Sunday, October 31, 2010

P3 Guldgalan 2011

Another date for your diaries - one of Sweden's hottest music award ceremonies will take place on Saturday 22 January 2011 at Lisebergshallen in Gothenburg. I refer of course to the P3 Guldgalan!

The nominees will be revealed at a press conference at the beginning of December, by which time we should also know about the artists performing at the ceremony. Of course there are always surprises too, like the January 2010 Guldgalan performance by Staygold featuring Spank Rock, Robyn and a certain Damien Adore....

More information at

Idol 2010 - Friday Finals - Week 4, 29.10.10

90s night on Idol, which I was initially excited about but then I saw the song choices and got a bit disappointed. But on with the show....

Daniel Norberg was at a bit of an unfair disadvantage with "Stone Me Into The Groove" as it was maybe a lesser known song than some of the others last night. But at least it was a Swedish song so I didn't complain so much. It did show off a different side to him, but I felt he suffered from the wrong song choice.

That couldn't be said for Olle Hedberg, who finally after all these weeks got to put his distinctive Olle-stamp on a song. The Olle-fied (for want of a better word) "Wonderwall" will have gone a long way to really boosting his profile in this contest. And about time too!!

I still think Elin Blom's trying a little bit too hard to look like Robyn, but that aside she delivered a nice version of "Born to Make You Happy". I don't have anything against her, but in my view she still lacks that distinctive quality to take her beyond the next couple of weeks.

One of the more intriguing things about last night was the prospect of Geir Rönning singing Pearl Jam's "Alive". He did give it his best shot only to get into a debate with Andreas Carlsson about song choice, which caused some controversy and got lots of Swedish press coverage as a result. By the way: 47. Is. Not. Old.

Confession time: I've always hated "Nothing Compares 2 U" but Linnea Henriksson's brittle, compelling version did the job yet again this week.

Andreas Weise sang Big Mountain's reggae-cover of "Baby I Love Your Way" which was yet again note-perfect. I have no problems with his voice, but as I said before, he is no 'idol' and could struggle to establish a music career due to his lack of individuality.

Bringing some rare sensitivity - for a change - was Jay Smith, who stepped very successfully out of his comfort zone on "I Want It That Way". It's a performance like this which will inevitably propel him towards that final showdown. Because, at this stage, I can't see anything else but a Jay-Linnea final. Of course I want Olle in that final, but I've got to be realistic!

Finally this week, Minnah, who seems to have got a new lease of life following her return to Idol last week. She sang "Everything I Do (I Do It For You)" very well. With only three girls left in the competition, Minnah seems to have the most mainstream appeal and I can see her in the final 4.

Bottom two: Daniel and Geir - with Daniel receiving the lowest number of votes, he became the latest contestant to leave.

Next week: the theme is "love songs". To which I say.....yuck! I hate love songs. But looking forward to some good performances all the same.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

This week's "Idol" songs

Via Aftonbladet: here are this week's Swedish Idol songs, with a 1990s theme. I'm not too excited about the song choices, too many obvious international hits. What's wrong with Swedish songs?

Anyway before I go into a rant, here's the list....

Daniel Norberg - ”Stone me into the groove” (Atomic Swing).
Olle Hedberg - ”Wonderwall” (Oasis).
Elin Blom - ”Born to make you happy” (Britney Spears).
Geir Rönning - ”Alive” (Pearl Jam).
Linnea Henriksson - ”Nothing compares 2 u”(Sinead O' Connor).
Andreas Weise - ”Baby, I love your way” (Big Mountain).
Jay Smith - ”I want it that way” (Backstreet Boys).
Minnah Karlsson - ”(Everything I do) I do it for you” (Bryan Adams).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Square-Eyed Couch Potato: October 2010

First things first: I'm not watching too much day-to-day television at the moment, mainly because there is so little of any appeal to me, so I've been catching up with some old (and new) films, and working my way through old seasons of "Dexter" and "One Tree Hill" which ironically, are having their current seasons aired at the moment but I'm having to record them for future reference. In the meantime....

This month saw the return of "Strictly Come Dancing" to our screens on Saturday night, in a ridiculously early slot which ensures they don't clash with "The X Factor" - I get round this by taping it and then watching after Harry Hill - anyway series 8 is characterised by the usual mix of the good, the bad and the ugly. Draw your own conclusions....

The first celebrity to be voted out was drum n'bass guru Goldie, who has recently diversified into acting. He shouldn't have gone so early, but this programme is all about fanbases and preferential treatment, and "chosen ones". Initially I thought Kara Tointon was this year's "chosen one" however I'm beginning to think that title has now been snatched by Pamela Stephenson, comedienne-turned-psychologist, who seems just a little too desperate now. Also in the desperate camp this year: ex-Corrie Tina O'Brien. Just check her facial expressions when the judges are giving their comments...

At least there's no-one as annoying as Chris Hollins this year, and the standard of dancing is up on some previous years, but there is already a danger of overmarking at this stage. My personal favourites are Scott Maslen (pictured above with partner Natalie Lowe) and Matt Baker, both have started well and kept up a very high standard. But these kind of dancers don't seem to win - there always needs to be a back story, a "journey", doesn't there? There also seems to be a lack of chemistry between many of the couples this year.

Series 8 is all about one particular competitor - Ann Widdecombe, paired with Anton du Beke. Even if I don't agree with her politics, I've always had respect for her straight-talking style. Amid the serious competition, Ann has brought some much-needed laughs to the show. Put it this way, she makes John Sergeant's dancing ability look like Mark Ramprakash.

"Harry Hill's TV Burp" is three weeks into its Autumn 2010 run and already we've had "bush push!"/"It's not a cube - it's a rectangular cuboid"/Mr Fuzzy replacing Knitted Character....but this week we probably had one of the poorest Burp shows of recent years, concentrating too much on the "sick run" gag which very much overstayed its welcome. I love the show, but I'm beginning to worry that its best days are behind it.

"Coronation Street" is getting ready for its 50th anniversary and some tram-crash carnage. I can think of a list of about 20 characters who I'd love to see on the receiving end of that. In the meantime we've got one tedious storyline after another - Becky's sister, John Stape, David running Graeme over. We need some more humour, because Corrie is currently lacking in that department.

I still love "The Apprentice" and it could go on forever, because there will always be a long queue of egomaniac wannabes desperate to impress Siralan - sorry I mean Lord Sugar. This year's crop are reassuringly deluded, and the more deluded they are (including most recent evictee Shibby, pictured above), the more entertaining it gets.

Season 3 of "Private Practice" is currently running on Living TV and whilst I'm enjoying it more than the last season - after all, sometimes you just need some brain-dead ludicrous nonsense which doesn't require you to think - I think they've probably gone as far as they can go with the relationship merry-go-round. Therefore it was quite surprising that it's gone to another season. How much more can they milk it?

Idol 2010 - Friday Finals - Week 3, 22.10.10

A week is a long time on "Idol". Just one week ago, Minnah was evicted from the competition - rather unfairly, I thought. However a lot has happened over the last few days: when Alice Hagenbrant decided to quit the show after deciding she wasn't enjoying it any more, Minnah was asked back. Great news, as a) Alice was not one of my favourites and b) Minnah deserved another chance.

Friday night's theme was The Beatles, and as ever some contestants did it better than others...

Geir "keep on" Rönning was back again with "Love Me Do" and such are the swings and roundabouts of this competition that after his triumph last week, he ended up in the bottom two thanks to his over-cheesy performance. The problem with "Love Me Do" is that there’s not much to it, it’s not the most vocally challenging song. And I say this as a Beatles fan, before you say anything!

How would Jay Smith tackle "A Hard Day’s Night"? In Jay-style of course, although he was quite restrained this week - I guess he's trying to show some versatility :) It can't be argued that he already has the confidence and stage presence of someone who will go very very far in this contest.

Elin Blom sang "Can't Buy Me Love", which was all a bit rock-chick-karaoke, and I still feel that Elin is too "nice" to be taken seriously as a rock singer, but that seems to be the "stereotype", the box which they want her to fit into.

Olle Hedberg's version of "Helter Skelter" left me cold, firstly because I never liked the song anyway, and although it was good to see him sing in a style which he was more comfortable with, there was still something missing, as if he was holding back. He is capable of so much more, and remains my favourite contestant, but he'll need to do a bit more!

Minnah Karlsson was back, back, back!! If she lacked oomph last week, then you couldn't say that for her this week as she gave it her all (and then some) on "Twist and Shout". I loved her black dress and purple tights too!

The very prophetic "Ticket To Ride" was the song choice for Linda Varg, and while it wasn’t all that bad (proof of the very high standard in this competition) I guess there’s only room for so many rock-chicks and Linda’s time was up.

Andreas Weise sang "All You Need Is Love". Vocally spot-on, but it was all a bit "cruise ship cabaret" as Simon Cowell used to say. Last week I thought Andreas he had a future in musical theatre: this week I’m visualising a sideways-step into dansband. He is a good singer, but there are a lot of good singers out there. And he is certainly no "Idol".

Sometimes I think Daniel Norberg could be a dark horse, as he’s got a little Will Young-quality to his voice and at times he was spot on with the subtlety which "The Long and Winding Road" deserves, although at other times he was less impressive. I think he could be in danger in the next week or two.

On "Help!" Linnea Henriksson looked as if she’d just stepped out of the 60s in her yellow two-piece suit. As usual the gave it the Linnea-treatment with bags of personality and the biggest eyelashes you’ve seen in a long long time. She certainly didn’t need any "help" to stay in the competition one more week.

Bottom two: Linda and Geir, with Linda (pictured below) leaving the competition.

Next week's theme: the 90s. Which for me was a very underrated decade so hoping for some good song choices. And more Swedish songs please!!

(pictures above courtesy of Aftonbladet and TV4)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Something to make you smile

A bit of Jamaican sunshine on a freezing cold night....ladies and gentlemen, The Jolly Boys, with a very unique cover version of the Amy Winehouse classic. It does go on a bit, but good fun nonetheless:

This week's "Idol" songs

It's Beatles Week. Will it be "yeah, yeah, yeah" or will some of them be a "no no no"?

Via Aftonbladet here are this week's songs...

Geir Rönning - ”Love me do”.
Jay Smith - ”A hard days night”.
Elin Blom - ”Can't buy me love”.
Olle Hedberg - ”Helter skelter”.
Alice Hagenbrant - ”Something”.
Linda Varg - ”Ticket to ride”.
Andreas Weise - ”All you need is love”.
Daniel Norberg - ”The long and winding road”.
Linnea Henriksson - ”Help!”.

As ever I'm looking forward to Olle - this might be a bigger challenge than last week but we know he's got the talent, he just needs the right song. "Helter Skelter" sounds more like a Jay song, but we'll see what Olle does with it....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Melodifestivalen 2011: some more acts and songs announced

Via Aftonbladet:

Some new acts and song titles were announced today...

1. Enemy
Songwriters: Niclas Lundin, Anton Malmberg Hård af Segerstad
Artist: Sara Lumholdt

2. I'm In Love
Songwriters: Bobby Ljunggren, Thomas G:son, Irini Michas, Peter Boström
Artist: Sanna Nielsen

3. In the Club
Songwriters: Figge Boström, Peter Boström, Danny Saucedo
Artist: Danny

4. My Heart Is Refusing Me
Songwriters: Moh Denebi, Björn Djupström, Loreen
Artist: Loreen

5. Social Butterfly
Songwriters: Amir Aly, Henrik Wikström
Artist: Rasmus Viberg

6. The Hunter
Songwriters: Kristofer Östergren, Erik Stenemo, Jon Axelsson, Niklas Stenemo – Melody Club
Artist: Melody Club

7. Tid att andas
Songwriter: Fredrik Kempe
Artist: Simon Forsberg

8. Try Again
Songwriters: Niklas Pettersson, Linda Sonnvik
Artist: Dilba

From that line-up I'm most excited about Danny and Melody Club.

Danny has appeared at MF as part of E.M.D. in the past but he has a great fanbase both in Sweden and internationally as a solo artist so it would make good sense for him to represent Sweden next year. But then again, when did the Melodifestivalen winner ever make international sense???? Anyway he's a great pop star but that title just reminds me of a lot of songs which have been hits in the last couple of years!

Melody Club meanwhile have also been popular over the years in Sweden and have a similar sound to The Ark (I think) and we know what happened to them....

Fans of the more traditional schlager (I'm not one of them, but I know a lot of you are) will be pleased to see Sanna Nielsen back this year. I thought she said a couple of years ago that she would never participate again in the competition? Oh well, as they say, "never say never again".

A couple of comebacks - Dilba with the appropriately titled "Try Again" whilst ex-A Teens Sara Lumholdt tries her luck at solo success.

I don't know anything about Simon Forsberg or Loreen or Rasmus Viberg, so their songs might be a pleasant surprise, who knows?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Idol 2010 - Friday Finals - Week 2, 15.10.10

Minnah Karlsson kicked off the evening with her version of "Ambitions". I believe Andreas Carlsson made some negative comments about her last week, which was a bit unfair. There wasn’t too much wrong with this vocally, but maybe it was a little too anonymous and lacked oomph.

Daniel Norberg took on one of the all-time Swedish classic hits, Andreas Johnson’s "Glorious" which was totally inappropriate for his voice and it completely fell apart at the end. He really shouldn’t be given any more rock songs, but he has quite a nice tone to his voice and if he gets the right songs over the next few weeks he could become a contender. Maybe some offbeat acoustic pop, in the Jason Mraz style?

You’ll know by now that I want the overrated Alice Hagenbrant out of the contest, as she is also pretty anonymous. She sang "Breakaway" well enough but that’s the only good thing I have to say about her this week.

I’m no fan of Andreas Weise either, but I’ll admit his vocals were very good on "Feel" although the song was a bit of a mis-match. His voice is more suited to musical theatre and I feel his future lies there, rather than as a pop idol.

Linnea Henriksson in red tights! My favourite girl in the contest did well with her version of The Knife’s "Heartbeats" (original of the Jose Gonzalez hit). Her voice cracked towards the end but she probably got away with it as she may not have a traditionally great voice but has that star quality which some of the other contestants lack.

Linda Varg learned from last week and kept her vocals under control for the always-popular "Iris" and again I probably liked her better this week than I used to.

Olle Hedberg sings Oskar Linnros! The prospect had me full of anticipation, yet sadly it all fell short for me which was probably due to the rubbishy backing-track (also noted by Aftonbladet) which didn’t do him any favours. Whilst I’m an Olle fan I disagree with the panel’s comments that he sang the song better than Oskar. Both singers have different styles and I prefer Olle in a more "raw" mode - hopefully he’ll get back to that next week.

Rock chick Elin Blom’s little niche is to be given songs by other singers with short blonde hair (!) Last week Robyn, this week Pink. I thought this was a very nice version of "I Don’t Believe You" which she sang very well indeed and she has gone up in my estimations.

Jay Smith didn’t exactly step out of the box - or should that be the "Heart Shaped Box" - why, they even had him styled like Kurt Cobain! Fair play to a singer like him daring to take part in a competition like this, where most potential rockstars would avoid it like the plague. But Jay clearly knows the value of Idol as a platform, a stepping stone to better things. Somewhere out there is a rock band out there crying out for a frontman, and he is it.

Finally, Geir Rönning’s version of "Rosanna" was pretty much faultless and note-perfect and very, very impressive, and now I can understand why the Aftonbladet columnist was so enthusiastic. But he is a professional with years of singing experience, which continues to put him at a very unfair disadvantage and I'm still quite uncomfortable with that.

Evicted: Minnah. Not too much of a surprise due to the running order and previously-noted lack of oomph.

Swedish charts update

It's been a while :) anyway I thought it was time to check out what was happening in the Sverige Topplistan singles chart, which is published every Friday at

If you needed any proof that the world had gone mad, then "Black Fender" by 50s-throwback Hans Edler was probably it. The song topped the Swedish singles charts for a couple of weeks recently. Why? Can any of my Swedish friends tell me the reason for this???

Anyway it's not at no.1 anymore - that honour goes to Shakira and her "Waka Waka" which is still very popular even though the World Cup seems so long ago now.
Shakira better watch out as the next song could knock her off the top. High climber this week is a song I wrote about recently. "Gubben i Lådan" by Daniel Adams-Ray is a real grower and sounds very good on the radio.
His former Snook bandmate Oskar Linnros has spent 22 weeks on the chart with "Från Och Med Du" and that song is down to no.7 this week, but it could climb yet again, thanks to the "Idol effect". Yes just as with our own (vastly inferior) X Factor, it only takes someone to sing a song in the show for the original version to re-enter or climb the chart. As "Från Och Med Du" was in this week's Idol, then expect to see Oskar in next week's top 5 once again. This also explains the entry of "Who Says" by John Mayer at no. 40, for example.

A few international hits in the chart this week, notably Cee-Lo Green who continues to climb the chart with "F**k You" (I was very disappointed that they played the "Forget You" version on Swedish radio the other night) anyway let's concentrate on the Swedish songs!

As predicted, Kent's next release from their excellent "En Plats i Solen" CD is the very electro-poppy "Ismael" which has entered the chart at no.13.
One of my all-time favourite Swedish pop stars Magnus Carlsson is back in the Swedish charts with "The Best In Me". I still haven't heard his new album yet, so I don't know if this is one of the better tracks on the album. Nevertheless it's a catchy retro-pop song (got a "Love In The First Degree" feel to it, don't you think?), maybe not a classic, but it's good to have him back again.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Post removed.

For the first time in the three and a half year existence of this blog, I received a very strongly worded 'cease and desist' email yesterday.

I've never done anything to merit a C & D - I thought C & D's were only issued to people who shared mp3 files on their blogs, and I've never done that - so it was pretty hard to understand why I'd received this, as it only related to a YouTube link within the most recent German Charts Update from a couple of weeks ago.

But hey, anyway I've deleted the whole post, not just the link, so the matter should now be resolved. Has this happened to any of you readers?

This week's Idol songs

Via Aftonbladet here are this week's Swedish Idol songs - and aren't there some cracking song choices in there too! This week's theme is "My Idol" as the contestants take on songs by their favourite artists.

Minnah Karlsson - ”Ambitions” (Donkeyboy)
Daniel Norberg - ”Glorious” (Andreas Johnson)
Alice Hagenbrant - ”Breakaway” (Kelly Clarkson)
Andreas Weise - ”Feel” (Robbie Williams)
Linnea Henriksson - ”Heartbeats” (The Knife)
Linda Varg - ”Iris” (Goo Goo Dolls)
Olle Hedberg - ”Från och med du” (Oskar Linnros)
Elin Blom - ”I don't believe you” (Pink)
Jay Smith - ”Heart shaped box” (Nirvana)
Geir Rönning - ”Rosanna” (Toto)

Of course the one I'm most looking forward to is Olle - especially since he's singing one of my favourite songs by one of my favourite artists. Linnea should be very interesting as always, and I'm also curious to hear Minnah's version of "Ambitions". Oh, and Jay and Linda will probably scream their way through their songs as usual :)

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Idol 2010: Friday finals, week 1 - 08.10.2010

So finally, the auditions are over and the real contest has begun. And there are so many questions....

Is Jay Smith the real deal? Well, he rocked his way through "White Wedding" and even at this point I can see him being pigeonholed with Metallica and Nickelback songs. Unfortunately you will have guessed that I'm in a pretty cynical mood tonight. Sorry.) Anyway, he did what he needed to do.

Why is Andreas Weise there? There's nothing spectacular about him, and his unspectacular version of "For Once In His Life" was a bit too cabaret for these ears. Add to that the negative publicity in the Swedish tabloids over the past week and I'd say he was very lucky to make it to next week, although I can't see him having a long lifespan in this competition.

Could Linda Varg out-Alanis Alanis? Her vocals weren't always perfect, but she totally threw herself into the spirit which the deliciously vitriolic song requires, and completely sold it. I just wonder how she will cope with non-rock songs though and she could maybe lack versatility.

Is Daniel Norberg a boyband member in search of a boyband? Haha. Three cheers for the song choice though (John Mayer's 'Who Says') - you'd never hear this on 'X Factor' and that is why I love Swedish Idol. Anyway he seems promising and it will be interesting to see how he progresses.

Is Elin Blom a girlband member in search of a girlband? I think so. There wasn't too much wrong vocally with her version of Robyn's "Hang With Me", but it lacked the brittle vulnerability of the original. But then again, Robyn is a very hard act to emulate...

Could Olle Hedberg keep up the high standard? I think the answer to that one is 'yes'. I've never been a fan of the song he sang last night 'Talking About A Revolution' but he has such raw passion in his performance that he could sing anything and make it compelling.

Would Sassa Bodensjö do a Pink song justice? "Dear Mr President" is a deceptively simple song with very sharp lyrics, and unfortunately Sassa fell short of what was expected from her. This was one of the night's weakest performances.

Is Linnea Henriksson a potential winner? Although there is no-one of the one-off quirky calibre of Tove Styrke/Amanda Jenssen this year, Linnea is probably the closest to that type of contestant. Her freaky, jazzy reinvention of Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" made her one to watch.

Geir Rönning: why? Sorry I couldn't resist this question, given his Eurovision entry of the same name. I still don't think he should be in this contest, as he's not exactly a newcomer but then the same could be said for Linda Varg (ex-Popstars band Supernatural) and Elin Blom (Finnish Eurovision national final contestant) so I guess we should leave it there. Anyway he played it safe with a disappointing version of Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now".

Is Alice Hagenbrant as good as she thinks she is? I'm no fan of the song she sang (Sheryl Crow's "If It Makes You Happy") and there is nothing particularly great, original or charismatic about her, going by this performance.

Which one was Minnah Karlsson again? The worst thing about these competitions is trying to remember everyone and I'd actually forgotten about Minnah. Which was a mistake, as she actually sang "Holding Out For A Hero" quite well, and without any vocal histrionics.

In the end, it was between Sassa and Linda in the bottom two, and Sassa became the first of this year's finalists to exit the competition.

One more question: who's next to go? Answers next Friday.

Dansfeber: the final line-up

Via Aftonbladet:

Here is the line-up for the final of TV4's "Dansfeber" which will take place next Saturday.

Morgan Alling – ”Flashdance”
Ronny Svensson – ”Thriller”
Nassim Al Fakir – ”Single ladies”
Ola Forssmed & Sussie Eriksson – ”Bollywood”
Tobbe Blom & Marko ”Markoolio” Lehtosalo – ”Dirty dancing”
Bönderna (Susanne Brännemo, Peter Gustafsson & Fredrik Karlsson) – ”Never let it go”
TV announcers (Nanna Martorell, Anders Östman & Fredrik Östling) – ”Fångad av en stormvind".

Of course I'll be supporting Nassim Al Fakir next week with his hilarious "Single Ladies". It's no surprise that a lot of the routines which were very popular on the British version have proved equally popular in the Swedish version - however there is a distinctively Swedish touch here as the finalists include two Melodifestivalen winners.

Now you all know how much I love Sweden, and how much I love Swedish music, but can I just tell you something? Now I'm sorry if it won't be popular with a lot of you schlager fans out there, but I'm only stating my opinion. So...

I have never liked "Fångad av en stormvind" and do you know the thing which continues to annoy me the most about it, apart from the fact that it only won on a technicality? That routine. Everything about it annoys me. The tunic. The two-boys-in-the-background thing, variations on which were a staple of many an MF entry in the 80s/90s. The unnecessary use of the wind machine. The choreography. Oh, and Carola herself, who I am not a fan of.

Although I maybe still have a soft spot for "Främling", I guess.

Why the (bleep) should we care about these people?

I refer, of course, to arguably the world's most overrated TV talent show: The X Factor. There are now many international versions of this show, which might actually be ok: I just want to clarify that my criticism relates solely to the British version.

In these times of austerity, cuts and the government from hell, what's on the cover of the newspapers? The X Factor. Perhaps that sums up why our country is in such a mess. It dominates press, magazines, even the TV news. Why? What's so special? It's only a third rate, past its sell-by date TV talent show, which quite frankly has got far too big for its boots. Believe it or not, I used to watch it once, back in the early days, (although admittedly I resented it from the beginning because my beloved "Pop Idol" was axed after two seasons in favour of this manipulative piece of s**t).

I couldn't care less about who's in/who's out/who should have been picked/who shouldn't have been picked. What I do care about is the amount of time wasted on it by our media, and the ruthless manipulation of the great British public, not to mention its dominance of the British charts over the years. There may be some good acts who have come out of this contest, but their careers are then destroyed by the same machine which created them.

There is clearly an appetite for prime time music shows on TV, so why will no-one take the chance on broadcasting a decent one on a Saturday night? Maybe then I wouldn't need to reach for the off switch.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Melodifestivalen 2011: first four songs and artists known

As revealed at Aftonbladet this morning:

Pernilla Andersson - ”Desperados”
Text och musik: Pernilla Andersson.

Linda Bengtzing - ”E de fel på mig”
Text och musik: Pontus Assarsson, Thomas G:son, Jörgen Ringqvist.

Lasse Stefanz - ”En blick och nåt händer”
Text och musik: Alexander Bard, Ola Håkansson, Tim Norell.

Swingfly - ”Me and my drum”
Text och musik: Teron Beal, Patrik Magnusson, Johan Ramström.

So....Linda's back, and there's no doubt that with a certain Mr G:son among the songwriters that it's going to be a big old schlager tune.

I don't know anything about Pernilla Andersson so I'll need to check her out.

Swingfly - if it's as catchy as "Singing That Melody" then it might do well.

The combination of top dansband Lasse Stefanz with the fantastic songwriting trio of Bard/Håkansson/Norell is a very weird one, but I can't wait to hear it because of the songwriters. After all, they wrote "En Dag" - one of the best Swedish entries ever - and when you think of Secret Service, Army of Lovers,'s a very exciting prospect.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

New single from Daniel Adams-Ray

Daniel Adams-Ray has released his second solo single "Gubben i lådan". It's the follow-up to the very catchy "Dum av Dig" which topped the Swedish radio Trackslistan earlier in the summer and got a lot of airplay.

Daniel's debut album "Svart, Vitt och allt Däremellan" (black, white and everything in-between) will finally be released in November. Since the break-up of Snook, Daniel has concentrated on his clothing line Lagom which was also shown at Stockholm Fashion Week, but now he's managing to combine his fashion and music careers. I'm looking forward to hearing his album - of course it will be impossible to avoid comparisons with his former Snook colleague Oskar Linnros, who has been without any doubt the biggest breakthrough artist in Sweden this year.

(Trying not to compare both artists, but..."Dum av Dig" was a little reminiscent of a couple of songs on Oskar's brilliant "Vilja Bli" CD, and on that album cover Oskar was covered in body paint - and so is Daniel on his new single cover!)

My own view is that judging by Daniel's two singles so far, he is probably the weaker of the two artists but I'm very happy that he's making music again, and a nice surprise to hear him singing when you consider that he was best known for his rapping (indeed, as was Oskar!) Anyway, it's great to see both members of a great Swedish act go on to achieve solo success. Well done!

Sweet little honey cherry chocolate pie

This blog loves Olle Hedberg!! He's definitely my fave Swedish Idol contestant this year.

I'm not usually a fan of acoustic-style music but I make an exception here: he has a nice gritty quality in his very distinctive voice and at other times he is a little reminiscent of John Mayer (back in the 'Room For Squares' days when he was good) anyway I've been watching some of his other stuff on YouTube so check these out if you haven't already:

"No Diggity"/"Lady Hear Me Tonight" (his brilliant Idol audition):

My particular favourite at the moment is one of his own songs called "Exit":


(By the way, the above picture is courtesy of

This week's "Idol" songs

Courtesy of Aftonbladet,
- and a very favourable post by columnist Martin Söderström - here is the list of songs for this week's first Swedish Idol Friday-final. This week's theme is "Who I Am", when the contestants will sing songs which they feel best represent them.

Jay Smith - "White wedding" (Billy Idol)
Andreas Weise - "For once in my life" (Frank Sinatra version)
Linda Varg - "You oughta know" (Alanis Morissette)
Daniel Norberg - "Who says" (John Mayer)
Elin Blom - "Hang with me" (Robyn)
Olle Hedberg - "Talking about a revolution" (Tracy Chapman)
Sassa Bodensjö - "Dear Mr. president" (Pink)
Linnea Henriksson - "Crazy" (Gnarls Barkley)
Geir Rönning - "Need you now" (Lady Antebellum)
Alice Hagenbrant - "If it makes you happy" (Sheryl Crow)
Minnah Karlsson - "Holding out for a hero" (Bonnie Tyler)

According to the Aftonbladet poll, Jay Smith is still the readers' favourite, and our favourite Olle is in second place! Time for an Olle appreciation post :)

Monday, October 04, 2010

The Turkey Diaries - Day 7: Monday 20th September 2010

Oooooh....bit of a headache this morning - self-inflicted :(

At least it's an uninterrupted night's sleep, which is just as well as it'll be a long time till the next one, thanks to the night flight.

After breakfast we headed out to buy some more last-minute purchases. A couple of days ago we discovered a little shady spot, outside the town hall, next to the local taxi rank so all the taxi drivers hang out there too, staying out of the direct sunlight. We stopped here to drink our water and enjoy the shade. We also spotted the arrival of a wedding party going into the town hall. Lunch at another one of the marina restaurants, where they all compete for business. Things were a bit different today as we took a mid-afternoon break back at the hotel and I snatch some more sleep before doing last-minute packing.

In the early evening we went out for dinner then had our last Turkish coffee of the holiday :( before venturing down Bar Street for one last time, dodging the hard sell. Darkness has fallen by this time so we take in my final view of the coastline and I even dip my toes in the Aegean. It's a distinctive night-time sight, with the castle, the coastline and the catamaran (nightclub) all lit up.

There's also time for one last walk - or should that be running the gauntlet - past the various beachfront restaurants. We then headed back to the hotel and awaited our airport transfer. That, my friends, is another story, which I won't bore you with.... Suffice to say that there was a major c**k-up which almost resulted in us missing our flight home. Happily though, we made it, with literally minutes to spare.

Having been to Turkey for two consecutive summer holidays, you'll have guessed that we're rather keen on the place. And why not? It's got something for everyone: traditional package-holiday appeal for the sun-worshippers; history and culture for those wanting something more from a summer holiday; great food, lively nightlife for people of all ages, where you are always welcomed and included. The hard-sell may always take a bit of getting used to, but the people are always friendly and take a genuine interest in everyone who passes along their way. The best thing about Turkey is that you never forget where you are. Whether it's the sound of the call to prayer, or the ubiquitous Turkish flag flying everywhere, or the Turkish music blasting from a little bar down a side street. You are in Turkey, a different country, a unique culture, and it's just fantastic to be there.

And Bodrum? Go there, you won't regret it. But don't spend your week by the hotel pool! Get out there and discover the place - it's a real town, not a custom-built resort. It's cosmopolitan, lively, and fun. What more could you want?

The Turkey Diaries - Day 6: Sunday 19th September 2010

The day doesn't start so well, as the combination of heat and revellers wakes me at 5.15 am. This. Is. Not. Good. Happily it gets better!

Today, in true Sunday style, is all about taking things at a very slow pace indeed, as the temperature climbs yet again to over 40 degrees. So it's apple tea, and leisurely shopping - I finally get that Mor ve Ötesi CD which I've been promising myself all week (and which hasn't been off my CD player in the last 2 weeks) and the latest Power Turk CD compilation. We also buy souvenirs and postcards and decide to venture outside of town to Bodrum's take on the shopping mall concept - Oasis.

Oasis, which is between Bodrum and nearby Gumbet, is not really like a traditional shopping mall as most of it's in the open air, but luckily there are enough seats and shady spots to cool down in. They also have a very classy food court where we have a very Turkish lunch - pide, Efes, Turkish coffee, and baklava. I didn't take many photos today, and I'm only going to publish one of them here, but it's one that really matters. Baklava!!

We hang out in Oasis for a while before getting a taxi back into town, and inevitably end up at the Mariners cafe where I inevitably have my daily, chilled, fresh orange juice. Lovely.

Before going out in the evening, it's time for faithful travelling companion to have his second Turkish shave of the holiday. Owwww!

We have a lovely meal tonight, just off the beachfront, and then it's time to hit the buzzing nightlife of Bodrum once again. There is one little backstreet, just off Bar Street, which is full of little bars and restaurants and we ended up there again tonight. (sorry I can't remember the name of the street, but if I remember, then I'll publish it!). It may be Sunday night, but every night in Bodrum is like a Friday/Saturday night! In the now classic 'last full night of our holiday' tradition, we both get very merry, stay out very late, and wallow in the deadly combination of live Turkish music and....raki :))))

The Turkey Diaries - Day 5: Saturday 18th September 2010

Today: Greece is the word!

Being based in Bodrum provides you with a very good opportunity to visit another country - Greece. The island of Kos, to be precise.

Having border-crossed on holiday before - from France to Spain, France to Monaco, France to Italy - it feels as if you're just travelling to another town. The Turkey to Greece journey (and back) is something different entirely: you have to go through all the formalities which you expect when leaving the UK to fly to continental Europe, complicated by Turkey's non-EU/visa status. Baggage x-rays, metal detectors, passport checks, visa stamps, the lot. It's not easy. Prepare to queue, in both directions :(

However, Kos Town is just under an hour from Bodrum by express ferry, and the outward journey was a cool and pleasant one, on what was already turning out to be the hottest day of an already very hot holiday.

When you think about it, there aren't too many differences between Turkey and Greece, as we immediately discovered - swap Turkish coffee for Greek coffee...

...and if you're missing the Turkish cats, then there's plenty of Greek ones....

Kos Town has a very pretty seafront, which shares another similarity with Bodrum. There is a castle and marina at one side, and the beach at the other, although is more 'touristy' than Bodrum. Also, we didn't know until we got there, just how popular Kos Town is with Dutch tourists, judging by the number of Dutch bars/restaurants which we spotted on our day in the town.

We decided to throw ourselves into all things Greek today, which meant a lunch of moussaka for faithful travelling companion and chicken souvlaki for me. Sadly no lunch photography this time, but here's a Greek beer to wash it down with.

After lunch, we decided to take a journey on the 'little train' which took us around the coastline and round the back of the town. And in the middle of nowhere, we spotted....a cow!

Five hours in Kos Town can pass pretty quickly, so it wasn't possible to see/do everything in a day - had to miss out on the castle, for example, but there was just enough time to visit the Tree of Hippocrates, where, legend states, the original father of medicine taught his students. We also got a quick peek at the archaeological site of ancient Agora. Now that's what you call ruins!!

It was soon time to head back to Bodrum at 5.00 pm. (Ferry pictured above). If you don't mind all the delays at immigration, I'd recommend the day trip to Kos - or if you're holidaying in Kos, you can take the same trip in the opposite direction, so try a day trip to Bodrum!

After our eventual return to Bodrum, it was time to recharge our batteries before going back out for yet another evening of dining at the water's edge. And where there's a restaurant, there's a cat. Tonight's feline companion stayed with us for an hour and completely melted my heart into a big squishy mess. But she (I think it was a girl) only stayed with us as long as the food was on the table. So much for loyalty! Anyway it's Saturday night, and Bar Street is buzz, buzz, buzzing. Bodrum is lively and great fun for all ages, and there's no age-discrimination as young and old and everyone in-between are made welcome in the bars. We even get asked if we want to go into one of the ultra-trendy discos - there's hope for us yet :)))

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Here are this year's Swedish Idols...

Check out the faces in the picture above - they're about to become very familiar over the next few weeks for fans of Swedish "Idol", as they have made the final stages of this year's competition.

Confession time: I didn't have any time to watch any of the audition shows this year, but then I'm not really too bothered if I watch the auditions anyway as I prefer to tune in once the Friday-finals start.

So who's in the final line-up then??

Geir Rönning : firstly, he's not Swedish - he's Norwegian. And if you're a Eurovision fan, you'll be familiar with the name, as in true Scandinavian style he crossed the border and represented Finland back in 2005 with the song "Why" but failed to get out of the semi-finals.

47 year old Geir wowed the viewers this week with his excellent version of one of the biggest Swedish hits of the 90s - "Burnin'" by Cue.

Elin Blom : Finnish rock-chick and member of Sister Twister, whose version of "Nothing Else Matters" was enough to get her through to the final stages.

Sassa Bodensjö: even more of a rock-chick than Elin, Sassa growled her way though "Highway to Hell". Swedish Idol is so refreshing - you would never get this in X Factor!!

Linda Varg : another potential rock-chick in the making, her version of "Bubbly" was OK but not brilliant.

Jay Smith : keeping the rock-theme going, he could maybe be this year's Calle or Erik?

Linnea Henriksson : I haven't heard any of her other songs, but her brittle presentation intrigued me and I'm curious about how she'll progress in this competition.

Alice Hagenbrant : I believe she's one of the favourites, if I'm right? On this showing however I wasn't so thrilled, but that's more to do with her song choice I guess?

Minnah Karlsson: more of a country feel here, as she took on "Not Ready to Make Nice" as her qualifying song.

Daniel Norberg : he's a little bit "boyband" but I'm not sure if there's much potential there?

Andreas Weise : unfortunately he was doomed for me with his song choice, the dreadful "I Believe I Can Fly". No further comment.

Olle Hedberg : just when I was feeling a bit despondent about this year's finalists, along came Olle to get me interested again. And then I checked out his "No Diggity"/"Lady Hear Me Tonight" medley from the audition, and was hooked. I'm not sure how far he'll get in the competition, but I think he's my favourite so far.

The live-finals begin next Friday, 8th October on TV4. May the best contestant win!

The Turkey Diaries - Day 4: Friday 17th September 2010

Today was all about exploring the marina side of Bodrum, which starts at the end of Bar Street/Bodrum Castle. It's a more upmarket side of the city, marked by yachts and the distinctive Gulets (Turkish boats) moored all along the seafront, and a number of very nice restaurants and stylish nightclubs.

After a walk along the seafront, we had lunch in one of these very nice Turkish restaurants, where we were mistaken for Belgian tourists (! - a change from the usual Irish/Germans)....oh well, it's time for some gratuitous food photography: chicken, sweet potatoes and the ubiquitous green chilli.

Following lunch, there was one thing on our holiday agenda which we had to do. It's not every day that you get to see one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, so being in Bodrum presents you with the opportunity to see one of them: the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus - the tomb of the ancient ruler Mausolus. The Mausoleum is just a short walk back from the Marina and it was fascinating to get so close to so much ancient history. Many of the Bodrum guidebooks don't give very favourable descriptions of what's left of the Mausoleum, but despite all that I still felt that it's well worth a visit. More background information at

Tonight brought dinner and more traditional Turkish resort entertainment at one of the beachfront restaurants, where Friday night meant belly dancing/dancing waiters/breakdancers/Michael Jackson....anyone who's been on holiday in Turkey in recent years will be very familiar with this line-up. Yes, Jacko is alive and well, and if you don't believe me...

It was great fun tonight, although we didn't expect to be part of the entertainment :) anyway that's the joys of audience participation in Turkey, and you really don't have a say in the matter!!

Suffice to say it was a challenge to my two left feet to get involved in the Cha Cha Slide/Macarena/Kiss Kiss/Saturday Night dance routines, but a great laugh nonetheless.

Friday night, and Bodrum is buzzing even more than usual. And what a great place to be: although the partying is cut short as we need to get up very early tomorrow....

Sweden's most played song of the year... the magnificent "Keep On Walking", by the equally magnificent Salem Al Fakir!

At this year's annual Radiogalan, the song received the Nielsen music prize for being the most played song of the year on Sweden's radio stations - it received 6946 plays. As I said the other day over at Planet Salem, that's almost as many times as I've played it here at EuropeCrazy HQ ! :)))

Courtesy of, here is the full list of the 10 most played songs on Swedish radio over the past year.

1. "Keep On Walking" - Salem Al Fakir
2. "Dancing on My Own" - Robyn
3. "Viva La Vida" - Darin
4. "New Love In Town" - Europe
5. "Higher" - Erik Grönwall
6. "The Things We Owe" - Takida
7. "This Is My Life" - Anna Bergendahl
8. "You're Out Of My Life" - Darin
9. "Walking In Memphis" - Calle Kristiansson
10. "What's The Point" - Johnossi

I like 9 out of the 10 songs so once again, well done Sweden for producing such great music, and well done Salem for being the greatest of them all!