Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Vaken i en dröm

A tradition half-abandoned last year makes its quiet return two days (or two days and one week) late: a preview of this coming weekend's Melodifestival semifinal. As always, I have absolutely no inside information, so I am incredibly indebted to the below mentioned websites; all of my information about this year's entries comes from them.

Sources: Aftonbladet (1, 2, 3,), Poplight, QX (1, 2, 3), GD, SVT, VK, Expressen,

Brolle, "Seven Days and Seven Nights" (Brolle)
Former Popstars contestant Brolle carved out a successful niche for himself in the first half of the '00s with his Elvis style. His latest songs haven't had the staying power of early hits like "Playing With Fire," though, which may have finally brought him to Melodifestivalen. Brolle describes his self-penned ballad as a tribute to love and the way the members of a couple fight but then work together to make the relationship work. It is, he elaborates, a mix between old Brolle, new Brolle, and rockabilly.

To watch: though I think his third album contains some underrated tracks and even liked the Billy Idol-flavored single from his greatest hits, the description of "Seven Days and Seven Nights" makes me think "Playing With Fire" from his first album might be more representative.

Loreen, "My Heart Is Refusing Me" (Moh Denebi/Björn Djupström/Lorén Talhaoui)
A 2004 Idol contestant turned television host, Loreen describes her song as "as far from schlager as you can get." She's elaborated by saying "My Heart Is Refusing Me," a dramatic, emotional, string-filled ballad with a lot of pain, represents the intersection of electronic and organic. Loreen is signed to a new record label run by Måns Zelmerlöw and the two co-writers of Loreen's song. Speaking of the songwriters, I'd characterize these three as "working men" songwriters, for lack of a better phrase--they've had songs on albums (and in Melodifestivalen), but they're not big names. That's meant as no slight, though, since that's how most writers come up through the ranks.

To watch listen: the best I've got is her 2004 featured vocalist appearance on Rob n Raz's single "The Snake"

Babsan, "Ge mig en spanjor" (Larry Forsberg/Sven-Inge Sjöberg/Lennart Wastesson)
Fittingly for the first drag queen performed-entry in Melodifestivalen since After Dark twice graced the stage, "Ge mig en spanjor" is said to be a mix of "La Dolce Vita" (written by these songwriters, as is Jill Johnson's "Crazy In Love") and "Y viva España" or, alternately, a happy disco-flamenco song. Expect humor in the performance--not that you needed to be told that, given that the song is being sung by Babsan and has a title that translates to "Give Me A Spaniard."

To watch: Babsan performing at Allsång på Skansen

Elisabeth "Bettan" Andreassen, "Vaken i en dröm" (Lars "Dille" Diedricson/Calle Kindbom/Kristian Wejshag)
Bettan is a veteran of both national finals and Eurovision at this point, having competed in Melodifestivalen six times and Norway's Melodi Grand Prix five times and making it to Eurovision four out of those eleven tries. She won the whole contest in 1985, performing "La det swinge" as part of Bobbysocks. Dille and Calle are likewise Melodifestival and schlager veterans. They've co-written songs like, in Dille's case, Charlotte Perrelli's "Tusen och en natt" and Linda Bengtzing's "Jag ljuger så bra" and, in Calle's case, Fame's "Give Me Your Love" and Barbados's "Kom hem." Kristian debuted in the contest with Jessica Andersson's "I Did It For Love," co-writen with Calle, and since "Vaken i en dröm" is said to be a ballad, that entry might be an indicator of what to expect.

To watch: since we're expecting a ballad, here's her performance of "I evighet" at Eurovision in 1996. Performing for Norway, Elisabeth took second.

Sanna Nielsen, "I'm In Love" (Bobby Ljunggren/Thomas G:son/Irini Michas/Peter "Bassflow" Boström)
Power vocalist Sanna, a young Celine Dion in the making, returns to Melodifestivalen for the sixth time. As the public vote-winning but ultimately second-placed contestant in 2008 with "Empty Room," Sanna's entry this year will be much anticipated. With five previous entries, Sanna has basically covered the schlager spectrum of tempos; this time, she returns not with a ballad but with an up-tempo, upbeat song. She says it begins mysteriously, has a strong chorus, and allows her to show her voice. The song's writers are a conglomeration of big festival names: Bobby and Thomas have created all sorts of generally schlager-flavored entries, Peter makes excellent uptempo pop like Charlotte Perrelli's "Hero" and Ola's big hits, and Irini, the least famous of the bunch, co-wrote Sofia's Greek-pop-rock "Alla."

To watch: Sanna performing the the uptempo schlager song "Våger du våger jag" in Melodifestivalen 2007. Sure, it doesn't show off her voice or make the same impression on the public as "Empty Room," but a.) I never really warmed to "Empty Room" and b.) her entry this year isn't a ballad. The completely lovely "Hela världen för mig" might actually do a better job of making her live vocals sound appealing, though.

The Moniker, "Oh My God!" (Daniel Karlsson)
Performing under a stage name, former Idol 2007 participant Daniel Karlsson will sing an entry he describes as a '60s-type song inspired by ABBA, the Beatles, and the Ark in a faster, happier style than he usually uses.

To watch: the music video for his single "Would You Believe?", released under his own name in 2008.

Anniela, "Elektrisk" (Johan Alkenäs/Tim Larsson/Tobias Lundgren/Johan Fransson)
"Elektrisk" has been linked to both Linda Bengtzing and Magnus Carlsson, a promising indicator of pop-friendliness, as is the credentials of its songwriters (the makers of Linda Bengtzing's "Alla Flickor" and "Hur svårt kan det va?" and Alcazar's "Alcastar"). Anniela, a young singer looking to break into the Swedish consciousness after the release of her debut album last year, confirms that speculation by calling "Elektrisk" danceable electro-pop.

To watch: there are better songs on her debut album, but none of them have music videos, so here's said album's single, "Strip-teaser."

Christian Walz, "Like Suicide" (Fernando Fuentes/Henrik Janson/Tony Nilsson/Christian Walz)
Best known for singles from his second album like "Wonderchild," the somewhat quirky, soulful singer-songwriter makes his first appearance in Melodifestivalen with a song he describes as "a combination of my band and a spaceship." Henrik and Tony have teamed up on songs like Velvet's "The Queen" and Darin's "You're Out Of My Life" (with Tony also writing most of Ola's big hits).

To watch: the music video for "Wonderchild"

I don't dare make predictions about results, but I'm cautiously optimistic about the quality of this week's offerings. I kind of wish Brolle had a few other songwriters backing him up, but given my established weakness for his musical offerings, I expect to be won over nevertheless. Sanna and Anniela's songs should be great (even if Anniela's likely lack of stage experience and name recognition may hurt her performance, I expect it her song to sound great in studio and those particular songwriters always get me excited). I'm a fan of Christian Walz and several of his song's co-writers so, even if they seem like an unusual match, we might get something good from him, too. Getting a great schlager ballad in Melodifestivalen is rare nowadays in my books, so Elisabeth's entry doesn't have me psyched up. Still, one always hopes that institutions like her wouldn't return to the contest without something decent. Daniel's earlier single was quite good, but having heard less material from him, quality-wise he's a wild card. Loreen's song certainly sounds intriguing though I'm not counting on it to translate to the Melodifestival stage. Finally, the songwriters for "Ge mig en spanjor" have shown their skill enough in the past to make me hope there's a song of substance--albeit fun, frothy substance--behind Babsan's performance.

Then again, I'm always cautiously optimistic about the quality Melodifestival semifinals. It's those voting results you have to look out for...


Damian said...

PG it's not you, right??? Or You have come back?!!! For real!
Do you realize how much we were missing you?
Never leave us again for so long :)
Seriously, hope you're fine?

I'm waiting the most combination of Anniela + Örebro-authors, Walz+Tony Nilsson, Sanna+Bassflow+G:Son, Loreen + Måns + Björk image.
It's gonna be tougher competition.
Who were your faves in 1st semi by the way?

John said...

Wow! Welcome back! Hope all is well. This stage of things always seems to overwhelming to me, so I'm just waiting for some of the submissions to start shaking out.

Poster Girl said...

Damian, you are really TOO sweet. To be this excited after all my numerous "I'm back! No, wait, I've disappeared again" on-and-off appearances...well, thank you. Really. It means a lot. My favorites? I actually really liked "Me And My Drum"--it's one of my favorites in studio. I wish Danny's song was slightly better (it's definitely good, though!), but the whole performance package was one of my favorites of the night. I loved Jenny, of course. Dilba's song sounds good but I didn't expect her to advance based on her performance, unfortunately. I think I find some appeal in Pernilla and Rasmus's songs, too, though I wasn't incredibly excited by them. I adore Le Kid, but thought "Oh My God!" is one of their weaker songs. My top three song+performance packages--Jenny, Danny, and Swingfly--advanced, though, so I'm fairly happy, even if I might have wished for better for a few others to encourage them and give them better shots at albums.

John, this IS an overwhelming stage, for sure. Waiting until the end when the cream of the crop can be picked out is a good way to go for people who aren't addicts. Thanks for the welcome!

Damian said...

It all really doesn't matter as long as you're back :)
I'm so glad Christoffer Hiding has made comeback to the big stage with Swingfly, such an amazing artist, hope it won't be the last time we see him.
How do you feel about your kiss of death second year in a row? :) I mean Don't Stop :)
It has become thanx to you one of my songs of the year and then such a surprise. Really-really pity, song would sound perfect on MF, but Desmond Child can deliver not a weeker bomb.
That's interesting about which future MF-reject you'll write during this year ;)

Poster Girl said...

Ha ha! Apparently I can't write about anything anyone posts on MySpace! (re: Don't Stop) Who would have ever guessed a song from those writers would end up in the contest? It's too, too bad it had to be disqualified--hopefully the mistake won't get repeated again. I really hope Desmond comes through--he can be great. Christoffer was such a pleasant surprise...hopefully this leads to something for him.

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