Your Ad Here

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Melodifestivalen 2015: The Final

Here we are at the end of another Melodifestivalen season! Who will take home the crown this year? I predicted Jon yesterday, but I'm not overly confident. Whatever happens, I can't wait for the voting. It's always the most exciting part of the show.

EDIT: I love Conchita Wurst. What a great winner. That male host has got to stop singing, though.

EDIT: As expected, the unofficial audience-applause-o-meter favored Jon and Mans, though Mans was the winner. He may just pull this off in the end.

SAMIR AND VIKTOR: Nope, still hate this. Though if I don't look at their smug, annoying faces, I like it just a little bit more.

* I am SO glad I will never have to see or hear Filippa after this year's MF is over...

JTR: I think I would like this song more if the vocals weren't so irritating. I have no idea why this is in the final. They should have just chopped off the first two songs.

DINAH NAH: This year's MF has been very good to breakout female performers. I still think this song is pretty basic, but at least it doesn't make me want to pull my hair out like the last two.

JON HENRIK: I really wonder what the International Juries are going to make of this one. I'm getting a feeling it might end up taking second place, now. Still love it, though.

JESSICA ANDERSSON: This feels very much like a non entity in the final. Honestly, I think she's just lucky to be here. I would be shocked if she finishes in the top half.

MANS: The predicted winner, and he may just do it. I like the song, but it does feel like it's missing something. The stage show is really the star here, and would do well at Eurovision.

LINUS SVENNING: This song has actually grown on me. I still feel like it's a cheap knockoff, but it's at least got a pleasant melody. Still, I think he will follow the classic path of a MF breakthrough and place significantly lower this year than he did last year.

ISA: This is another knockoff song that's grown on me, more because of Isa than the song itself. I'm curious what she'll come out with in the future. She feels like the big breakout of the competition this year, though I think she'll place somewhere in the middle.

MAGNUS CARLSSON: My favorite of the night, though there's no way it'll win even though it should. I just hope he places well. This is pure schlager, and he's really the only one bringing it this year.

ERIC SAADE: I hope Eric pulls an Anton Ewald and finishes surprisingly low. It would serve him right for a weak song and smug performance.

MARIETTE: I can see how others like this, but it's just not my thing. Too self-serious, I think. I don't think it'll do as well as some are thinking, either, though it will probably finish in the top half.

HASSE: This will likely get a healthy portion of the Swedish vote, but the juries are going to kill it. It's a very strange choice for the final performance of the year, but whatever... I have no ill will toward the song... it's just there.

* Wow, Filippa is not even funny in English.

* Ylvis is a really random choice for an interval act. I wish this song wasn't "comedy," because I actually like the melody and production. I can't deal with the "funny" lyrics, though.

I feel like Jon could rack up some points from the Southern and Eastern block, while Mans will probably be tops with the West. But we'll see...

International Juries' 12 Points go to:
Armenia: Mans
Austria: Mans
Belgium: Mans
Cyprus: Mans
Estonia: Mans
France: Mans
Israel: Mariette
Malta: Mans
Netherlands: Mans
Slovenia: Mans
UK: Jon

Wow, that was a landslide for Mans in the juries. As it stands now, the top three are:
1. Mans
2. Mariette
3. Jon

But I'm presuming Mans has already won unless something really, really weird happens in the voting. Jon is too far behind, and could Mariette really rack up enough Swedish votes??

* Dirty Loops! I didn't know they'd be covering Undo. This is pretty cool.

Final Results!
01. Mans Zelmerlow
02. Jon Henrik
03. Mariette
04. Hasse Andersson
05. Eric Saade
06. Linus Svenning
07. Isa
08. Samir and Viktor
09. Magnus Carlsson
10. JTR
11. Jessica Andersson
12. Dinah Nah

Well, we have a winner, and it really wasn't close at all. Is it a good winner? Sure. An exciting winner? Not really. But then again, it's been a pretty unexciting year. Mans, I wish you luck in Eurovision! (But I hope there's something better in May...)


Friday, March 13, 2015

Melodifestivalen 2015: Finale Preview

Tomorrow marks the end of this year's Melodifestivalen. Ever since the artist line-up was announced last year, I just couldn't muster up any excitement. That's a shame, and I'm not sure if it's because it truly is a weak year, or that I'm just not enamored with the competition the same way I used to be. Whatever the case, I'm hoping that 2016 turns things around.

That said, the final line-up isn't actually too bad. In fact, cut the first two (horrendous) songs out and you'd have a pretty nice, very pop-oriented, final. As a reminder, here's what the running order will look like tomorrow:

1. Samir and Victor - Groupie
2. JTR - Building It Up
3. Dinah Nah - Make Me (La La La)
4. Jon Henrik Fjällgren - Jag är fri (Manne Leam Frijje)
5. Jessica Andersson - Can't Hurt Me Now
6. Måns Zelmerlöw - Heroes
7. Linus Svenning - Forever Starts Today
8. Isa - Don't Stop
9. Magnus Carlsson - Möt mig i Gamla stan
10. Eric Saade - Sting
11. Mariette - Don't Stop Believing
12. Hasse Andersson - Guld och gröna skogar

Although I believe the final will be quite close, I think when it all comes down to it, it's a  Måns vs. Jon battle. I'd be fine with either one of them winning, so I don't have a problem with that. Although Måns has been way ahead of everyone on itunes for two weeks, I still think Jon is going to reap the majority of the audience votes, even though it may be a small majority. As usual, though, the juries are way harder to predict and may just decide the contest. I could see them supporting almost anyone on this list, so it's very hard to call. Even so, I'll stick my head out for some fearless predictions, as well as my personal opinion.

1. Magnus Carlsson
2. Jon Henrik Fjällgren
3. Måns Zelmerlöw
4. Isa
5. Dinah Nah
6. Linus Svenning
7. Eric Saade
8. Hasse Andersson
9. Mariette
10. Jessica Andersson
11. Samir and Victor
12. JTR

1. Jon Henrik Fjällgren
2. Måns Zelmerlöw
3. Mariette
4. Eric Saade
5. Samir and Victor
6. Magnus Carlsson
7. Dinah Nah
8. Isa
9. Hasse Andersson
10. JTR
11. Linus Svenning
12. Jessica Andersson


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ola Salo - How I Kill

"You will rise again from your grave"

Ola Salo is back again! Ahead of an imminent EP release, he's treated us to another single, How I Kill. This time, we've got a dramatic, Meat loaf-esque chorus that I'm already obsessed with. The rest of the song doesn't hit quite as hard, but I'm super happy to hear the reemergence of the female choral vocals in the background. That had always been one of my favorite aspects of the Ark's music. But seriously, with this song it's all about that hook. It has such an old school feel to it and I really hope that this is the sound we'll be hearing on the rest of the EP. As usual, Ola worked with Nicklas Stenemo (of The Mo and Melody Club) for this song, which is pretty much a match made in heaven. I've been critical of the production of Ola's other solo songs, particularly the way his vocals sounded, but this is meaty and epic and he sounds amazing. Honestly, it's the first time since the Ark broke up that I feel that spark in his music again.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy the single here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Top Ten Singles By... Infinite!

There are a few untouchable artists/acts that I've wanted to do a top ten for, but I've been stalling. Sometimes an artist's singles run is so flawless that ranking the songs is near impossible. I'm still not ready to count down Janet Jackson's singles yet, but I've finally settled on a list for Kpop royalty Infinite. Any one of these songs could have been number one at some point, but for now, here are my favorites:

10. Last Romeo (2014) - Their standard, synth-drenched epic sound. In many ways, it's a distillation of all of their sounds up to this point.

9. BTD (Before The Dawn) (2011) - The earliest example of what would become one of their trademarks... that dramatic, string-laden build. The "scorpion dance" at the 2:56 mark would become their first iconic moment, but it's all about the opening synth work.

8. She's Back (2010) - One of their more underrated singles, this is pure bombastic Summer fun. An irresistible confection, it floats along with power-pop guitars and a chorus to die for. It's also their first single to feature their Sweetune-assisted trademark sound.

7. Man In Love (2013) - Infinite at their brightest and most upbeat. It's a propulsive, wall-of-sound aural assault with squealing guitars and one hell of a build at around the 3:00 mark.

6. Nothing's Over (2011) - One of the group's most melodic songs, this does an excellent job of straddling the line between Eastern and Western pop music. Simply put, it's impossible not to listen to it with a smile on your face. The ultimate feel-good singalong anthem.

5. Destiny (2013) - Their first foray into working with a different production team since their debut single, the gamble paid off and paved the way for an edgier sound. This is 21st century dance pop at its very best, produced and performed to perfection.

4. Paradise (2011) - In a career of ridiculously catchy choruses, this could be their catchiest. The Bee Gees-esque hook is a stunner, and takes advantage of their incredible, layered vocals. It's an enormous song, and one of the most instant melodies of their career.

3. Be Mine (2011) - The song that officially broke them into the stratosphere, it's their most iconic moment. And rightfully so, because this is honestly a song that should appeal to anyone. It's all about that synth-heavy, 80's inspired chorus and accompanying dance.

2. Back (2014) - My favorite song of last year, and an incredible piece of work. I've gone on at length about the inventive song structure, the powerful, orchestral production and the iconic video, so for now I'll just say that this song transcends pop music and becomes something much more impressive.

1. The Chaser (2012) - This was the very first Infinite song I heard. Until very recently, even, it wasn't in my top spot. But, like all of Infinite's tracks, it's kind of like a time bomb, exploding more and more each listen. Three years going, and I'm still invigorated with The Chaser's amazing, dramatic build, powerful vocal arrangement and unrelenting, dense production. They perform the hell out of it live, which only adds to how incredibly epic the track is. It's easily on the shortlist of very best K-Pop songs of all time.

So there you go! But here's the thing, no list is complete without hearing what you think! Leave your top ten Infinite songs in the comments!

Labels: , ,

Monday, March 09, 2015

Invader Girl - Stuck On Me

"There's something about you I can't dismiss"

Scandinavia continues its 2015 assault with this awesome new track by Invader Girl (formerly Cinnamon Girl). I've got to admit that I wasn't totally familiar with the music she's made in the past, and I'm kind of regretting that now. Stuck On Me combines the kewpie doll vocal style of early Gwen Stefani with an 80's assault of drum heavy production. There's a definite build to the track, which means the first section seems like its missing a little something. It's not until the cascade of drums comes in around the 1:15 mark that the song finds its footing and becomes something very special. For those looking forward to Marina and the Diamonds' newest album, I think you'll become an instant fan of Invader Girl. She's got another, slightly more rock-influenced track that she released last year, but this is the one I'd start with.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. Buy her music here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.