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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Melodifestivalen - Andra Chansen

Weird choices today at the second chance round of Melodifestivalen. I was really pulling for Star Pilots to win over Caroline, since it was my favorite song of the bunch, but I guess there's no denying Caroline's strange pull she has over audiences. I must admit, she is delightfully weird, and the song's pretty good too.
I'm not surprised that Sarah Dawn Finer made it through, though the audiences shouldn't have voted so many international jury finalists through because we ended up with Sofia (wtf?) in the top eleven. Weird.
I mean, Sofia over BWO?? Come on...

Anyways, here's my list of the top eleven in order of preference. I'm not saying this is how it'll necessarily go down next weekend. These are just my thoughts.

1. Malena - La Voix
1. Alcazar - Stay The Night (I just can't pick between these two. They're both pretty different but both absolutely floor me)
3. H.E.A.T. - 1000 Miles (this song is electric live)
4. Måns Zelmerlöw - Hope & Glory (so catchy. I know I'm probably in the minority, but I prefer it to Cara Mia)
5. Agnes - Love Love Love (it gets better each time I listen to it)
6. Caroline af Ugglas - Snälla snälla (ditto)
7. Sarah Dawn Finer - Moving On (not really my thing, but a great example of this type of music)
8. E.M.D. - Baby Goodbye (I wish this song didn't annoy me so much)
9. Sofia - Alla (I must admit I like the chorus)
10. Molly Sandén - Så vill stjärnorna (puts me to sleep)
11. Emilia - You're My World (has NO place in the final - the worst entry by far)

Friday, March 06, 2009

Alienhits loves... Watchmen!

I've been a comic book fan almost my entire life and I love the new breed of "serious" comic book movies. The fact is, comics have always been taken seriously by me, from when I was a kid until now. Some of the best stories I've been exposed to have been through comics.
Though it's considered the holy grail of comic books, I was born too late to fully grip the brilliance of Watchmen. Read today, it still totally holds up and is unflinching in its weirdness, humanity (and lack of humanity), and willingness to distort familiar superhero archetypes. I can only imagine how innovative and exciting it must have been in the eighties when it was first published. As far as I know, it was the first time a comic really looked at what the world would be like if superheroes existed, offering up both a psychological and philosophical study. And it was all the darker for it.
While the movie version misses some of the nuance of the comic, it is an extremely faithful adaptation, transporting much of the characterization and mood to the big screen while ditching some of the more esoteric sideplots that made the original somewhat confusing to the casual reader. I don't know how it will go over with the general public, as it's not the type of "comic book movie" people are used to seeing. It's challenging and demands attention and patience, just as the comic did. I can't really think of any other film like it.
My only gripes are ones I had with the source material too. The plot can be sluggish, with so much time spent on flashbacks, character studies, and philosophizing that you tend to forget the stakes of the conflict. But it's not really about the conflict, or even plot, with this story, It's about the experience, the individual scenes, and the sheer cleverness and realism of it all.
Personally, I'm just happy to see that Hollywood did a legend of a comic like Watchmen justice without totally pandering to the masses. It gives me hope for the two adaptations I'm aching to see--both by my favorite author Brian Vaughn. Y: The Last Man and Runaways are both planned for release in the next few years, and I couldn't be happier. Comics are no longer for nerds only. They can be important and cool and can even have something to say about the human experience. I believe we call that "art."

Thursday, March 05, 2009

"Time to throw away all your innocence"

I know I just wrote about these guys last week, but for those who missed it I've gotta talk about them again because I think that they're the most exciting new band I've discovered this year. And, although Don't Speak Love is still agonizingly cool, after a few more listens of the EP I've decided that Deliverance is the ultimate masterpiece... and possibly the best new song I've heard in 2009 (though technically it was released in late 2008). Its brilliance didn't quite catch me the first time around, but after a few listens I was completely enchanted. What starts out as a simple, ultra-cool 80's beat soon becomes something dramatic and surprising. It's the kind of song where you're not sure exactly where it's going to go next and seems to have about twenty hooks. In other words, it's the best kind of pop song. The vocals on this are out of this world, too, including the great shouty-choral parts that remind me of the Mo's immortal Howl In The Jungle. It all builds to quite a feverish climax with some fuzzy guitar until everything fades to silence. Give this a few listens if it doesn't quite strike you the first time, because it gets better and better. I'd also recommend all of the band's other songs. Emotional has a chorus Melody Club could have written for their first or second album. Camille Deals Damage is a freaked out version of the Killers, while My Cocoa sounds like Keane dipping both feet in the synth-infested waters (instead of just one). Finally, Heartattack's the funkiest thing Dyno have done, with a chorus that hits you from listen one.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the EP here.)


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

"Love what you're doing"

The curiously titled Milke are an electro/pop duo from the UK that are set to make waves in 2009. Out of all their songs, the newest single Love Get Out Of My Way is my favorite. It's just a great, upbeat pop song. For some reason I'm reminded a bit of Hall & Oates when I'm listening to these guys. Maybe it's just because there are two of them and they make radio friendly music. Milke are both a litle more indie and a little more dance than Hall & Oates ever were, but I still think that's a template they could pursue and find success. Regardless, this Scissor Sisters-esque song is something I can see gaining a lot of traction during the next few months and becoming quite the smash if there's any justice in the world. I love lead singer Ra's voice. There's something very gripping about it... the perfect sound for this style of music.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Listen to more here.)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

"My inhibitions are gone"

Anyone who names their album Glamunition really has me before I’ve even listened to the songs. Luckily, the music matches the awesomeness of the title. Åge Sten Nilsen will be known to some of you as the front man to the Nowegian band Wig Wam. Despite winning Melodi Grand Prix a couple years back with their 80’s heavy metal throwback sound, I could never warm up to their music. Luckily, on Nilsen’s second solo album he’s gone in a completely different direction, embracing sounds of the seventies--from glam rock to disco to power ballads. It’s a wonderful album and totally fun. He should stick with this kind of material because it suits him very well. It was hard to pick a track to post today (I almost wrote about Vainette--which sounds a lot like Killer Queen), but I decided to go with one of the poppiest tracks, the disco-infused Bring The Night On. In the season of Eurovision competitors, I’d imagine that this song would have done well in Norway’s MGP. It’s catchy (of course) and anthematic, with a great heavy dance rock beat that’s perfect for the Spring. If you like this be sure to check out the full album because it’s one of the best I’ve heard so far this year.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album here.)

Monday, March 02, 2009

"Don't bring flowers after I'm dead"

After both Poster Girl and Dirrrtypop raved about this guy, I had to check out the album. I'd heard Hurtful on Swedish radio before and liked it (though I wasn't blown away or anything). Same thing with the record. I wasn't blown away instantly. But, a couple more listens and I'm really enjoying it. It kind of reminds me of a Swedish-poppy version of Gavin Degraw with more emphasis on soul and pop than rock. I especially love the uptempo tracks. Don't Bring Flowers (with its simple yet enormously effective synth hook) has been stuck in my head for days. The album is similarly catchy once it settles in, and some tracks are really impressive. I imagine this will do very well in Sweden and, given the chance, would probably be a hit over here too. It's one of those rare albums that manages to be both poppy and artistic.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Listen to the album here.)