Saturday, January 31, 2009

Retro Saturday: The Skids (with a Maxell tape diversion)

Another song which I saw on VH1 Classic last night was "Into The Valley" by The Skids. Enjoy lead singer Richard Jobson's unique dance style at :

The best thing about "Into The Valley" of course was the TV ad for Maxell tapes from a couple of years later, which interpreted the lyrics of that track in its own unique way and now, thanks to the wonders of YouTube, you can too:

The other legendary Maxell ad featured "Me Ears Are Alight" I mean "The Israelites" by Desmond Dekker, which you can also find at They just don't make adverts like that anymore!!

Retro Saturday: Japan

From 'Turning Japanese' to ....Japan. Yes it's corny link night on Retro Saturday!

From the 'new romantic' era of the early 80s, Japan were an exquisite treat, I didn't like absolutely everything they did but "Quiet Life" and "Life In Tokyo" were rather fabulous and still sound wonderful today.

Retro Saturday: The Vapors

From rap to new wave now. My next selection tonight was inspired by watching VH1 Classic for a while last night where they had a little 'new wave' hour and the memories all came flooding back!

"Turning Japanese" was one of the top 'one hit wonders' from the end of the 70s, from that new wave era which I remember quite fondly!!

Retro Saturday: Sugarhill Gang

Back in the day when rap music was original, funny and inventive, this was one of the first - the first? - rap hits, set to the backdrop of that Chic "Good Times" sample. Hotel, motel, Holiday Inn....aww yes.

Ladies and gentlemen: "Rappers Delight"!

Retro Saturday: Warren G featuring Nate Dogg

It's going to be a completely random Retro Saturday tonight, and a little change from the usual....

My mind was wandering the other day (as it often does) and I got to thinking about my favourite rap songs of all time. This, inevitably, was one of them: an absolute 90s classic, which had the Michael McDonald vocal sample on the radio edit, but here is the rather wonderful original....

Coming next: the first, and greatest, rap song of all time.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Eurovision Semi-Finals Draw took place today.

The draw for the Eurovision Song Contest semi-finals took place today in Moscow.

Here it is:

Semi-Final 1 (to be held on 12 May 2009)

Czech Republic

Semi-Final 2: (to be held on 14 May 2009)


Conspiracy theorists queue here please!!

Meanwhile the 'Big 4' countries - UK, Germany, France and Spain, along with reigning champions Russia, go straight into the final on 16 May. The running order for both semi-finals will be determined at a further draw in March once all the entries are chosen.

This weekend...

It's the first "Super Saturday" of national finals season: hoping I get a decent link to NRK's MGP webstream this time, but the Danish final's also on and I might just check that out too. Then of course there is the small matter of Royaume-Uni choosing who will represent us in Moscow with "My Time", written by Diane Warren and Sir Andrew Lloyd-Webber.

No playlist this week as I haven't been listening to anything different from what I was listening to a couple of weeks ago.

There may or may not be a Retro Saturday - haven't decided yet.

It's also the final of Korslaget - more about that later.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

That Rockbjörnen review (sorry it's late)

The annual Aftonbladet music awards ceremony - voted for by the people of Sweden, rather than any juries or music biz people - is 30 years old this year. Like any other trendy 30 year old it was "fashionably late" in starting but well worth the wait and I watched it live on the internet.

The show - held in Cirkus, Stockholm last Thursday, 22.01.09 - opened with a rendition of "Happy Birthday" by a couple of members of Soundtrack of Our Lives who then launched into some rather good retro-rock. I’m not too familiar with their music although I’m well aware that they’ve been around for a few years; I liked them tonight.

This year’s presenter, Per Sinding-Larsen was a big improvement on that awful one from last year, although he was a bit too hyperactive at times!

Putting the rock into Rockbjörnen this year was Poodles drummer Kicken who’s now achieved his own reality TV fame of late ("Dancing On Ice" ha ha) but he provided various rock-drumming interludes throughout the show to remind us of his day job.

Best Swedish Live Act: Håkan Hellström. Showman, entertainer, hugely popular and a man who knows that a velvet suit will always get extra points from me. I was impressed by his appearance on last year’s "Allsång" where he stole the show.
2nd - Lars Winnerback (why? This man’s appeal still escapes me)
3rd - In Flames. Third place was to be a recurring result for them tonight.

Next on stage, Markus Krunegård (above). 2008 was a big breakthrough for this floppy-fringed young man and he proved why he was considered one of the year’s exciting new discoveries in Sweden.

What I like about the Rockbjornen is that they’re firmly a Swedish award show - there are only two international categories and these are cheerfully brushed off as an irrelevance. None of this 57 nominations for Katy Perry/Rihanna/whoever. Oh by the way this year’s Best International Artist was Duffy (overrated helium-voiced bargain bin Amy) and Best International Group was Coldplay (that’s ok with me) so back to the really important stuff.

Best Swedish Female Artist: Amanda Jenssen. Dressed in a tight green frock, which I believe she had some trouble with (!) she was as reassuringly unhinged as ever. It was a good year for her too - I wonder if she will sustain her popularity over time?
2nd - Robyn. Loved by Swedes and everyone else, even though she hasn’t actually released anything really new in a while.
3rd: Miss Li. She’s a bit odd, I remember her on last year’s show and was speechless but I ‘get’ her a little more now.
Titiyo was the next live act on stage. Unfortunately the song wasn't as good as her considerable talents and presence deserve. "Stumble To Fall" actually became quite tiresome by the end.

Best Group: Takida.
Well well well! A 'Best Group' award not won by Kent!! Well done to the band whose "Curly Sue" single stayed in the Swedish chart all year.
2. Kent
3. In Flames

Another drum medley from Kicken and then it was on to the MySpace prize, won this year by Billie The Vision and the Dancers. I know that name from hanging out in blog-land but I hadn't even seen them or heard their music until this show. "Groovy" was a treat though, helped along by some inventive cross-dressing. Highly entertaining.

Throughout the night there were little inserts which I could have done without but these provided a good opportunity for a comfort break :) Something with Markoolio, The Knife, and snow for example.

Next on stage, Dundertåget. Let's raaaawk! Another act that put the Rock into Rockbjörnen.

Best Newcomer: Amanda Jenssen.
What a great year for her! It is a very "populist" award show and she is obviously very popular with the Swedish people right now.
2. Lykke Li
3. Markus Krunegård.

Another live performance, this time from Sugarplum Fairy and "The Escapologist". I was very impressed with them. I think the singer's got something to do with Mando Diao or related to someone in that band? He's certainly an appealing frontman with charisma reminiscent of a young Mick Jagger. Yet another Swedish band who could potentially have massive international success.

Best Album: "För Sent För Edelweiss" - Håkan Hellström.
I think I'll need to check out this album.
2. Kent
3. In Flames (yes I told you they were destined to be 3rd all night)

Now for one of the night's showstopping performances, from a quite frankly mental Lykke Li (above), with "Dance Dance Dance". My goodness, she goes a bit mad on stage doesn't she! Very memorable indeed.
Then, Kicken again. More drumming.
Next on stage, the return of Melody Club with their comeback song "Girls Don't Always Wanna Have Fun". Nice to see them back, although I still see a lot of similarity between them and The Ark. Actually it's about time The Ark was back too, if Ola can drag himself away from musical theatre (!!)

I loved Erik and Viktor's acoustic medley of this year's Best Song nominees. But guess what won?
Best Song: "Feelgood" - Ola
Always an Aftonbladet favourite, and we shouldn't be too surprised that he won this.
2. "Håll Ditt Huvud Högt" - Kent
3. "The Mirror's Truth" - In Flames (3rd again!)

That was the cue for a live performance from Ola, with a new haircut. For a moment I thought he'd bought Salem Al Fakir's hair and dyed it blond. It took a bit of getting used to, you know I love guys with curly hair but I wasn't really sure about Ola....but by the end of the song his hair was "growing on me" (sorry) and I liked that nice lilac bow tie too. He's such a good pop star, this boy.

I was really enjoying the show up to now, and my anticipation of a certain live performance was building up to fever pitch, but firstly...

Best Male Act - Lars Winnerbäck.
Did I ever say I didn't like him? That's right, I still don't. Miss Li collected his award.
2. Håkan Hellström
3. Danny Saucedo

Finally, the moment arrived that I had been waiting for. Salem Al Fakir (above) performing "It's Only You Part II" live on the Rockbjornen stage. To the average Swedish music fan it probably seems like he’s been away for a while: to us devoted fans he’s never been away!!

There has been virtually no promotion for "It’s Only You Part II" so hopefully his performance of the song at this ceremony might be enough to get the song back in the Swedish charts. Stood behind his piano wearing a big pink raincoat (!) Salem proceeded to give a sweet and touching performance, full of warmth and charm. I've already posted the link to the video over at Planet Salem but here it is anyway:

Hellström and Winnerbäck may be the big crowd-pleasing acts of the moment, but they lack the absolute magic that Salem brings to his music - which is becoming more mature and displaying more emotional depth.

The next live act was Lisa Miskovsky, who I thought was excellent. She sang "Lady Stardust" which I wasn't really familiar with, but it had been a big hit in Sweden a few years ago for her.

And finally, the icing on the 30th birthday cake. Aftonbladet readers voted for the winners of the Lifetime Achievement award...the prize was awarded to some little-known Swedish combo called Abba (!!)

Cue an Abba medley from Club Killers, with some special guest vocalists. And then the surprise that no-one ever could have expected: Agnetha and Anni-Frid (above) appeared on stage to collect their award. Given that the two "Abba girls" very rarely make public appearances, and it's usually Benny and Bjorn who would do this kind of thing, then this really was a very special event which even got a mention in the British press!

All in all a great show which I enjoyed immensely. Roll on January 2010!

Sebastian Karlsson's new CD is out tomorrow!

And he’s giving everyone a preview of it, including "Serial Lovers" - a lyric from which gives the album its name "The Most Beautiful Lie". at You can also find tour dates there too.

On first listen, it’s not too different from his last album and sounds like yet another very good collection of uptempo and midtempo pop and rock songs in his signature style, which I think is quite similar to Andreas Johnson. "My Getaway" took a while to grow on me but I really like it now, but some of the songs on the album are more instant on first hearing. My favourites so far are "Come On Bring Out The Love" and "Wake Up Where Your Heart Is". I’m definitely going to get the album soon.

Monday, January 26, 2009

What's in a name?

As you know I'm a very private person who doesn't really like to give too much away (for a number of reasons which I won't bore you with here), and I've been happy to hide behind the EuropeCrazy nick for the last couple of years. However someone asked me what my name was, and I just realised that I should have mentioned it before.

My name is Laura.

So there you have it!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Phone a friend...and tell them to see this movie!

I don't go to the cinema as often as I would like to, mainly because the quality of too many current films doesn't really motivate me to go, and often I just say 'I'll wait till it's on Sky Movies'. Faithful travelling companion suggested going to see "Slumdog Millionaire" a film which is currently winning or been nominated for numerous worldwide awards. (That would be a first for me, going to see an Oscar-nominated film before the Oscars take place).
So off we went to the movies yesterday - and what a great film it was too! A very simple idea, but developed in a highly original way. The film told the story of two brothers, Jamal and Salim, orphaned at a very young age, who had to find every way they could to survive in the poverty of the streets of Mumbai. They encounter a young girl named Latika, whose own destiny is inevitably linked to the two boys in different ways - and particularly to Jamal, who falls in love with her.
When the humble "slumdog" teenage call-centre worker Jamal appears on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire", no-one expects him to know the answers to the difficult questions, but each question tells a story from an episode in this this young man's life. The slimy game show host certainly doesn't believe him, and has him arrested for fraud. He is tortured by the police but eventually gets the chance to answer that final big money question....
I won't give the ending away but all I'll say is that it's happy and heartwarming :)))
"Slumdog Millionaire" manages to be both thought-provoking and entertaining at the same time, with the social comment on the contrast between India's rich and poor, set against the glamour of a TV game show. It was an inventive and original film, one of the best I've seen in a long time and I'd recommend that you go and see it, for once here is a movie that lives up to the hype.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ulrika Jonsson?

I still don't understand why she won Celebrity Big Brother.

A woman who seems to be defined by her high-profile relationships entered the Big Brother house and (IMHO) failed to reinvent herself as a likeable person. Maybe it was just the editing, but to me she had no redeeming features whatsoever. Usually it's a "certain type" of person who wins this type of contest, which makes the final result all the more mystifying.

Terry Christian was 2nd; Coolio 3rd, Verne 4th, Ben 5th.


Bit of live blogging from me this evening.

Firstly, "Your Country Needs You": it's still cheap and tacky but I suppose it's better than nothing. As I predicted, the Emperors of Soul went tonight, as they were in the bottom two with...Jade! Yes, she-who-can-do-no-wrong was in the danger zone, but inevitably saved by The Lord. Who soooooo obviously wants her to win.

Whereas here at EuropeCrazy HQ we're supporting......MARK!!!

Mark must win. He has the best voice and the most consistent performances, and he doesn't need to resort to screeching or flashing his legs to impress. When I found out he was singing Justin Timberlake - another favourite of this blog - I was quite concerned but he pulled it off.

So it's Mark, Jade and The Twins - ????????? - to next week's final.

Mark must win, if only to give the UK a chance of not-being-last in Moscow.

Meanwhile over in Norway:

I only managed to get a decent connection to the first heat of Norway's MGP in Kongsvinger when the interval act - a tribute to Kate Gulbrandsen's "Mitt Liv" was on, so the only two songs I heard were the two qualifiers to the final.


Espen Hana and Surferosa to the second chance round - I'll check these songs out later :)

"Tricky" by Velvet - shock horror, a girl band who are capable of singing live and in tune! My only concern is those heels - they're a bit of a health and safety hazard aren't they! I like this: it's bright and contemporary in that currently-in-vogue electropop style, although it won't win.

Thomas Brondbo to the final. What are those 'earrings' and drab cardigan about? "Det Vart En Storm" is terribly old fashioned wave-your-hands-from-side-to-side schlager, which you would probably need to be a certain type of Norwegian to understand I guess.

Hopefully NRK will get its act together and give us slow-internet-connected people a chance to watch tonight's show again, although from what I've been reading it wasn't the best line-up of songs tonight?

One more thing: Maria Haukaas Storeng. Hasn't she, em, "grown"!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Some stuff this weekend....

Been a bit busy over last few nights and the weekend is also going to be quite hectic so I'll just mention a few things:

I'll post a review of last night's Aftonbladet Rockbjornen awards ceremony which I watched live on the internet - what a rather fab show it was too, Ola and Amanda Jenssen were two of the big winners on the night. There was also a live appearance from a certain favourite singer of mine!

Celebrity Big Brother ends tonight. If I had my way, either Coolio or Verne would win but it's more likely to be Terry Christian as he fits the all-round nice bloke criteria which usually wins this type of show. As long as Ulrika or Ben don't win....

I'll catch up with Korslaget over the weekend. What a shocker last weekend as Robert Wells' team was evicted - they didn't deserve to go.

It's the first semi final of Norway's Melodi Grand Prix tomorrow night - this is always one of my favourite national finals and I'll be following it again this year. Haven't heard any of the songs yet though.

A great big YAY!!!!! as Sebastian Karlsson releases his long-awaited third album next week - "The Most Beautiful Lie". Tracks are being previewed at his MySpace and I'll catch up with these too.

Think that's about all for now :))

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Question for anyone outside Sweden who's ever been to a concert in Sweden - comments wanted!!

I've already put a similar post on Planet Salem about this, but I just wondered if anyone could help!

Have any of you who live outside Sweden, ever booked tickets online for any concerts in Sweden using If so, how does this work? Do they usually send tickets by air mail or do they email a confirmation and you pick up tickets at the venue?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Square-Eyed Couch Potato: January 2009

Firstly to Royaume-Uni’s search for an act to sing our Eurovision entry. "YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU" (BBC-1, Saturdays). Whilst it’s good to see the Beeb making an effort, it still falls short of acceptable. Such is the favouritism for one contestant that it should be renamed "Your Country Needs You (As Long As Your Name’s Jade)". It’s all rather tacky and amateurish: Damian (lack of interest) and Charlotte (strange voice, youngest contestant blah blah blah) have been evicted so far, leaving the following:

The Twins - holiday camp karaoke-queens in the making and most likely to give a Jemini-type performance - and what’s with all the blubbing?
Mark - the best voice and possibly the only contestant who I’d have confidence in delivering a Diane Warren/Andrew Lloyd Webber big-ballad;
Jade - shouty-Beyonce clone who may be more representative of what’s popular just now, but that’s not to say she’d be right for ESC;
Emperors of Soul - I normally like this type of soul bands but this lot is a rarity - a soul band which isn’t very good.

As you can tell I’m not too excited about any of them, but Mark is probably the best bet. It’s a poisoned chalice, whoever gets the ticket to Moscow. Just ask Andy Abraham....

The final season of "ER" (More 4, Thursdays) returned with a very emotional first episode (even cynical old me had a lump in my throat) which said goodbye to Dr Greg Pratt, who failed to survive despite the surgeons’ best efforts. I think it’s a very good decision to end ER as it’s gone as far as it can go, but it never lost its ability to do gripping drama.

Its younger sibling "GREY’S ANATOMY" (Living, Thursdays) is absolutely on fire at the moment. I loved season 4 and season 5 is on the way. The season 4 finale saw Meredith and McDreamy finally conquer their clinical trials and find their way back to each other. Hopefully they will stay together this time but Grey’s being Grey’s I very much doubt it, which will probably mean more Meredith-angst (spare us please). Elsewhere, Dr Bailey handed over the running of the clinic to Izzie, the Chief got back with his wife and George decided to re-sit his intern exam. Season 5 is on the way (starts this Thursday on Living): can’t wait.

For a long long time I’ve never followed tv schedules and preferred to tape and time-shift programmes then watch them when it suits me, rather than when the TV companies think I should. These days, the DVD box set also lets you make your own TV schedule, as well as giving you the chance to catch up with programmes which escaped your attention first time round. So I make no apologies about raving on endlessly about "GILMORE GIRLS", which I mentioned on here before. I am now the proud owner of the first three seasons box sets and am working my way through season one at the moment. In an ideal world, this simple, warm and family-friendly series would have been a prime-time hit on terrestrial TV with its snappy scripts, good acting and well-developed characters. Instead, the reruns have been stuck away on daytime E4, where I finally came across it and loved it enough to go back and watch it all from the beginning.

I only watched a little bit of "SURVIVING GAZZA" (Channel 4) but I got the picture: it made for uncomfortable viewing watching the former football star Paul Gascoigne spiralling down into the depths. Further proof as if it was needed, that fame isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, and there are as many casualties as there are success stories, maybe more.

Yet that doesn’t put the wannabes off their never-ending search for TV fame. Although I am loving "CELEBRITY BIG BROTHER" (Channel 4) - it doesn’t mean that I’m going to overcome my growing hatred of such shows and start watching them all (although I am partial to the odd Swedish one as you know). I’ve therefore made the decision that I’m not going to watch "DANCING ON ICE" (ITV, Sundays) with the latest crop of ex-soap stars and Z-listers. Despite being a figure skating fan, I find nothing to like in this show, I hate Philip Schofield, Holly Willoughby, the panel, the favouritism....need I go on?

Even the excellent "COME DINE WITH ME" (Channel 4, Monday-Friday) went down the ‘celebrity’ route this week so I deliberately avoided it. At least it will be back to the ‘normal’ (cue Harry Hill facial expression here) people from this week.

In the soaps, the tedious Steve-Becky-Michelle love triangle finally came undone in "CORONATION STREET" (ITV) - one wonders how this man, a charisma-free zone, can even get one woman, never mind two. We don’t like Tyrone either: he got married to Molly last week . Pity that her hideous Auntie Pam didn’t get blown to smithereens in that bio-fuel explosion the other week :) Decided that there are too many un-likeable characters in Corrie now, and you don’t really care what happens to them.

"HOLLYOAKS" (E4/Channel 4) has got that soap-disease where it inevitably suffers after a big storyline - Warren killed Louise on their wedding day, although we never actually saw this of course. Everyone is at it, and it’s one love-triangle after another: Mike-Zoe-Sarah and Nancy-Ravi-Kris, and it’s all getting a bit repetitive.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

NRJ Music Awards: results

The NRJ Music Awards took place in Cannes tonight: here are the results, not too surprising if you think about it...but well done Mylène, others may come and go, but you will always be a legend.

Best French Female - Jenifer
Best International Female - Britney Spears
Best French Male - Christophe Maé
Best International Male - Enrique Iglesias
Best French Group - la comédie musicale Cléopâtre
Best International Group - The Pussycat Dolls
Best French Song - "Belle Demoiselle" (Christophe Maé)
Best International Song: "Disturbia" (Rihanna)
Best French Album: "Point de Suture" (Mylène Farmer)
Best International Album: "One of the Boys" (Katy Perry)
Best French Newcomer: Zaho
Best International Newcomer: Jonas Brothers
NRJ special Music Award: Coldplay

Celebrity Big Brother: Boys, girls, and blubbing

No-one is more surprised than I am that I've lasted the pace with the latest edition of "Celebrity Big Brother" (Channel 4), but even if not much happens, it's must-see viewing.

As a woman, I should be offended by Coolio, but I'm not. He is incredibly entertaining. I'm more offended by the embarrassment to the female race that is ex-Liberty X member Michelle Heaton, who takes every opportunity to blub-to-order, all the while thinking of the magazine deals and further reality TV opportunities. Zzzz.

I am equally disappointed by ex-A1 singer Ben Adams, whose sole function in the house is to pose around in a scarf and take 'wimpy' to a whole new level.

Last night "Shameless" star (?) Tina Malone was evicted. I briefly warmed to Tina and welcomed her plain-speaking and frankness, but this was soon abandoned when she bonded with Ulrika Jonsson, probably the one (ex)-Swede on planet earth whom I despise more than any other. Tina became two-faced and when she started nibbling her toenails I was very tempted to reach for the off-switch.

I was no fan of ex-Sugababe Mutya either, but a round of applause for some integrity as she quit the house last night when it emerged that she wouldn't be evicted. Pity Michelle, Ben and Ulrika didn't have the guts to follow her out...preferring to stay behind, bore the nation, and collect their appearance fees.

Tonight, finally, I was impressed by LaToya Jackson in tonight's Channel 4 highlights show when she took Coolio aside and very perceptively summed up Michelle....LaToya has dignity, a quality lacking in Michelle/Ulrika, therefore i can see her being there at the end. She might be nice, but nice people have insight too, so well done to her; she went up in my estimations tonight.

Aah, Verne....well he provided a hysterical highlight for me last night as he got drunk on champagne, chatted up LaToya and ram-raided his scooter into the Diary Room: watch this classic moment at


"Did you just drive into the Diary Room door?"

Go Verne!!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Melodifestivalen: Markus Larsson gets his crystal ball out

Notorious Aftonbladet columnist Markus Larsson - famous for offending the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards (and less famous for offending me for not loving Salem Al Fakir - a criminal offence if ever there was one) has admittedly amused me with his feature in Aftonbladet where he predicts who will win Melodifestivalen - without hearing a single song!!

He predicts that the following will go directly to Globen - Shirley Clamp and Scotts; Markoolio and Måns Zelmerlöw; Molly Sandén and EMD; Agnes and Sarah Dawn Finer, whilst Amy Diamond and HEAT will qualify from Andra Chansen, and BWO will also reach the final by way of an international jury wild card.

He says that Måns will win the whole thing.

I never thought I'd see the day I'd agree with Markus Larsson, but that day has finally arrived.

Hope and Glory!!!!

(and I haven't even heard it yet)

P3 Guldgalan 17.01.09: list of winners

The P3 Guldgalan took place tonight in Sweden. Here are the winners (courtesy of Aftonbladet)

Best artist: Håkan Hellström
Best rock/metal: In Flames
Best group: Johnossi
Best pop: El Perro del Mar
Song of the year: ”Jag är en vampyr” - Markus Krunegård
Best newcomer: Lykke Li
Best dance: Style of Eye
Guldmicken – year's best live act: Håkan Hellström

Rockbjornen - full list of nominees

The annual Aftonbladet ‘people’s music prizes’ will be awarded this coming Thursday 22.01.09. I just realised I hadn’t yet posted the list of nominees so here it is. I’m not making any predictions because some of the categories are so diverse (EMD and In Flames in the same category!!), so anything’s possible and I’m just going to sit on the fence ha ha.

Best Female: Amanda Jenssen, Robyn, Miss Li, Annika Norlin, Veronica Maggio.

Best Male: Håkan Hellström, Lars Winnerback, Ola, Danny, Markus Krunegård

Best Group: Kent, In Flames, Takida, EMD, Sugarplum Fairy

Best Newcomer: Amanda Jenssen, Markus Krunegård, Lykke Li, Hästpojken, Melissa Horn.

Best Song: "Håll Ditt Huvud Högt" - Kent / "Feel Good" - Ola / "Jag Är En Vampyr" - Markus Krunegård / "The Escapologist" - Sugarplum Fairy / "The Mirror’s Truth" - In Flames

Best Album: "A Sense of Purpose" - In Flames / "För Sent För Edelweiss" - Håkan Hellström / "Box 1991-2008" - Kent / "Good Enough" - Ola / "The Wild One" - Sugarplum Fairy

Best International Artist: Duffy / Katy Perry / Rihanna / Britney Spears / Pink

Best International Group: Coldplay / Metallica / Glasvegas / The Killers / The Jonas Brothers

Best International Album: "Black Ice" - AC/DC / "Rockferry" - Duffy / "Glasvegas" - Glasvegas / "Death Magnetic" - Metallica / "Viva La Vida" - Coldplay

Lifetime Achievement: Abba / Magnus Uggla / Ulf Lundell / Per Gessle / Joakim Thåstrom

Album Review: "The Corner" - Christian Walz

Christian Walz, yet another one of that endless line of creative Swedish pop geniuses, likes to take his time over an album. Four years passed between his last one "Paint By Numbers" and this one, released at the end of 2008.
As with so much other music these days I only got into Christian’s music thanks to Poster Girl; after she mentioned "What’s Your Name" and "Loveshift" I checked them out and was immediately hooked.
I had previously heard of him though: lots of internet articles mentioned the vocal similarity between Salem Al Fakir and Christian Walz, and I can understand this, comparisons are inevitable as both have the same sweet, soft distinctive vocal style (although Christian was admittedly there first, but there's room for both!!).
The atmospheric title track "Corner" kicks off the album. I was a bit suspicious about the lyrics at first, however they are not all they seem, according to Christian’s official website.
"A Beat Like Me" lacks a distinctive chorus but there are still some memorable vocal hooks. First single "What’s Your Name" has the cheesiest chat-up lines imaginable and you can’t help but smile when you hear it - "Your legs must be’ve been running through my mind all night", for example. Poster Girl hit the nail on the head when she compared this to some 70s songs, and as a 70s child I can say that was so true!
"Fade Away" doesn’t really do it for me, but maybe cause I’m not really a ballad fan. "Why You Wanna Save Me" starts off like Eagle-Eye Cherry (now there’s an artist long overdue some appreciation on this blog, I’ve got three of his albums) and builds into quite a nice chorus.
"Atlantis", which I’d guess at being a future single release, reminds me of dare I say Nik Kershaw? "Hello" with its marching rhythm builds up in dramatic style and is one of the highlights of the album. "What A Waste" is a well-crafted adult pop song, again with a slight retro-vibe.
The finger-snapping "Money" really reminds me of another song (can’t think which one though) and it’s got a nice catchy chorus - "money money money" now did some other Swedish act not think of that one already?!
And so to track 10, the album’s highlight. "Loveshift" breathes new life into a tired old ‘where has the love gone’ theme and gives it a very original take. The strings are fabulous and it’s got a real 70s Philly Sound-vibe going on and the result is just one amazing song.
2 tracks to go, although inevitably they aren’t as good as "Loveshift". "Producer" is an atmospheric slowie which doesn’t go anywhere, but the closing track "Hold My Hand" is much nicer and provides a rather sweet ending to what is a very good album indeed.

Swedish Charts Update

A little look at this week's Sverige Topplistan singles chart...Lady GaGa's "Poker Face" is no. 1. Presumably not a tribute to that rubbish Ant & Dec game show. Of course over here in the UK we're the last ones to get "Just Dance" so "Poker Face" should probably reach our charts in about August or thereabouts.

It knocked Idol-winner Kevin Borg's "With Every Bit Of Me" from the top spot. I'm still not too keen on this "winner's song", it is rather predictable and has that deja-vu feeling about it.

Sahara Hotnights are back with "In Private" which is this week's highest new entry. It's a cover version of the old Dusty Springfield hit and they've managed to keep faithful to the song but give it their own style. I quite like this.

Good to have Mando Diao back too: "Dance With Somebody" is no.10. Catchy, quality guitar pop which they do effortlessly. I like it! Their new album "Give Me Fire" is out in February.

Unlike many of my fellow bloggers I've never understood the appeal of former Idol-winner Agnes but at least she's wisely ditched the big power ballads for catchy, uptempo out-and-out pop. "Release Me" is ok, not the worst I've heard, but I'm still not a fan.

Nina Persson's 'side-project' A Camp are no.13 with "Stronger Than Jesus". She is such an iconic figure in the Swedish music scene and is so distinctive that she could sing the phone book and make it sound good. This is more 'easy-listening' than the Cardigans, but I liked it on first listen. One of those songs which makes you sway from side to side (!)

I'm beginning to worry that "Curly Sue" will end up like an albatross around the neck of Takida, as it refuses to leave the singles chart after 58 weeks there - it's still no.27 - whilst follow-up "Handlake Village" is at no.16. I love the video for this song, which is filmed in the Swedish countryside.

I still believe that they could be one of the next big Swedish musical exports - the international market could be very receptive to their, how shall I describe it, 'Metallica-lite' style of music.

Elsewhere, the "Grammy-effect" has made its presence felt, with Anna Ternheim, Kleerup, Robyn and E.M.D. all entering the lower-end of the singles chart.

Back in business!

First golden rule of blogging: no-one's going to read your blog unless you give them something to read, so let's get to it :))

As detailed over at EuropeCrazy's Random Ramblings, the majority of my week was dominated by horrendous lower back pain followed by an equally horrendous stomach bug thing, and I wasn't even well enough to blog - yes that bad - although I still managed the odd post.

Happily I'm feeling much better now and filled with a renewed enthusiasm to blog my little socks off. Also, my happiness levels went through the roof on Thursday night when I found out that Salem Al Fakir's second album "Astronaut" will be released in Sweden on March 25th. I try not to go on about him too much on this blog - that's what Planet Salem is for, after all - but I just thought I'd mention this fact anyway. You know what I'm like by now.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Melodifestivalen running order announced today

Thanks to Aftonbladet and Expressen for the info :)

Week 1 - Gothenburg 07.02.09

1. Nina Söderquist, "Tick tock"
2. Jonathan Fagerlund, "Welcome to my life"
3. Shirley Clamp, "Med hjärtat fyllt av ljus"
4. Scotts, "Jag tror på oss"
5. Emilia, "You're my world"
6. Alcazar, "Stay the night"
7. Caroline af Ugglas, "Snälla, snälla"
8. Marie Serneholt, "Disconnect me"

With that line-up, week 1 - usually the worst week - might be worth watching for a change. Alcazar, Marie, Jonathan....and Scotts! Interesting.

Week 2 - Skellefteå 14.02.09

1. Lili & Susie, "Show me heaven"
2. Lasse Lindh & band, "Jag ska slåss i dina kvarter"
3. Jennifer Brown, "Never been here before"
4. HEAT, "1000 Miles"
5. Markoolio, "Kärlekssång från mig"
6. Amy Diamond, "It's my life"
7. Cookies 'n' Beans, "What if"
8. Måns Zelmerlöw, "Hope & glory"

There's only one song I care about so far in this one, and I haven't even heard it, but..."Hope And Glory" all the way!!

Week 3 - Leksand, 21.02.09

1. Velvet, "The queen"
2. Rigo & the Topaz sound feat. Red Fox, "I got u"
3. Molly Sandén, "Så vill stjärnorna"
4. EMD, "Baby goodbye"
5. Mikael Rickfors, "Du vinner över mig!"
6. Maja Gullstrand, "Här för mig själv"
7. Sofia, "Alla"
8. BWO, "You're not alone"

I'm looking forward to Velvet, EMD and of course - BWO in week 3.

Week 4 - Malmö 28.02.09

1. Agnes, "Love love love"
2. Star Pilots, "Higher"
3. Susanne Alfvengren, "Du är älskad där du går"
4. Anna Sahlene & Maria Haukaas Storeng, "Killing me tenderly"
5. Thorleifs, "Sweet kissin' in the moonlight"
6. Sarah Dawn Finer, "Moving on"
7. Next 3, "Esta noche"
8. Malena Ernman, "La voix"

Looking forward to Star Pilots and a very intriguing duet between Anna and Sarah in week 4.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Some thoughts....

I haven't been feeling too great over the last few days and the next few days are going to be a bit mad too but I may just post a few random thoughts along the way. Like these....

1. Britain goes GaGa over GaGa: "Just Dance" knocked "Hallelujah" off the no.1 spot on Sunday. Hooray!! What a great pop record, and it's got me hoping that 2009 could be the year when quality pop finally wrestles control of the charts from the manufactured talent show rubbish, the identikit r'n'b and the corporate indie.

I wouldn't mind a commercial dance music revival either - if Guru Josh's "Infinity" was transformed from a 1990 laughing stock into a dance stormer then anything is possible. Oh and Calvin Harris is on the way back too. I like him.

2. Empire of the Sun: new wizards of Oz. Just discovered this amazing duo last week and I can't stop listening to "Walking On A Dream" and "Standing On The Shore" and "We Are The People" ( They make dreamlike dance-pop which (to me) has very strong early 80s influences to it. Distinctive sound with floating harmonies and beats sometimes reminiscent of Deepest Blue (whatever happened to them?). I am loving this band and I think they're going to become major faves on this blog!

3. Michelle don't love Coolio: We're so addicted to this series of Celebrity Big Brother - who'd have thought it? Anyway there's the usual mix of the noisy/opinionated/entertaining/quiet/dull housemates. Even though Coolio, Tina and Terry can be annoying at times, I'd rather have them than comatose pop stars Mutya, scarf-boy Ben and Michelle, the latter two getting very annoyed by housemates' suggestions that they may be more than just friends. Tonight's BB was a Heaton blub-fest, as she whinged about Coolio the bully-o. Then Ben weighed in and got a very predictable response from Coolio!
Why is Michelle so bothered anyway? If she's in a secure relationship with her boyfriend outside the house, then she shouldn't really care. Or do we feel yet another fabricated reality romance coming on? The tears. The manipulation. all makes sense now....!

I'm disappointed by the young pop stars, who seem ill at ease among the older and more opinionated members of the house.

I will probably post a few more updates over the week as I'm really into this series now. Anyway, Michelle, Mutya, Tina and the (overpaid) Ulrika are up for eviction.

I wish the highlights show would have more Verne as he's the reason I started watching it. His "Endless Love" duet last week was priceless though :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

This week's playlist: there will always be another one

One Of The Others/The Astronaut/This Is Who I Am/Purple Lady/Twelve Fingers - Salem Al Fakir: from the stunning Berwaldhallen concert aired last week on Swedish Radio; songs from Salem's past and future, and what a bright future that will be.

Walking On A Dream - Empire of the Sun: already getting very excited about the 80s-retro-electro-pop of these awesome Aussies, who are being tipped for very big things in 2009. Their album will be great, from what I've heard of it.

Just Dance - Lady GaGa: back on the playlist purely because it has a genuine chance of knocking X Factor winner Alexandra Burke's tedious version of "Hallelujah" off the no.1 spot tomorrow: reason enough for rejoicing.

Dance Wiv Me - Dizzee Rascal, Chrome & Calvin Harris: I've had a little revival of this over the festive period and beyond, and why not: it's rather irresistible.

Allein Allein - Polarkreis 18: thanks to Rachel for mentioning this, now I can't get it out of my head. And I don't want to.

Hot Mess - Sam Sparro: second album due in Autumn 2009, in the meantime I've been hammering this and it's knocking on the door of my top 25 iTunes most played songs. The best Prince song that Prince never made.

Human/Spaceman - The Killers: more faves over the Christmas/New Year period, and no sign of them going away.

Raise - Bocca Juniors: from my little "Best of Retro Saturday" compilation which I made up over Christmas. An absolute dance classic - utterly amazing.

Te Quiero Mas - Formula Abierta: now here's a blast from the reality-Spanish-pop past. An obscure treat from some evicted Operacion Triunfo contestants who decided to cut their losses and form a pop group. And why not.

Retro Saturday: The Kane Gang

Like many of my other Retro Saturday acts I'm passing over the songs which the act was best known for - in this case probably "Closest Thing To Heaven" - in favour of the fab and funky "Gun Law". Yes of course the video is dated but I'm still loving the music:

My other favourite Kane Gang song, from 1987, is "Motortown" , the lyrics of which if I remember were about the car manufacturing trade in the North-East of England.

The Kane Gang may have disappeared long ago but frontman Martin Brammer became a top songwriter and has written songs for artists like Tina Turner, Lighthouse Family, Beverley Knight and our old fave Jack McManus and new talent Julian Velard, and hits like "The Pieces Don't Fit Anymore" and "Undiscovered" for James Morrison. Martin's got a MySpace of course, it's at

Retro Saturday: Hurricane #1

Hurricane #1 was a band from the post-Oasis Britpop era, formed by ex-Ride guitarist Andy Bell, who later (ironically) joined Oasis of course. I wasn't really familiar with much of their music although they had a couple of songs which made the UK top 30 - "Step Into My World" and "Only The Strongest Will Survive" but my favourite Hurricane #1 song was the less successful "Just Another Illusion" which had a nice Charlatans-type vibe to it and built up over its 5 minutes 40 seconds into a major forgotten classic record IMHO.

No video for this one, but just enjoy the audio anyway at

Retro Saturday: The Specials

A return to the Retro Saturday fold for Mr Terry Hall (a previous appearance here as part of Terry, Blair & Anouchka), with the band which made him famous: The Specials!

Lots and lots of bands have reformed over the past couple of years, but I'm actually quite excited about the return of The Specials who are reforming to tour in 2009. They were always a very sharp live outfit, as this Old Grey Whistle Test performance of "Too Much Too Young" would verify:

I had considered going to see them live, however I should have been quicker off the mark as their show at my local-ish venue is now sold out. D'oh!

Retro Saturday: Blancmange

After my technical problems of last week, may I present the return of Retro Saturday.

"Living On The Ceiling" is currently featuring in a TV ad with people running on treadmills or something (?) or goodness-knows-what, anyway if it brings this great oldie back into focus then that can only be a good thing.

I loved this tune back then and I still do. Some gratuitous bellydancing and pyramids in this video, if you go for that kind of thing!


Yet another example of why some tv ads are better than the programmes (although I still think there's far too many ad breaks on telly)

This is a bit late as I should have posted it over Christmas, but it's still extremely funny anyway:

As if that's not good enough, there's a new Monkey ad for PG Tips which is rather fabulous too:

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Swedish Grammy Awards: the results are in

So the professionals and the public have had their say. Here are the winners at this year's Swedish Grammy awards (Grammisgalan) which took place tonight in Stockholm.

ÅRETS LÅT (Song of the year): E.M.D. - JENNIE LET ME LOVE YOU

Export Prize: Björn Ulvaeus & Benny Andersson
MTV prize for best video: Catching Up - They Live By Night

So the big winners this year were Kleerup (3 awards) and Anna Ternheim (2 awards).

How do I feel about all that? Not surprised about Kleerup as his time is now, and Håkan Hellström didn't surprise me either, I guess. Quite surprised about Anna Ternheim actually. I'm not all that familiar with her work, the little of which I've heard is a bit Dido-esque I guess. I really thought it would be Veronica Maggio's year and I'm really disappointed for her and Kihlen - he should have got something too.

"Jennie" song of the year? Much as I like it, it wasn't my favourite of the 5 finalists ("Do You Love Me" was) although how many award ceremonies can you name when you like all the contenders in the best single category?

I'm going to watch some clips over the weekend, I've already seen Robyn singing "Dream On" backed by the Supreme Court Allstars, which couldn't be anything else but amazing of course.

I'll add more to this post when I watch more of the show.

Swedish Grammy Awards tonight

I was going to post a preview last night but had a few technical problems with posting and also ran out of time.

Hopefully TV4 will put some clips on its website to watch, I need to see the presentation of best album (for reasons which should be obvious to regular readers) and also Robyn's performance with her all-star backing band which should be a good one.

I'm not really too bothered about who wins this year, but such is the quality as ever that I'm sure we'll get some worthy winners out of it.

I'll be back on here after 11 pm tonight and will write more then.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

"Let's Dance" - back this week

Yes it's time once again for the Swedish TV version of "Strictly Come Dancing" - TV4's "Let's Dance" which premieres this Friday.

I totally missed out on the last series - won by TV cook Tina Nordstrom - so I'll try to watch this one, although not being Swedish I'm not familiar with the names of any of this year's contestants apart from Laila Bagge and Magdalena Graaf. So there's no pop-boys to get excited about this year, then.

I wonder if there will be another Lasse Brandeby among the contestants. Just like our very own John Sergeant, Lasse became a dance-show favourite two years ago for all the wrong reasons :)))

This week's dances will be the waltz and the cha-cha-cha, or as Craig Revel Horwood would say, chaaaaaa-chaaaaaa-chaaaaaa.

Körslaget: catch-up time

It seems no time since the first (hugely successful) series of this highly entertaining Swedish choir contest - won of course by Team Cans. So here we are again, with series 2 of Swedish TV4's Körslaget. This year’s hometown choirs are led by ...

Magnus Carlsson!

LaGaylia Frazier!

Nanne Grönvall!

Hanna Hedlund!

Timo Räisänen!

Erik Segerstedt!
Robert Wells!

(all pictures above courtesy of

There was a British version of this show on the BBC during the summer, called "Last Choir Standing" which I only saw a little of, but it didn’t really work for me. "Körslaget" on the other hand is just pure entertainment, and deliciously theatrical.

The show started just after Christmas and I've been watching random clips from the first couple of weeks at TV4’s website.

Apparently Team Wells is the favourite to win: from what I've seen so far they are cleverly going down the rock route which is always so popular on Swedish "Idol" - expect to hear "Heaven’s on Fire" at one point (lol) I also liked Team Hanna’s "As Good As New" and Team Erik’s "Glorious".

I may be a Magnus Carlsson fan, but I couldn't say the same for his team's poor rendition of "Get The Party Started".

Over and out:

Team Timo was the first to be eliminated. IMHO they didn’t deserve to go as their "Da Do Ron Ron" was tuneful and exuberant. And all credit to Timo, for someone so cool and trendy to be taking part in a prime-time entertainment TV show.

The next team to go was Team LaGaylia, the only reason I can think is that she’s doesn't have as big a fan base as some of her fellow celebrity choir-leaders.

Monday, January 05, 2009

There is something seriously wrong with me.

OK so I said last night that Celebrity Big Brother was boring, but I watched it again tonight and against my better judgement it's becoming rather addictive and there's something quite compelling about it.

So I'm going to watch it again tomorrow night.

Yeah, sad, I know.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Square-Eyed Couch Potato

Not a proper end-of-month edition, but just a few loose ends to be tied up.

Typical, you wait ages for a Swedish detective drama, then two come along at once..."Wallander" (BBC-1) was the English-language adaptation of the popular Swedish detective novels by Henning Mankell, starring Kenneth Branagh in the leading role. Good though he was, the whole thing was a little too "English" and just not Swedish enough - the pronunciation of Wallander's name for example - and it was extremely slow, stretched out to 90 minutes when 60 would have done. Despite all this, I'd like to see another series!

Above: the Swedish Wallander cast.

It was left to BBC4 to show us how it should be done. They broadcast a couple of the Swedish "Wallander" episodes and I managed to catch one of them. It was extremely watchable with more character development and it was much more pacy than its British version whilst retaining the 'mood'. More please BBC4!!

As Kylie might have sang, "Your country...your country...your country needs you!!" Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber has been charged with the responsibility of masterminding the United Kingdom's Eurovision entry in 2009, and last night the selection process kicked off. Part 1 of "Your Country Needs You" (BBC-1) was basically a little bit reality-bootcamp and a lot of The Lord ego-tripping his way through meetings with Vladimir Putin and other movers and shakers to beg for votes in May. Note to ALW: why not buy up a gas supply mate, then the votes will flood in!

Oh and there were a couple of Dima Bilan sightings too!!

The main issue of concern is that ALW, despite being one of the world's foremost composers in musical theatre and not exactly down to his last five quid, has got himself a taste of reality-tv fame over the past couple of years thanks to his Maria, Joseph and Oliver searches. Make no mistake - this is all about The Lord and his hunger for fame and continued exposure which will come his way from now until May, and you can bet he'll love every minute of it.

Admittedly the six final contenders are of a pretty decent standard: Jade, Damien, Mark, Charlotte, Emperors of Soul and The Twins. Aah, The Twins. Took a wrong turning and got off at X Factor Central instead. Will you please stop crying girls - Eurovision is not for cry-babies! (And remember what happened to the last "Cry Baby" in the contest...!)

The competition begins next Saturday in earnest. I'm just happy to see the BBC do something different this time and give Eurovision a higher profile than the shameful efforts of the last couple of years.

Hold the front page. Never mind the world wars or the credit crunch, because the announcement of the new Doctor Who made the news yesterday. It was all a bit like "Who Shot JR" in Dallas, wasn't it??? Since the announcement that Matt Smith would replace David Tennant, who's decided to quit while he's ahead, the predictable debate has been all over the internet: he'll be great/he'll be rubbish/Doctor "Who?"/he's too young/he's too ugly/he's too predictable. We went through all this stuff with Christopher Eccleston then David Tennant and look how it all turned out. I've never heard of Matt Smith, I don't know how good a Doctor he will be, but I'll reserve my judgement till he actually hits our screens in that role. One thing's for sure though, Eccleston and Tennant will be hard acts to follow, and Doctor Who fans are a notoriously hard to please lot so it's a pretty big responsibility.

Tonight I watched "Celebrity Big Brother" (Channel 4) for possibly the first time in years just because Verne Troyer (Mini-Me from Austin Powers) is in it. I'd forgotten just how boring it was though, a load of Z-listers all sitting about, not doing very much.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The 2008 list

As the new year has just started I thought I'd take a look back at a few acts which I came across for the first time in 2008....

Sam Sparro: "Black and Gold" is just a completely amazing single, which managed to overshadow everything on his debut album: nevertheless he is so talented that I don't think we've heard the last of him. Two words: "Hot Mess".

Bryn Christopher: an outstanding young performer who managed to blow everyone off the stage at the Saturday Night Fever Electric Proms show: if there is any justice, "Fearless" will finally deliver that long-overdue hit.

It was the year of the post-Amy female singer....but forget those Duffy types and listen to Gabriella Cilmi instead. "Lessons to be Learned" was a very accomplished debut album for one so young, "Save The Lies" was just a great single, and "Warm This Winter" is so catchy!

Despite being talented and good-looking, with a high-profile girlfriend (Martine McCutcheon) all that wasn't enough to put Jack McManus in the top 40 although "Bang on the Piano" did get lots of radio and video airplay. Where he goes from here is unsure: it's not looking good.

Jason Mraz is not a newcomer by any means, but I hadn't heard any of his music until this year so that's why he qualifies for my list. "I'm Yours" is irresistibly catchy, and (again) if there is any justice, it will finally be a hit for him in the UK and everyone will finally discover his music, and it will be such a rewarding experience.

Sam Beeton was yet another ridiculously young talent who attracted my attention in 2008: "What You Look For" should have been a massive hit....and I like this message on his MySpace blog: YOUR 2009 IS GONNA KICK SERIOUS BOTTOM. And why not.

My mum - who is possibly the trendiest mum I know - discovered VV Brown before I did, so major credit to her because VV is sooooo coool and she is going to be massive in 2009!! She is such a refreshing change from all those X Factor-Whitney-wannabes and all those Duffy-types too.

I've got high hopes for Sugarush Beat Company after the excellent "They Said I Said" so I hope they finally break through in 2009 with "Love Breed".

Retro Saturday: back next week

I'm having a few problems with YouTube tonight, so I've decided to postpone the return of Retro Saturday till next week.

Sorry folks :(

Whatever happened to....the 2007 list?

Hi everyone and welcome to 2009 on EuropeCrazy - and it's been a rather nice start to the year so far, hope it's been a good one for you all too.

This time last year I listed my favourite new acts (well, new to my ears anyway) of 2007 so I thought it would be a good idea to revisit that list and see what had happened to them. Not much, it would seem.....:(

Paul Steel was one of my big big hopes for 2008: but it all went horribly, horribly wrong. It would seem the British music industry can't handle such a it turned out "I Will Make You Disappear" was to be a prophetic title and Paul was dropped from his record label. But he perseveres nonetheless: "Moon Rock" was released (only in Japan!) and in 2009 Paul will release his "April and I" animated film and also the "In A Coma" video. It's not over yet....!

Ali Love found himself in the same boat, he was dropped by his record label meaning that his "Love Music" album hasn't yet seen the light of day. As with Paul Steel, you can follow his electro-funk adventures via his MySpace and again I hope that 2009 brings better things for him.

It was all quiet on the Daniel Merriweather front, but it's all about to go very big indeed in 2009 for this very talented soul-pop singer who will finally launch his solo career with his single "Change" and long-awaited "Love and War" album. It's looking very good for him!

It was also looking very good for David Jordan one year ago whose career seemed to be on the up following his appearance on the Royal Variety Show. "Sun Goes Down" was a hit, but the follow-up "Move On" failed to crack the top 40, then his next two singles sank without trace. It's not looking good for him....

Canadian funksters Chromeo keep on doing their thing....again check out their MySpace if you want to know what they're up to: that would be a re-released version of "Fancy Footwork" with some extra remixes added. The critics continue to love them, but commercial success has been much harder to achieve.

Nothing from the Snook camp in 2008: Kihlen concentrated on his work with Maskinen and also producing girlfriend Veronica Maggio's (rather good) "Och Vinnaren Är" album. (Aren't they such a cool couple BTW???)
Does anyone know what Snook will be up to in 2009?

Vincent Pontare concentrated his efforts on breaking into German-speaking Europe where he had a hit with "Miss Blue". Incidentally, Vincent was one of the most-searched-for acts on this blog in 2008. Hopefully I'll be able to write more about him in 2009 - fingers crossed that he releases that second album.

Tokio Hotel continued to build on their success in 2008, and "Scream" was finally released in the USA and Canada. They won a coveted MTV VMA in the USA for "Best New Artist", and this was followed by an MTV EMA "Headliner" award. The band had to cancel some tour dates as Bill had surgery to remove a cyst from his vocal chords however they were back on the road again and also preparing for the release of their third studio album scheduled for March/April 2009.

Despite a relaunch of "Bubbly", which got a lot of airplay on my local radio station and was very popular with some of my work colleagues, but yet again failed to chart, Colbie Caillat continues to be relatively unknown in this country.

Salem Al Fakir was launched internationally thanks to "It's Only You Part II" being used in the Volvo XC60 car commercial, however he remains the world's best kept musical secret. His second album is due for release in 2009: follow his adventures at his MySpace and also at my fansite for him, Planet Salem.

Coming next: the 2008 list.