Sunday, January 31, 2010

This week's playlist: Whatever it takes I will do what I gotta do

On A Mission - Gabriella Cilmi: it's so good to have her back. A top electro-pop tune based around (what sounds to me like) the Joe Jackson 'Steppin' Out' bassline.
Give It To Me - Alexander Stenerud: some Norwegian MGP-wonderful-ness. I'll be supporting him in next week's final...
Don't Wanna Lose You Again/Take You Home - A1: that's when I'm not supporting A1 of course!! And I still can't get enough of "Take You Home"...!
Never Forget/Shine/Rule The World - Take That: you can tell that I've spent some time of late watching the Take That 'Circus Live' DVD: and why not. It's fabulous.
Stay Too Long - Plan B: I like bits of this because it reminds me of Northern Soul....but other bits of this just annoy me :(
Septieme Ciel - Jane Fostin: a musical flashback to 1999, back in the day when I used to go on holiday every year to la France :))))))
Backseat - Staygold, Spank Rock and Damien Adore: 'get a job done in the parking the backseat of your car...."

Retro Saturday: Marathon

Back to 1992, a year which I would be very happy to be stuck in with no escape (won't go into reasons why!!! :) ).....anyway the house-tastic "Movin'" by Marathon has been long overdue for the Retro Saturday treatment on EuropeCrazy so here it is, 18 years down the line.... still sounds very, very good.

Retro Saturday: Kym Sims

Back to the early 90s again - which was personally a very memorable time for me - here's a bit of Kym Sims (whatever happened to...?) who had a big hit with "Too Blind To See It" but I liked this one so much more - "Take My Advice" which had that distinctive early 90s house sound: "she got a smile on her face and a plan in her head" - good times, ooooh yes.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Retro Saturday: Manic Street Preachers

Going through the Retro Saturday archive over the last 3 years it just struck me that I'd overlooked the wonderful Manics. At one point during the 1990s my life completely revolved around them, and seeing them live on their post-"Everything Must Go" tour was completely inspirational :) anyway here is "From Despair To Where" which I played today and asked myself why I hadn't played it more.....?

Retro Saturday: Alison Limerick

Anyone for a bit of "Where Love Lives", then????


An early 90s dance classic which we will never tire of reviving. "Tune" indeed.

Retro Saturday: Dionne Farris

Thought it was about time I resurrected the old Retro Saturday thing!

Kicking off with something I loved from around 1994: apparently Dionne Farris was originally part of the Arrested Development crew, but I didn't know anything about her till "I Know" which got a lot of radio airplay around that time and this remains one of the great-lost-hits of the mid 90s. Enjoy!

What the folk? (Notes from National Finals On-Season, part 1)

Been rather busy of late (which explains the lack of activity on this here blog) anyway I’m finally getting into Eurovision national finals on-season. Tonight saw the Finnish final, which was won by Kuunkuiskaajat, with a very folky entry called "Työlki ellää". Just had a weird thought - the girl with the accordion looks like a blonde, Finnish version of my hairdresser who gave me a wonderful haircut today :)) anyway on first listen I think it’s a load of mince and won’t get out of the semi final. Zzzzzz. This is as far removed from Waldo’s People as you can imagine, and then double it, and even then you don’t come close :)

Sadly my favourite Finnish singer, the wonderful Osmo Ikonen, had failed to qualify for the final with "Heaven or Hell" which is probably too good for Eurovision, not that I’m bitter or anything...! (If Salem doesn’t get through to Globen/Andra Chansen in MF next week, expect one major, major, rant from me in the same vein!)

But I digress. For tonight was Siste Sjanse time in Norway. I have been following this year’s Norsk MGP with particular interest, even more than usual, because they are, after all, the defending champs. Tonight, after the dreaded duels, it was Venke Knutson and Bjorn Johan Muri who progressed to the MGP final next week. I'm quite happy about that, although for some strange reason I'm unable to get Gaute's song out of my head :)

Here's my preview of the final, which I'm doing tonight as I'll be Melodifestivalen-obsessed over the next 7 days for obvious reasons :)))))))

"Make My Day" - Maria Haukaas Storeng: it’s the law of diminishing returns I’m afraid. This isn’t as good as "Hold On Be Strong" and it’s not even as good as "Killing Me Tenderly" so I wouldn’t expect this one to win.

"The Dragontower" - Keep of Kalessin: quite a daring choice and I wouldn’t write it off just yet.
"Give It To Me" - Alexander Stenerud: I would really love to see Mr Stenerud get to represent Norge one of these days and they could do a lot worse than this.....very catchy, and I really like him and will be cheering him on next week.

"The Touch" - Maria Arredondo: can’t understand the appeal of this one, which probably appeals to the "Alvedansen" crowd only it’s not even as good as that one, and I wasn’t initially a fan of that song anyway :)

"Don’t Wanna Lose You Again" - A1: how good would it be if they won???? Think "About You Now"-meets-Coldplay and you get the idea. I really want this one to win, if Stenerud doesn’t, and I think it would be a very positive move for Eurovision as a whole if they got to represent Norway. And we in the UK could only ponder on what might have been....

"My Heart Is Yours"- Didrik Solli-Tangen: unfortunately the combination of Fredrik Kempe, a ‘You Raise Me Up’ soundalike and a not-entirely-unattractive real singer from Norway may result in a foregone conclusion. Fast forward to Oslo in May and expect a "La Voix"-type result, and disappointment all round :(

"Yes Man" - Bjorn Johan Muri: very contemporary and quite nice, although in a Eurovision defending-champion context, not too memorable.

"Jealous Cause I Love You" - Venke Knutson: this has a distinctive sixties-pop sweetness about it, and I think that sets it apart from the other songs in this year's MGP final. Add to that the draw position and you now have a serious contender....

So who will win? Well I would be happy if either A1 or Alexander Stenerud did it, but I fear the worst: this time next week expect me to be ranting about "My Heart Is Yours" .... :((((

Saturday, January 23, 2010

NRJ Music Awards 2010: the results are in

The annual NRJ Music Awards ceremony took place in Cannes on Saturday night. As I've been so busy lately and not had much time to blog or keep track of all things European and musical, it kind of passed me by this year and I even forgot to vote!

Album français de l’année: Caféine - Christophe Willem
Album international de l’année: One Love - David Guetta
Artiste féminine française de l’année: Sofia Essaidi
Artiste féminine internationale de l’année: Mariah Carey
Artiste masculin français de l’année: Christophe Willem
Artiste masculin international de l’année: Robbie Williams
Chanson internationale de l’année: I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas
Chanson francophone de l’année: L’Assasymphonie - Mozart
Groupe/Duo/Troupe français(e) de l’année: Mozart, L’opéra-rock
Groupe/Duo/Troupe international(e) de l’année: Tokio Hotel
Révélation française de l’année: Florent Mothe
Révélation internationale de l’année: Lady GaGa

Well done Christophe Willem, a well-deserved two awards for him. Glad that Sofia won best French female artist too. As I haven't paid too much attention to the French music scene over the last 12 months (with very few exceptions), the whole Mozart-thing has also passed me by, although I'm not surprised by its success if you bear in mind how well the likes of Cleopatre and Le Roi Soleil have done over the past few years.

I don't make new year resolutions, but one thing I must do over the coming year is rediscover French popular music, which was something I completely loved for so long: it's only over the past couple of years that I've drifted away from French music so I really need to get back there :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Let's Dance" - this week's dances

Claudia Galli/Tobias Wallin
Jive - Womanizer (Britney Spears)

Marcus Birro / Helena Fransson
Quickstep - Not Fair (Lily Allen)

Molly Sandén / Jonathan Näslund
Quickstep - Fairytale (Alexander Rybak)

Peter Wahlbeck / Maria Bild
Quickstep - I gotta feeling (Black Eyed Peas)

Rabih Jaber / Maria Lindberg
Quickstep - The boy does nothing (Alesha Dixon)

Gudrun Schyman / Björn Törnblom
Jive - My baby just cares for me (Nina Simone)

Stefan Sauk / Malin Johansson
Jive - Stay the night (Alcazar)

Elin Kling / Daniel da Silva
Jive - All that she wants (Ace of Base)

Willy Björkman / Charlotte Sinclair
Jive - These boots are made for walking (Nancy Sinatra)

Agneta Sjödin / Tobias Karlsson
Quickstep - Puttin on the ritz (Frank Sinatra)

Mattias Andréasson / Cecilia Ehrling
Jive - Right round (Flo Rida)

These are good times for those of us who like TV dance shows: apart from BBC-1's "So You Think You Can Dance" and Sky1's "Got To Dance", "Let's Dance" is back! Sweden's top celebrity dance contest has been running for the past couple of weeks and I'm enjoying it already - fans of John Sergeant should love Willy Björkman, he's hilarious. I particularly love the music choices in this contest - I couldn't see the couples in "Strictly" dancing around the floor to "Ayo Technology" somehow :)))))

Monday, January 18, 2010

Brits nominations announced.

Yawn. 2009 was for me one of the poorest years for British music in a long time, so I guess this nominations list is a pretty accurate reflection of it I suppose, whereas in some previous years it wasn't.

Probably the only redeeming feature is two nominations for Empire of the Sun, and a mention for Calvin Harris. As for that British single category...well it's like a British equivalent of musical torture at Guantanamo Bay. Only worse.

British Male Solo Artist:
Calvin Harris
Dizzee Rascal
Paolo Nutini
Robbie Williams

British Female Solo Artist:
Bat For Lashes
Florence And The Machine
Leona Lewis
Lily Allen
Pixie Lott

British Breakthrough Act:
Florence And The Machine
Friendly Fires
La Roux
Pixie Lott

British Group:
Friendly Fires

Mastercard British Album:
Dizzee Rascal - Tongue 'N Cheek
Florence And The Machine - Lungs
Kasabian - West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
Lily Allen - It's Not Me, It's You
Paolo Nutini - Sunny Side Up

British Single:
Alesha Dixon - 'Breathe Slow'
Alexandra Burke ft. Flo Rida - 'Bad Boys'
Cheryl Cole - 'Fight For This Love'
Joe McElderry - 'The Climb'
JLS - 'Beat Again'
La Roux - 'In For The Kill'
Lily Allen - 'The Fear'
Pixie Lott - 'Mama Do'
Taio Cruz - 'Break Your Heart'
Tinchy Stryder ft. N-Dubz - 'Number 1'

International Male Solo Artist:
Bruce Springsteen
Michael Buble
Seasick Steve

International Female Solo Artist:
Lady GaGa
Norah Jones

International Breakthrough Act:
Animal Collective
Daniel Merriweather
Empire Of The Sun
Lady GaGa
Taylor Swift

International Album:
Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
Black Eyed Peas - The E.N.D.
Empire Of The Sun - Walking On A Dream
Jay-Z - The Blueprint 3
Lady GaGa - The Fame

British Producer of the Year:
Jim Abbiss
Paul Epworth
Ethan Johns
Steve Lillywhite

Critics' Choice Award:
Ellie Goulding

Outstanding Contribution to Music:
Robbie Williams

Brits Performance of 30th Year:
Bee Gees - 'Stayin' Alive' / 'How Deep Is Your Love' (1997)
Bros - 'I Owe You Nothing' (1989)
Coldplay - 'Clocks' (2003)
Eurythmics and Stevie Wonder - 'Angel' (1999)
Girls Aloud - 'The Promise' (2009)
Kanye West - 'Gold Digger' (2006)
Kylie Minogue - 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head' (2002)
Michael Jackson - 'Earth Song' (1996)
Paul McCartney - 'Live And Let Die' (2008)
Pet Shop Boys - 'Go West' (1994)
Robbie Williams and Tom Jones - Full Monty medley (1998)
Scissor Sisters - 'Take Your Mama' (2005)
Spice Girls - 'Wannabe' / 'Who Do You Think You Are' (1997)
The Who - 'Who Are You' (1988)

Brits Album of 30 Years:
Coldplay - A Rush Of Blood To The Head
Dido - No Angel
Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms
Duffy - Rockferry
Keane - Hopes & Fears
Oasis - What's The Story Morning Glory
Phil Collins - No Jacket Required
Sade - Diamond Life
The Verve - Urban Hymns
Travis - The Man Who

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Europe determines Melodifestivalen 2010 result????

According to an article in Aftonbladet, only five Swedish juries - located in Gothenburg, Malmo, Stockholm, Luleå and Umeå - will vote on the outcome of this year's Melodifestivalen final. Out go Örebro, Falun, Karlstad, Norrköping, Sundsvall and Växjö in favour of six juries from the European continent.

MF project manager Thomas Hall claims that the six European juries will give a more accurate picture of what is musically popular in Europe - but I feel that this will dilute the unique geographical nature of what is the Swedish Song Contest after all. And just because some international juries were used in MF, it doesn't necessarily follow that the rest of Europe will equally appreciate the national winner when it gets to the Eurovision Song Contest stage.

Oh well that's progress for you :( we'll need to wait and see if it's the right decision!!

Swedish Grammis 2010 Results

This year's ceremony took place on Friday 15th January - here are the results:

Årets artist: Lars Winnerbäck
Årets album: Thåström: "Kärlek är för dom"
Årets låt: Mando Diao: "Dance with somebody"
Årets kvinnliga artist: Amanda Jenssen
Årets manliga artist: Lars Winnerbäck
Årets nykomling: Erik Hassle
Årets kompositör: Amanda Jenssen & Pär Wiksten
Årets textförfattare: Thåström
Årets producent: Kent & Joshua
Årets pop: Fibes, Oh Fibes!
Årets rock: Kent
Årets klubb/hip hop: Promoe
Årets hårdrock: Mustasch
Årets dansband: Larz-Kristerz
Årets folkmusik/visa: Sofia Karlsson
Årets jazz: Jeanette Lindström
Årets klassiska: Kammarensemble Sonanza
Årets barnalbum: Bröderna Lindgren: "Presenterar meningen med livet"
Årets specialutgåva: Olle Adolphson: "Tystnaden smyger som en katt... 1956–2004"
Årets hederspris: Jerry Williams
MTVs videopris: Timbuktu "Välj mej"

Particularly happy about Erik Hassle, Fibes, Oh Fibes! and Mando Diao winning; but disappointed (unsurprisingly) that Salem Al Fakir went away empty-handed. Still, there's always next year.....!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

This week's playlist: There's no regret, at least not yet

Take You Home - A1: they have made a very nice transition from boyband to man-band. I really like this, it's a solid pop track which I'm playing a lot. Looking forward to them in MGP!

Ambitions - Donkeyboy: still on a Norwegian theme, this remains a very addictive track and has been getting lots of play at EuropeCrazy HQ over the last 4 weeks.

Morning After Dark - Timbaland featuring Nelly Furtado & SoShy: I'm surprised this didn't do better in our top 40 chart - it deserved better after all, when you think that autotuned rubbish like Iyaz can get to no.1 !!

Appetite - Prefab Sprout: a true blast from the past, and a real classic. I don't know the reason why, but for some reason I want to listen to lots of Prefab Sprout again. And no autotune in sight.

Over You - Erik Gronwall: these are good times for Chris Daughtry, as his songs are covered by Westlife ("What About Now") and this one, which appears on the debut album by the latest Swedish Idol winner. Very nice. And yes, I (finally) got into "Higher" too!

Walking In Memphis - Calle Kristiansson: another cover version, this time by the Swedish Idol runner-up. Proof that you can't keep a good song down.

Ten out of Ten - Paolo Nutini: this is such a catchy song! And don't be put off by the fact that it's currently in one of those DFS furniture commercials - it's a top tune. Great fun.

Heaven or Hell - Osmo Ikonen: whether or not he'll win his Finnish national selection for Eurovision is irrelevant - but his musical talent is indisputable. This may not be as legendary as "Speakerbox" but it's still very good indeed.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Melodifestivalen 2010 running order

Semifinal 1 – Örnsköldsvik, 6 February
1. Ola - Unstoppable
2. Jenny Silver - A Place to Stay
3. Linda Pritchard - You're Making Me Hot-Hot-Hot
4. Pain on Salvation - Road Salt
5. Anders Ekborg - The Saviour
6. Jessica Andersson - I Did It for Love
7. Frispråkar'n - Singel
8. Salem Al Fakir - Keep On Walking

Semifinal 2 – Sandviken, 13 February
1. Eric Saade - Manboy
2. Andra Generationen & Dogge - Hippare Hoppare
3. Anna Maria Espinosa - Innan alla ljusen brunnit ut
4. Highlights & MiSt - Come and Get Me Now
5. Pauline - Sucker for Love
6. Andreas Johnson - We Can Work It Out
7. Kalle Moraeus & Orsa Spelmän - Underbart
8. Hanna Lindblad - Manipulated

Semifinal 3 - Göteborg, 20 February
1. Alcazar - Headlines
2. Johannes Bah Kuhnke - Tonight
3. Elin Lanto - Doctor Doctor
4. Erik Linder - Hur kan jag tro på kärlek?
5. Getty Domein - Yeba
6. Timoteij - Kom
7. Darin - You're Out of My Life
8. Crucified Barbara - Heaven or Hell

Semifinal 4 - Malmö, 27 February
1. Sibel - Stop
2. Py Bäckman - Magisk stjärna
3. NEO - Human Frontier
4. Lovestoned - Thursdays
5. Anna Bergendahl - This Is My Life
6. Pernilla Wahlgren - Jag vill om du vågar
7. Noll Disciplin - Idiot
8. Peter Jöback - Hollow

Pauline has been named as the last 'joker' in the contest.

Looking at that draw, would it be cynical (or realistic) to suggest that we'll be seeing Peter Jöback in Oslo?

Only 4 weeks to go till the first semi-final (and yes, I am excited by the draw position of "Keep On Walking"!) and do you know something? I can't wait!!!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Only the names have been changed...!

Interesting to see that one of my all-time favourite reality pop contestants, Darius, is one of the contestants appearing in the new celeb-reality "Pop Star to Opera Star" show which is coming to ITV1 on Friday nights.

Slightly more baffling though is that he has now changed his name from Darius Danesh to Darius Campbell. Surely it's not the name but the talent that counts? He did pretty well for a while in musical theatre being Darius Danesh, so why the change now? (I sincerely hope it's not to appease any mindless morons working in the entertainment business who may view anyone with a non-English-sounding name with suspicion....!)