Sunday, December 30, 2012

The 2012-50: No.20 - No.11

20. "Stay" - Tooji.

I’ll never forget seeing this on MGP for the first time - "Oh my God, it’s an Eric Saade tribute act!!"  However I thought "Stay" was so much better than "Popular".  The song (and that twirly-hand move) very quickly found its way into my affections and I even had a dream/premonition when I saw the ESC end credits roll over the song. How wrong can you be?  I still can't understand why Norway found itself at the bottom of the ESC leaderboard, when this was one of the year's best song contest entries.

19.  "Shapeshifter" - Rikke Normann.

A fresh & catchy dance song, which missed out on a place in the MGP final. Which IMHO was down to the combination of her bad styling, that dodgy end-of-song scream, and a bit too much distraction in the live performance from the geek-boys-in-braces (although you know how much I love boys in braces!). But there will always be a place for it at EuropeCrazy HQ, and this has ended up becoming one of my most played national final songs of the year.

18.  "Soldiers" - Ulrik Munther.

I hadn't checked out his music before this year's Melodifestivalen, purely because I don't really like "young" singers or those who look about 12 years old (!) so this was a very pleasant surprise.  Reminiscent of OneRepublic's "All The Right Moves", and peppered with lyrical military metaphors ("armies of one on the battlefield", you get the idea), Ulrik effortlessly breezed to Globen which made lots of teenage girls happy and left some pop bloggers feeling grumpy! "Soldiers" then spent a big chunk of late spring squatting on my iPod and refusing to leave.

17. "Hugarro" - Magni Asgeirsson.

For the second year in a row, Magni was to be denied success at Songvakeppni.  The Icelandic selection filled me with mixed feelings: on the one hand, Magni is such a compelling, passionate performer that I soooo wanted him to win but on the other hand Jonsi was there and I soooo wanted him to win too. Such is the high standard of Songvakeppni! This is a compelling Icelandic-language rock ballad.  I wonder if he'll ever take part in the Icelandic song selection again?

16.  "Amazing" - Danny Saucedo.

I'll let you into a secret: earlier in the year, this was in my top 5 songs of the year but in the long run it hasn't had the staying power that "In The Club" had.  Nevertheless, I still like it, and in any other year this could have been a potential Melodifestivalen winner, but of course 2012 wasn't just any other year.  Danny's 'sour grapes' attitude after the final was a bit of a disappointment, but that's all water under the bridge now, for the co-presenter of Melodifestivalen 2013!

15. "Some Die Young" - Laleh.

One of the remarkable things about "Så mycket bättre" has been its evolution from a TV entertainment show into a crucial career revival format which Swedish artists and record companies are now queuing up to be part of. If 2010 was all about September and 2012 was all about Darin (and Maja Ivarsson), then undoubtedly 2011 was Laleh's year and this brought her massive post-show success into 2012. I'm not a fan of her music, but this was an absolutely cracking song with an incredible emotional narrative.

14.  "Shout It Out" - David Lindgren.

He may have looked like a bank clerk, but break-dancin' Dave proved to be a revelation in his Melodifestivalen debut.  "Shout It Out" has become one of the biggest radio hits in Sweden this year and I never tire of it.  The song and dance man also stole the show at Tomas Ledin’s Skansen summer special.  David can of course expect a rapturous reception when he returns to the Melodifestivalen stage in 2013, this time as a serious contender.  But will the song be as catchy and as good as this one?

13. "Euphoria" - Loreen.

The winner of the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest.  Loreen provided one of Eurovision's most iconic winning performances in years, although I still stand by my original comments that the song would not have done so well had it not been for her performance, the routine and the staging.  Nevertheless, the song still sounds fresh and vital, and a credible Eurovision winner for fans to be proud of.

12.  "Last Time" - Labrinth.

There are so many reasons why I should hate Labrinth: notably his link with Simon Cowell, and that beyond-annoying "Beneath Your Beautiful" song which takes The New Boring to a whole new level. This really shouldn’t even have got a sniff of my annual chart as it commits too many of my "musical sins" of the past few years; far too much auto-tune and vocoder nonsense, and basically he's just singing a load of place names, yet it crucially worked for me this year in a way that so many other tracks didn’t, for reasons I still can’t explain.

11.  "Sound Of Our Hearts" - Compact Disco.

It was only whilst compiling this chart that I forgot just how much I liked this.  And then I started playing it again. And again.  And again.  And then Compact Disco appeared on Albania's Festivali i Këngës last week and, well, that was it.  "Sound Of Our Hearts", this year's Hungarian Eurovision entry (in case you had forgotten - how could you?) is such a wonderful three minutes with an Eighties-influenced vibe, a song which is probably too good for Eurovision.  And then of course, there is Csaba :)

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