Tuesday, December 29, 2009

And finally....

This is my last EuropeCrazy blog post of the year, and indeed of the decade (big fanfare!!).

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

Christmas Day TV Ratings 2009

Courtesy of Digital Spy here are the top 20 most watched TV shows on what (IMHO) was a very uninspiring day telly-wise. Last year's positions are in brackets.

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

Christmas Time!

I'm so excited because it's Christmas Eve! Being a fan of all things European, I'm well aware that Christmas Eve is a very important day on the continent, perhaps even more so than Christmas Day. Here in the UK, Christmas Day is the big one although I probably prefer Christmas Eve as it has such a special feeling about it. I found a fascinating Wikipedia article which describes the various Christmas Eve traditions in various countries -

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

This week's playlist: Tell me what you got in that box right now

Pandora's Box - Gerald de Palmas featuring Eagle-Eye Cherry: absolute standout track from GdP's new album "Sortir" (which I'll probably review on here sometime) - two of my favourite singers duetting on a wonderfully wonky acoustic-flavoured tune.

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.

The Square-Eyed Couch Potato: October - December 2009

I just noticed that this is my 1600th post, not really a significant milestone but I thought I'd mention it. I think I'll aim for the 2000th post by this time next year :)

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

Out with the old.

Whilst we're on some annual festive countdowns, there is one notable absentee this year. For the last few years I had been following the listeners' all-time top 2000 on Flemish-speaking Belgium's Radio Donna. Last year it wasn't a top 2000 but a top 5000, but what I didn't realise at the time was that it would be the last one, as the radio station was going off the air.

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!

Fanning's Fab 50 2009


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

Wherefore art thou....Juliet?

A question which will be answered by SVT next spring, as the Swedish TV channel will be searching for a new female star to play Juliet in the new musical version of "Romeo and Juliet" in Sweden. Romeo will be none other than ....Måns Zelmerlöw!

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

R.I.P. Teletext

OK I know I'm not supposed to be posting on here for a week, but I just wanted to mention something that I'm feeling very genuinely sad about.

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.

Blog break time again!

No, I'm not going away on holiday again but I need to get into Christmas-mode, so I won't really have time to blog for a little while.

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.

My last word on "Idol"....

Well as we all know by now, Erik Grönwall won the latest series of Swedish Idol. I was really happy about this! After a few listens I'm still not all that impressed by "Higher" (the winner's song) although we know what kind of formula to expect by now. The end result is like Westlife-sings-Ryan-Tedder although Erik does his best with that formulaic type of song. Erik is a really talented vocalist - his version of "The Show Must Go On" is still one of the best moments in the history of "Idol".

Runner-up Calle Kristiansson shouldn't be too disappointed, as he's also managed to get himself a record deal.

So that's it all over for another year. I rather enjoyed this series, as there was a very interesting mix of contestants and song choices - it's sooo much better than X Factor any day! Erik is a worthy winner, although I hope we hear more from Tove. And I hope we see much more of Eddie Razaz....!

The 2009-50 ones that got away; the 2009 list-that-isn't; and whatever happened to the 2008 list?

Where would my annual chart be without the songs that just missed out? 15 of them to be precise.

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 :)))

The 2009-50: No.1 - Maybe this is something bigger you can't live without

"One of the Others" - Salem Al Fakir.

So let's flashback to 365 days ago, when my 2008-50 chart ended, (as had my 2007-50 chart a year earlier) with Salem at the top:

"...but this presented me with a dilemma. To have a Salem song at no.1 for two years running would be a bit reminiscent of the Spice Girls or the X Factor getting the Christmas no.1 every year. I didn't want it to be a foregone conclusion. But then I thought about it again: the no.1 should be my favourite song of the year. And this is."

That is still the case!

"I know it's a bit early to talk about the 2009-50, but if Salem's new album lives up to the greatness of his 2007 debut, then don't be surprised to see him here again 365 days from now!!"

And so he is. The first time I heard "One of the Others", which was premiered at Salem's 2008 series of concerts with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra at Berwaldhallen in Stockholm,
(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!!!

The significant thing about "One of the Others", which appeared on Salem's second album "Astronaut", is that it does not sound as if it was released in 2009, but has a timeless/retro quality like much of Salem's other material. I know that I'll never get tired of this song, it's just an absolute classic.

Video: No official video as it was never released as a single, but check out a couple of unofficial phone videos - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1OkQ1etdpTE (Berwaldhallen 2008) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9rsZ9Yi0sc (Cirkus, Stockholm April 2009).

(Salem pictured above at Berwaldhallen 10.12.2009: picture courtesy of http://www.sr.se/)

Fast forward to 365 days from now....will Salem make it four years in a row, or will anyone out there come up with a song good enough to keep him off the top of my 2010-50? Answers same time next year!

The 2009-50: No. 2 - It was planned from the beginning and the plan was carried through

"Astronaut" - Salem Al Fakir.

This song was premiered in a couple of live performances at the end of 2008, in basic acoustic-guitar form, but by March 2009 it was released in its fully-formed version, and was the title track from Salem's second album, also released in March.

"Astronaut" is just such a simple and touching little song, yet as with many of Salem's songs there is a deep musicality underneath the deceptive simplicity; "Astronaut" is warm and melodic, and is also indicative of the new emotional depth to his material which I mentioned earlier in my countdown. This song will just melt your heart, and I still love it. But there's one song I loved even more...

Video: Bizarrely, you can't watch the cleverly animated "Astronaut" video on YouTube ("this video is not available in your country due to copyright restrictions") but you can watch it at Salem's MySpace: www.myspace.com/salem where you can also see the video for "Roxy", whilst you can also find the videos there for "This Is Who I Am", "Good Song" and "Dream Girl" from his first album.

The 2009-50: No. 3 - Lie in the sand and visualise like it's '75 again

"We Are The People" - Empire of the Sun.

A song which my mum calls "beyond brilliant", and I think that's just the perfect way to describe it.

This band may have figured in many of the "big in 2009" lists but they maybe didn't grab the public's attention as much as some of the more overrated acts which too much newsprint/web space was wasted on; nevertheless they broke through the wall and into the UK top 20 singles chart. It was pretty amazing that something so good could actually become a hit in this country, and briefly gave me some hope that good music can prevail.

"We Are The People" has a floaty, dream-like quality and a memorable chorus. During the year it persistently battled with "Standing on the Shore" for absolute-favourite-status and my 3rd/4th chart placings were frequently switched round: in the end though, this was the undisputed winner of that battle.

The 2009-50: No.4 - Don't want to talk, all I hear is noise

"Standing on the Shore" - Empire of the Sun.

You'll have guessed by now just how much I absolutely loved Empire of the Sun this year! Like most of the bands/singers I like these days, they take old influences and blend them with something completely new. Luke Steele has such a distinctive voice, and they have a sound all their own.

As with most of the songs in the upper reaches of my chart, there was no doubt from the minute their album was released that this song would figure in my top 10 songs of the year.

There's a weird and wonderful video for this (which I previously did a blog post about a few months ago) and if you haven't seen it yet then go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ltRV41TXO4 and, well, just be amazed.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The 2009-50: No.5 - As many feet walk through the door, I'm not alone

"I'm Not Alone" - Calvin Harris.

The defining dance record of 2009 for me, and on a more personal note, (thank you Sitemeter) officially the most-searched-for (ever) song on this here blog - a song which attracted attention from all four corners of the world. Hopefully you all enjoyed the song as much as I did, and if you discovered this blog along the way then I hope you enjoyed reading it!

In a year when the British chart was dominated by a conveyor belt of electro-women and landfill autotuned r'n'b, Calvin Harris brought star-quality to the dance music genre and was my favourite British artist of the year. And anyone who can get himself banned for life from X Factor (thanks to his pineapple-headed stage invasion during Jedward's set) is ok by me.

"I'm Not Alone" has something for everyone - it appeals to both dance music and pop music fans, and you only had to watch any of Calvin's appearances on various music festivals over the summer to realise just how effortlessly he crossed over the musical boundaries - he even got the festival crowds jumping. And that "if I see a light flashing..." chorus was one of the most memorable hooklines of the year.

The 2009-50: No. 6 - Seven days later I'm messed up and nowhere to be found

"Cold Shower" - Salem Al Fakir.

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

The 2009-50: No. 7 - I'm just in awe of what's in front of me

"Walking On A Dream" - Empire of the Sun.

Another one of those 'this was actually released in 2008 but I didn't become aware of it until 2009' technicalities.

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.

Two words to describe this: completely awesome.

The 2009-50: No. 8 - You shouldn't be talking to me

"Love Child" - Fibes, Oh Fibes!

Big, bold, timeless, bright, quality pop music will always have a warm welcome in my world, so it’s no surprise that this song - initially premiered in demo form on MySpace in 2008 - immediately soared into my affections and has never let go ever since.

The band from Gothenburg have deservedly got a lot of attention in blog-land this year, mainly due to "Run To You", the follow-up single to "Love Child" which was a duet with none other than Kim Wilde. Although I like that song, it still falls well short of the absolute greatness of "Love Child" which still remains so fresh every time I listen to it.

Yet again, like many of the other songs in my top 20, this will always remind me of my Gothenburg weekend....and its long run on the P3 Tracks chart afterwards. Terrific singalong chorus which in my parallel universe screamed top 10 from day one.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The 2009-50: No. 9 - From the bottom of my heart, I apologise

"Hurtful" - Erik Hassle.

The first time I saw unlikely popstar Erik Hassle, he was performing a medley of nominated songs at Aftonbladet’s "Rockbjornen" back in January. Since that time he’s become pop-royalty in blogland, and had a sizeable Swedish hit single with this high-quality pop song which, if recorded by someone better known, would be a massive worldwide hit. "Hurtful" was followed in Sweden by "Hassle", a smashing debut album. Erik’s big launch in the UK has been put back till 2010, by then we hope that the time should be right for this country to discover a true musical talent. Although judging by the current musical tastes in this country, it may be a struggle.....

The 2009-50: No.10 - The picture is drawn, you're not even on because you're gone

"Baby Goodbye" - E.M.D.

Put an irresistibly catchy pop song together with staging that recalls Sam Sparro’s "Black and Gold" video and that was enough for me. Somewhere along the way, E.M.D. became a believable boyband (although Danny is still a great solo pop star) and this was their first, but hopefully not last, (self-penned) Melodifestivalen entry. At least they got as far as Globen, and beyond that, this song has enjoyed a very active post-MF life at EuropeCrazy HQ. (Follow-up single "Youngblood" was pretty good too and narrowly missed out on a place in my chart).

This week's Idol final songs...

Calle Kristiansson:
1.”Rock and roll” (Led Zeppelin)
2.”With a little help from my friends” (Joe Cocker version)
3.”Higher” (winner's song)

Erik Grönwall:
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

The 2009-50: No. 11 - We better all watch out, evil is hiding in the bluest eyes

"Bluest Eyes" - Salem Al Fakir.

The new depth and maturity in Salem’s music and lyrics was very evident here on this album track. Guitar-driven and darker in tone and theme than much of his past work, it’s an incredibly well-arranged and layered piece of music which, played live, went to a whole new level of greatness thanks to Robert's guitar solo at the end!

Salem and the band performed this live on TV4's Nyhetsmorgon back at the end of March and you can see this clip on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4hBX0BkNAE

The 2009-50: No.12 - You got the keys right in your hand, open the locks and do your thing

"Speakerbox" - Signmark featuring Osmo Ikonen.

Firstly special thanks to Keira for this one: if you hadn't written about it on the wonderful, much-missed Tales From Turku then I probably would never have discovered my 12th favourite song of 2009.

On paper, this shouldn’t work: but it did. A sign-language Finnish rapper, teamed up with an extremely talented soul vocalist, competing to be Finland’s Eurovision entry. Inevitably it was one of the great "ones that got away" - although credit to eventual winner Waldo’s People for their 90s-revivalist dance - and went on to become one of those songs that I can't go too long without hearing. I'll be eagerly following Osmo's musical career from now on and will be cheering on his efforts in the 2010 Finnish national selection.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Remaining Melodifestivalen artists and songs announced!

Reproduced courtesy of Aftonbladet:

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

Norsk MGP 2010: First group of artists and songs announced

Norway have got a Eurovision title to defend in 2010, so it's a nice early start for MGP next year - the first heat will take place on 8th January in Ørland.
Here are the artists and songs who were confirmed this week, for heat 1:

Song 1: Gaute Ormåsen - Synk eller svøm (Sink or swim)
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.

Song 3: Johnny Hide – Rewind Love
Johnny, formerly of a band called Number Seven Deli, describes this as a modern classic pop song.

Song 4: Bjørn Johan Muri – Yes man
Previous Norwegian Idol contestant, again making his debut in the competition.

Song 5: Elisabeth Carew – Rocketfuel
This is described as an r'n'b song with some freestyling! Is she any relation to the footballer John Carew, I wonder?

Song 6: Maria Haukaas Storeng – Make my day
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.

Song 7: Keep Of Kalessin – The Dragontower
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.

This week's playlist: I know you like to keep an eye on me

OK it's not specifically this week's playlist, but more of a round-up of what I've been listening to over recent weeks.

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!

Erik Grönwall = the next Swedish Idol.

He is 21 years old (although looks younger) but already has the voice of a rock legend, and he has made it to the final of this year's Swedish Idol. Not by singing the dreary Whitney/Mariah-type ballads which make our own X Factor sooooo tedious....but Iron Maiden's "Run To The Hills" instead!

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)

The 2009-50: No. 13 - So why do you need to go when we've just begun?

"Stay The Night" - Alcazar.

The minute the latest line-up of Alcazar walked on stage in their MF heat, they owned it in a way that no-one else did that night. I'm so glad they made it to Globen without having to go through Andra Chansen this time. They may never represent Sweden at Eurovision - their loss, and ours - and this may not be their best ever MF effort ("Not A Sinner Nor A Saint" is, IMHO) but this was just an absolute celebration which was just further proof of their ability to make fantastic disco-tastic pop music.

And yes, this was another one of those songs which soundtracked my Gothenburg weekend in April (thanks Rix FM!). They followed it with the "Disco Defenders" album, which was good but not great, although their celebratory disco-pop will always be welcome in my world.
The 2009-50 will return on Tuesday, only 12 songs to go between then and next Sunday, when my no.1 song will be revealed. As I previously said, it shouldn't be too much of a surprise...!

The 2009-50: No. 14 - You don't know what it's like to live on the other side

"1000 Miles" - H.E.A.T.

An 80s hair-metal song co-written by Martin Stenmarck’s brother - what’s not to like? H.E.A.T. rocked their Melodifestivalen semi-final: initially my reaction to their Globen qualification was pleasant surprise but as time passed I realised that I shouldn’t have been so surprised after all, as it turned out to be one of the year’s most enduring tunes, with one of the year’s best key changes too!

Back in April, on our first night in Gothenburg, we were walking down Avenyn and I'll never forget this song booming out of the Hard Rock Cafe, it also got a lot of airplay on Swedish radio at that time. Of course the best thing about music is that it always reminds you of particularly special times, so this is a special song because it reminds me of Gothenburg 2009!

The 2009-50: No.15 - I'm tired of using technology, I need you right in front of me

"Ayo Technology" - Milow.

My fifteenth favourite song of 2009 is also the winner of my annual "EuropeCrazy's Great Lost European Hit of the Year" award, which is usually given to a song which deservedly dominated the European top 40 charts during the year, but which was overlooked in the UK for some inexplicable reason.

This wasn't so much a cover version of 50 Cent & Justin Timberlake's rap hit as a total reinvention; a stripped-down acoustic treat by a Belgian singer in the style of Jason Mraz (who coincidentally had my 'Great Lost European Hit...' of 2008 with "I'm Yours" which finally got a UK release and became the hit it deserved to be)

Milow's "Ayo Technology" got a brief run on the UK music video channels, but failed to hit the charts. This may perhaps be attributed to the outrageous video, or the fact that you could clearly hear every word of the song's dodgy lyrics, whereas the original seemed to get away with it.

The 2009-50: No. 16 - Run away with me, it's now or never

"Higher" - Star Pilots.

More 80s nostalgia, this time wrapped up in a great big Melodifestivalen bouquet. Memories of "Top Gun" and "Waiting For A Star To Fall" inevitably came to mind: Johan Becker sang well and this provided a memorable MF moment this year. His dance project looks good for a long time yet: never did recycling the 80s sound so good.

I was also very happy to see this act briefly make an appearance on the radio and in the top 40 with "In The Heat Of The Night" as part of the highly successful Hard2Beat stable. Both that song and "Higher" may share the same formula, but it's a good (if gleefully plagiaristic) one.

Video: live performance from the 2009 Melodifestivalen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b28rN3mqA_U

The 2009-50: No. 17 - Two pretty sad eyes and a made up red clown smile

"Purple Lady" - Salem Al Fakir.

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.

The 2009-50: No.18 - Now you can call me a liar, you're better off alone in bed

"Roxy" - Salem Al Fakir.

In a year where musically recycling the 80s was such a big thing, Salem had us partying like it was 1984 - "Roxy" is such an accurate musical parody of that time. And who'd have thought that his ability as a lyricist would develop to the stage that he would write this cheery little ode to an STD!

By no means is "Roxy" an accurate representation of Salem's music, as it is probably too much of a novelty/fun song to be ranked nearer the top of my chart (thus explaining its relatively low position), but it sure brightened up the summer and even in these winter days it still brings a smile to my face. And the Venice Beach video (shot during Salem's trip to the USA in April/May) is a good laugh too.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

The 2009-50: No.19 - Let the rhythm show you, baby you can do it right

"Dance With Me" - Zoli Adok.

If 2009 was the year that Eurovision "redeemed itself" thanks to jury-voting and a non-’Eastern’ winner, then ironically some of my favourites missed out on the final party. The problem with this and Lovebugs (who earlier appeared in my chart) was that their live semi-final performances couldn't come close to the wonderful studio versions which had appealed to me in the first place.

Hungary have now quit ESC, probably because they couldn't better this glorious piece of disco-tastic pop, so let's just stop and take a moment to appreciate its greatness.

Over to you, Rachel......!

The 2009-50: No. 20 - It's time to tell the world a true angel is gone

"Black Sun Black Moon" - Salem Al Fakir.

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

Grammis 2010: first list of nominations announced

I know I'm a bit late with these: they were actually announced yesterday. As usual there will be a short period of voting (go to www.grammis.se for more information) and then the nominees list for each category will be reduced and then voting will reopen for the final short list in each category.

Thanks to www.musikindustrin.se for the following list...

Årets artist
A Camp / Agnes / Amanda Jenssen / Caroline af Ugglas / Erik Hassle / Kent / Lars Winnerbäck / Mando Diao/ Takida /Thåström

Årets album
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

Årets nykomling
Adiam Dymott / Dead By April / Erik Hassle / John ME / Jonathan Johansson / Larz-Kristerz / Lorentz & M Sakarias / Maskinen / Miike Snow / Name The Pet

Årets kompositör
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

Årets textförfattare
Amanda Jenssen / Anna Järvinen / Caroline af Ugglas / El Perro del Mar / Joakim Berg (Kent)Laleh / Lars Winnerbäck / Louise Hoffsten/Peter LeMarc / Melissa Horn / Thåström

Årets pop
A Camp / Asha Ali / BWO / Calaisa / El Perro del Mar / Fibes Oh Fibes / Jill Johnson / Melody Club / Miike Snow / Peter Bjorn & John

Årets rock
Ingenting / Bob Hund / Deportees / Dundertåget / Europe / Florence Valentin / Kent / Mando Diao / Takida / The Bear Quartet

Årets producent
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).

Årets dansband
Arvingarna / Benny Andersson Band / CC & Lee / Drifters / Jannez / Larz-Kristerz / Lasse Stefanz / Scotts / Sten & Stanley

Årets hårdrock
Candlemass / Crucified / Barbara / Dead By April / Hammerfall / Hardcore Superstar / Lillasyster / Mustasch / Raised Fist / Renegade Five /Wolf

Årets klubb/hiphop
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

The 2009-50: No. 21 - All the battles I lost and the battles I won, this will be the one

"Hope and Glory" - Måns Zelmerlöw.

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.
You may be surprised at the relatively low position of this song on my chart this year compared to...ooh, let's just say four other MF songs? This was purely based on the fact that in the long run, "Hope and Glory" didn't have the longevity that those other songs enjoyed at EuropeCrazy HQ.

The 2009-50: No. 22 - Counterfeit, counterfeit, that's what you're shouting at me

"Ready For The Weekend" - Calvin Harris.

Title track and recent single release from which you'll probably have guessed by now is one of my favourite albums of 2009. Again there isn't really much I can say about this apart from the fact that it's another example of dance-pop at its best. Calvin Harris is really one of our best pop acts, not only does he make some good tunes but he also tweets away on a genuinely interesting Twitter page, and got a life ban from "X Factor" for gatecrashing Jedward's set with a pineapple on his head. What's not to love?

The 2009-50: No. 23 - Burn my sweet effigy, I'm a road runner

"Fire" - Kasabian.

Being the ‘festival-band’ that they are, they inevitably excelled at Glastonbury and in a time where there is so little British rock/indie-type music to get excited about, they do the job. Now that Oasis are gone, it’s theirs for the taking. Unfortunately they are also easy targets, but that just goes with the territory. Bursting with swagger and confidence, we should just treasure them.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wd0Y1Sko7hA

The 2009-50: No. 24 - I wish I could be as cool as you

"Let It Rock" - Kevin Rudolf.

I know nothing about Mr Rudolf: all I know is that this was a very successful example of a rock/rap collaboration which was done extremely well. I didn’t like this to begin with, and it it took me a couple of months before I truly appreciated its greatness, even if many others found it annoying. On my return from Dusseldorf I developed a brief obsession with this song - that's what prolonged radio/TV exposure in Germany does I guess :)

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

P3 Guld 2010: nominations announced

Thanks to http://www.gp.se/ for the info:

Agnes - Release me
Erik Hassle - Hurtful
Mando Diao - Dance with somebody
Markus Krunegård - Hela livet var ett disco
Promoe - Svennebanan

Taken by trees
Fever Ray
Miike Snow


Lorentz & M Sakarias
Mohammed Ali

Switch Opens
Abramis Abrama
Gösta Berlings saga
Satan takes a holiday

Adan Beyer
Dada Life
Fever Ray
Samuel L Session

Miss Li
Amanda Jenssen
Jonathan Johansson
Markus Krunegård
Lars Winnerbäck

Mando Diao
Fibes oh Fibes!


Erik Hassle
Miike Snow
Fever Ray
Lorentz & M Sakarias


Jenny Wilson
Miss Li
Lars Winnerbäck

I'm very happy to see Erik Hassle, Fibes and Miike Snow included in this year's list.

"Let's Dance" line-up announced

The line-up of contestants for the next series of TV4's "Let's Dance" has been announced - more info at http://www.aftonbladet.se/nojesbladet/tv/dokusapa/letsdance/article6221779.ab

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

The 2009-50: No. 25 - Everybody take a bow, cause I'm the one and only

"The Queen" - Velvet.

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.

The 2009-50: No. 26 - We were sitting on top of the world

"When It Was Good" - Flipsyde.

Runner-up in EuropeCrazy's annual "Great lost European hit of the year" award, the criteria of which is simply that it's a song which made it big in a few countries but was completely overlooked in the UK.
Yet another RedOne production - is he the hardest working man in showbusiness or what??? - with a very catchy singalong chorus, I could best describe this as the Black Eyed Peas gone Europop. Quite wonderful, and its lyrics actually struck a chord with me at one point earlier in the year. (Happily, that situation worked out). Now can we get this song released in the UK? Pretty please?

The 2009-50: No. 27 - A moment, a love, a dream, a laugh

"Sweet Disposition" - The Temper Trap.

Probably one of the latest arrivals to my chart, this initially came to my attention thanks to a 4 Music trailer: then something truly remarkable happened - this song made it into the UK top 20. I suppose you would call it a 'sleeper hit', which managed to stay in the chart for a while without much significant radio airplay.

This, I strongly suspect, is a band with a very bright future. Their first album may be patchy but shows immense promise of fabulous things to come: and their lead singer Dougy Mandagi has one amazing voice.