Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Yes it all sounds very final, but don't worry - this blog will be back in 2010 with the usual mix of stuff. I'm particularly excited about this blog going into its fourth year during 2010, a year which hopefully will bring new music to love, new places to visit, lots of wonderful things to write about, the opportunity to get to know some new friends and of course keep in touch with my old friends - "the regulars" who make blog-land such a fun place to be!
2009 was, on the whole, a fantastic year for me personally - a year of extreme highs (and the odd extreme low) and many of the highlights resulted from my involvement in blogging, which is a wonderful hobby and really has changed my life in many ways.
I'm sending my "Happy New Year" greetings early as the next couple of weeks will be very hectic at home, so I probably won't be able to post again on here until Monday 11th January.
So I just want to wish all the readers of EuropeCrazy a very happy new year and hope that 2010 brings peace, good health and many happy times for all of you.
Love and best wishes,
Saturday, December 26, 2009
1. (3) EastEnders - BBC One, 8pm - 10.86 million, 45.9%
2. (4) The Royle Family - BBC One, 9pm - 10.23 million, 42.5%
3. (2) Doctor Who - BBC One, 6pm - 10.03 million, 42.2%
4. (-) Gavin & Stacey - BBC One, 10pm - 9.17 million, 39.2%
5. (-) The Gruffalo - BBC One, 5.30pm - 8.79 million, 42.6%
6. (7) Coronation Street - ITV1, 7pm - 7.89 million, 32.4%
7. (-) Catherine Tate: Nan's Christmas Carol - BBC One, 10.30pm - 7.13 million, 36.2%
8. (-) BBC News - BBC One, 5.20pm - 6.8 million, 36.5%
9. (6) Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special - BBC One, 7pm - 6.79 million, 27.9%
10. (-) Shrek The Halls - BBC One, 4.55pm - 5.56 million, 31.9%
11. (9) The Queen - BBC One, 3pm - 5.56 million, 36.7%
12. (12) Emmerdale - ITV1, 6pm - 5.19 million, 21.9%
13. (-) The Incredibles - BBC One, 3.10pm - 5.09 million, 32.1%
14. (-) BBC News - BBC One, 11.20pm - 4.64 million, 30.5%
15. (-) ITV News & Weather - ITV1, 5.40pm - 3.78 million, 17.9%
16. (-) Agatha Christie's Poirot - ITV1, 9pm - 3.71 million, 16.1%
17. (15) Top Of The Pops Christmas Special - BBC One, 2pm - 3.4 million, 27.6%
18. (-) Happy Feet - ITV1, 3.40pm - 3.39 million, 20%
19. (17) Dad's Army - BBC Two, 8pm - 3.39 million, 14.5%
20. (-) National Lottery Euromillions Draw - BBC One, 11.30pm - 2.38 million, 17.9%
The only shows I watched were Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Strictly Come Dancing (justice was done! Well done Ali & Brian!) and of course the annual institution which is the Top of the Pops Christmas Special. Unfortunately I have to say that this year's show was endured rather than enjoyed. As I said whilst watching the show: 'thank goodness I look elsewhere for my music'.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
I hope you all have a happy and peaceful time, whether you're celebrating Christmas or not. Whatever you're doing, have lots of fun! This blog will be back on Boxing Day.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Whole New World - It Bites: still loving this. It's taken me 20-odd years to repeat its greatness, but I got there eventually.
Sing - Vivienne McKone: a delicious, obscure, unappreciated oldie from 1992, which I've recently rediscovered and still enjoy as much as ever.
Morning After Dark - Timbaland featuring Nelly Furtado & SoShy: it's good to have him back again, although points deducted for using the dreaded autotune. I love his facial expressions in the video though! This is a real grower - I wasn't too fond of it to start with but by the third hearing I loved it.
Won't Go Quietly - Example: Liked his first single but this is soooo much better - such a catchy song with hit written all over it!
Gloria - Mando Diao: or to be more specific, the dance mix of this song which has done really well in the Swedish singles chart and is still getting a lot of airplay on Rix FM.
I Wish - Mini Viva: I'm probably not the only one who listens to this and has fond memories of the Vengaboys (!) anyway still loving "Left My Heart In Tokyo" and the follow-up's not that bad either. A real grower.
Anyway it's been a while since I posted a TV review so I'll get this one out of the way tonight.
Let's rewind back to October.....
- Two programmes about the German capital - "The Secret Life of the Berlin Wall" and "Berlin" both screened on a Saturday night on BBC2. The first one was a refreshingly different take on 20 years since the fall of the Wall, as it concentrated on the real lives of ordinary people and how it affected them. "Berlin" was a short series, going back to various points in history to look at how they have informed the city’s progress. Again it was really good to see a documentary series like this on our TV screens - more please!
- "Private Practice" season two ended on Living, with Pete realising he’s in love with Violet, the mother of his unborn child; Addison struggling with an affair; Naomi deciding to leave for another practice after Sam telling her he still loves her; and a particularly gruesome cliffhanger where one unhinged patient holds Violet hostage and is going to cut out her baby! I haven’t really enjoyed this series if I’m honest, it’s generally been quite stale and going through the motions, and there is only so much of the relationship merry-go-round we can take.
- I never thought I'd ever say this, but I saw the shark circling around the once invincible "Harry Hill’s TV Burp". I can't put my finger on it, maybe it’s the choice of TV shows he featured, but dare I say that Harry was less than perfect this time around, although having said that it’s still the funniest thing on the TV. I liked the "where has the knitted character been this week" thing though, but black mark to ITV though for turning this into another money-making phone-in competiion. Hopefully when he comes back there will be an improvement!
- Unlike its British counterpart, "Dancing With The Stars" was played straight - it’s smooth, professional and slick with no Brucie-style "am I doddery?" jokes. No change in Bruno Tonioli though, he was still his controlled, restrained self (!!!!!!) It did however have one thing in common with "Strictly" - the wrong person won. Mya was the best dancer from day one, but try telling that to the voting public who chose Donny Osmond instead. Kelly Osbourne did pretty well though, getting into the final three. I particularly enjoyed Aaron Carter - shame that not enough of the great American public shared my view. By the way I will eventually get round to posting my "Strictly" review although I'm still too annoyed at Ricky Whittle not winning, to write anything about it just yet.
- I didn't watch "X Factor" although watched the clips of the singing on YouTube, if only to keep in the loop with my friends at work. Anyway you’d need to have been on Mars not to have been caught up in the ‘Jedward’ mania which swept the country for a few weeks. They eventually outlived their usefulness and the show got back to being a "singing competition" (© Dannii Minogue) although it was highly questionable if any of the remaining contestants did have that elusive "X Factor": I thought Stacey Solomon had a nice voice, although I didn't get Olly Murs who looked as if he’s been manufactured in a lab with the combined DNA of Gary Barlow and Will Young, only without their respective talent. The press hatred of Danyl meant that it was inevitable he wouldn't make the final. Joe McElderry won: good luck to him, he seems a nice enough young lad with a good voice but I will foolishly predict here and now that his career progression will be more Leon Jackson than Leona Lewis....
- "Hung" was a strange American drama on More 4. It started off well but I felt it lost its way qather quickly. It was the story of a man who becomes a "happiness consultant" (the key is in the show’s title!!) and a second series has been commissioned; but I don't really know if there’s enough depth in the character development to carry the show beyond one series.
- When it comes to American TV series I'm always late to the party. I recently discovered "One Tree Hill" which has been going for years! Happily there is a solution in sight: E4 has been re-running the series from the beginning so I've been able to catch up. I really like this show, which is based around the family dynamics and romances of the Scott brothers, Lucas and Nathan.
- "FlashForward" is currently on a break and will return to Five in March 2010: every week it continues to add more and more complexity but I still think it's worth sticking with.
- "I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here" crowned its latest king of the jungle, TV chef Gino D'Acampo, who we've been a big fan of here at EuropeCrazy HQ for many years since he used to appear on "Good Food Live" on the Good Food channel (remember that!!) - anyway we rather enjoyed this year's series once Katie Price walked out after a week of non-stop bushtucker trials.
- Finally, season one of "Being Erica" on E4 has come to an end. I've thoroughly enjoyed this new Canadian series although it did get a little silly towards the end; again, like "Hung" I don't know how this series will develop, although I think there's another series left in it.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Donna has since been replaced by a radio station called MNM, and here's the good news - there's still a chart, it's now a top 1000 instead of top 2000 but the important thing is that it's still there. If you go to www.mnm.be and scroll down the right hand side you'll reach the MNM 1000 playlist - click on this and you'll find this year's chart.
Some traditions are well worth keeping alive!
Here's this year's annual list as voted by listeners to the legendary Dave Fanning's RTE 2fm radio show:
1 U2 - One
2 Kings of Leon - Sex on fire
3 Led Zeppelin - Stairway to Heaven
4 U2 - Bad
5 Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
6 The Smiths - How Soon Is Now
7 U2 - With or Without You
8 The Killers - Mr. Brightside
9 The Stone Roses - I Am The Resurrection
10 Kings of Leon - Use Somebody
11 Jeff Buckley - Hallelujah
12 Muse - Uprising
13 Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars
14 Elbow - One Day Like This
15 Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart
16 The Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter
17 Pink Floyd - Wish You Were Here
18 Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run
19 The Smiths - There Is a Light That Never Goes Out
20 Oasis - Live Forever
21 Snow Patrol - Run
22 Florence and The Machine - Cosmic Love
23 Pearl Jam - Black
24 Johnny Cash - Hurt
25 Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
26 Snow Patrol - Just Say Yes
27 Empire of The Sun - Walking On a Dream
28 Foo Fighters - Everlong
29 The Arcade Fire - Intervention
30 Mumford and Sons - Little Lion Man
31 U2 - Magnificent
32 Radiohead - Paranoid Android
33 Smashing Pumpkins -1979
34 The Killers - Human
35 Guns N' Roses - November Rain
36 U2 - Where The Streets Have No Name
37 Queens of The Stone Age - No One Knows
38 Coldplay - Yellow
39 Delorentos - S-E-C-R-E-T
40 Bob Dylan - Like a Rolling Stone
41 Muse - Super Massive Black Hole
42 Pink Floyd - Comfortably Numb
43 The Pixies - Debaser
44 The Frames - Revelate
45 Radiohead - Creep
46 Smashing Pumpkins - Bullet With Butterfly Wings
47 The Coronas - Heroes and Ghosts
48 Elbow - Grounds for Divorce
49 The Stone Roses - I Wanna Be Adored
50 Radiohead - Karma Police
Saturday, December 19, 2009
This kind of thing has already been done over here in the UK as Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber used the reality-talent format to firstly find a Maria for "The Sound Of Music" ("How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria" in 2006) and then a Nancy for "Oliver!" ("I'd Do Anything"); now the format will be adapted for Swedish TV and "The Search for Juliet" will be broadcast in Spring 2010, probably following Melodifestivalen. According to Aftonbladet, juror Morgan Alling stated that the 10 girls chosen will be "...skilled and talented artists who can sing and dance....not amateurs like in "Idol".
This type of format was previously used at the beginning of 2008 in TV3's "West End Star" to find someone for the role of 'Lady In The Lake' in the Monty Python musical 'Spamalot' in London's West End: that was won by Nina Söderquist who also participated in this year's Melodifestivalen.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
After tomorrow there will be no more Teletext on ITV and Channel 4. I previously mentioned this on here a few months ago, but it's hard to believe that the day has finally come when our much-loved and accessible source of information and entertainment is going off the air.
My best wishes go to the hard-working staff who put all the Teletext pages together and updated them on a regular basis. In years to come I'll look back with fond memories of coming home from work and switching on my teletext pages - ITV's entertainment section on page 130 including TV views on page 137 and talking points on page 138; and of course Channel 4's Planet Sound from pages 341 to 345.
Keep an eye out though for Planet Sound's editor John Earls who will continue to fight the good fight for new music by starting his own record label, WET Records. Good luck with that!
It may all seem a bit last-century now, with all the high-tech innovations around us, but Teletext was very special to many of us and it will be sadly missed.
I'm taking a week's break from doing EuropeCrazy (although there may still be the occasional Planet Salem/Random Ramblings post) and will be back here on Monday 21st December. (I'm finishing up at work on Friday 18th December, and will then be off work until Tuesday 29th!)
In the meantime...happy blogging everyone!! See you next Monday.
Good Vs Bad - Tingsek: this would probably have made my chart if I'd become aware of its existence earlier. More evidence of Magnus from Malmo's musical excellence.
Supernova - Mr Hudson featuring Kanye West: probably one of the very few auto-tuned records which I didn't hate with a passion this year. I've got high hopes for Mr Hudson, so why does he have to spoil it all by making a record with N-Dubz, possibly one of the most useless acts around?
Bite The Bullet - BWO: Yes it's more of the same formula, but when the formula's as good as this, then it doesn't matter.
Lala Song - Bob Sinclar featuring the Sugarhill Gang: inspired pairing of one of France's best DJs with the pioneers of rap. Why wasn't this a massive summer hit? I love this track.
Hotel Room Service - Pitbull: will always remind me of Turkey. Oh and by the way, this is the original version in my list and not that rubbishy one with Nicole Scherzinger on it.
Youngblood - E.M.D.: there's nothing really original about this, but it's actually quite refreshing to hear boyband-pop in a time when boybands appear to be frowned upon.
Untouched - The Veronicas: the Aussie duo had a very big hit with this song and I rather liked it. By the way, isn't there some very good music coming out of Australia these days!
Click - Little Boots: she may not have lived up to the hype but I quite enjoyed her album although got tired of it pretty quickly. I've gone for this album track rather than any of her singles, it's quite nice and atmospheric.
We Made You - Eminem: not really a classic return to form, but it was good singalong fun and reminded me of my holiday in Dusseldorf.
Gloria - Mando Diao: still on the subject of Germany, this was played quite a lot when I was there and has enjoyed a new lease of life in its native Sweden thanks to a rather cool dance remix.
Tricky - Velvet Inc: this was probably my favourite Norsk Melodi Grand Prix song (although I never heard many of them) and I was well impressed by their ability to sing and dance around in those extremely high heels...!
Left My Heart In Tokyo - Mini Viva: much has been written about Xenomania's new stable of artists; I'm looking forward to hearing them. It was mixed fortunes for their acts in 2009: Vagabond haven't made it (I quite liked their song though) but Mini Viva seem to be doing quite well. This was a good fun pop record with the usual Xenomania 4-songs-in-one recipe.
Love Etc - Pet Shop Boys: long overdue and deserved recipients of a Brit award for Outstanding Contribution to Music (and wasn't their end of show medley brilliant!). This isn't their best work by any means, but well worth inclusion in a year-end list.
Sexy B***h/Chick - David Guetta featuring Akon: surely some mistake, a favourite songs list with Akon in it???? Yep. 2009 belonged to David Guetta and this was another one of my holiday songs, which not even the presence of auto-tuned Akon could spoil.
Battlefield - Jordin Sparks: one of those songs I started off hating, probably due to its Tedder-conveyor-belt similarity to "Halo", but I ended up liking it quite a lot.
So that's it for 2009. I won't be doing a "2009 list" this year of new acts which impressed me, as quite frankly these were so thin on the ground I don't have enough to make up a list.
Ironically, for a year which was so poor for British music, it was an incredible year for European (OK, mainly Swedish) releases, and this year was all about my favourite acts releasing new material. The one notable absentee was Vincent Pontare - I hope he makes a comeback next year, if he can tear himself away from Agnes, that is ;)
As for my 2008 list, most of the acts on it have disappeared (wherefore art thou Bryn Christopher, Sam Beeton and Jack McManus??? we need you back!) or working on new material (yes that's you, Gabriella Cilmi) or commercially flopped despite the hype (VV Brown) so I won't curse any acts by predicting great things for them :)))
(and someone kindly posted a phone-video on YouTube), the song immediately took up residence in my heart and has never moved out since. Although the orchestral setting, for me, will always be this song’s natural habitat, on record it swings and soars and is so uplifting; and when I saw him play it live in concert in April I was so happy that I thought I was going to burst!!!
(Salem pictured above at Berwaldhallen 10.12.2009: picture courtesy of http://www.sr.se/)
Friday, December 11, 2009
The opening track on my favourite album of 2009, "Astronaut". Despite the self-doubt and anxiety in the lyrics (that's my interpretation anyway), it’s jazzy, strong, confident, and screams ‘this is an artist at the peak of his career’.
This song is a very good example of Salem's incredible talent as a singer/songwriter/musician - he plays every instrument on this classy, mature song - and I also must mention his (often overlooked) talent as an arranger/producer.
If I have one unfulfilled wish for 2010, it’s that Salem will finally get the long-overdue international recognition which he deserves.
Video: as this is an album track there's no video but if you want to know what this song sounds like, then go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wz-_zc_P61c
Thursday, December 10, 2009
I was introduced to this amazing band thanks to Poster Girl (who has introduced me to so much good music over the past couple of years); she had this song in her 2008 countdown. It’s made my 2009 list as it wasn’t released here till this year.....anyway this will have been many people’s introduction to this extremely inventive Australian duo and it still sounds as fresh, 12 months on.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
1.”Rock and roll” (Led Zeppelin)
2.”With a little help from my friends” (Joe Cocker version)
3.”Higher” (winner's song)
1. ”The final countdown” (Europe)
2. ”The show must go on” (Queen)
3.”Higher” (winner's song)
Do we really need to bother with a final? Just give the title to Erik now!!
I wonder what "Higher" sounds like? Probably the usual dull winner's ballad I guess.....
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Monday, December 07, 2009
Semi-final 3 - Malmö
1. Peter Jöback ”Hollow”
2. Neo ”Human frontier”
3. Nån disciplin ”Idiot”
4. Pernilla Wahlgren ”Jag vill om du vågar”
5. Py Bäckman ”Magisk stjärna”
6. Sibel ”Stop”
7. Anna Bergendahl ”This is my life”
8. Lovestoned ”Thursdays”
Semi-final 4: Gothenburg
1. Elin Lanto "Doctor Doctor”
2. Erik Linder ”Hur kan jag tro på kärleken?”
3. Timotej ”Kom”
4. Johannes Bah Kuhnke ”Tonight”
5. Getty ”Yeba”
6. Alcazar "Headlines”
7. Crucified Barbara ”Heaven or hell”
8. Darin Zanyar ”Out of my life".
The ultimate draw position for Darin.....but what I'm really, really, really excited about is.....
Sunday, December 06, 2009
He's a former runner-up in Norwegian Idol, and this is his MGP debut.
Song 2: Lene Alexandra – Prima Donna
This is Lene's second time at MGP - who could forget "Sillycone Valley". "Prima Donna" is described as a dance track.
Johnny, formerly of a band called Number Seven Deli, describes this as a modern classic pop song.
Previous Norwegian Idol contestant, again making his debut in the competition.
This is described as an r'n'b song with some freestyling! Is she any relation to the footballer John Carew, I wonder?
Her third consecutive year at MGP - she was the winner in 2008 and returned as presenter in 2009. This is described as a mid-tempo song.
The wonderful thing about the nordic countries is that they will throw some metal into their national selection and won't even bat an eyelid. This time it's 'black metal' and a fantasy-inspired song.
Spy - Shakira & Wyclef Jean: the nature of this collaboration suggests a future single, although it's quite bonkers in every way and therefore won't repeat the success of "Hips Don't Lie". With the new "She Wolf" album she’s got even further away from the Latin-influences which made her famous, but she’s still got so much talent and so many more ideas that she is still one of the most innovative pop stars in the world today.
Good vs Bad - Tingsek: and now to one of Sweden's most talented and underrated singer-songwriters. A song which narrowly missed out on my 2009-50 (because I discovered it too late) but this is a timeless, well-performed song with a catchy call and response chorus.
Pencil Full of Lead - Paolo Nutini: Almost as bonkers as Shakira, this one! Short and sweet burst of Jungle Book-style jollity which always makes me smile. He is becoming one of this country's most interesting performers who most definitely doesn't follow the crowd.
Reality Used To Be A Friend of Mine/Set Adrift On Memory Bliss - PM Dawn: Been listening to these a lot again since they featured in Retro Saturday. "Set Adrift..." Is still a breath of musical fresh air.
Haven’t Met You Yet - Michael Buble / I’m All Over It - Jamie Cullum: two singers inhabiting a very similar musical universe with crossover appeal, one appeared on X Factor and had a very big top 40 hit, the other appeared on Strictly Come Dancing and failed to make the top 40. Draw your own conclusions. Two very catchy songs which I like a lot just now.
Krossa Allt/Vals for S***n/Sjukhus/Taxmannen - Kent: probably my favourite album of the moment, Kent can still do no wrong for me. Swedish language electro-rock from a band still at their distinctive best.
De Juiste Vergissing/Leve Belgie - Clouseau: I’m enjoying their lively power-pop at the moment. They are currently in the midst of their "10 x 10" annual Sportpaleis pre-Christmas extravaganza where they play no less than 34 songs in one concert!
OK that's it for the playlist - I probably won't be doing another one now until we get some new music to listen to in January. In the meantime we'll all have to cover our ears and try to run and hide from all the Christmas songs on the TV and the radio....there's no escape!
Yes....Erik is in the final!!
After Mariette Hansson's departure last week in the first arena show in Malmo (I didn't see last week's show as I was unwell) there were three contestants left in the competition and this week they were totally at the mercy of the judges because this week's theme was: Judges' Choice. This week's show took place in the Scandinavium in Gothenburg.
Some interesting and, it could be argued, totally inappropriate song choices this week. For example - Calle Kristiansson singing Rod Stewart's "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy"....well the answer to that is probably.....no, unless you're into that 'Hairy Bikers' look. I'm surprised that Calle has got this far and it's still my view that he would be more suited to fronting a band as he lacks the necessary charisma for a solo performer, although he does have a good strong rock voice and he excelled on "Walking In Memphis".
Tove Ostman Styrke, who at one point was being touted as the favourite to win (I definitely had her as a finalist) was given two songs to show off different sides of her personality - "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" and "The Greatest Love Of All". The first one was pretty disappointing, whilst the second was more suited to an older singer (she is only 16 after all). Although Tove has charisma and great potential, with an interesting vocal style, I still feel she was too young for the contest and should maybe have waited a couple of years, which could have made all the difference.
Since the beginning of this year's Swedish Idol contest, Erik Grönwall has given us consistently great vocal performances week after week. This week was no different. His "Heaven" was the usual effortless performance, and if the judges thought they were finally going to trip him up on "Run To The Hills" then they couldn't be more wrong! This was absolutely amazing. Erik is a charismatic and outstanding young singer: I'm going to stick my neck out here and say that he is probably the best all-round singer there has ever been in Swedish Idol.
So Tove fell at the semi-final hurdle, leaving Erik and Calle - two male 'rock' singers - to contest next week's Swedish Idol final which, as ever, will take place at Globen in Stockholm. May the best man win (as long as it's Erik)
(All above pictures courtesy of www.tv4.se/idol)
A song born out of Salem's collaboration a year ago with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra at Berwaldhallen (which he is about to repeat for three nights next week, and I'm gutted because I can't be there), this always makes me think that it should be on a movie soundtrack maybe, as it has such an incredibly pretty lullaby quality to it.
It is also rather special to me as purple is my favourite colour (yeah, that’s corny, I know!) So I had to pay my own little tribute when I went to his concert earlier this year and appropriately wore some purple clothing - as indeed I probably will do when I go over to see him again :)
There is no video/audio clip for this but if you have heard the absolutely wonderful "Astronaut" album then you should be familiar with this song.
Saturday, December 05, 2009
Yes, it was inevitable that Salem might start appearing in my chart at some point, so no. 20 is a very good place to start. The final track on "Astronaut", this is a very moving song with very personal lyrics; it was for me a significant point in Salem's development, where his lyrics and music found a new emotional depth which was maybe missing from his earlier (happier) material.
The song was performed live on the "Humorgalan" concert back in May 2008 (video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffv-B0Qxmq8) but significantly has never been performed live since then.
Studio version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ythkoAHR_ag
Thanks to www.musikindustrin.se for the following list...
A Camp / Agnes / Amanda Jenssen / Caroline af Ugglas / Erik Hassle / Kent / Lars Winnerbäck / Mando Diao/ Takida /Thåström
A Camp: “Colonia” / Amanda Jenssen: “Happyland” / Caroline af Ugglas: “Så gör jag det igen” / El Perro del Mar: “Love is not pop” / Erik Hassle: “Hassle” / Jenny Wilson: “Hardships!” / Kent: “Röd” / Lars Winnerbäck: “Tänk om jag ångrar mig och sen ångrar mig igen” / Takida: “The darker instinct” / Thåström: “Kärlek är för dom”
Årets kvinnliga artist
Agnes / Amanda Jenssen / Anna Järvinen / Caroline af Ugglas / Jenny Wilson / Laleh / Melissa Horn / Miss Li / Pernilla Andersson / Sarah Dawn Finer
Årets manliga artist
Christian Walz / Erik Hassle / Freddie Wadling / John ME / Lars Winnerbäck /Markus Krunegård / Olle Ljungström / Salem Al Fakir / Thåström / Tingsek
Adiam Dymott / Dead By April / Erik Hassle / John ME / Jonathan Johansson / Larz-Kristerz / Lorentz & M Sakarias / Maskinen / Miike Snow / Name The Pet
Amanda Jenssen & Pär Wiksten / Anna Järvinen / Christian Walz / Deportees / El Perro del Mar / Joakim Berg & Martin Sköld (Kent) / Lars Winnerbäck / Nina Persson - Niclas Frisk & Nathan Larson (A Camp) / Salem Al Fakir / Thåström
Amanda Jenssen / Anna Järvinen / Caroline af Ugglas / El Perro del Mar / Joakim Berg (Kent)Laleh / Lars Winnerbäck / Louise Hoffsten/Peter LeMarc / Melissa Horn / Thåström
A Camp / Asha Ali / BWO / Calaisa / El Perro del Mar / Fibes Oh Fibes / Jill Johnson / Melody Club / Miike Snow / Peter Bjorn & John
Ingenting / Bob Hund / Deportees / Dundertåget / Europe / Florence Valentin / Kent / Mando Diao / Takida / The Bear Quartet
A Camp / Amanda Jenssen & Pär Wiksten / Bloodshy & Avant (Miike Snow) / El Perro Del Mar/Rasmus Hägg Goran Kajfes (Magnus Carlson & The Moon Ray Quintet) / Jenny Wilson / Kent & Joshua (Kent) / Laleh / Salem Al Fakir / Thomas Rusiak (Adiam Dymott).
Arvingarna / Benny Andersson Band / CC & Lee / Drifters / Jannez / Larz-Kristerz / Lasse Stefanz / Scotts / Sten & Stanley
Candlemass / Crucified / Barbara / Dead By April / Hammerfall / Hardcore Superstar / Lillasyster / Mustasch / Raised Fist / Renegade Five /Wolf
Andreas Tilliander / J-Son / Ken Ring / Lorentz & M Sakarias / Mange Schmidt / Maskinen / Mohammed Ali / Näääk / Promoe / Swingfly
I've got my own views on this list and as you can imagine I'm happy with some of it, but there are some other things I'm not happy about, which I'll be talking about over at Planet Salem...
Thursday, December 03, 2009
As it turned out, it was a battle lost, as he lost out to Malena Ernman at the final hurdle: but like two years ago, he probably won the war (IMHO). No worries, cause he's the new king of Swedish light-entertainment!! Extremely excited about him presenting Melodifestivalen although I carry some regret that he may never get that chance to represent his country at ESC, in time-honoured Magnus Carlsson style. This wasn’t as good as "Cara Mia" but Mans sold it with James Bond-appeal, although I could probably have done without the 'Pussycat Dolls' accompanying him at this year's MF.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Agnes - Release me
Erik Hassle - Hurtful
Mando Diao - Dance with somebody
Markus Krunegård - Hela livet var ett disco
Promoe - Svennebanan
Taken by trees
Lorentz & M Sakarias
Gösta Berlings saga
Satan takes a holiday
Samuel L Session
Fibes oh Fibes!
Lorentz & M Sakarias
BEST LIVE ACT
I'm very happy to see Erik Hassle, Fibes and Miike Snow included in this year's list.
As previously rumoured, contestants include E.M.D.'s Mattias Andréasson; singer Molly Sandén will also be taking part. The new series will begin in January 2010.
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
It looks as if she will always be an also-ran at Melodifestivalen, although I’ll never understand why. Elaborately staged, but underneath all that this was just a great dance-pop song which has soared in my iTunes play count over the year. If someone like, say, Kylie recorded this, it could have been a massive worldwide hit. And that stop-start moment at 2:15 into the song - "people take a bow/show me that you love me" is just total genius.
Monday, November 30, 2009
Not being too familiar with the most recent work of Ms Minogue, I was therefore unaware that this initially belonged to her and that Christophe's version is a cover - with the very nice twist of duetting with the original artist.
Christophe is one of the most original and inventive reality TV talent show winners anywhere in the world: not only did he make a cracking debut album but he followed it with an ambitious and contemporary-sounding second album, although I felt it could have done with some more catchy songs in the style of "Double Je" and "Kiss The Bride". Still, I guess it is a good sign that he is progressing as a true artist.
This song is a deliciously frothy bilingual mix which should (and probably will) appeal to fans of both artists.
Heat 1: Örnsköldsvik - 06.02.10
Jenny Silver – "A place to stay"
Jessica Anderssson – "I did it for love"
Salem Al Fakir – "Keep on walking"
Pain of Salvation – "Road Salt"
Frispråkar'n – "Singel"
Anders Ekborg – "The Saviour"
Ola Svensson – "Unstopable"
Linda Pritchard – "You're makin me hot-hot-hot"
Heat 2: Sandviken - 13.02.10
MiSt – "Come and get me now"
Dogge Doggelito och Andra generationen – "Hippare hoppare"
Anna Maria Espinosa – "Innan alla ljusen brunnit ut"
Erik Saade – "Manboy"
Hanna Lindblad – "Manipulated"
Kalle Moraeus och Orsa spelmän – "Underbart"
Andreas Johnson – "We can work it out"
Very excited, obviously, about Örnsköldsvik....!
Good to see Andreas back in Heat 2 as well. Some new/unfamiliar names announced so far, which may not please the schlager fraternity, but it just means some potentially exciting new acts to discover!
Sunday, November 29, 2009
I'm gradually recovering from that horrible cold which floored me for the full weekend, so it's time to resume my countdown.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
The 2009-50: No. 34 - I’m falling in love with your favourite song, I’m gonna sing it all night long
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Opening track on the great man's rather wonderful "Ready For The Weekend" album. This is a perfect example of the accessible dance music with a strong pop sensibility, a style which he does so effortlessly and so well. An uptempo song with an uplifting, if repetitive, chorus.
(Bizarre thing happened today, as whilst I was battling my way through the never-ending rainstorms, this song came on my iPod. What an appropriate title, I thought, as I proceeded to step into a great big puddle....!)
The way this chart is unfolding is as big a surprise to me as it is to anyone else (or not, as the case may be) as I've re-written the list of songs from no.35 to no.50 several times over the last couple of nights. Still got that slight paranoia that I might have left some songs out by accident, in which case they'll probably make an appearance in my 'ones that got away' list which should appear in the week beginning 14.12.2009.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Reza is the latest contestant to be evicted from Swedish Idol, I thought she might go this week after being in the bottom two last week with Eddie (yes I missed him this week, it's just not the same without him. Pass the Kleenex).
The one thing that did shock me though, was Erik's appearance in the bottom two: it proves just how strong the competition is this year. No 'John and Edward' types in Swedish Idol !
Calle seems to be on the up - he has a great rock voice and is very very good at what he does but I still don't see him as solo-singer material: I think he would be better fronting a band.
Tove showed another side to her style with a very nice version of "Himlen är oskyldigt blå" which is a lovely song by the late and much-missed singer-songwriter Ted Gärdestad.
Mariette has also recovered her form over the past couple of weeks and is again a contender but I'll stick my neck out and predict that Calle will go next week, followed by Mariette, with the finalists being Tove and Erik. But as my predictions usually turn out rubbish it will probably be a Calle-Mariette final. Who knows? They're all good in their own way, and so much better than anyone on X Factor.
Quite excited at the prospect of the "Idol 2004-2009" DVD coming out in Sweden towards the end of this year, will definitely need to buy that one.
"500 Dågar Om Aret" - Tomas Ledin
I continue to have a strong sense of loyalty to many of my ‘foreign favourites’ whom I’ve supported over the years. Like Tomas Ledin for example; who at 57 years old has had a music career spanning almost 40 years and he keeps on rockin’! Over recent years - and I say this as a fan - I feel his recorded output has deteriorated and he only seems to be capable of two songs - the ‘anthemic rocky one’ and the ‘acoustic ballad’. This album doesn’t really dispute that thinking, mixing up the smooth acoustic songs - some of them rather nice, don’t get me wrong - with the stadium-rockers like the title track and "Medelklassens Okrönta Kungar", (which got a lot of press attention at the time of the album’s release due to Ledin’s claim that it’s a rock anthem for the middle classes). His voice has deepened over the years, but vocally he still has it. The problem continues to be the unimaginative musical settings for his songs which are less varied now than in his ‘golden era’ of the 70s, 80s and early 90s. First single "Håll Ut" was disappointing on first hearing, and it still disappoints; I like the catchy foot-tapper "Ut på Vagarna Igen" though.
"Röd" - Kent
Loved and acclaimed by the Swedish critics and music fans alike, Kent continue to push the musical boundaries in a more electronic direction and manage to keep their music fresh on their new album. It starts bizarrely, with bells and a church choir, but it’s not long till the pounding, pulsating electro beats kick in, topped by Joakim Berg’s distinctive voice. If first single "Töntarna" didn’t really leave an impression, they make up for it for example with "Taxmannen", "Krossa Allt" and the epic "Sjukhus", the latter building up into a fast, funky, New Order-ish (yes, that good) adventure, and the outstanding, equally epic "Vals för S***n". If I have a problem with many of the songs on this album it’s that many of them are a bit too long and can overstay their welcome, but one thing is for sure - their electro-disco-rock-melancholy is in a class of its own. You can be sure that come awards season, they’ll be walking away with a few. Like all Kent albums they need some time to grow on you; and like the others, this definitely brings its rewards.
"Zij aan Zij" - Clouseau
Here’s a band which has rediscovered its joie de vivre, its musical mojo, call it what you will. Many bands go stale with the passing of time, but not Flemish-speaking Belgium’s most popular group of the last 20 years. After spending the mid to late 90s in easy listening territory, they rediscovered the excitement of their early days and their last 3 albums have been filled with power-pop guitar driven songs with anthemic singalong choruses which are just tailor-made for their annual residency at Antwerp’s Sportpaleis. Their trademark ballads are still there though, but even these are a bit more muscular - like the ‘With or Without You’-influenced title track. "De Juiste Vergissing" is a very good opening track whilst "Leve België" is interestingly, a song for unity in their divided country. "Zij aan Zij" may have nothing distinctively new or different to offer, but if you’re a Clouseau fan you will enjoy it, and it would appear that there is still a lot of life left in the Wauters brothers’ winning musical formula.