Thursday, January 31, 2008
My Cool - Adam Tensta: what a week it's been for him. Namechecked by Perez Hilton, performing at the Rockbjörnen and a first appearance in my playlist! World domination now inevitable.
Until I Die/Can't Get Over - September: Still enjoying her good old fashioned dancey-pop.
Jij Bent Zo - Jeroen van der Boom: faithful Dutch-language reworking of David Bisbal's rather good "Silencio".
Early Winter - Gwen Stefani: interesting departure for her, a song written by Keane's main songwriter, and is a real grower.
Homecoming - Kanye West & Chris Martin: great collaboration. Catchy piano hookline and Chris Martin sounds refreshed. Hopefully this might have given him some ideas for the next Coldplay CD...
Tell Me What It Takes - Soulsister: For no other reason other than my iPod decided that (although it's on shuffle mode) I would want to hear this twice in one day. And why not.
Aqua Playa - Afro-Dite: another long forgotten Melodifestivalen gem which I always liked. And yes, I was one of those people who liked "Never Let It Go" as well.
Miss Blue/Farewell/Cool Me Off - Vincent: Already enjoying his CD, and will review it on here very soon.
Talking of Mr Pontare....I finally have his "Lucky Thirteen" album in my possession (I'm well impressed with the speedy service of http://www.cdon.com/) and will hopefully post a full review over the weekend. I'm enjoying what I'm hearing so far.
In the album charts, all the recent winners of various awards are all still doing well - Lars Winnerbäck still at no.1 with "Daugava" (which coincidentally is the name of the river that runs through Riga, which after last night's discussion is now the frontrunner for our spring break this year!!) Kent, Sahara Hotnights and Säkert! all continue to do very well, although Sonja Aldén didn't benefit from her Rockbjörnen win last week - her album has slipped to no. 58.
There are still quite a few artists in the Swedish album chart whose music I haven't heard yet but plan to do so, as there may well be some hidden treats to discover.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Whether or not I end up in Riga this year, I think I'll throw myself into Brainstorm mania over the next few weeks and if this also means the occasional gratuitous picture of Renars Kaupers, then so be it. :-))))
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Before I get to my preview of the first Latvian semi-final this year, can I just say that serious discussions are underway between myself and my faithful travelling companion about our spring break destination for May 2008. The Latvian capital, Riga, is among the front runners at present. (We thought we were going there last spring, but then Stockholm came along and well, you know the rest...) Plans are already in place to buy lots of Brainstorm CDs if/when I go there :-)))
Tonight I've been checking out the first set of semi-finalists for Eirodziesma, which is usually one of my favourite ESC national finals, but I was left a bit disappointed by this line-up. My comments are only based on one listen though, but a song does have to grab your attention first time so that's why I decided not to listen again.
Fly To The Moon - This is like a cross between "I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues" and a chilled out Roger Cicero. Didn’t really leave an impression on first listen though.
The One - Latvian-language rock-rap verse, English chorus. This kind of musical style’s quite popular but again I wasn’t sure....
More Than 27 - Silly acoustic nonsense with lyrical references to just about every country in Europe. Shameless attempt to get votes, that’s all.
Lovely Dexter - "I’m in love with Dexter..." This has to be one of the daftest and most offbeat songs I’ve heard this year. Well...it’s different anyway!
If I Only Knew - Floaty ballad with Enya-type backing which should be guaranteed a place in the final, although not particularly original.
Summertime - jazz-funk very reminiscent of the Brand New Heavies which can only be a good thing, but this isn’t really right for this contest either.
Wolves of the Sea - with a hi-hi-ho and a hi-hi-hey, this has win-win-winner written all over it. Camp old pirate anthem which should destroy its opposition in this semi-final.
All Come Together - this was quite good in a Blue Moon Band "Goodbye to Yesterday" kind of way. Also reminded me a bit of M2M’s "Don’t Say You Love Me". Nice.
Take Me Home - this was a nice, mature mid-tempo number which was ok, although it did drift by and got a bit repetitive and I don’t really see it as a winner.
I’m A Part Of You - again, another pleasant enough song but it really didn’t go anywhere or do anything for me.
Results to be revealed on the night of Saturday, 2 February....
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Rihanna is at no.1 in the Ultratop singles chart with "Don't Stop The Music". Natalia's duet with En Vogue, "Glamorous" is no. 3. Jeroen van der Boom's great Dutch-language version of David Bisbal's "Silencio", entitled "Jij Bent Zo" previously reached no.1 and is still in the top 10. Proof that you can't keep a good song down - someone should record an English version of this one.
In the album chart it's no surprise to see "Clouseau 20" still at no.1. This is a 2 CD greatest hits collection, featuring all the band's hits from 1987 till the present day. Other Flemish acts in the top 20 album chart include Stan van Samang, Regi, Natalia, Jo Vally, and Milk Inc.
The ever popular Tokio Hotel are also in the top 5 with "An Deiner Seite (Ich Bin Da)" whilst Lorie's "Je Vais Vite", Sheryfa Luna's "Quelque Part", Jenifer's "Tourner Ma Page" and Alicia Keys' "No One" make up the rest of this week's top 10.
As you know I haven’t really been thrilled about this series, but there were a couple of moments this week which stood out for me. One of these was the five remaining students’ version of Marc Lavoine & Claire Keim’s "Je Ne Veux Qu’elle" which was simple and well staged without the usual big choreographical extravaganza. The other was one of those great emotional moments which you used to get all the time in this show. Quentin and Claire-Marie sang "Lucie" as a tribute to their lively little fellow student who was shockingly evicted last week - only for said Lucie to join them during the song. Not a dry eye in the house.
Otherwise, some old familiar faces this week - cheesy old Dany Brillant, and the ever-reliable Chimene Badi who had an interesting duet of "Rehab" with Mathieu!
Result: if last week’s eviction was a shock, then an even bigger shock was to come as Jeremy was shown the door this week, getting the lowest public vote. This was a surprise to me as his popularity with both the profs and the viewers had grown over the weeks. I thought he’d be the biggest threat to Quentin and I had expected him to be in the final.
Celine Dion made the draw for the semi-finals. Could she have been any more annoying??? Next week’s first semi-final will be between Mathieu (a true survivor of multiple nominations), and Bertrand (I’m surprised he’s still there).
Above: it's r'n'b smoothie Mathieu versus the old
soul man Bertrand - may the best man win.
The following week, Claire-Marie and Quentin will complete for a place in this year’s final. If you’d asked me at the beginning who the semi-final line-up would be, the only one I’d have predicted would have been Quentin.
Above: Quentin and Claire-Marie.
The rest are just bland and limited, and below the standard you would expect at this stage of the contest. As we know, Star Academy has always been full of surprises - and I wouldn’t be too confident yet about Quentin, as the French public seem to have fallen for the delicate, fragile Claire-Marie. It wouldn’t be the first time someone like that went on to win....could she be another Elodie Frégé?
"Two Monkeys (On The Roof)" - Avalanche: let’s say they’re more mature artists, an unusual and strangely likeable Britpop-style stomper with bizarre lyrics, but it didn’t really go anywhere and didn’t have a chance tonight.
"Hear When I’m Calling" - Maria Trøen: Two songs in and the wind machine has already seen lots of action tonight. Powerful uptempo pop which reminded me a little of Trine Rein - who could have taken this beyond the semi final stage.
"Som i Himmelen" - Ole Ivars: Ha ha ha. Good old fashioned Norsk dansband musikk, but disastrous on a wider European stage.
"Sillycone Valley" - Lene Alexandra. I should have dreaded this: she’s Norway’s answer to Jordan - but it was strangely catchy and that hookline is now wedged in my brain, against my better judgement. Cheeky, daft but hey, it’s Eurovision. Silly-silly-sillycone valley.
"Eastern Wind" - Torstein Sødal: this is the one co-written by Christian from A1, but don’t expect "Caught In The Middle"-style pop, rather a big theatrical ballad which was an inevitable qualifier. Good singer - big, effortless voice.
"Far Away" - King of Trolls. Was this novelty week? He looked like the offspring of Mr Lordi and Ruslana. It’s as if someone put every ‘ethnic’ ESC entry of the last 5 years into a blender and this was the result.
The interval act was a funny lip-synch to "Romeo" (my most favourite MGP winner ever, folks) culminating in an appearance from Ketil Stokkan himself. Aah. I love this show. He’s getting old now, but then again aren’t we all.
Result: Torstein and that King of Trolls chap to Oslo Spektrum, with Lene and Ole Ivars to the andra-chansen thingy. Not a great week though, and nothing to challenge "Hold On Be Strong".
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Révélation Francaise: Christophe Willem. Yay!!! Worthy winner in otherwise weak category this year.
Révélation Internationale: Mika. No surprise as everyone would appear to love him now.
Artiste Féminine Francaise: Jenifer. Yay! Again, a worthy winner and she really has developed as an artist.
Artiste Féminine Internationale: Avril Lavigne. Another significant European award for her. Her appeal escapes me, but she seems to strike a chord with European teens.
Artiste Masculin Francais: Christophe Maé. Interesting that both ex-Le Roi Soleil guys were in this category: however I don’t really rate Maé as a solo star although he is extremely popular now.
Artiste Masculin International: Justin Timberlake. I deliberately didn’t vote for him on a technicality, as he didn’t really release any new material last year. No complaint though, but it should have been all-conquering Timbaland.
Groupe/Duo Francais: Superbus. Another one I voted for! Good winner, but again poor category.
Groupe/Duo Internationale: Tokio Hotel! Ooh I’m having a good night here, yet another of my choices win. They are turning into a European phenomenon, which inevitably means the UK will completely and unjustly ignore them.
Chanson Internationale: "Umbrella" - Rihanna. Again, a completely unsurprising winner. It should have been Mika - but on the other hand, it could have been James Blunt.
Album Francais: "Inventaire" - Christophe Willem. I voted for this too. Fully justified winner, and Christophe would appear to be a French equivalent of Will Young - an Idol winner with enough talent to guarantee a long career.
Album International: "Blackout" - Britney Spears. Eh????? Ou sont "Back to Black" ou "Life In Cartoon Motion"? In the immortal words of Jenifer, "pourquoi, pourquoi, pourquoi?"
Clip de L’année: "Parle a Ma Main" - Fatal Bazooka. I’m not French, and I just don’t get Michael Youn. Maybe there are some French people out there who don’t get him either?
So there you go, not too bad although I could have done without "Umbrella" and Britney and Fatal Bazooka, and I would always take Emmanuel Moire over Christophe Maé, but hey that's just me. Everyone's entitled to their own opinion!!
Anyway a few weeks ago I cast my votes and here they are...
Best French Newcomer - Christophe Willem
Best International Newcomer - Amy Winehouse
Best French Female Artist - Jenifer
Best French Male Artist - Calogero
Best International Female Artist - Nelly Furtado
Best International Male Artist - Timbaland
Best French Group/Duo - Superbus
Best International Group - Tokio Hotel
Best International Song - "Relax, Take It Easy" - Mika
Best International Album - "Back to Black" - Amy Winehouse
Not sure if I'll get any of these right. My general view was that last year was quite a poor one for French music and therefore I didn't get as excited about this award ceremony as in previous years. I'll be back later tonight with the results.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Best Swedish Female Artist - Sonja Alden
Best Swedish Newcomer - Måns Zelmerlöw
Best Song: that boring one by Lars Winnerbäck. Yet again.
Best International Artist: Timbaland
Best International Album - "Shock Value" - Timbaland
Best International Song - "Apologize" - Timbaland
Best Swedish Male Artist - Lars Winnerbäck
Best Swedish Group - Sahara Hotnights
Best Swedish Album - "Tillbaka Till Samtiden" - Kent
Best International Group - Tokio Hotel
Best Live Act - The Ark
The show was a rather patchy affair, there were good bits, there were bad bits and there were scratching-your-head-in-sheer-puzzlement bits. Still I was very glad to see it all the same!
Måns getting best newcomer. (I had probably accepted the fact that Salem wouldn't get this after all).
Tokio Hotel winning, (although points deducted for not turning up) oh well they sent a video.
Ola Svensson being a great popstar with a lively performance of "Natalie".
September - she really is a great dance diva.
Adam Tensta and Vincent. Two very talented and very different up and coming Swedish musical talents. "Miss Blue" was great.
Winnerbäck - winning twice. Why?
Miss Li - what the hell was that????
Ola Salo's new beard. Oi! Salo! Nooooooooooo!!! It's wrong. So. Very. Wrong.
The never-ending rap medley at the beginning of the show.
The tedious comedians who interrupted the flow.
Kent not turning up for yet another awards ceremony. Complacency???
Sonja Alden closing the show, singing with The Poodles. None of that "For Att Du Finns" nonsense here, because underneath all that....she's a rock chick!
So that's the Swedish music awards season over for another year. Only 50 weeks till the next one!!!
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Now You're Gone - Basshunter: The Eurodance revival is here! Now all we need is the Vengaboys and 2 Unlimited to make a comeback (lol!!)
Be Mine - Robyn: better late than never UK release, and fully deserving its place in the top 10.
Do You Love Me - Amanda Jenssen: OK OK I was wrong about her during "Idol". This is good and a very different type of single from a reality-pop contestant.
Miss Blue - Vincent: been listening to this again. Still not got his album yet but about to rectify that in the next couple of weeks.
Colliding - Nicholas Carlie: Sadly it didn't qualify from its MGP heat, but I still really like this nice swaying ballad.
Hold On Be Strong - Maria Haukaas Storeng: I now can't get this song out of my head and think it could do some serious damage if selected for Norway this year.
Can't Get Over - September: another one that's been lodged in my brain since last week's P3 Guldgalan - this is poptastic and I only wish I'd discovered it earlier.
I Thought It Was Over - The Feeling: possibly the catchiest and poppiest thing from them yet. Looking forward to their second album.
Catching up with events of past couple of days - very disappointed that Litesound didn't win in Belarus, I guess Hasta La Vista isn't the worst, but it's a long way from the dizzy heights of "Work Your Magic".
Haven't even checked out Star Academy yet so don't know what's happening this week.
Oh well, that's teabreak over I guess, will be back on here tonight hopefully with this week's playlist and other ramblings!
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Hopefully normal service will be resumed soon. Sorry there's no full review of Star Academy this week, I did watch some of it though. Lucie was evicted, bit of a shock, this leaves Claire-Marie as the only girl in the contest. Are the viewers going soft or what? All she does is blub every week about how she should have gone instead of (insert evicted contestant's name), but hey, she is still there.
Quentin, Jeremy, Mathieu and Bertrand are the remaining male contestants. Quentin must win, even if his arrogance level is now soaring through the roof. (Still my favourite though, but what's with the make-up???).
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Anyway now catching up tonight. No Retro Saturday this week, got too much else to write about, it should be back next week though with some more 80s and 90s obscure gems.
I’ve just been watching the P3 Guldgalan on SVT Play. Comparing it to British award ceremonies for a moment, it's the Q Awards to the Grammisgalan's Brit Awards, more cheeky and daring and different. Feel free to watch it at http://svt.se/svt/play/video.jsp?a=1027880
Anyway I read the results before I watched the show, but I'm glad I watched it because it was actually quite good fun.
Best Female Artist - Säkert! Good selection of nominees in this category, but it really was her year. (Other nominees: Laleh, Miss Li, Maia Hirasawa, September)
Best Newcomer - Maia Hirasawa. Ditto! (Other nominees: Adam Tensta, Million Stylez, Neverstore, Those Dancing Days)
Best Male Artist - Lars Winnerbäck. Er, I don’t think so. Poor man’s Ulf Lundell if you ask me. (Other nominees: Danny, Jens Lekman, Mange Schmidt and of course Salem Al Fakir who deserved this more than anyone!)
Best Group - Kent. Are they getting complacent? They weren’t there to collect their award, which isn’t a good thing. (Other nominees: Sahara Hotnights, Shout Out Louds, The Ark, Mando Diao)
Best Hip Hop - Petter. He's still popular. (Other nominees: Ken, Million Stylez, Basutbudet, Adam Tensta)
Best Rock/Metal - Arch Enemy. Yeah whatever. They don’t really do it for me though. (Other nominees: Kongh, Marduk, Dark Tranquility, Mustasch)
Best Dance Act - Minilogue. No! It should have been Axwell, the king of Swedish house! (Other nominees: Aril Brikha, Tiger Stripes, The Field and the wonderful Axwell)
Best Pop Act - Jens Lekman. Interesting that they classify the winner and his fellow nominees as pop, when I’d be thinking of the likes of Danny, Måns & September. Or indeed, Salem for that matter. (Other nominees: Anna Järvinen, Sambassadeur, Taken by Trees, Friday Bridge)
Best Song - "Release Me" - Oh Laura. Is it just me, or is this overrated dirge sooooo tedious? (Other nominees: Giftig - Mange Schmidt feat. Petter, Cheek to Cheek - Sahara Hotnights, With Every Heartbeat - Robyn with Kleerup, Vi kommer att dö samtidigt - Säkert!)
Guldmicken (Live Act): Timo Räisänen. The main, and final, award of the night. Hmph. I remember hearing him whilst sitting in a Stockholm cafe last year, thinking 'who's the strangled cat?' only to find said Mr Räisänen playing a live set in Bengans record shop across the road. Admittedly his music did grow on me, (I eventually grew to like "Sweet Marie") but again the fact that Salem Al Fakir was denied this award did not please me. AT ALL. (Other nominees: Salem Al Fakir, Säkert!, Laakso, Mustasch)
An interesting mix of live acts in-between the prizegiving....
Live, Robyn & Kleerup’s "With Every Heartbeat" is more musically muscular than its recorded version and was quite outstanding.
Female choir The Sweptaways’ acapella medley of the ‘Best Song’ nominees was bizarre yet inspired.
Björn Dixgård from Mando Diao then did an energetic acoustic "Never Seen The Light Of Day", but there were no awards for his band at this year’s Guldgalan.
Mange Schmidt leading into September singing an extraordinary medley of Umbrella, Daydreaming & Can’t Get Over. She could (and probably will) be the next Cascada, if they get it right.
Timo Räisänen closed the show, in a silver jacket, singing something which wouldn’t have been out of place on "Allsang pa Skansen", when they do that community singalong thing, before he launched into one of his more usual numbers.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
EMD stay at no.1 in the singles charts with their remake of "All For Love" - although I still wonder what Danny's doing, getting himself into this - whilst Amanda Jenssen is this week's highest new entry with "Do You Love Me". The Swedish Grammys have impacted on the chart this week as the track which was voted best song, "Om Du Lämnade Mig Nu" by Lars Winnerbäck & Miss Li, is back in the top 10. Particularly happy to see three of Salem Al Fakir's songs re-enter the top 50: "Good Song" (no.36), "It's True" (no.42) and "This Is Who I Am" (no.43)
The "Grammy Effect" has also affected the album charts as Lars Winnerbäck's "Daugava" is back up to no.1, whilst another one of his albums has re-entered at no. 19. Salem's "This Is Who I Am" has gone back up to no.6, almost a year after it's release. (I will continue to rave about this fact over at Planet Salem). Säkert's album has also re-entered at no. 21.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Guests this year included David Bisbal, who performed "Torre de Babel" and "Silencio". Now I will always like David but there is something quite strange about the way he stands/dances with his legs wide apart and I'm worried (or maybe not) that one day there will be an accidental....rip!
David Bustamante, who like Bisbal became famous in Operacion Triunfo series 1, looks very nice these days, although I don't really consider a Pringle-type pullover adequate attire for a big New Year's eve celebration. (Why do all the men I like wear dodgy pullovers? Just a thought). Good to see the "singing brickie" still around though.
Chenoa also made an appearance, her singing career also continues to be very successful. She wasn't duetting with David Bisbal though - I was really upset when they broke up as I thought they made a great couple, but their love was doomed :(
Talking of Bisbal & Chenoa, the readers of Hola! in Spain have voted them the hottest looking male and female of 2007. Nice though David is, he wouldn't be top of my list. (Now a certain Swedish curly-haired genius on the other hand...!!)
Anyway here I am, it's mid-afternoon and I've just discovered (thanks to Aftonbladet) that the 'jokers' for this year's MF have been announced today. This is inevitably one of Sweden's most debated topics at this time of year, but also one of the worst kept secrets. Yes folks, Carola is back. Now I know a lot of people love her and won't hear a word against her, but we are all entitled to an opinion and mine is that I can't stand her at all. I did like "Främling", but that was 25 years ago :) This time she will be duetting with Andreas Johnson, whom I do like, but I fear the worst, as she inevitably overpowers every duetting partner she sings with.
The second joker is Eskobar, a band I know very little about but fondly remember them for "You Got Me", their English-French duet with Emma Daumas (ex Star Academy 2) which did quite well in France about 3 years ago and got a lot of airplay back then on French radio.
Third joker is Amy Diamond. The child star will turn 16 years old just in time to meet the qualification rules. I suppose she is good at what she does - and she was very good in "Allsång pa Skansen" last summer - but I just don't really like kiddie-pop.
Finally, Niklas Stromstedt is the fourth joker. He's been on the Swedish music scene for many years, I remember him as a member of Glenmark Eriksson Stromstedt. I expect his song to be a bit of a gentle ballad maybe?
Full line-up of artists and songs for each semi final:
09.02.08 - Gothenburg
1. E-type & The Poodles: "Line of fire"
2. Face-84: "Alla gamla X"
3. Velvet: "Deja vu"
4. Brandur: "Lullaby"
5. Michael Michailoff: "That's love"
6. Amy Diamond: "Thank you"
7. Suzzie Tapper: "Visst finns mirakel"
8. Christer Sjögren: "I love Europe"
16.02.08 - Västerås
1. Ola: "Love in stereo"
2. Lasse Lindh: "Du behöver aldrig mer vara rädd"
3. The Nicole: "Razborka"
4. Alexander Schöld: "Den första svalan"
5. Rongedal: "Just a minute"
6. Sanna Nielsen: "Empty room"
7. Andra generationen: "Kebabpizza slivovitza"
8. Johnson & Häggkvist: "One love"
23.02.08 - Linköping
1. BWO: "Lay your love on me"
2. Mickey Huskic: "Izdadje"
3. Frida featuring Headline: "Upp o hoppa"
4. Thérèse Andersson: "When you need me"
5. Patrik Isaksson & Bandet: "Under mitt tunna skinn"
6. Caracola: "Smiling in love"
7. Ainbusk: "Jag saknar dig ibland"
8. Eskobar: "Hallelujah new world"
01.03.08 - Karlskrona
1. Niklas Strömstedt: "För många ord av kärlek"
2. Calaisa: "If I could"
3. Daniel Mitsogiannis: "Pame"
4. Linda Bengtzing: "Hur svårt kan det va?"
5. Nordman: "I lågornas sken"
6. Sibel: "That is where I'll go"
7. Fronda: "Ingen mår så bra som jag"
8. Charlotte Perrelli: "Hero"
Just over three weeks to go....
Monday, January 14, 2008
Sarah and Fred are the first to skate off this year's series. Awww, bye bye Fred, we'll miss you :-)
So here they are.
Best Album: "Tillbaka Till Samtiden" - Kent. A rather obvious choice - not only was it critically acclaimed, but it was also the year's best seller. I was disappointed that Salem didn't win this one, but if he wasn't going to, then I'm glad that Kent did.
Best Hip Hop/Soul Act: Adam Tensta. He's a newcomer to the Swedish music scene but it looks as if we'll be hearing a lot more from him.
Best Male Artist: Salem Al Fakir. A great achievement for a new(ish) artist to win this category, but when it's a genius like Salem then he deserves it.
Best Group: Kent. A tough category, with Mando Diao and The Hives also nominated - but I wanted The Ark to win this. Well done to Kent, though.
Best Female Artist: Säkert! Well deserved award for Hello Saferide's Annika Norlin, who switched to her native Swedish with great success.
Best New Artist: Salem Al Fakir. Obviously!!! No contest!
Best Live Act: The Hives. I got this one right as well!
Best Hard Rock Act: Mustasch. I don't know anything about them, but well done.
Best Dansband: Benny Anderssons Orkester with Helen Sjoholm and Tommy Korberg. What, not Magnus or Nanne? Benny Andersson...sure I remember him from somewhere :-)
Best video: "Det Snurrar I Min Skalle" - Familjen: I still haven't seen this so I can't comment.
Best Producer: Salem Al Fakir. Not only a great singer/composer/musician but also works musical magic in the studio. You need to remember that he recorded his debut album in his own home.
Best Lyricist: Annika Norlin. Interesting that she is now rewarded for her Swedish language work.
Best Composer: Salem Al Fakir. The diversity and depth of the music on his debut album proved that he thoroughly deserved this award.
Best Song: "Om Du Lamnade Mig Nu" - Lars Winnerback & Miss Li. The duo narrowly beat off Sahara Hotnights for this award. "Good Song" came 5th, but it will always be the best song for me!
I was very happy with the outcome of this year's awards - quite fitting really, as last year was such a good year for Swedish music and this is only the tip of a (very massive) musical iceberg! Hopefully 2008 will be the same.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Is that Robyn singing on Britney Spears' "Piece of Me" at no.2? It certainly sounds like it, and the song itself is very "Robyn-esque" isn't it.
The mighty Robyn herself is no.23 with "Be Mine" (it will always be "Be Mine!" to those of us who remember it from first time round) - I think this is still her best song, yes I like it even more than "With Every Heartbeat".
"Allumer le Feu" - more like the Star Academy of old.
"Vancouver" - Veronique Sanson & Lucie: I felt Lucie was in the background for the first few weeks but only now is she beginning to prove herself and may now be a dark horse.
"Crazy Medley" - Quentin & Alexia: Alexia really struggled with "Crazy In Love" but "Crazy" was a walk in the park for Quentin.
"La Solitudine" - Laura Pausini & Pierre: He did well here, singing in Italian. Still think he lacks star quality, however performs solidly every week.
"Et C’est Parti" - Nadiya & Mathieu: He has grown on me, but he’s still not great. He did all he needed to do on this one.
"You Are My Destiny" - Paul Anka & Quentin: Not being biased here, but Quentin is now at a different level from anyone else in this contest. This was an absolute treat.
"Mordu" - Patxi & Jeremy: Jeremy has suddenly become favourite to win, thanks to his good looks and rock-boy style. Nice to see Patxi back again too!
"Le Paradis Blanc" - Bertrand & Claire-Marie: C-M in full France Gall tribute act flow here. This was good, but not as good as Georges-Alain and Houcine’s version in Star Ac 2.
"Tra T'e Il Mare" - Laura Pausini & Alexia: Very nice duet. I love songs sung in Italian, and Alexia did very well here.
"Ma Reverence" - Veronique Sanson & Bertrand: I like some of Sanson’s stuff but this ballad was a bit too plodding and I got bored. Bertrand did ok though.
"Smells Like Teen Spirit" - Lucie & Jeremy: Nirvana being sung on a reality pop show? Yep! This was firmly in their comfort zone and the crowd loved it.
"If You Were A Sailboat" - Katie Melua & Claire-Marie: this really suited C-M’s fragile vocal style and I thought it was a rather nice performance.
"Le Blues du Businessman" - Pierre & Mathieu: this has become Star Ac’s ‘clash of the titans’ song (definitive version - Hoda & Lucie, Star Ac 4), and while Pierre’s vocals were never in doubt, I didn’t expect Mathieu to be good, but he was, although again not great.
"Vivre Ou Survivre" - Nadiya & Alexia: usual high-powered r’n’b pop from Nadiya, Alexia seemed uncomfortable and was off the beat at times.
"Le Manege" - Stanislas & Lucie: bizarre little song, this one, but I feel that Lucie showed some versatility this week. She’s still only ok though.
This week’s marks for the prime: 1- Quentin (yaaayyy). 2 - Bertrand. 3 - Lucie. 4 - Jeremy. 5 - Claire-Marie. 6 - Pierre. 7 - Mathieu. 8 - Alexia.
"Aimer a Perdre La Raison" - an emotional final number as it was the last time all eight students would sing together - because this week there were not just one but two evictions, and the cruellest blow of all was that the two evictees would not make the tour.
Result: Pierre and Alexia eliminated by the viewers despite (or because of) never having been nominated. Raphie shocked by both eliminations. I’m just glad that Quentin’s made it through - there will be no justice if he doesn’t win, as the rest are nowhere near the level of many of the contestants who appeared in the previous six series and some are mediocre at best. With falling sales and falling ratings for the show, Quentin may be the only contestant left this year who can save Star Academy.
So it was Idol runner-up Amanda Jenssen who got to go to the Grammisgalan ball, and perform her debut single "Do You Love Me". Here's the footage from her debut performance of the song last Wednesday at Globen in Stockholm. Very Shirley Bassey-meets-Amy-Winehouse, if you can visualize that combination!! :-)
Find it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5YGEA4dAu0 .
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Friday, January 11, 2008
Boogie 2 Nite - Booty Luv: their new song "Some Kinda Rush" doing well at the moment, but this is currently soundtracking my beginning-of-year-full-of-good-intentions aerobics sessions.
Back To Black - Amy Winehouse: It took me a while to discover her album but I'm glad I did. This track is currently enjoying a renewed lease of life.
What Hurts The Most - Rascal Flatts: This is the original version of the song which Cascada are currently stamping their cheesy stilettos all over. Nice country flavoured song.
Bonafied Lovin' - Chromeo: still achieving legend status on this playlist, their best song and a witty and funky little gem of a tune.
Born To Be Alive - Patrick Hernandez: he was on Star Academy last week singing this. I remember it first time round, great one for disco dancing to in the late 70s ;-)
Now You're Gone - Basshunter: Used to hate it, now I love it. Yet another Swedish act destined for number one...!
Can't Speak French/Control of the Knife - Girls Aloud: "Tangled Up" is still amazingly one of my favourite albums of the moment. Should I be ashamed of this? Aww, credibility is sooooo overrated !!
Sunshine In The Rain - BWO: just a good pop tune, but I still don't think it will be enough to get them the hit single in Britain that they deserve. "Greatest Hits" allegedly coming soon - could this mean the end for them?
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Over the weekend I'll post the full list of winners and my thoughts on these, I have still to see some of the video footage and I've had quite a busy night so have postponed this for a while.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Anyway I meant to mention a couple of days ago in my previous post about Amanda Jenssen that she will be appearing at the Grammisgalan. She will give her first public performance of her debut single "Do You Love Me" which has been written and produced by Vincent Pontare, which is reason enough to love it already even though I haven't heard it yet!!
I have gone from being an Amanda-hater to an Amanda-fan over the past couple of weeks. I will always be grateful to her because she introduced me to "Don't Hate On Me" which I hadn't heard before she sang it on "Idol" - I wonder if that's why Vincent wanted to work with her? Here it is....
Monday, January 07, 2008
Sunday, January 06, 2008
Got some info on this year's semi-finals (thanks to ESC Today)
Heat 1 - 27th January
Katy Satyn - Magical Sensation (S. Engelbrecht, J. Engelbrecht, G. Månsson, A. Lennartsson)
Raeven - Shut Down The Heatmachine (Michael Garvin, Marc Paelinck)
Brahim - What I Like About You (Brahim Attaeb, Alan Glass)
Eva Darche - We Breathe (Marc Paelinck, Jamie Winchester)
Femme Fatale - Décadence (Gerard James Borg, Mik Tanczos, Frank Jordens)
Heat 2 - 3rd February
Kenza - Breaking All The Rules (Rudolf Hecke)
E.F.R. - Your Guiding Star (Sergio Quisquater, Vincent Pierins, Patrick Hamilton)
Ishtar - O Julissi Na Jalini (Michel Vangheluwe)
Esther - Game Over (A. Ross, J. McLaughin, D. James, I. Mank, E. Sels)
Tanja Dexters - Addicted To You (Written by Bobby Ljunggren, Henrik Wikström, Thomas G:son)
Heat 3 - 10th February
Ellis T - My Music (Regi Penxten)
Tabitha Cycon - Rumour Has It (Marc Paelinck, Marwenna Diame)
Di Bono - I'm Not Sorry (R. Di Bono, L. Alea)
Nelson - If I Can't Find Love (Nelson Morais)
Geena Lisa - Wheel Of Time (S. Dutoit, Yves Barbieux, Geena Lisa Peeters)
Heat 4 - 17th February
Francesco Palmeri - Vagabundo (Francesco Palmeri)
Paranoiacs - Shout It Out (Raf Stevens, Hans Stevens)
Elisa - Around The World (Ove André Brenna)
A Butterfly Mind - Lonely Heart On Wheels (Annelies Cappaert)
Sandrine - I Feel The Same Way (Lawson, Vettese, Howard)
Lots of names which don't ring any bells to me at this stage, but once I hear them I'm sure that I'll have my favourites. ESC Today reported that "Game Over", the song in Semi 3 sung by Idol finalist Esther Sels has been co-written by none other than Duncan James from Blue! Should be interesting...or maybe not. Anyway it's going to be a busy and exciting season ahead!
Saturday, January 05, 2008
Rumours persist that Brolle is about to make his comeback at Melodifestivalen 2008 as one of the as-yet-unannounced "wildcards" - I'm really excited about this as I think he's a great singer and I'd really love to see him in that competition. Watch this space.
Find "Mix It Up" at Http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlzS5lZLxyY
Find it at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56O1XVmEwEU
Again I didn't really see anything to sway my view that Alexia and Quentin will be there at the end, although I'm a bit shocked by Alexia's low marks this week. This week's guests included Roch Voisine, Faf Larage, Laam, Maurane - and the one and only Patrick Hernandez, king of the one-hit-wonders who duetted with Quentin on (what else but) "Born To Be Alive".
This week's nominees for eviction were Jeremy, Claire-Marie and Bertrand. No surprise that Jeremy was saved by the viewers...
...leaving the professional jury to decide whether to save Claire-Marie or Bertrand. Drum roll....
...oh, there's no eviction this week. Juror Passi announced that they'd decided not to evict this week because next week's prime is the annual "Speciale Tournee" and the viewers should be given the chance to choose who'll be on the tour. Yeah right. I've been watching this show long enough to know that this was probably done for another reason entirely.
If I had been a voting viewer in France I wouldn't have been too chuffed this week - they ask the viewers to save their favourite, only for the viewers to find that their least favourites are also saved!
I missed last week's prime (dedicated to Gregory Lemarchal) which featured the return of former Star Ac 4 students Hoda, Harlem, Karima and Radia. Here's a picture of them from last week's show:
Thursday, January 03, 2008
As you know I may not have been a fan of Amanda whilst she was on "Idol" but the more I think about it, the more I like the idea of her as a recording artist and pop star!
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
As usual at this time of year everyone tries to predict who or what singers/bands they think will make it big in the coming year. Usually most of these predictions are overrated and overhyped by the media and are usually "the new so-and-so", and that's usually enough to put me off.
So instead I'll just get excited about some people I first came across in 2007, like...
...Paul Steel, an amazingly talented guy with such an ambitious musical vision. The "Moon Rock" album will finally be released around February/March and it’s the album I’m looking forward to the most this year.
...Ali Love, whose fresh blend of funky-disco-electro-pop has already been hailed by Popjustice and whose debut album "Love Music" will be out soon (allegedly January, but I can’t confirm this?).
...Daniel Merriweather, the voice of Mark Ronson’s debut hit "Stop Me". A great vocalist who promises to provide a cracking debut album later in the year. ...David Jordan, who I hadn’t heard of till his Royal Variety appearance. Think Michael Jackson crossed with early Terence Trent D’Arby - yes, that exciting.
...Chromeo, who I only recently got into, but would like their electro-funk to reach a much bigger musical audience.
...Snook, they’re Swedish, they’re rappers, and I love them! About time for a new album in 2008, eh boys?
...Vincent Pontare, whose debut CD was released recently. Not only does he write and perform his own music, he also writes for acts like the Backstreet Boys, and has international breakthrough potential.
...Tokio Hotel, who achieved massive international success in 2007 - when will Britain sit up and take notice?
...Colbie Caillat, aka "the female Jack Johnson" who makes nice laid back acoustic pop perfect for summer days. Now all we need is the weather to match.
...Salem Al Fakir, an incredibly gifted musician, singer and songwriter from Sweden, and a major talent. Fingers crossed that he gets launched internationally in 2008.
Hopefully I'll also find out about some great singers/bands who have escaped my attention up until now. Bring it on!!