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!)