Monday, January 18, 2010

Let's go chase those plastic neon lights

I should probably say something about the second semifinal of the Norwegian Melodi Grand Prix, which took place this weekend, but the clips of this coming week's entries from the third semifinal have me far too dizzy to think about anything else.

The main reason for me spending more time at this website with the song clips is Karoline Garfjell's "Tokyo Night." Electropop, even that with some coolness in mind, in Eurovision national finals is not unheard of, but, unless I'm forgetting something, I haven't heard a really great example for several years, the kind that sounds good to me even outside of the novelty attention grab of that type of song in the Eurovision context. The slinky "Tokyo Night" finally gives us one. Apparently Karoline made it to the semifinals of Idol the same year as Margaret Berger, and "Tokyo Night" sounds like it could easily have been on Margaret's second album. Really a top-quality song which deserves so much better than it will probably get on the night.

The other highlight of the clips is, for me, my beloved A1's "Don't Want To Lose You Again," a ballad which further shows off that, yes, they can deliver the goods on this comeback because they're actually good songwriters.

Belinda Braza also has a cute little electropop song (co-written by Maltese frequent national final songwriter Gerard James Borg), more on the kitschy bubbly side than Karoline's, which I'm looking forward to hearing more of. Too fluffy to make an impression, I expect, but I'll enjoy it.

As for the other entries, Mira Craig may have written the top five-placing "Hold On Be Strong" back in 2008, but I've never been fully won over by her own voice, and it doesn't sound like that's going to really change in the case of "I'll Take You High." Her throatiness helps the song, giving it a welcome desperation, but even then that quality isn't fully explored. I usually enjoy Fredrik Kempe and Hanne Sørvaag's work, but it's too early to judge Didrik Solli-Tangen's "My Heart Is Yours," a Josh Groban-like ballad. The Diamond's "European Girl." a youthful summery entry that feels like an electronic pop-rock song, is catchy, but it seems like its mainly two word chorus might get annoying over the course of a song, and, if nothing else, is unlikely to hold up in a substantive way, despite a few nice little musical touches (like those we hear at the end of the clip). Fred Endresen's "Barracks On The Hill," like last year's pulled Georgian entry "We Don't Wanna Put In," uses sound-alike words to reference a political figure. Pop-rock in a Ronan Keating style, it actually sounds better than I expected based on the gimmicky title, if you ignore the title line, but once again, I'm not sure if a whole song can support the weight of the concept.

This sounds, for me, like the easy highlight of the MGP semifinals, with possibly more good songs than the other two combined. Hopefully they'll be even better in their complete versions.


Anonymous said...

Have you heard of Matisse?
Her song 'Better Than Her' is pretty great pop stuff and the clip of 'Walk It Off' sounds good aswell.


Nick said...

Really like Karoline, The Diamond, and Belinda (and maybe A1 once I hear the full song).
Never heard of Mira Craig before, but my god those are strange vocals. Did not enjoy that at all.

Paul said...

Quite ready for a nice A1 ballad. I've only just discovered their other song they did for some charity event last year (Take Me Home? is that even new?) which is nice if not particularly outstanding!

Poster Girl said...

Conor, yes! I meant to write about it earlier, but I just did--"Better Than Her" is great. Your taste is awesome, as always.

I don't know why she does it--I don't think she has to sing like that, so she must do it for a reason, but it's really not my thing.

Paul, for me, "Take You Home" is outstanding :) but then, I'm biased, both towards the group and that kind of song.