from her this winter, but I'm guessing it's been pushed back so that her performance here happens first, because it's now reported to be due out in spring. "Deja vû" is said to be very danceable and disco-y, and a "euroexplosion" able to deliver everything Verona's "La Musica" didn't.

To watch: the video for Velvet's single "Fix Me"



4.) Brandur, "Lullaby"
New to the Swedish scene, young Brandur has apparently been releasing music for a while in his home, the Faroe Islands. Apparently a few years ago he worked with Epicentre (Swedish production company behind loads of good songs, including "Love Is All Around," which seems to be slowly invading every country in the world; they've done LMNT's "Juliet" and...well, the list could go on and on) and wrote some songs, and he's worked with Lionheart and Aleena Gibson as well, so who knows, maybe if he gets to release an album off of this (which I wouldn't expect at all, at least in Sweden--given the other names in the semi, it's unlikely he'll go through), it'll include those. The music for "Lullaby," a sad soulful ballad with some jazz influence, was done by Henrik Wikström, who's been involved in lots of previous Melodifestivalen entries, mostly successful--Carola's "Evighet," Shirley Clamp's "Min kärlek," Måns Zelmerlöw's "Cara Mia"--and others not--2005's "Rain" by Josef Özer, poor Anna Sahlene's "This Woman." "Lullaby" has also been compared to George Michael's work.

To watch: the music video for "Concept Of Time." I wouldn't take this as any indication of what the song will sound like, though, beyond having the same voice on it.



And at any rate, there's too much shouty singing going on it that for me, so you could always try the one man boy band-like "Waiting In The Moonlight," obviously years older.



5.) Michael Michailoff, "That's Love"
A former Fame Factory contestant, from the same season as Magnus Bäcklund and Jessica Andersson (apparently he's released an album, but I think it went by pretty much unnoticed; at the least, I've heard nothing from it). "That's Love" is said to be '60's-influenced pop-rock (uh-oh...isn't that always the description we get for Andreas Johnson's entries? Peter Kvint's not involved, though), with some British elements. It's not predicted to do well, though if the singer was more famous it might have.

To watch listen: there is a minute long live performance clip instead, but for the sake of length, here's one of those montage videos set to his song "Shadows"



6.) Amy Diamond, "Thank You"
Just barely meeting the minimum age requirements, fifteen year old but will be sixteen by Eurovision singer Amy Diamond already has three albums under her belt, including the very good Music In Motion released just recently (honestly, if you like pop but usually think her music is too childish for you, it's worth giving some of the songs on Music In Motion a go--you'll be pleasantly surprised; try "Graduation Song," for example, or "We're In This Together"). She became famous with the big hit "Welcome To The City," and another of her songs, "It Can Only Be Better," has been discussed in Eurovision circles recently, as its writer has accused Paolo Meneguzzi's entry for Switzerland, "Era stupendo," of plagiarizing it. Her young age has led to some people commenting that she could be the "new Carola" (Carola was sixteen when she performed "Främling" at Melodifestivalen in 1983 and skyrocketed to fame). "Thank You" is said to be an upbeat pop song with some Motown influence and a "positive feeling."

To watch: the video for her latest single, the very cute pop song "Stay My Baby" (co-written by Max Martin)



7.) Suzzie Tapper, "Visst finns mirakel" ("Miracles exist/There are miracles")
Famous for her career in the '80's as part of Suzzies Orkester. "Visst finns mirakel" is said to be a very strong (in the sense of quality; sound-wise, it's said to be delicate) beautiful ballad with personal lyrics.

To watch: all YouTube has to offer is this minute long clip of a Suzzies Orkester song, "Dansa i Månens sken," from the '80's



8.) Christer Sjögren, "I Love Europe"
Another star from the past, this time the former lead singer of the dansband group Vikingarna, popular in the '70's and '80's. The song is described on SVT's site as having a "schlagermelodi," but apparently many listeners think it's more like "Las Vegas," more like a show tune than a real schlager song (another point of comparison was Dean Martin). Others say it has a good melody, though.

To watch: YouTube really does throw up some odd things sometimes, doesn't it? Take, for example, the following, apparently a mashup of a Vikingarna song and 50 Cent's "In Da Club" created by this man.



On a more, um, probably relevant note, here's Vikingarna performing a medley



At the moment, I'd say I'm most looking forward to Velvet, Amy Diamond, maybe Face-84 (just in a fun kind of cast-off way), and, after all this positive buzz, E-Type/the Poodles, which surprises me to say.

6 comments:

weetabx said...

I am also excited about MF!

By the way, have you listened to Kostas Martakis' Kontopoulos-produced song for the Greek national final? It was leaked yesterday. It's a fine pop-rockish song but lacks the necessary instant appeal. What do you reckon?

moai13 said...

Do you have this song "Waiting In The Moonlight" from Brandur ?
Thanks

Kevin said...

I'm sure I'm the only person in the planet -or Blogland at the very least!-... but this year's MF doesn't excite me at all. Snoozeville for me, but we shall see.

Meanwhile, who the heck keeps buying the E.M.D. single? "All For One" (and while we're at it, "Now You're Gone" in the UK) need to stop being No. 1. :(

PG, check out Säkert!'s "Vi Kommer Att Dö Samtidigt" (video in YouTube), which hasn't exactly set the charts alight.

Poster Girl said...

I did! And I think you captured it exactly--it's...fine. Different from what I expected. I don't really see it having that ability to make a big first impression on viewers. After not thinking much of it myself on first listen, though, I can imagine it growing on me a good deal by the end of the year (I can actually see myself loving it a lot)--but that won't help for Eurovision.

Moai13, I don't! I'm sorry. Loads of sites sell it, though--iTunes for all countries, I think, and eMusic.com, and http://www.gucca.dk/musik/ if you want to get it that way. I had a quick look around the Internet to see if anyone else had posted it, and I couldn't find anything for you.

No Måns this year--I'm sorry for you! That single is just so...unnecessary. I had no idea the Swedes had this untapped deep desire for '80's-esque (I know it's not actually '80's) half-power balladry. I'd always just ignored Säkert! thinking she would be too...I don't know, twee indie-pop and not catchy enough or something for me, but if you like that song, it must be better (or at least different) from what I'm expecting! I'm off to go look it up. You've intrigued me...

Nick said...

Forget all of those sites at the beginning of your post. You are definitely my number one source for Melodifestivalen and Eurovision info. This post is amazing!! I hope you're planning on similar ones for each round.

Poster Girl said...

Thanks, Nick!! I hope to. I was just thinking, Melodifestivalen this year could've been so much more exciting for you, what with Melody Club turning down a wildcard, Brolle Jr's entry falling at the very last hurdle (I know it's on radio now, but I haven't listened to it, so I have no idea whether that's a loss or not), and those rumors about Laakso being a wildcard that were going around for a bit...oh well, still, hopefully there will be some entry you'll like! Apparently the BWO song is supposed to be good--fingers crossed...