Sunday, March 28, 2010

The EuropeCrazy Holiday Hit List: Gothenburg, March 2010


I'm back from Sweden, from a rather fabulous weekend which included an updated contender for the best night of my life :)

Review of the concert to follow tomorrow at Planet Salem, once I gather all my thoughts and emotions together in a reasonable, logical place :)

Review of the rest of the trip to follow on here at some point soon, likewise :))

But in time-honoured tradition, here is my list of the songs which reminded me of my travels....

Keep On Walking - Salem Al Fakir: if this weekend was all-Salem, all-the-time, then thanks to the combination of Rix FM, Mix Megapol and P3, they ensured that I was never more than half an hour away from the theme song of my weekend....!

Manboy - Eric Saade: this went from being ever so slightly irritating around the time of MF, to being one of those songs which had us dancing around the hotel room. Even MF-hating faithful travelling companion was singing it by the end of the weekend :)

Kom - Timoteij: talking of whom, he's singing this non-stop too! I know it's probably wrong, but I like it too and I'm not ashamed to say it!!

Bad Romance - Lady GaGa: my other theme song of the weekend...I totally love this song and can't get enough of it!

You're Out Of My Life - Darin: one of the other major radio hits to come out of this year's MF.

Unstoppable - Ola: ditto. All over the radio, and I still like it :) Unfortunately I also heard a completely inappropriate remix of it at one point. I usually like these Swedish radio station remixes but that one didn't work for me :(

Whataya Want From Me - Adam Lambert: thankfully Sweden is really getting into him now - it's still to happen over here, but when it does it will be massive....

Walking In Memphis - Calle Kristiansson: a few months on from Idol and this is still getting lots of airplay. There's a remix of this too, and it's quite good.

Higher - Erik Gronwall: still getting airplay too.

All The Right Moves - OneRepublic: this seems to be doing pretty well, which is more than can be said for here in the UK when it was mainly ignored.

I'm Alive - Star Pilots: some good quality dance music, which you'd expect from them by now.

One more thing.....even though I had the radio on all the time, I only heard a certain Melodifestivalen 2010 winning song twice. Hmmm....

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Break time!

For the three people in the world who don't know yet, I'm off to Sweden tomorrow to go and see Salem Al Fakir in concert in Gothenburg on Friday - I'm hoping to update Planet Salem whilst I'm over there, but this here blog should be back either late on Sunday night or definitely at some point on Monday.

See you all soon.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Peter the Duck!!!!!

Awwwwwwwww........ :)))
This probably won't make any sense if you don't watch "Harry Hill's TV Burp", but I just thought the winner of "The K Factor - So You Think You Can Knit" deserved his own celebratory post on here.
Photo courtesy of the Croydon Guardian, where you can find more info about the wingless-one...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

This week's playlist: But once again the sun is rising....

Keep On Walking/Brooklyn Sun/Virgin Mary/This Is For/Bloody Breakfast/I'm So Happy/Red Rock/4 O'Clock/Split My Personality - Salem Al Fakir: you didn't think I would "Ignore This", did you???? :))) New album. Pretty fabulous too. And I'm going over to Sweden to see him in concert next week. Excited doesn't even begin to describe how I'm feeling.

Unstoppable (The Return of Natalie) - Ola: officially my second-favourite song in Melodifestivalen 2010. And this song is taking on an ever so contagious role....

Down - Jay Sean: it's not exactly topical, but I find myself listening to this more and more.

A Place To Stay - Jenny Silver: maybe not quite right for Melodifestivalen, but getting more irresistibly hypnotic as the weeks go on...

Sucker For Love - Pauline: a particular favourite at EuropeCrazy HQ over the last 2 weeks. If Amy Winehouse was to compete in MF it may just sound something like this! It should have gone to the final.

My Destiny - Velvet: been listening to Rix FM and they've been playing this a lot. Effortless Euro-dance-pop. My kind of thing.

You're Out Of My Life - Darin: this is actually taking on a post-MF life for me, even though it's not usually what I like, as I prefer him more uptempo - but the whole 'I'm wounded and it hurts' thing seems to have the desired emotional effect this week.

Bad Romance - Lady GaGa: I had a little technological breakthrough this week: every time one of my calendar-reminders goes off on my phone, it plays this song. GaGa, ooh la la indeed. Decided this is probably one of the best pop songs of our time.

Ambitions - Donkeyboy: It's recently been a massive hit in Sweden for this great Norwegian combo. What a brilliant song - I never get tired of it, and don't think I ever will.

On A Mission - Gabriella Cilmi: still liking this, although had to have a break for a while as I overplayed it. Pretty great though. Looking forward to her album.

Yes Man - Bjorn Johan Muri: "My Heart Is Yours" may have triumphed in Norway's MGP this year but this has been the real commercial success. Very nice pop song it is too.

One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you....

I may not have blogged about it every week (shame on me!) but I have been watching TV4's "Let's Dance" on a regular basis and couldn't help but wonder, as the weeks went on, that Willy Bjorkman may just do what all the truly bad reality-talent contestants had always actually go and win the thing.

Entertaining though he was, in a John Sergeant kind of way, it was finally 'time up' for him last night, leaving two actual 'proper' celeb dancers, Claudia Galli and Mattias Andreasson, to fight it out in next week's final. I think these are the two best finalists to emerge from this year's line-up, so I'm happy with whoever wins next week. I won't see the final until next Sunday/Monday, due to the small matter of a Swedish trip in the coming week...hoping for Mattias to win, mainly because I'm an E.M.D. fan. (!)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Greetings from a little abandoned blog

OK, waving the white flag now and have to temporarily admit defeat once again: I haven't had the time to update EuropeCrazy of late, all the work is going into Planet Salem (obviously) with the odd Random Rambling along the way so therefore this poor little abandoned blog is, to all intents and purposes, on a break. Just like the same time last year I guess :) Nevertheless I may sneak in the odd post or two over the weekend, who knows?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Some really exciting news about The Ark

News today on the band's blog and a million other sources on the web today that their long-awaited new album is on the way...."In Full Regalia" will be released in Sweden on 26th April, to be preceded by their new single "Superstar" on 29th March.

Isn't it exciting!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Melodifestivalen 2010: the results

1. "This Is My Life" - Anna Bergendahl
2. "Keep On Walking" - Salem Al Fakir
3. "Manboy" - Eric Saade
4. "You're Out Of My Life" - Darin Zanyar
5. "Kom" - Timoteij
6. "We Can Work It Out" - Andreas Johnson
7. "Unstoppable" - Ola Svensson
8. "I Did It For Love" - Jessica Andersson
9. "Hollow" - Peter Jöback
10. "Jag Vill Om Du Vågar" - Pernilla Wahlgren

Melodifestivalen: good show, wrong result

So much for the live-blogging although I was a bit manic on Twitter, so there you go:)

Anyway I'm not happy. 3 and a bit hours have passed and I'm still not happy. Salem Al Fakir, with his self-composed song, the wonderful "Keep On Walking", came so close to winning Melodifestivalen, then defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory, in the same way that "Hope and Glory" was denied by "La Voix" in 2009 :(

Anna Bergendahl and her (IMHO) tedious "This Is My Life" (Euroband it ain't!) won in the final televoting round, thus denying Salem the opportunity of charming the whole of Europe at the end of May 2010.

As you know, I wasn't too keen on the idea of the international juries influencing the Swedish vote. Until tonight, when it went my way, and France and Norway awarded maximum points to "Keep On Walking", with 10 points from Serbia and Russia, who have won a completely new respect from me :))))) whilst nothing at all from Greece and only 1 point from Ireland completely disappointed me :(

At the end of the day though, it's only a song contest. Salem Al Fakir may not have got the chance to represent his home country, but he will always be a musical genius :))))))

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Melodifestivalen: 30 minutes gone and....

Sly Stallone!

Dolph singing!

Contestants in boxing-dressing-gowns (Salem got one of the biggest cheers when introduced but he looked uncomfortable!)

Darin in white - I like this song better when I watch him singing it. I got that very Johnny Logan vibe from him tonight!

Pernilla - toilet break :)

Andreas - "you cover me in peas". Not his best, but he did well enough I suppose. Why do some acts get the full audience participation lights treatment?

Timoteij - aah, faithful travelling companion's favourites, for non-musical reasons. Such a catchy song though. If it was between them and Anna, I'd rather they won.

Peter - oh they've given it the big X Factor winner choir treatment. Will it be enough?

Back in 30 mins.

Melodifestivalen: 40 minutes to go. GOOD LUCK SALEM!!!!

You know how I feel about it all by now, so I won't go over it again.

All I will say is that if Sweden wants to seriously restore its reputation at Eurovision, then the Swedish juries and public (and those international juries from Russia, Ireland, France, Norway, Greece and Serbia) must send Salem Al Fakir to Oslo: a phenomenally talented, credible artist - with a fantastic, magical song, "Keep On Walking".

Fingers crossed the SVT webstream works tonight. All things being well there should be some live-blogging and tweeting from me during the evening. Helped along by red wine and nibbles!

Tonight we're gonna party like it's 1989

I don't think my nerves are strong enough at the moment to watch "Your Country Needs You" yet, but I've seen the winning song, the inappropriately-named "That Sounds Good To Me" written (or should that be phoned-in) by Stock and Waterman, which sounds like an old cast-off track which wasn't good enough to make it to a Jason Donovan or Steps album.

No offence to young Josh: he's a good enough singer and deserves better, but this system of throwing young unknown singers to the lions isn't really good enough any more. Unfortunately Royaume-Uni will end up in the bottom half of the table in Oslo, and poor Josh will carry the can for our failure, and most likely never be heard of again. So I feel truly sorry for this young man.

Friday, March 12, 2010

This weekend...'s all about Melodifestivalen (and Your Country Needs You)

If I can do a little retail analogy, if Melodifestivalen is the Harrods of national finals, Your Country Needs You is the pound shop.

Anyway I'd like to wish the best of luck to everyone competing in our national final tonight and hope for two things: may the best act win, and I hope the song written by Stock & Waterman is more like "Never Gonna Give You Up" or "Better The Devil You Know""Sheila's Wheels".

But I digress. It's all Melodifestivalen, all the time this weekend and I'll be blogging about it both here and at Planet Salem.

In the meantime, I wanted to share this very good article by Aftonbladet's Markus Larsson about MF, international juries and the possible outcome tomorrow night ....

By the way, I don't agree with the whole international jury idea. Unless my favourite wins of course :)))

Thursday, March 11, 2010

EuropeCrazy's Greatest Hits: the birthday compilation

I had wondered how I should celebrate this blog's third birthday. And then I thought of something: if this blog had an accompanying "EuropeCrazy's Greatest Hits - Best of 2007-2010" soundtrack CD, then it would probably sound something like this....


Good Song - Salem Al Fakir
When The Night Comes Falling - Sebastian Karlsson
Cara Mia - Måns Zelmerlöw
Double Je - Christophe Willem
Happy Hour - Palladium
Until I Die - September
Love Is Gone - David Guetta featuring Peter Cincotti & Quentin Mosimann
Inga Problem - Snook
Let It Shine - Tingsek
Love Child - Fibes, Oh Fibes!
Miss Blue - Vincent
Speakerbox - Signmark feat Osmo Ikonen
Let Me Think About It - Fedde Le Grand feat Ida Corr
I’m Not Alone - Calvin Harris
Bonafied Lovin’ - Chromeo
Vayamos Companeros - Marquess
Hurtful - Erik Hassle
Your Loss - Paul Steel
Bang On The Piano - Jack McManus
Jennie Let Me Love You - EMD

Black and Gold - Sam Sparro
Loveshift - Christian Walz
Lay Your Love On Me - BWO
Higher - Star Pilots
Beggin’ - Madcon
Propane Nightmares - Pendulum
Ingenting - Kent
1000 Miles - H.E.A.T.
Allein Allein - Polarkreis 18
Save The Lies - Gabriella Cilmi
Just A Minute - Rongedal
Late Night Session - Ali Love
Stay The Night - Alcazar
Beli Jablan - Aleksa & Ana
Dance With Me - Zoli Adok
We Are The People - Empire of the Sun
Do You Love Me - Amanda Jenssen
I’m Yours - Jason Mraz
Ayo Technology - Milow
Keep On Walking - Salem Al Fakir

I think that's a pretty representative list!

Where did the last three years go? I've had such a brilliant time doing this blog over the past three years and there's a long way to go yet. Even if I haven't always had the time to update it as regularly over the past year, it's still great fun doing EuropeCrazy and I don't want it ever to end!

To all of you who have passed this way, I can only say a big thanks - and please keep visiting! And of course special thanks to my best blogging buddies past and present (you all know who you are): you inspire me and keep me going.

Onwards to year 4 and beyond!!

Third birthday!

Yes this blog is three years old today!

(I'll do something suitably celebratory over the next 24 hours once I've got sleep, work and Planet Salem updates out of the way).

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

New series of "Så ska det låta" on the way

The new series will begin on SVT on 19th March and it will, as always, be presented by the very popular Peter Settman.

Anyone suffering post-Melodifestivalen separation anxiety will love this show. If you haven't discovered it before, it's basically a sing-song panel game show with lots of different rounds. I always find it very entertaining to watch.

Here is the line-up of guests for the forthcoming series:

1) Cookies 'n' Beans - EMD
2) Timo Räisänen/Måns Jälevik - Lina Hedlund/Tess Merkel
3) Rickard Olsson/Lotta Engberg - Sarah Dawn Finer/Patrik Lundström
4) Peter Magnusson/Pernilla Wahlgren - Petra Mede/Tommy Körberg
5) Alexander Rybak/Maria Haukaas Storeng - Shirley Clamp/Robert Gustafsson
6) Pauline/Rigo - Linda Bengtzing/Magnus Bäcklund
7) Nina Söderquist/Ola Forssmed - Vanna Rosenberg/Östen Eriksson
8) Anna Maria Espinosa/Sebastian Karlsson - Caroline Kuhmunen/Kevin Borg
9) Nanne Grönvall/Stefan Nykvist - Jessica Heribertsson/David Lindgren
10) Sara Löfgren/Johan Boding - Amy Diamond/Samuel Ljungblahd
11) Jenny Silver/Mats Ronander - Daniel Lindström/Anne-Lie Rydé
12) Blossom Tainton-Lindquist/Kayo Shekoni - Markoolio/Benjamin Wahlgren-Ingrosso

Week 8 is a must-see. Sebastian Karlsson :))))

Monday, March 08, 2010

Never mind Andra's Mååååååååååååns....

In retrospect the best thing about Andra Chansen on Saturday night was probably Måns Zelmerlow's version of "A View To A Kill" which I have grown to obsessively love since Saturday night. Whilst I've always liked the Duran Duran original, I thought Måns did it some subtle justice. If you haven't seen it, here's the clip...

...which also features the Andra Chansen contestants hamming it up in a duelling-style. By the way I never really thought about him before, but isn't that Daniel from Pain of Salvation quite nice in a kind of rougher-version-of-Ola-Salo-with-a-beard kind of way?

I think my hormones are maybe a little out of control tonight :O

Anyway I would love Måns to release "A View To A Kill" as a single - I'm sure it would do very well.

A gratuitous post about Daniel Diges / David Bisbal waves the flag

Say what you like about this year's Eurovision songs chosen so far (and I haven't heard all of them so I'll reserve my judgement till I do) but at least we're guaranteed some eye candy with all those male singers on show :)

Anyway the other week, Spain chose its entry "Algo Pequenito" which is very different for them - it sounds more like a very old-fashioned French-style carousel soundtrack than the usual Latin-flavoured Spanish entries. Regular readers will know about my particular weakness for curly-haired men so Mr Diges definitely ticks the boxes, in a David Bisbal-meets-Salem Al Fakir kind of way :))

Here is a clip from Spanish TV of Daniel recording his ESC entry...

Talking of Mr Bisbal, he's got together with K'Naan to record a Spanish version of this year's World
Cup anthem "Waving Flag"

Sunday, March 07, 2010

The return of Stephen Simmonds!

This fab Swedish singer was responsible for one of my all-time favourite songs "Tears Never Dry" (memorably covered by Agnes and Sebastian during their series of Swedish "Idol") and now he's back with the insanely catchy "Adiyeah (Give People What They Want)" which also has a really funny video to go with it (love the 'Dog Peace/Bed Peace' part!)

See the video at

I probably wouldn't have found it if I hadn't gone to Sarah Dawn Finer's Twitter page ... so big thanks to Sarah!

Melodifestivalen final: here's what I think of the finalists...

I had originally posted this over at Planet Salem last night but thought it would be more appropriate over here :)

I thought it was time to assess the competition, song by song....

1. "You're Out Of My Life": You can't deny Darin's huge popularity with the Swedish public - I like him too, but would have preferred if he'd gone for something more uptempo than this Westlife-style ballad. He does the best with what he's got though: but being first on stage with a ballad is a poor draw position and he could suffer from this.

2. "Jag Vill Om Du Vagar": One for the schlager-fans who have felt that this style of music has been neglected in this year's competition. There is nothing fresh about the song, the routine or the singer, and I don't see this as a serious contender. The draw position reflects that.

3. "We Can Work It Out": I've liked Andreas' final-songs in the past - "Sing For Me" and "A Little Bit Of Love" were both catchy and memorable, but this is probably his weakest song in the competition. Nevertheless there will be audience participation, everyone will be waving lights in the arena and this will probably end up mid-table.

4. "Kom": the first serious contender of the evening. (I played some of the Melodifestivalen songs earlier today to my mum who is of course a big Salem fan but she doesn't follow Melodifestivalen - and she thought that "Kom" had a very good chance of winning). Four girls among a number of male solo singers - they may stand out, it's very Swedish, they are pretty girls singing a catchy song.

5. "Hollow": another male solo singer, another ballad. But this is the great Peter Jöback who has a very big reputation in Sweden, however for me "Hollow" is maybe a little too theatrical for MF and would be better in a stage musical or movie soundtrack. I think this will finish in the top 5 on the night.

6. "Unstoppable": apart from "Keep On Walking" this is my favourite song in the competition. Of course it qualified from week 1 which is usually considered to be the "bad week" - 2010 was the exception to the rule :) It's a very catchy pop song which is guaranteed to be a radio hit after the contest.

7. "I Did It For Love": Although I have liked Jessica's past solo songs in this competition, I feel that this is a rather old-fashioned ballad and I would have preferred her to do something more uptempo.

8. "Keep On Walking": Yes there may be 9 repetitions of the chorus, but the result is a very memorable and heartfelt song, sung brilliantly by Salem Al Fakir. What sets Salem apart from most of the other performers is his professionalism, incredible stage presence, charisma, charm and natural musicality. It's a beautifully arranged song, with a breathtaking, dramatic and moving string/keyboard arrangement, and a very hopeful lyrical theme.

9. "This Is My Life": Although the former Idol-contestant performs this song very well, I feel that this is a little too close in theme to 2009's 2nd-placed Icelandic entry "Is It True" (and even uses the same song title as their 2008 entry) therefore lacks any originality. If this was to be chosen as Sweden's entry for Oslo, I feel that it may disappear....

10. "Manboy": Having heard this song a couple more times, I have only one description for it: trashy and tacky. I feel it would be a step backwards if this song was chosen to represent Sweden at Eurovision....and it would get a very similar result to recent years. What Sweden needs is a song to restore its national pride, to bring the contest back to Sweden (its rightful home!) and provide the opportunity to showcase and launch a potential world superstar beyond just one night of a song contest. That song is "Keep On Walking"; that singer is Salem Al Fakir.

And before you accuse me of bias....well you're probably right, but even if I'd never heard of Salem before, "Keep On Walking" would still be my favourite song in this year's competition.

Go Salem Go!!!!!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Andra Chansen tonight...

In just under two hours Andra Chansen will get underway in Örebrö, which means it's duel time! I've never been a fan of the duels but I have to admit they may bring some much-needed excitement to this year's proceedings.

Duel 1: Pain of Salvation vs Pernilla Wahlgren: I'm still cheering for PoS over Pernilla, although being first on is not really an appropriate place or time for them and would have preferred them nearer the end. Anyway this song had initially grown on me and I had hoped it would go further but it has gone a little stale now. Also with the number of ballads/midtempo songs in the final, tonight will provide a perfect opportunity to send some more uptempo numbers to Globen. Which may bode well for Pernilla.

Duel 2: Pauline vs Crucified Barbara: Since the songs/videos were officially made available for watching on SVT's website over the past week, Pauline's song has rather grown on me and if she performs it with the same cheeky charm she showed in her heat then this looks very good for her indeed. She is also the highest-placed of the Andra Chansen entrants in the iTunes singles chart this week.

Duel 3: Kalle Moraeus vs Neo: Talk about chalk and cheese! This is one of the easiest duels to predict - I think Neo will sail through.

Duel 4: Jessica Andersson vs Alcazar: a duel which takes you back to the good old Melodifestivalen days....and although "Headlines" is not the best song they've ever done I would really love them to qualify, whilst Jessica's ballad may be just a little too old-fashioned.

So I'd predict Pernilla and Pauline to compete against each other in the next round; with Neo against Alcazar.

And beyond that ....well I really haven't a clue although I'd be very happy with Pauline and Alcazar in the final. I'm sitting on the fence :)))