Saturday, January 07, 2017

The 2016-40: No.30-No.21

30. Snacket på stan – Danny Saucedo.

In a time when many reality formats are flagging, Så mycket bättre continues to buck the trend in Sweden where it remains a massively popular ratings winner and genuine, hitmaking success.  The commercial winners of the most recent series appear to have been Jill Johnson and Magnus Carlson (that's the Weeping Willows frontman, not the ex-Barbados and Alcazar legend), but I was really interested to see what Danny would come up with.  This was his energetic dance-pop revamp of Tommy Nilsson's 1986 poodle-permed rock number "Talk Of The Town" which he completely reinvented with great style.

29. I Took A Pill In Ibiza – Mike Posner.

You should always expect the unexpected in this chart.  A Mike Posner song would probably the last thing you would expect to see here as "Cooler Than Me" became a "hate chart" favourite a few years ago here at EuropeCrazy HQ thanks to the extreme annoyance which it caused faithful travelling companion because of its excessive airplay at the time.  "Ibiza" however managed to strike a chord with me, thanks to its very honest lyrics depicting the fleeting nature of fame.  In the most amazing irony, it was reinvented as a pop/dance anthem thanks to its remix by Seeb. 

28. On Dirait – Amir.

One of the nicest things about following the Eurovision Song Contest is seeing it actually have a positive impact on an artist's career.  Since Amir represented France in 2016 he has gone on to have a very successful post-contest career and it's been very nice to see him winning MTV and NRJ Music Awards.  "On Dirait" was the very catchy follow up to his ESC entry and got a lot of airplay on the music channels when we were on holiday in France in September.  

27. My Heart Wants Me Dead – Lisa Ajax.

My first encounter with this song wasn't really so positive.  During that Melfest heat I struggled with my internet connection and when the results were announced I wrote this off as a Zara Larsson "Uncover" wannabe.  However, I am well known for not liking songs on first listen, so you won't be so surprised to learn that it grew on me by the time of the final and continued to grow on me over the summer.  Despite the inexplicable toilet-roll staging and silly title - in a Melfest year marked by many a silly title, it must be said! - I eventually liked this song rather a lot.  Hopefully she will bring a good song to Melfest 2017.

26. Goodbye (Shelter) – Sanja Vucic ZAA.

In my Eurovision review this year I described the staging of this as "Molitva-meets-Mad-Max". Serbia is taking ESC seriously again and sent Sanja, a very talented singer (as evidenced in the pre-season promo events) with this dramatic song which had the very serious theme of domestic abuse.  I expected a top 10 placing and it certainly deserved better than that 18th place in the final.

25. If Love Was A Crime – Poli Genova.

Bulgaria's 10th performance in ESC proved that you should never give up.  After years of failing to qualify for the final, followed by a couple of years of no participation at all, it turned out that all that was required was a charismatic singer with tons of charm, a winning personality and a very catchy uptempo song which stood out in a line-up of predominantly mid-tempos and ballads.  Fan favourites do not always translate to ESC success, but this was that moment.  Whilst everyone was focusing on the three-way battle between Russia, Australia and Ukraine for the win, Bulgaria sneaked in and grabbed 4th place. It was their best ever result at ESC and will be a hard act to follow.

24.  Duele El Corazon – Enrique Iglesias.

The world is a lot smaller now than it used to be, and it takes no time for a clip, a song or a craze to go viral across social media and YouTube.  So it's even sadder these days that the tradition of the "summer hit" across the continent seems to have died out, with the continued all-conquering globalisation of (what passes for) pop these days.  Give thanks then for Enrique, rushing to the rescue for the 2nd year in a row - after "El Perdon" took Europe by storm in 2015, 2016 brought a song in a very similar vein, "Duele El Corazon" which was also a massive hit in Europe and the Latin music markets.  Hurry back this summer Enrique!

23. Final Song – MØ.

Do you remember 'landfill indie'?  This was a description for faceless early noughties guitar-band music which solely existed to boost record company profits.  Fast-forward a few years and we have landfill tropical-house.  Yes, in 2016 you couldn't escape this particular musical trend which quickly jumped the shark.  This was one of very few exceptions to the rule: it wasn't just another bandwagon-jumper - it was actually a rather good pop song.  

22.  Are We Awake – Tal. 

In a stagnant musical year, I was somewhat reassured during our late summer trip to France, that (a) there was still a strong French-language music scene, and (b) we could watch the music channels in our hotel room!  This was one of the songs which immediately appealed to me during that holiday.

21.  My Way - Calvin Harris. 

I may have been in a minority of one, but I was always of the (unpopular) opinion that Calvin Harris made his best music when he sang on his own songs.  In recent years he's had everyone from Rihanna, Kelis and Ellie Goulding to Hurts, John Newman and Florence Welch as featured vocalists, and in the process he has become the world's highest-paid DJ and grabbing the headlines for his high-profile relationships with Rita Ora and Taylor Swift.  But in 2016, Calvin surprised us with his return to the microphone and all was well again.

No comments: