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.
One of the lesser-known tracks on his rather wonderful second album "Ready For The Weekend" which has probably been played to death at EuropeCrazy HQ by now. This is completely dance-tastic and I love the way it goes off on that little ravey tangent near the end.
I'm now feeling very tired so won't be hanging around here for much longer tonight. Before I go...
- "Retro Saturday" is now on another break and will be back in January.
- When I'm refreshed and revived tomorrow I'll post my Idol review - "I just haven't watched it yet" as Michael Buble might sing :))
- I should also post an album roundup: this month's Square-Eyed will follow in the next few days.
- Also just realised I hadn't mentioned that the all-male Team Ola won Körslaget last week, which I'm very happy about although less happy that they are supposed to have (allegedly) ripped off a routine by the British winners 'Only Men Aloud' from that 'Last Choir Standing' thing on BBC-1 last year?
- Shamefully I haven't seen any of "Dansbandskampen" yet.
- Still obsessed with Melodifestivalen.
- Have decided not to watch "I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here" - one of the very few celeb-reality shows which I bother with - any more, until they get some of the so-called 'celebs' to earn their money. Reason = Katie "Don't call me Jordan" Price = bush tucker trials night after night = not funny anymore, killing this show actually. I'm struggling to understand the reason for the "what trials Katie did next" show and ITV's obsession with this woman. Not that it would have anything to do with ratings and tabloid coverage then, would it???
Saturday, November 21, 2009
The song chosen to launch 2009's blog-land favourite and all-round wonderful new talent Erik Hassle in the UK - an uptempo guitar-pop grower with very sharp lyrics - predictably was too good to make the charts in this country.
Wisely, his record company have put the release of the fantastic "Hurtful" and the British version of his debut album - which was originally due for release here in November, slap-bang in X Factor season where decent music will sink without a trace, (and which fans of quality Swedish pop have been enjoying for a vast chunk of 2009) - on hold until February 2010, by which time he'll reach a much wider audience by supporting Mika on his British tour and, fingers crossed, finally achieve the success he deserves in this country.
Friday, November 20, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
- Most of the songs were released in 2009, although there is as usual that little grey area where I've featured a couple of songs which, although technically released in 2008, didn't reach my ears until 2009.
- There are also those songs which were released in the post-2008-50 period and made it into the 'ones that got away' list at the end of last year, therefore just missed out on this year's list: main casualty being Christian Walz.
- Only songs which have been commercially released this year are eligible, which rules out unreleased tracks: that's why Salem Al Fakir's as yet unreleased "Brooklyn Sun", despite being one of my favourite and most played songs of the year, is omitted (watch out for that one next year though....)
So here we go....
But at least there are - finally! - a couple of songs in the Swedish language at least!!
Here (thanks as usual to Aftonbladet) is the list of who'll be singing what this week:
Tove Östman Styrke
1.”Sweet dreams” (Eurythmics)
2.”Himlen är oskyldigt blå” (Ted Gärdestad)
1.”Your song” (Elton John).
2.”To be with you” (Mr. Big).
1.”My life would suck without you” (Kelly Clarkson).
2.”Always” (Bon Jovi).
Reza Ningtyas Lindh
1.”You've got a friend” (Carole King).
2.”When I need you” (Leo Sayer).
1.”Ängeln i rummet” (Eva Dahlgren).
2.”Good riddance (Time of your life)” (Green Day).
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Today SVT revealed the second 'joker' (wildcard) entry to next year's Melodifestivalen - and it is none other than my most favourite singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/musical genius, the outstanding Salem Al Fakir.
I've been through a lot of different emotions about this today - extreme excitement, disbelief, shock, further excitement, even more excitement, you get the idea :)
Anyway Salem will be appearing in Melodifestivalen 2010, where he will sing a song called "Keep On Walking" which of course he has also written himself.
For those who haven't heard any of Salem's music yet, I would recommend you take a trip over to Salem's MySpace (www.myspace.com/salem) or do a search for some of his videos over at YouTube.
And (quick plug time) don't forget to visit Planet Salem, which is my very own international fansite for the great man!!!! http://planetsalem.blogspot.com
Sunday, November 15, 2009
(If you're not familiar with Vincent, he's a really talented singer, musician and songwriter - one of Sweden's best!)
I just love it when Swedish pop stars get together, don't you? First Måns and Marie, now Agnes and Vincent. It's a shame that Brolle and Elin split up though :(
Anyway I wish this new pairing all the best! Now when are we going to get a new album from Vincent? It's about time....!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
"Halo" - Reza: As stated in my previous post, this is one of my most hated songs of 2009 so credit to her for doing a mainly controlled performance of it.
For me, 2009 has been a year of musical extremes. On the one hand there have been songs this year which I have loved and will continue to love for a long time to come: most of these will have escaped the ears of the general British listening public, but thankfully there is the pop blogging community where I manage to discover some wonderful pop music overlooked by the UK media/radio programmers.
For me, the UK top 40 singles chart in 2009 has, most of the time, been a no-go area of autotuned r'n'b landfill, or songs which have overstayed their welcome, fuelled by the most unimaginative radio playlists I can remember for many years.
Now as you know I try to be a positive, glass-half-full kind of person, not really into any kind of negativity but the fact remains that where there is love, there is also hate. And so, ladies and gentlemen, may I present my 2009 hate chart of songs which no radio playlist over the past year could live without - but I never want to hear them again!
1. "Mama Do" - Pixie Lott (aargh!)
2. "Halo" - Beyonce
3. "In For The Kill" - La Roux (the year's most overrated act)
4. "My Life Would Suck Without You" - Kelly Clarkson
5. "Fight For This Love" - Cheryl Cole
6. "T Shirt" - Shontelle
7. "Sober" - Pink
8. "Boom Boom Pow" - Black Eyed Peas
9. Any autotuned r'n'b rubbish (about 90% of the top 40!)
10. Anything by Florence and the Machine (the year's second most overrated act)
I would hope for an improvement in 2010, but then I remember that Scouting For Girls, The Ting Tings and Duffy haven't had a record out in a while :(((((
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
OK so far. Well done Måns, I'm glad he's doing this as he did so well during this summer's "Allsång pa Skansen" and "Sommarkrysset", that an alternative career in TV presenting was always going to be on the cards. I can't comment about Christine Meltzer as I haven't seen her in anything but hopefully she'll bring a few laughs to the show.
But what's the deal with Dolph Lundgren - yes, that Dolph Lundgren, him off the "Rocky" film - also being involved? Aftonbladet reports that he'll be on stage on the first and last shows and will be involved in the other shows, behind the scenes. Bit of an odd choice, this one, if you ask me.
Sunday, November 08, 2009
VG reports that NRK won’t be confirming the names of any participants until December. In the meantime you can check out all the rumours and gossip at http://www.vg.no/musikk/grand-prix/
Mariette: "Because The Night": She does have a good voice and she performs effortlessly week after week, but I still can't 'connect' with her for some reason. I'm still not sure if this competition is the right forum for her talent.
Erik: "The Show Must Go On": he is vocally for me the most consistent performer this year - give him anything and he will sing it well. The judges loved him - and I will be very happy if he wins it.
Saturday, November 07, 2009
It's just over 30 years since the singer-songwriter Joe Jackson had his first UK chart hit with the (still wonderful) new wave classic "Is She Really Going Out With Him". This was followed by "It's Different For Girls" which gave him his biggest chart hit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKr2n-9p7WM
My favourite Joe Jackson song is "Steppin' Out" from 1983 which is a true classic. (My definition of a true classic is a song which still sounds as fresh and wonderful today as it did back then). Jazzy and uptempo, with a distinctive piano hookline and a very memorable video : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnbj0w8iOeM
Back in 1988, Ireland hosted the Eurovision Song Contest, thanks to Johnny Logan's second win the previous year. They chose the band Jump The Gun to defend their title with "Take Him Home". Looking back, it was a pretty ambitious choice of song, starting off as a piano ballad and then it turns into as near to a rock song as you could get in Eurovision back in those days. For me it's one of the most underrated entries in Eurovision which I can remember, but I've always liked it. I wonder what became of Jump The Gun?
And so it was this week that somewhere along the way I heard a clip of P.M. Dawn's "Set Adrift On Memory Bliss" which of course was based around that memorable sample of Spandau Ballet's "True".
"Set Adrift..." reached no. 3 in the UK chart in 1991 and still sounds incredibly fresh today: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0AOVf9p9ht4
In 1992, which was for various reasons a pretty incredible and memorable year both for musical and personal reasons, I loved "Reality Used To Be A Friend Of Mine" (that lyric was already mentioned in "Set Adrift...") and was particularly partial to the CJ McIntosh club mix which someone has very kindly posted at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9pTU2i1k4g&feature=related
Friday, November 06, 2009
Oh, and "Halo" - best single? I'm seriously worried about the musical taste of the MTV-viewers :(
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Rabih Jaber – ”All my life” (K-Ci & Jojo).
Mariette Hansson – ”Because the night” (Bruce Springsteen).
Reza Ningtyas Lindh – ”Summertime” (Fantasia Barrino version).
Calle Kristiansson – ”With a little help from my friends” (Joe Cocker version).
Tove Östman Styrke – ”In the ghetto” (Elvis Presley).
Eddie Razaz – ”If you're not the one” (Daniel Bedingfield).
Erik Grönwall – ”The show must go on” (Queen).
By the look of this list, everyone is firmly within their comfort zone and therefore it should be a solid week and I expect some great performances. Can't even predict who will go this week.
This week also presents me with a major challenge, as I have such an aversion to that Bedingfield man ("Gotta Get Thru This" excepted) that it's going to be very difficult to listen to Eddie singing that awful song....!
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Sunday, November 01, 2009
Above: Craig Kelly & Flavia Cacace - when will the nine lives run out?
Above: Natalie Cassidy & Vincent Simone: she's not that great, but she's having fun.
Above: Phil Tufnell & Katya Virshilas: he's the anti-Craig Kelly - he never stops grinning.