Sunday, June 21, 2009

Album Review: "MZW" - Måns Zelmerlöw

Pop fame, I think you will agree, is fleeting. Even more fleeting is Idol contestant fame, but here’s one who has reversed the trend. Winning "Let’s Dance" also helped of course, combined with a crucial appearance at Melodifestivalen in 2007 and a return to the contest this year.

But Måns Zelmerlöw is more than just your average Idol/MF-contestant - he’s a man of many talents who is probably aware that his pop-fame won’t last, so he’s already diversifying into other areas where he can develop his career further - songwriting, musical theatre (a forthcoming stint in "Chicago" in London) and TV presenting ("Sommarkrysset")

But in the meantime, he’s still hot pop property and to prove it, here’s his second album.

"MZW" kicks off with "Hope and Glory", his Melodifestivalen 2009 entry which was (IMHO) cruelly robbed of a place in Moscow at the last minute. It’s dependable Fredrik Kempe schlager pop although is not really reflective of what’s to follow. There is a more contemporary sound on the album which at times verges upon the Ne-Yo/Chris Brown r’n’b pop style which has been popular over the last year or so. Let’s just say on first listen I was a bit worried about this, as "Freak Out" and "Find Love" seemed to go down that road, yet the difference is that these songs have grown on me over time in a way that those other examples of r’n’b pop could never do.

Although "One Minute More" and "Impossible" haven’t grown on me, I have to say :( these are probably my least favourite tracks on the album.

Surely "Rewind" will be a future (autumn) single with its "rewind/rewind/back to summertime" hook. It’s a very good example of contemporary pop which he does very well. "Forever" meanwhile immediately jumped out and was an early favourite - think catchy schlager-pop-meets-Basshunter (!). "Home" is another particular favourite of mine - it grabbed me from the beginning with its ‘Black and Gold’-style backing track and again it’s a very strong song indeed with hit potential.
"A Stranger Saved My Life" is also a rather nice ballad.

"Whole New World" has perhaps arguably some of the cheesiest, corniest lyrics of 2009 - "I’ll be wishing for a contribution, to my you-fund"; "There’s no kiss and make-up/well there’s some make-up but it’s on your skin"; "I reckon with time we’ll grow older too/but my wrinkles will look better with you". Yet despite all this it’s a warm and likeable track - I guess he wrote it for his girlfriend Marie Serneholt? (Who gets a dedication in the sleeve notes, by the way)

Current single "Hold On" closes the album - the lyrics are a little bit predictable in a ‘make the world a better place’ kind of way, but he manages to avoid being too sickly-sweet. I don’t understand how this was chosen as a single, though? Maybe it’s just to show another side of Måns I guess, but there are many other tracks which I’d have chosen over it.

Måns has also co-written all of the songs on the album and has been more involved in its creation this time - proving that he’s just not another pretty-boy pop singer. "MZW" is a very good album, but the whole is better than the sum of its parts, whereas his debut was the exact opposite for me. There is no "Cara Mia", "Brother Oh Brother" or "Work Of Art" which will be played to death on my iPod in the way that those tracks were, but don’t worry, I can still see myself playing this album for a long time to come.

(Apologies for the extreme lateness of my review of this CD - I bought it when I was over in Gothenburg in April!)


Keira said...

I've finally listened to this album enough to put in my two cents. You wrote a lovely review, and on the whole I agree with your points. I still cant pick a few favourite tracks and think the whole album makes for a great listen.

I would say I'm bored with Forever a bit now, possibly because I've had the track for a while. I also think Hope & Glory gets overshadowed a bit now when listening to the whole album.

One Minute More, Home, and Find Love are possibly the songs that most hit home lyrically for me at the moment (I'm looking forward to going home and being with friends and family again, but it also means the end of my relationship with the Finnish boyfriend, so its very bitter-sweet).

But then Freak Out and Rewind are just infectious fun pop songs that always perk me up.

So in all, the album is definitely a keeper for me, and the clear favourite from the albums I bought in Sweden this time around.

EuropeCrazy said...

The songs I like best at the moment are "Rewind" and "Home". I wasn't really into "Find Love" to begin with, but this really grew on me too.

I see what you mean about the lyrics meaning more to you - I didn't know that you were finishing (sorry for that unfortunate pun) with your Finnish man :( No chance of a long-distance relationship continuing then?

Keira said...

I don't think so. We both agreed when we got together that it would just be a short-term thing, so I knew it was coming but its still hard. We'll keep in touch though, and you never know, we might have tales from turku v.2 starting up this time next year. For now though, I have to go home and finish my degree.

On a side note, I've been listening to Velvets album this morning, and its very disco tastic.

Anonymous said...

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EuropeCrazy said...

Hi Susan

Welcome to my blog! Glad you're enjoying it, feel free to leave a comment anytime :)

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy Mans. I live in Atlanta, Ga, U.S.A., and stumbled upon him by accident. I loved "Stand by for...," especially "Paradise." My question, comment is this: Why isn't Mans being promoted in the United States. I think he'd be a huge hit over here.

Cheers, Jeff