Saturday, April 30, 2011

Italian Charts Update

As you know this blog has been going for just over four years and I just realised I'd never done an Italian charts update. So what better time than now, as I prepare to head off to Pisa in a couple of days?

I decided to take a look at the Italian iTunes chart to see what was floating the boat of record buyers in Italia....apart from this summer's holiday-song-in-waiting "Mr Saxobeat" by Alexandra Stan at no.1, we have the usual suspects: Jennifer Lopez, Adele, the Black Eyed Peas, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Jessie J, Lady Gaga etc etc (yawn) so let's focus on the Italian acts shall we!
It feels like Jovanotti's been around for ever, and this week he's the highest placed Italian artist with his piano ballad "Le Tasche Piene di Sassi".

Old meets new with Bob Sinclar's remake of "Far L'Amore" with Raffaella Carra. Those of a certain age will remember an English version of this in the British charts in the 1970s - "Do It Do It Again". Unfortunately this song is now stuck in my brain and will need to be surgically removed. Formaggio overload at

It would appear that Italian music fans continue to love gravelly-voiced old rocker Vasco Rossi who also remains very popular, with "Eh...Gia" in the top 10 and his latest album also doing very well. He also co-wrote the next song...

Did a bit of research and found out that Noemi is a former X Factor contestant but we won't hold that against her - "Vuoto a Perdere" is her latest hit single and it's a rather good pop/rock song, and she's got the same hair colour as me so that's pretty cool :))

"Arriverà" by Modà featuring Emma is a good old fashioned Italian swaying ballad (and a 2011 San Remo song):

I rather liked Zero Assoluto's slice of electropop on "Questa Estate Strana"

Over in the album chart, this year's Eurovision representative Raphael Gualazzi is doing rather well with "Reality and Fantasy". His left-field modern jazz style may not be to everyone's taste, but it'a distinctive and original and worth checking out if you are a jazz fan. Most of this album's in the English language, obviously with an eye to his international breakthrough.

German Charts Update...but where are all the German hits?

Thought I'd do one of these as Germany will be in the spotlight over the next couple of weeks as Eurovision 2011 host country.

It's been a while since I did a German charts update (and I won't be posting any links, as the last time I did this I almost got my blog shut down and don't want to risk this again!!).

Anyway, the most significant thing is....where are all the German hits? As with many other European countries these days, the German chart has become so generic with the same international hits as everywhere else - J-Lo's "On The Floor" tops the singles chart, with Snoop Dogg, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Usher, Katy Perry, Chris Brown, Adele and Enrique Iglesias all taking up a space in the chart...and for some inexplicable reason, a revival of Depeche Mode's "Just Can't Get Enough" which has been in the German chart for a few weeks.

So I'm going to ignore that and concentrate on some of the other German/European hits instead.

Starting with the Finnish band Sunrise Avenue who continue to be very popular in Germany. "Fairytale Gone Bad" was a massive hit there, and the band's latest track "Hollywood Hills" sticks to their familiar accessible pop/rock sound and has already spent 10 weeks in the German singles chart.

Another act from outside Germany who's doing very well over there is Milow; "You And Me (In My Pocket)" the first single from his current album "North and South" again doesn't stray too far from his trademark acoustic sound with a little touch of the Paul Simon style in there too.

So we've had a Finnish band and a Belgian we have a Dutch singer named Caro Emerald who's doing well in the top 10 with "A Night Like This". I think her retro style might appeal to fans of Paloma Faith and Eliza Doolittle.

Danish singer Mads Langer's very inspired reinterpretation of Olive's 90s dance hit "You're Not Alone" has also been in the German chart for a few weeks. Think Milow's "Ayo Technology" and you get the idea - I like this!

Where are all the German acts then? The highest placed German song this week is "Strobo Pop" by Die Atzen featuring Nena. Yes, that Nena! It's an of-the-moment electropop/rap number and is (IMHO) a bit annoying.

Then there's Jupiter Jones, whose "Still" is a melodic mid-tempo rock song making its way into the top 20.

I suppose the big question is: where is "Taken By A Stranger"? Well, after 9 weeks on the chart, Lena's 2011 Eurovision entry is languishing at no. 42 although expect it to briefly climb the chart again in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Square-Eyed Couch Potato: April 2011

Starting off with three programmes all sharing the same theme - hotels - so forgive me if I group them together. "THREE IN A BED" (Channel 4), "THE HOTEL INSPECTOR" (Channel 5) and "THE HOTEL" (Channel 4) are all running at the moment and have all been deserving of my attention.

Just like "Come Dine With Me", "Three..." is better in a one-hour slot rather than running daily at teatimes - it cuts down on the endless and unnecessary recaps for starters. It's the same format as usual: three hoteliers staying at each other's establishments and then paying what they think it was worth. It's still pretty fresh though and it's probably good for another couple of series, however it seems to be going down the "Come Dine..." route by finding the most extreme characters and mixing up the most contradictory personalities. (picture courtesy of Channel 4)

"The Hotel Inspector" hasn't changed a bit either - Alex Polizzi is back to pump up the drama and basically makeover some hotels in need of help. Again, why change a successful formula? Although having said that, it's a very predictable formula and very very similar to "Kitchen Nightmares" = in that you know which way she'll go about it, and how it's going to end. (picture courtesy of Channel 5)

"The Hotel" is new, and is basically an old-school fly on the wall docusoap about a Lake District hotel, the Damson Dene. It's certainly warts and all, so fair play to them for letting us see behind the luxury facade...which is more like a mix of "Fawlty Towers" and the aforementioned "Kitchen Nightmares". I'm curious to see how the story will develop, and particularly how the Eastern European staff will cope with life and work in a new country and culture. (picture courtesy of Channel 4)

"WHO DARES WINS" (BBC1) returned to our screens this week. It's the only one of the National Lottery gameshows which I'm remotely interested in. Basically it's about guessing what's on a list and I try to play along every week. I get very frustrated with the pairs of contestants though - especially when one answers all thr questions and the other one doesn't!

BBC4 has began showing re-runs of "TOP OF THE POPS" from 1976 onwards in real time, so this month it's April 1976 and "Save Your Kisses For Me" is at no.1. Back in those days of course, the contest always took place earlier than it does now - and it was on 3rd April 1976 when Brotherhood of Man won it. Imagine a Eurovision song at no.1 in the British chart now?? (picture courtesy of

I'm sure that Blue would like that, but in the meantime they had to settle for a BBC1 documentary "YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS BLUE" (previously mentioned on this blog and in comments ) and which, I reiterate, was a bit of a revelation for the Beeb and indicated - at long long last! - a change in attitude towards Eurovision, and why this country hasn't done so well in recent years.

Going to Pisa next week!

Yes I can finally reveal our next holiday destination....Pisa! This will be our first ever Italian holiday, although it won't be our first time on Italian soil as we took a day trip to Ventimiglia whilst on holiday in Nice back in 2003.

We are really excited about this forthcoming short break and of course The Pisa Diaries will be making an appearance on this blog before the end of May!! Expect lots of gratuitous food photography....

(The above picture is courtesy of Wikipedia)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Swedish Charts Update

This week's Sverige Topplistan chart has a very international look to it, as Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull top the listings with "On The Floor" whilst the top 10 is almost exclusively dominated by the usual suspects - Rihanna, Britney Spears, LMFAO, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga to name a few - only Veronica Maggio and Swingfly/Christoffer Hiding ensure a Swedish presence in the top 10. Eric Saade's "Popular" took a spectacular tumble from no.1 to no.12 this week!

Just like the UK singles chart, it feels as if the same songs have been in the Swedish singles chart forever. The major shock this year is the lack of success for Melodifestivalen songs - apart from the aforementioned, it's only The Moniker (24), Loreen (26), Danny (27) and Sara Varga (30) who are maintaining a strong chart presence.

Over in the iTunes singles chart, I came across the latest single by the rejuvenated Petter featuring Swedish music legends Adolphson & Falk: it's called "Krafter" and it's rather good.

Get back up again?

Three weeks from tonight =Eurovision final!

In the meantime, everyone's on the promo trail across Europe, familiarising viewers with their songs and hoping the recognition-factor counts at semi-final and final time.
Last night Blue appeared on RTE's Late Late Show - which, if you remember just a few weeks ago, was the venue for the Irish Eurosong selection. The UK's 2011 representatives performed "I Can" but I can't help thinking that they're still a long way from the definitive performance of the song.

In other ESC news, "Get You" has been revamped with a new intro for the contest version of the song. What I really can't get is the whole 'Alex Sparrow' thing. In all my years of watching Eurovision, I never understood why they had to drop surnames or change names to a more acceptable, 'Anglified' version. What's wrong with Aleksey Vorobyov??? (I'm sure you'll have an answer for me, Rachel :)))) )

Faithful travelling companion (hello and Happy Easter by the way!!) continues to have a minor obsession with the Slovak TWiiNS.

I'm still none the wiser regarding who's actually gonna win the thing this year, but the same countries keep popping up as possible contenders - France/UK/Estonia/Sweden/Bosnia/Azerbaijan/Denmark/Germany. The more I listen to the French entry, the more I realise that it is really in with a chance and could succeed where previous opera-entries have failed. But on the other hand, it could be 2000/2001 all over again and something could come out of nowhere to win the whole thing.

All will be revealed two weeks from now!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

So what's been happening then?

Well, I lost some weight.

"Get You" is still my favourite Eurovision entry this year.

Although I will also be supporting Blue. Supporting my own country's entry at Eurovision is a very unusual and unfamiliar thing to do, but there you go. Tonight BBC1 screened "Eurovision: Your Country Needs Blue" (you see what they did there?) which, although screening the by now prerequisite ESC clips of Fredi & Friends, Jahn Teigen, Nicole & Hugo (where can I get one of those on-trend purple catsuits?) and inevitably, 'Sámiid Ædnan', for once it went beyond the usual BBC 'let's all laugh at Eurovision' stance and actually acknowledged that WE. HAVE. BEEN. GETTING. IT. SOOOOO. WRONG. And you can forget a key change cause you're not getting one. Apart from the usual suspects (Cliff, Lulu and the mighty Bucks Fizz), Radio 1's Scott Mills talked a lot of sense and I got the feeling that, finally, the post-Wogan era is kicking in and maybe, after all these years in the wilderness, Royaume-Uni may finally be getting the concept of 21st century Eurovision. During the show my mum commented on the 'political' voting but I immediately jumped in with my own theory - that the 'new' (as in 1993 & beyond) countries had no previous experience of what is expected from a Eurovision entry therefore have been able to drive the contest in a whole new direction. Anyway the show was well worth watching and if you missed it, check it out on BBC iPlayer at

Finally, I'm going on holiday in just over two weeks and I'm sooooo excited! Location to be confirmed in the next few days - news to follow on here very soon. For a while I wasn't sure if I'd be going on holiday or not, but it's looking good to go. Anyway what this means is that this blog will probably not be back to 'normal service' till Eurovision week i.e week commencing 9th May, however I may sneak in a few blog posts over Easter weekend, you never know ;)

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Another blog break!

OK....EuropeCrazy is on another blog break for the next month. See you at the end of April (unless I'm on holiday...will keep you posted!)

See you soon!

Love & hugs
Laura :)))