EBJ’s Top 10…Swedish entries of all time (The Top Five!)
Happy Weekend, and välkommen to the second installment of my Scandi-centric countdown. I’m thinking of this as a gift to you, on what happens to be my birthday (hello there, shameless cry for celebratory wishes). It may not be a quality gift in your opinion, but if it is something you’re keen to unwrap, don’t worry about getting me anything in return (although, a sizeable cheque and/or a new car wouldn’t go astray if you’re feeling generous).
Anyway…let’s get back to Eurovision, and get on with the countdown. My top five Swedish ESC entries EVER *insert dramatic music here* are waiting for your judgment, and I’ll be waiting for your personal top fives in the comments. Don’t leave me hanging, guys – not on my birthday!
FYI, here’s a recap of the list so far:
- #10 – En Gång I Stockholm by Monica Zetterlund (1963)
- #9 – Heroes by Måns Zelmerlöw (2015)
- #8 – Den Vilda by One More Time (1996)
- #7 – Euphoria by Loreen (2012)
- #6 – Främling by Carola (1983)
Now, är du redo?
#5 | 1998
Kärleken Är by Jill Johnson
I’m kick-starting the top five with some kärleken – specifically, Kärleken Är, a painfully 90s (not a bad thing), super pretty ballad. Jill Johnson was and is more of a country singer than a pop singer, but quite literally changed her tune for Melfest/Eurovision purposes (in other words, she pulled a Taylor Swift, but in a less drastic manner). Her performance in Birmingham was the last to feature a shred of the Swedish language until 2012 (when Finland sent När Jag Blundar) and her song was penned in response to the death of Princess Diana the previous year. The latter makes it lyrically beautiful and sad at the same time, but despite the sadness (and Jill’s funeral-esque stage garb) ‘uplifting’ is another adjective you could use here. Kärleken Är is a fond tribute rather than a morbid three-minute moan, and that gets my tick of approval. I love the lyrics, the melody, Jill’s voice…all in all, this forces me to feel all the good feels.
You by Robin Stjernberg
You’ve got to root for an underdog, right? Robin’s been on my radar since he lost the 2011 Swedish Idol crown by a barely-there percentage of the vote, so I was pretty excited by and invested in his Melfest entry two years later. Then, when he became the first Andra Chansen competitor to go on and win Melfest, ‘pretty excited’ was eclipsed by ‘out of my mind with ecstasy’. What an awesome host entry Mr. Stjernberg/Fwernber gave us! I was obsessed with You back in the Malmö days, and I’m still bowing down to its greatness – and the majesty of Robin’s vocal range – today, as we look forward to another Sverige-style ESC. You isn’t what some might call a ‘typical Eurovision song’ (repetitiveness aside), and that made it distinctive. It’s another uplifting tribute to a special someone, and I think we can all identify with the titular you-ou-ou-oooo-ou. Adding to the pros of the package was the fact that Robin sung the pants off it, to the soundtrack of a noisily supportive home crowd. And dammit, he deserved some noise. You was an amazing, refreshing alternative to clinical Scandipop (not that I don’t love clinical Scandipop. I really do).
This Is My Life by Anna Bergendahl
It’s hard to believe there was a time when Sweden didn’t advance to a Eurovision final – but there was, and that time was just five years ago. Anna Bergendahl’s semi stumble was three things: one, shocking; two, devastating (mostly for Anna herself, and probably Christer Björkman) and three, narrow (Sweden finished five points behind Cyprus’ Jon Lilygreen and his Islanders). Despite a slightly shaky performance that did give off rehearsal rather than real-thing vibes in moments, I believe This Is My Life should have nabbed a place in the 2010 final (though not necessarily at the expense of Life Looks Better In Spring). The song is a stunner, with Anna’s husky vocals providing a nice contrast to her princess tiara and prom dress on stage. My only problem with it is performance-related, though it’s less of a problem than it is a mind-boggling mystery: WHERE DID THE GUITAR GO??? *hires private detective to end my five-year stretch of suffering*.
Se På Mig by Jan Johansen
Sweden definitely went through a ‘less is more’ phase in the 1990s. You could argue that it was impossible to make a performance too ostentatious in a time before 100-metre long Russian LED backdrops and such, and you wouldn’t be wrong – but Jan’s Se På Mig, like Den Vilda after it, was simplistic in comparison to a lot of its competitors. On stage, it was just Jan, his patent leather jacket, a strategically-placed line of backing singers, some soothing dappled lighting, and one heck of a beautiful song. The kind of beautiful song that Anmary went on about in Baku: one that everybody hums, and everybody loves. I repeat, EVERYBODY. Seriously, if you’re anti-Se På Mig, what’s up with your distaste for sentimental, melodically stunning man-ballads? It ain’t normal, my friend. The magic of this song speaks for itself, so I’m going to shut up now and let it.
#1 | 2014
Undo by Sanna Nielsen
I’m well aware that my decision to slot Sanna into first place will make many of you want to Undo your subscriptions to this blog (and if you’re not subscribed, why not? It’s a constant Eurovision party over here!). But, before you throw whatever device you’re reading this on out the window and run screaming from the room, hear me out. Sweden’s 2014 entry being my all-time fave is not just a product of the song quality, but also of its significance being a song by an artist who I’ve loved for years, and who had tried time and time again to represent her country without success. I watched Sanna powerhouse her way through Melfest with this magnificent ballad (in an unflattering jumpsuit, but that’s irrelevant) and win over Ace Wilder by a measly margin, and I was so happy for her I cried a little bit. And that wasn’t the last time she had me reaching for the tissues – my floodgates fairly flew open when she performed in Copenhagen’s first semi last May. Girl was pitch-perfect, hit me right in the heart with her vocal and facial arrows of emotion, and looked like a goddess in a much more flattering outfit than her Melfest getup. Undo gave Sanna 180 seconds to do nothing but impress with her vocals, but it impresses me in other areas too. It has light and shade, strength and vulnerability, and an unforgettable hook (memorable = a two-syllable word that becomes a five-syllable one). Douze for the song, douze for Sanna, douze for a performance that kept the focus on her crystal-clear vocals, and douze for the whole thing being my #1 Swedish entry of all time.
For now, at least. Who knows what Sweden could do to me in 2016?
That’s a wrap on this drawn-out Top 10, and the list is complete (until I change my mind in five minutes). Here’s what it looks like right this second, though:
- Undo by Sanna Nielsen (2014)
- Se På Mig by Jan Johansen (1995)
- This Is My Life by Anna Bergendahl (2010)
- You by Robin Stjernberg (2013)
- Kärleken Är by Jill Johnson (1998)
- Främling by Carola (1983)
- Euphoria by Loreen (2012)
- Den Vilda by One More Time (1996)
- Heroes by Måns Zelmerlöw (2015)
- En Gång I Stockholm by Monica Zetterlund (1963)
Oh, and here’s the fantastisk stuff that just didn’t make the final cut…Waterloo by ABBA (1974); Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley by Herrerys (1984); Fångad Av En Stormvind by Carola (1991); Las Vegas by Martin Stenmarck (2005); Popular by Eric Saade (2011). So now you can’t abuse me for completely, 110% blanking ABBA.
Now it’s your turn. Let me know down below which of Sweden’s 55 entries have most tickled your fancy, and tested the endurance of your flag-waving arm! You know you want to…
7 Responses to “EBJ’s Top 10…Swedish entries of all time (The Top Five!)”
And here comes the Finn-lover, bewildered at how to face this onslaught of Swedishness. xD At least you have the best Swedish song in recent years by a big margin at #4 (<3 Robin).
PS: In case I’ve just sent someone’s Deep Blue into meltdown, I should correct something:
The third tie-breaker method was actually the traditional, and statistically under-rated ‘ladies first’, e.g. Jaz beats Wolfi. (Just for present purposes, in terms of juror’s relative point value. Not in the sense of physically hitting him. Though what you guys get up to in Gamla Stan next May is entirely up to you. Just don’t expect me to watch Tommy Krångh’s signed rendition of it.) So, sorry, Elin, again I’ve had to make an assumption, in this case, that you are a non-male! …
Then the other tie-breaker methods kick in again in the same order after that (third becomes fourth, etc.).
Yeah, I don’t think I’m going to get a job at the Australian Electoral Commission any time soon.
In case you’re interested, I thought I’d check what the results would be if the votes of the four EBJ ‘jurists’ thus far (Jaz, Wolfi, Elin, Ali) were given a corresponding ‘point’ value, and the points were combined and tallied. (I hope this doesn’t duplicate something you’re already doing in the background, Jazlington!)
With the relatively low number of jurors, the traditional ESC points system (with first getting 12, and second getting 10) would have created some distortions (as it always does!), so I went for a purer, straight-line method, i.e. first place gets 10 points (not 12), second place gets 9 points (not 10).
Elin, with her Carolas x 3, effectively selected a top 12. To keep it even, she was still allocated the ‘standard’ 55 points. Each of her Carola entries (which, you’ll recall, were tied for her in 4th place) got 6 points (being 7 pts + 6 pts + 5 pts divided by three), and I then robbed Peter to pay Paul to make sure there were points, and/or fractions of points, for her places 8 to 12, which were given 2.5, 1.5, 1, 0.75 and 0.25 pts respectively (instead of 3, 2, 1, 0 and 0). I know, I know: “Cruel, but fair.”
The ties were split on the basis of ‘the greater the number of jurors who voted for it, the higher the place’, then (if still tied) on the basis of highest individual-juror point allocation, then (if still tied) on the basis of priority to the votes of jurors based in a country with a relatively higher number of ESC participations – e.g. votes from Elin in Sweden (55 participations) trumped an equal number of votes from Ali in Australia (1 participation). (You are in Sweden aren’t you Elin, not Lebanon?)
So, the winner of the combined EBJ jurors’ points tally was [drumroll] …
SWEDEN! (Well, obviously.)
But the winning song entry was …
Undo, Sanna Nielsen, 2014!!!
… followed by Euphoria, Loreen, 2012!!
… and then, hanging on for bronze: Waterloo, ABBA, 1974!
Interesting to note that out of the twenty-nine songs that got points, twenty-one received points from only one juror, and only one song (Undo – Sanna) received points from all four jurors!
So, our tastes were very diverse.
Anyway, clearly Sanna still rules! (Someone please mop Jasmin up.)
The full rankings (per the Ali-method described above) are:
1. 2014 = 32 pts
2. 2012 = 23 pts
3. 1974 = 18 pts
4. 1995 = 12 pts
5. 2006 = 12 pts
6. 1983 = 11 pts
7. 1998 = 10 pts
8. 2015 = 9.5 pts
9. 1994 = 9 pts
10. 1968 = 9 pts
11. 1963 = 8 pts
12. 2010 = 8 pts
13. 1997 = 8 pts
14. 2013 = 7 pts
15. 2003 = 7 pts
16. 1991 = 6 pts
17. 1977 = 6 pts
18. 1958 = 5 pts
19. 2004 = 4 pts
20. 1996 = 3 pts
21. 1966 = 3 pts
22. 1993 = 2 pts
23. 2002 = 2 pts
24. 2007 = 1.5 pts
25. 1979 = 1 pts
26. 1989 = 1 pts
27. 1980 = 1 pts
28. 1985 = 0.75 pts
29. 2000 = 0.25 pts
Well, what a jolly bit of nerdy fun that was!
Let me know if you’d like me to ‘undo’ any of the calculations, or give more details around the tally.
Loving all your posts, Jaz – but have gotten a bit behind in my comments, soz, been a bit biz!
Thanks for doing a Top Ten, and Sverige is as good a place to start as any (even though Wolf and I actually started in France, on a little frolic of our own).
I am intrigued to see what other people like from the ESC ‘back catalogue’. And I know what you mean about one’s rankings potentially changing according to one’s mood.
I’m not quite sure what mood I was in went I settled on my own rankings. Delirious? Certifiable? Or just in the mood for being the usual, slightly contrary Ali. Whatever the case, here now is …
Ali Nella Houd’s All-Time Top Ten Swedish ESC entries (from 10 to 1):
10. “Just nu!”, Tomas Ledin (1980) – The slightly pretentious Wikipedia entry says this “poignantly captures the tumescent impatience of post-70s Swedish youth with the provincial, welfare-state-induced hum-drummery of their daily lives”. Actually, I just made that up. But I do reckon this one would be really good to sing along to on the 2017 Nullarbor roadtrip. And as for that youthful impatience, well, you can kinda tell it won’t be long before Tomas settles for fulfilling, vicariously, his desire for a rebellious Parisian escapade, by blu-tacking on his study wall the Toulouse Lautrec poster he got on sale at the local Ikea. And that’s OK.
9. “Never let it go”, Afro-dite (2002) – On the night, this was arguably a ‘hot mess’ (I hope I’ve used that term correctly), but at least it was a catchy, full-blooded one. Though I’m not sure why they couldn’t find a better rhyme for ‘And when the night is over, …’ Something like, ‘I’ll knit you a pullover’?
8. “Nygammal vals”, Lill Lindfors and Svante Thuresson (1966) – Diggin’ the syncopation in the sty, hepcats! Playfully turning H C Anderson on his head. And the first and only reference in ESC history (so far) to a cross-dressing swineherd.
7. “It hurts”, Lena Philipsson (2004). I do prefer the Swedish original, but in both versions Lena somehow manages to convince me that it actually does hurt. I’ve noticed the chorus has very strong rhythmic echoes of ‘Never Let it Go’, which perhaps indicates that if you do decide to “never let it go”, and end up doing too much ‘shakin’, shakin’, well, then it will probably ‘hurt, really hurt’?
6. “Lilla stjärna”, Alice Babs (1958) – The simple, lilting melody, the 3:4 time signature, and an overall gentleness make this a much more potent lullaby (in a good way) than André Claveau’s winning, sleep-related number from that year. Apart from the ditched title (‘Samma stjärnor lysa för oss två’), I haven’t been able to locate any of the ORIGINAL lyrics, which were controversially replaced without the composer’s permission. (Perhaps they included the word ‘pullover’?) Worthy of some further investigation …
5. “Beatles”, Forbes (1977) – If you find a song suddenly becomes your earworm of the week, and you are happy that it has, then the composer and performers have done something right. Great chord progressions, and harmonies that sound so rich that they could even be six-part. I suspect the lack of more than a pair of points on the night was due, in part, to the lead singer’s slight want of salesmanship, and perhaps because the juries thought they were trying to ‘piggy-back’ on the Fab Four’s success. But this song stands up on its own – and it’s hard to think of a band that is more deserving of a tribute number, however sentimental it may be.
4. “En gång i Stockholm”, Monica Zetterlund (1963) – That whole show just oozed class. Could something like this ever work nowadays (other than as a Sanna cover)? (Not that it worked back then, in terms of points, but the voting system was different.)
3. “Bara hon älskar mig”, Blond (1997) – The boys just grab the Schlager genre by the diggiloos, and make it their own.
2. “Det börjar verka kärlek, banna mej”, Claes-Göran Hederström (1968) – Witty, self-deprecating, and catchy – another very welcome ‘earworm’. (And surely you’d enjoy the trumpet riffs, Jaz?) But not sure how this landed with my silver medal, banna mej. Oh well!
1. “Undo”, Sanna Nielsen (2014) – SHAZAM!!!
These Swedish entries seem to divide us — although I appreciate that some of my choices are a bit ‘out there’. Not much overlap in my list with either yours, Jazzie, or yours, Wolf and Elin.
But Jaz and Wolfi, you both had a fair bit of overlap. I guess that’s all the more reason why you’ll both really enjoy your catch up in Gamla Stan / the ABBA museum in May next year. And heck, no — I’m not at all jealous. [Checks sudden resemblance to The Hulk in mirror.]
And sorry, Jaz, but I’m with Elin on Anna (2010) – TIML was really not my cup of tea. Why was she smiling so … sookily??
And so, gosh, none of the 6 Swedish winners made my list, but no disrespect intended: they’re just not the ones that made it to the top of the froth on my cappucino.
‘Waterloo’ would not be far out of my ten, and ‘Heroes’, ‘You’, and ‘Euphoria’ (amongst others) are certainly good for a bop. As for non-winners, I (like Elin) also do enjoy ‘Bra Vibrationer’ (1985). Carola’s œuvre, though not my amongst faves, is impressive, and I would one day like to be able to do the full set of backing dance moves to Fångad.
To finish, Jazwell, let me give you a belated birthday present, which I’m sorry to say I have chosen based on the fact that you were born on International Talk Like a Pirate Day (something you’re no doubt sick of being reminded of) … but at least it’s ESC-related!
Ah well, it’s the thought that counts. ARHHRRR!!!
HAPPY (BELATED) BIRTHDAY, JAZMINA – best Eurovision blogger in the KNOWN UNIVERSE!!!!
LOVING all these swedish-themed-posts Jaz!
As requested, here’s my top ten Swedish entries up until this point!
1. Euphoria – Loreen (2012)
Simply outstanding. Art.
2. Stjärnorna – Marie Bergman & Roger Pontare (1994)
A personal favourite of mine, love this song and their powerful voices together.
3. Waterloo – ABBA
Need I say more?
4. Carola – Främling/Fångad av en stormvind/Evighet (83/91/06)
Cheating a bit, but I found it impossible to pick between all of Carolas amazing entries (so just give me a pass on this one please). But I will add that I prefer the swedish versions of all of them.
5. Undo – Sanna Nielsen (2014)
To me, Sannas multiple attempts over the years have been aggravating to say the least. But with Undo, she finally won me over! Such a well-deserved victory in Sweden, and should have won in Copenhagen.
6. Heroes – Måns Zelmerlöw (2015)
Oh Mums-Måns, great song and steller performance! I approve.
7. The worrying kind – The Ark (2007)
A dark year for me (placement wise). The Ark is one of my favourite bands and Ola Salo is my spirit guide. Europe just didn’t get it this year unfortunately.
8. Satellit – Ted Gärdestad (1979)
9. Bra vibrationer – Kikkk Danielsson (1985)
A super classic, upbeat and fun
10. När vindarna viskar mitt namn – Roger Pontare (2000)
This is a powerhouse of a song, and I most definitly prefer the swedish version of it.
I really like most of our entries, with a few exceptions (for instance This is my life – Anna Bergendahl. I’m sorry Jaz, I know you love it but I hate it so so much haha).
Anyway, that was my top ten (at least at the moment hehe)
Take care, and Happy (belated) Birthday!!
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It makes me happy that you’re happy with the Swedish content, Elin! That way, if I go overboard and there’s nothing but Melfest on EBJ, at least one person will still be enjoying it…right? Stockholm hosting in 2016 is a great excuse for me to ramble on about Sweden, and who knows when you guys will win again and I’ll have ANOTHER excuse? I mean, it could be two, even three whole years ;D
Tack så mycket for sharing your personal top 10 – it’s a pretty good one, I’ll admit. I totally agree with your summary of Loreen/Euphoria. Three truer words have never been spoken!
I will absolutely give you a pass on loving all three of Carola’s entries and being unable to split them. I also prefer the Swedish versions of 1983 and 1991, but I get a kick out of singing Invincible, at the top of my lungs, in its English incarnation, when nobody’s around. I just wish I had a giant, glittery, removable cape to wear while I’m at it.
YES! Another pro-Heroes person to add to my list of People I Will Continue To Talk To Because They Haven’t Offended Me With MZW Criticism XD What a highlight of the Eurovision year. I must have watched Nigella allow Sweden to leapfrog Russia via the UK points about a hundred times by now.
#7 isn’t up there with my favourites, but it was still good (I think that song may have been written just for me…). Ola has such great stage presence.
Again, I’m with you on the language thing when it comes to Roger Pontare.
Okay, so you’re not a This Is My Life fan…so you weren’t too devastated when Anna didn’t qualify, then? That makes one of us! I’m pretty used to differing musical opinions, so I don’t mind you hating this one. Each to their own 🙂 Would you have sent Salem or Darin (even though I know you weren’t that crazy about YOOML) to Oslo instead? Or Eric, or Timoteij…the Melfest final in 2010 was EPIC.
PS – Thankyou for the birthday wishes!!