Thursday, December 11, 2008

What if?

I'm sorry that I was a bit too busy for the past two days to do my Melodifestival announcement post at the it is now, though. I don't know that there were a bunch of names worth getting exciting about in this particular announcement--and in fact some of these song and artist combinations we already knew--but there are at least a few. As usual, SVT and Gylleneskor are the sources for this information, the pictures come from SVT, and I strongly recommend you read Schlagerprofilerna if you want to keep up with all the Melodifestival news and gossip.

Cookies 'n' Beans, "What If" (Robin Abrahamsson/Amir Aly/Maciel Numhauser)
The singer from Oh Laura is a member of this country group (apparently she was also a member of La Roxx, who sang "(Are U) Ready Or Not" in Melodifestivalen 2004), which is singing a song described by its writers as an expressive and dynamic song which takes hold and makes you want more. An earlier report from QX said that the song was neither a ballad nor up-tempo and that it's similar to Suzzie Tapper's "Visst finns mirakel" (a song these songwriters wrote) from this year.

Nina Söderquist, "Tick Tock" (Johan Lyander/Matti Alfonzetti)
Nina, currently performing in the West End as the Lady of the Lake in Spamalot, is singing a song which the writers describe as up-tempo rock with a lot of energy, a rock diva sort of song with just a little bit of flamenco. Nina earlier also described the song as a tough rock song with a lot of energy. Both songwriters have done other songs for Melodifestivalen, but given "Tick Tock"'s rock description, maybe the most relevant song they've done is the Poodles' "Night Of Passion" in 2006.

Anna Sahlene & Maria Haukaas Storeng, "Killing Me Tenderly" (Amir Aly, Henrik Wikström, Tobbe Petersson)
Half of the songwriter team that so successfully jumped on the falsetto pop bandwagon with Rongedal's "Just A Minute" takes on another trend: '60's-inspired pop. That's what early reports of the song had told us "Killing Me Tenderly" had told us it was like, and with the songwriters' official description comparing it to Duffy, that's not being negated. Still, the songwriters also describing it as a combination of Tina Turner and ABBA--with inspiration from Duffy--with a little James Bond theme influence, maybe it won't be exactly like all the '60's knockoffs (and it's always that particular type of '60's music, you know?) we've gotten recently. The big thing for me here is the return of lovely Anna Sahlene, a Swede who took Estonia to third place at Eurovision in 2003 but has since failed to make it out of the semifinals in both her tries at Melodifestivalen. Her It's Been A While album was great and also featured the original version of Hilary Duff's "The Little Voice" (though for my money there are better tracks on the album). She's teamed up with Norwegian Maria, Norway's representative to 2008's Eurovision and one of the co-hosts of Norway's national final, the Melodi Grand Prix, in 2009. Maria's an artist I really like but I never fell for her '60's-sounding song, "Hold On Be Strong" (which apparently "Killing Me Tenderly" is a little like, according to Anna) as much as I wanted to or as much as many Eurovision fans did. Their combination here seems...I don't know, a little forced or something to me; I'm not sure I'm seeing the duet side as anything more than a novelty yet, but I'd like to like them together and their song (which as a demo was sung by Pauline, who apparently didn't want to sing the song at Melodifestivalen, and which it was rumored SVT wanted Brolle to sing before he ended up having other commitments), given my general goodwill towards both artists. Anyway, back to the song: Anna, too, compares it to Duffy, ABBA, Tina Turner, and Bond songs and says it's a mid-tempo song with a groove to it. She adds that it's got a big, melodic chorus and verses that are a litttle funkier.

Thorleifs, "Sweet Kissin' In The Moonlight" (Lina & Mårten Eriksson)
The long-running dansband will be singing a Swedish shuffle with a spoonful of schlager and a pinch of ABBA seasoning, served in a danceable (dansband?) style. It was originally called "Den första kyssen" (and Mårten's name was originally given as an obviously fake pseudonym--I wonder what changed to cause the reveal and what the original reason for it was, considering it's neither writer's first appearence in Melodifestivalen).

Scotts, "Jag tror på oss" (Lars "Dille" Diedricson/Martin Hedström/Pling Forsman)
Scotts, as I've mentioned here previously, are a dansband competing on SVT's still ongoing dansband competition song. Linda Bengtzing sung the demo for this track (and all of these songwriters helped create "Jag ljuger så bra"), described by its songwriters as rocky, energetic, and about love with obstacles. Earlier, it was described as fast Swedish guitar pop with a sharp chorus. The band has a single, "Om Igen," out at the moment and an album coming out before Christmas.

Susanne Alfvengren, "Du är älskad där du går" (Pling Forsman/Bobby Ljunggren/Henrik Wikström)
Susanne is big-in-the-'80's artist who, despite releasing some music earlier this century, I'm not familiar with. Her song is said by its songwriters (all Melodifestival stalwarts) to be a calm, melodic ballad which grows and has hopeful lyrics. "Du är älskad där du går" was originally announced as "Människobarn," but it's name has been changed.

Of note is the fact that the last joker has not yet been announced (though rumors that it will be E.MD. continue to fly around) and that the artist for "Higher" has not yet been announced, though Schlagerprofilerna reported that the reason for the latter is the fact that, though Star Pilots will sing the song, the group needs to be "recast."

Finally, SVT announced which artists will be in which semifinals today. This isn't the start order, but it still lets us know which artists will be going head-to-head.

Semifinal 1: Göteborg (Feb. 7)
Marie Serneholt, "Disconnect Me"
Scotts, "Jag tror på oss"
Shirley Clamp, "Med hjärtat fyllt av ljus"
Caroline af Ugglas, "Snälla, snälla"
Alcazar, "Stay The Night"
Nina Söderquist, "Tick Tock"
Jonathan Fagerlund, "Welcome To My Life"
Emilia, "You're My World"

Semifinal 2: Skellefteå (Feb. 14) (no exaggeration, I can't think of a better Valentine's Day present than Melodifestivalen)
H.E.A.T., "1000 Miles"
Måns Zelmerlöw, "Hope & Glory"
Lasse Lindh & Band, "Jag ska slåss i dina kvarter!"
Amy Diamond, "It's My Life"
Markoolio, "Kärlekssång från mig"
Jennifer Brown, "Never Been Here Before"
Lili & Susie, "Show Me Heaven"
Cookies'n Beans, "What If"

Semifinal 3: Leksand (Feb. 21)
Sofia, "Alla"
Mikael Rickfors, "Du vinner över mig!"
Maja Gullstrand, "Här för mig själv"
Rigo & The Topas Sound feat. Red Fox, "I Got U"
Molly Sandén, "Så vill stjärnorna"
Velvet, "The Queen"
BWO, "You're Not Alone"
Unannounced-so-far Joker

Semifinal 3: Malmö (Feb. 28)
Susanne Alfvengren, "Du är älskad där du går"
Next 3, "Esta noche"
Artist not yet announced, "Higher"
Anna Sahlene & Maria Haukaas Storeng, "Killing Me Tenderly"
Malena Ernman, "La voix"
Agnes, "Love Love Love"
Sarah Dawn Finer, "Moving On"
Thorleifs, "Sweet Kissin' In The Moonlight"

At first glance, that's a pretty good distribution of my likely personal favorites (not who I think will do well) among the four semifinals, which gives me at least something to look forward to each week. I think a lot of people will be looking to the first heat more than they have been recently. Is it too early for my hopes about 2009's Melodifestival to be getting really high?


Damian said...

"It was originally called "Den första kyssen" (and Mårten's name was originally given as an obviously fake pseudonym--I wonder what changed to cause the reveal and what the original reason for it was, considering it's neither writer's first appearence in Melodifestivalen)."
I think it was kinda humour - Thomas G:son + Mårten Eriksson = Målgan B-son ;)
I can't wait when they will announce Star Pilots and EMD, though looking at the table I realize that Star Pilots has not so good chances in semi with Agnes, Sarah, Thorleifs, Anna+Maria and joker Malena :'-(((
I'm not sure that Velvet, Alcazar, Shirley and BWO will be in final this time :(((

Paul said...

oh it's very exciting. i'm always less invested in this than i probably should be and always just happy that it provides me with new music - and this year from Marie, Mans, Jonathan, Alcazar and BWO! Woo hoo! Roll on february... i'm assuming this means we will probably most likely be getting physical versions of the songs too at some point? (Not from you i mean, i mean officially from Sweden!)

Poster Girl said...

Oh, I got the joke, but I think when I saw the name for the first time I thought it was someone who didn't want to be associated with Melodifestivalen and who was sort of gently making fun of it with that! I'm REALLY worried about some of the acts, too--we haven't heard the songs yet, but sometimes the songs aren't what matter in terms of who makes it through, and just the names alone make it look like a very strong year.

Paul, your way is probably better for you mental health--just sit back, wait for it all to die down, and enjoy the musical fruits--but I enjoy all the speculation and drama and amazingness too much to do that :D There's always an album issued for the whole contest, so ever act will be at least be on that, and pretty much everyone will probably get at least a single release.