A (Final) Supersized Serving of Scandipop: My Top 50 Melodifestivalen Entries, 2006-2015! (The Top 10)
Meghan Trainor might be all about that bass, but me? I’m more about that Melodifestivalen. The search for Måns Zelmerlöw’s successor began on Saturday, with Ace Wilder (predictably) and Robin ‘Bedroom Eyes’ Bengtsson going direkt till final, and the duos of Albin and Mattias/Samir and Viktor heading off to Andra Chansen. Melfest has certainly started on a good note (if I may make a musical pun without you throwing yourself through the nearest window), but I suspect the show’s best is yet to come. That makes me even more excited to set my next super-early Sunday alarm, so bring it, SVT!
Speaking of which…I’m doing a bit of ye olde ‘bringing’ myself today. But rather than bringing you two hours of camp, poptastic entertainment feat. several glorious utterances of the phrase ‘Sverige, vi har ett resultat’, I’m FINALLY bringing you the conclusion to my Melfest Top 50 countdown. I guess I can still say ‘Vi har ett resultat’ – it’s just that the resultat in this case is my Top 10 from 2006-2015.
Forty other Melfest entries from that period have graced my list so far. In case you’ve forgotten which, here’s a recap:
- #11 Heroes by Måns Zelmerlöw (2015)
- #12 Why Am I Crying? by Molly Sandén (2012)
- #13 This Is My Life by Anna Bergendahl (2010)
- #14 In The Club by Danny Saucedo (2011)
- #15 Try Again by Dilba (2011)
- #16 My Heart Is Refusing Me by Loreen (2011)
- #17 Keep On Walking by Salem Al Fakir (2010)
- #18 Efter Solsken by Panetoz (2014)
- #19 Det Rår Vi Inte För by Behrang Miri feat. Victor Crone (2015)
- #20 Echo by Outtrigger (2014)
- #21 Aldrig Aldrig by Andreas Lundstedt (2012)
- #22 Empty Room by Sanna Nielsen (2008)
- #23 Better Or Worse by Julia Alvgard (2011)
- #24 Baby Goodbye by EMD (2009)
- #25 Busy Doin’ Nothin’ by Ace Wilder (2014)
- #26 Alla by Sofia (2009)
- #27 Like Suicide by Christian Walz (2011)
- #28 Temple of Love by BWO (2006)
- #29 The Boy Can Dance by Afro-Dite (2012)
- #30 Där Och Då Med Digby Emelie Irewald (2015)
- #31 Euphoria by Loreen (2012)
- #32 Yes We Can by Oscar Zia (2014)
- #33 Living To Die by Andreas Johnson (2015)
- #34 One By One by Elize Ryd and Rickard Söderberg (2015)
- #35 Red by EKO (2014)
- #36 Möt Mig I Gamla Stan by Magnus Carlsson (2015)
- #37 Around The World by Dr. Alban and Jessica Folcker (2014)
- #38 Bröder by Linus Svenning (2014)
- #39 I’ll Be Fine by Molly Pettersson Hammar (2015)
- #40 För Din Skull by Kalle Johansson (2015)
- #41 Falling by State of Drama (2013)
- #42 Sean Den Förste Banan by Sean Banan (2012)
- #43 Hello Goodbye by Tone Damli and Erik Segerstedt (2013)
- #44 Begging by Anton Ewald (2013)
- #45 Stormande Hav by Timoteij (2012)
- #46 Stay The Night by Alcazar (2009)
- #47 Make Me (La La La) by Dinah Nah (2015)
- #48 Don’t Stop Believing by Mariette (2015)
- #49 På Väg by Abalone Dots (2012)
- #50 Jag Är Fri (Manne Leam Frijje) by Jon Henrik Fjällgren (2015)
Och nu, without further ado, here is…
#10 | Why Start A Fire? by Lisa Miskovsky (2012)
The overwhelming fan favourite of Melfest 2012 may have been Loreen, but personally, I have more of a soft spot for Miss Miskovsky (among other 2012 alumni). I know, I know – I’m a terrible person, and I’ve just bought myself a one-way ticket to Eurovision purgatory as punishment. But before you consider dropping any atomic glitter bombs on my head, hear me out. I know as well as you do that Euphoria was the right representative for Sweden at Eurovision in Baku, and it’s definitely one of my all-time favourite winning songs. But when I look/listen back at Melfest that year, I find that there’s something about the guitar-driven, electro-tinged Why Start A Fire? – something ethereal and otherworldly – that hits me right in the goosebump generator (wherever that is). Euphoria never achieved quite the same thing. Lyrically intriguing and melodically stunning, Lisa’s self-penned entry had me hypnotised from the first time I heard it in full. Its place on this list is a declaration of love it deserves.
#9 | Mystery by Dead By April (2012)
When Outtrigger’s Echo popped up in part two of this countdown, I told you guys I had a thing for Melfest rock. As you can see, I wasn’t kidding. I’m not saying I adore everything about Echo or Mystery (the throat-stripping screams in each track are far from being my cup of tea) but…come to think of it, the screaming is the only thing I’m not a fan of. Mystery made a big impact on me when DBA took on Melfest, and not just because I had an obsessive crush on lead singer (at the time) Zandro (and his tattoos). The song is well-written and was well-performed, with Zandro’s clear-cut vocals contrasting nicely with Stoffe Andersson’s death growls (‘death growls’ = a phrase I never expected would be defined for me by Melodifestivalen). There’s both vulnerability and aggressiveness to be heard here, and that makes for a dynamic listening experience. When you want to rock out, AND lament a lost love or a Netflix-related neck injury (for example) at the same time, Mystery is the perfect outlet.
#8 | You by Robin Stjernberg (2013)
Just thinking back to the days when Robin became the first Melfest winner to detour through Andra Chansen has happy tears moistening my eyes – so take everything I’m about to say with a grain of sentimentality. You was one of the most authentic, least forced winners Melodifestivalen has ever crowned. It wasn’t a formulaic cookie-cutter pop song trying desperately to come out on top – it was just one man + a pleasantly subdued neutral palette + a touching-but-not-cloying tribute + THAT VOICE. Oh, and a fire curtain. And all of that ended up creating an unexpected champion, via the most magical voting sequence ever recorded on film. Robin’s win felt so right. You is a song that builds and then builds some more, rising from a solid foundation of acoustic guitar and soft vocals to an explosive (literally, when you consider that fire curtain) conclusion, preceded by a show-stopping note from Robin that declared ‘I’m a contender!’. And shattered glassware from the north to the south of Sweden. It may not have shattered any records at Eurovision, but it will always be one of my most-loved host entries.
#7 | Bedroom by Alvaro Estrella (2014)
Aaaaand BOOM (boom boom boo-boo-boom) – just like that, you can say goodbye to sentimentality, and hello to my completely superficial love for a song about sex. Lyrical content such as ‘shoes off in the driveway, shirts off in the doorway, pants off in the hallway’ isn’t exactly the height of sophistication and significance, but it doesn’t have to be when a song’s this catchy. It wasn’t until I heard the Bedroom snippet prior to Melfest 2014’s first semi that I thought ‘THIS is what I’m talking about. THIS is why I devote all the time I’m not thinking about Eurovision to thinking about Sweden’s preselection.’ Because when I’m not weeping into a copy of SCAN Magazine over the raw beauty of a power ballad, I’m dancing wildly in my Bedroom to stuff like this. Alvaro suffers from Eric Saade Syndrome – he’s not a great live vocalist, but he can bust a move and churn out chart hits with ease. His Melfest entry was made for the dance floor, and is basically three minutes of proof that Swedish songwriters should continue to be in constant global demand.
#6 | Förlåt Mig by Mattias Andréasson (2012)
Is there any genre that doesn’t sound sensational i Svenska? The first non-English number in my top 10 is also an R & B song, and I don’t reckon it would have made an appearance at all if it’d been sung in English by ex-EMD member Mattias. Förlåt Mig (‘Forgive Me’) is so slick and well-produced in studio, it couldn’t quite live up to itself live (I’m convinced that those Kate Ryan light sabers are a bad-luck charm) which may explain why it didn’t progress past its semi. Or perhaps I’m just the only person on the planet who thinks it’s the shiz, and should have at LEAST made it to Andra Chansen. If I had to single out one thing I really commend about this song, it would be the way it manages not to repeat itself, in spite of its straightforward sstructure. What I mean by that (because that made zero sense) is, while the verses and the chorus and that other bit before the final chorus *forgets everything she was taught about song construction in music class* together form a cohesive whole, they’re all unique. This isn’t a ‘heard half of it, heard all of it’ kind of song – and that, combined with its general awesomeness, gets my fist bump of approval.
#5 | Undo by Sanna Nielsen (2014)
There are two kinds of people: those who think Sanna was handed a pity win after her seventh attempt to take home the Melfest trophy; and those who think the time was right because she won with her strongest contribution to the competition. There are no prizes for guessing which camp my tent’s pitched in. I have been besotted with Undo from the moment I met it, and I firmly believe it to be one of Melfest’s – and Eurovision’s – greatest-ever ballads. Helping that mindset along is the fragility Sanna conveyed during each and every performance of the song. Thanks to her crystal-clear voice that is seemingly expelled at the push of a button (I think it’s on the back of her neck, like those Barbie dolls that have “growing” hair), she didn’t really have to focus on nailing her vocal. What she could focus on was making us believe her heartbreak was as fresh in Denmark as it had been during Deltävling 2 back in Sweden. And that, my friends, is what made for the dictionary definition of ‘spine-tingling’ produced by Undo. That and THE MOMENT!!! before the second chorus, which sent the wow factor shooting straight into the stratosphere.
#4 | Kom by Timoteij (2010)
Do you ever just sit and think about all of the things you’d never have discovered if it wasn’t for Melodifestivalen? No? Well, I do. And one of the main things I think about is the glorious girl band Timoteij. Their signature blend of Celtic instrumentals and Europop has led to a string of hits, and it all started with Kom (‘Come’, in case you didn’t see that Kom-ing). If this song is any indication, then Swedish-born ethno-pop can totally hold its own against the Armenian/Spanish/Turkish equivalents. The iconic opening riff ignites a sense of mystery that carries on through the rest of the song, interwoven with a pulsing, toe-tapping beat. The chorus is simple, but so effective; the melody is irresistible; and the ubiquitous key change arrives at the perfect moment. And that rolecall of redeeming features doesn’t even take into account the power of Timoteij harmonies (which, when on point, could poke a hole in a house brick). Even in a super-strong Melfest final, it’s hard (for me) to believe this finished fifth, and not higher.
#3 | Soldiers by Ulrik Munther (2012)
This track, co-written and performed by Peter Pan Ulrik for his Melfest debut (he’d go on to try way too hard to win the following year, only to end up 3rd again) was THE arena anthem of 2012 – if we’re talking down-tempo arena anthems, as the up-tempo trophy obviously goes to Loreen and her Euphoria. Heavy on instruments – guitars, drums, and a harmonica that gave an authentic bluesy feel to a polished pop song – it relied on sincerity and sing-along power (plus that angelic, seemingly prepubescent face of Mr. Munther’s), rather than flashiness, to harness votes. Remind you of anything? Say, Melfest 2016’s freshly-qualified Constellation Prize? It should. Soldiers is such a great song in all aspects of song…ness (songery?). The melody is memorable, the structure makes for a smoothly-navigated but not-too-predictable three minutes, and the lyrics have substance (but not so much that I have no idea what the manboy in the flat cap is on about). In an epic edition of Melfest, this was my standout entry.
#2 | Hela Natten by Josef Johansson (2014)
(No decent videos of this performance appear to be available on Youtube, y’all. Apologies.)
There are certain songs that I gravitate towards because they’re catchy. Then, there are those that make me feel all the feelings that tend to give one goosebumps. Relatively unknown prior to his Melodifestivalen debut, Josef Johansson provided us with a song that was the best of both worlds – a total tune, and a heartstring-puller. That’s what makes Hela Natten (‘All Night’) magic. No, it didn’t get anywhere in its semi, but it left an impression on me that has outlasted the impression left by any other participating songs from 2014 that did progress. The song’s build-up to explosive moments is stellar, ensuring the chorus packs punch whenever it pops up. And the introduction of a choir during the last thirty seconds or so was inspired, giving Josef the vocal support he needed to make the final stretch of the song bigger and (almost) better than the rest. I also credit this song for kick-starting my fangirling of Josef’s subsequent releases, like Blickar Kan Mörda, which was completely different to Hela Natten – i.e. a true testament to Josef’s artistic versatility.
And now, after two previous installments of Scandipop-oriented gushing, and my #10-#2 countdown above, it’s time to say hej to what is probably a rather predictable number one.
My favourite Melodifestivalen entry from 2006-2015 is…
#1 | You’re Out Of My Life by Darin (2010)
YEAH IT IS! If you’ve read virtually any of my past posts, you’ll know that ’04 Idol runner-up Darin is my personal pinnacle of popstardom. He’s a bit of a musical chameleon, and I’ve loved every stage of his career – his folksy phase of 2015/16, for instance, has seen me flog his latest album Fjärilar I Magen like my life depends on it. When Darin decided to give Melfest a go in 2010, he was in more of a power ballad phase, and that’s how he came to be partnered with You’re Out of My Life. If Sanna’s Undo is the female ballad to end all other female ballads, then YOOML is its male counterpart. I can’t even describe in detail why I love it as much as I do (you’ll be relieved to learn) – it’s just undying, could-listen-to-it-on-repeat-forever love. So if you don’t understand why I even find this song listenable, and you head down to the comments to say so, don’t expect me to emerge from my love bubble long enough to notice. The rose-coloured glasses have been super-glued to my face by the magnificence of Darin’s attempt to get to Eurovision.
Okay…so that was the written equivalent of the London Marathon. If you crossed the finish line, congratulations. If you just scrolled down to see how lengthy this post was and swiftly thought ‘As if!’ upon finding out, here’s what you missed:
- #1 You’re Out of My Life by Darin (2010)
- #2 Hela Natten by Josef Johansson (2014)
- #3 Soldiers by Ulrik Munther (2012)
- #4 Kom by Timoteij (2010)
- #5 Undo by Sanna Nielsen (2014)
- #6 Förlåt Mig by Mattias Andréasson (2012)
- #7 Bedroom by Alvaro Estrella (2014)
- #8 You by Robin Stjernberg (2013)
- #9 Mystery by Dead By April (2012)
- #10 Why Start A Fire? by Lisa Miskovsky (2012)
What are your thoughts on my Top 10? Would any of this back-catalogue Melfest music make your shortlist? If not, which entries would? If you’ve got something to say, I’m hanging out to hear it.
While I’m waiting for your words, I’ll be figuring out how to handle the upcoming Super Saturday – one that makes the six-show evening just gone seem sedate by comparison. Join me on the weekend to see if the stress sent me into meltdown mode, leaving me unable to string a sentence together; or if I managed to rank, review and predict in spite of the pressure. If Laura Tesoro is still wondering what the pressure is, somebody had better tell her that it’s THIS FREAKIN’ SATURDAY.
Until THIS FREAKIN’ SATURDAY…
Hallå, och välkommen till…um…nope, still not quite at the point where I can string together an entire introduction i Svenska. But I’ll get there. Possessing such a skill would have been ultra-appropriate today, though, given the subject matter of this post. There’s no need for me to explain it to you – the title tells you everything you need to know. Well, apart from one or two or three teeny tiny things:
- Melodifestivalen is far and away my favourite pre-ESC national final (which may be cliché, but I don’t give a crap) so I’ll take any opportunity to celebrate its sheer sensational-ness. I’ve never posted a Melfest ranking before, so with that in mind – plus the fact that the 2016 edition of the show is creeping ever closer – I’m considering this window of time before NF season crazy-time begins as an opportunity more golden than Herreys’ shiny boots.
- I realise that a Top 50 of Melfest spanning 1959 (the year of its inception) to present would have been more spectacular, but there’s just so much magnificent music to choose from, even limiting myself to the last ten years was a challenge. Besides, I’m far more familiar with the entries from 2006 onwards – i.e. the year I discovered the definitions of ‘Eurovision’ and ‘national finals’. You can, however, expect a more vintage view of the comp in the future.
- There are a lot of entries from the last two/three years of Melfest in this first installment of the countdown, but I can assure you that trend does not (completely) continue in the #30-11 and Top 10 episodes. Just FYI.
Now, with that trio of housekeeping points taken care of, let’s get started! I’ve embedded some videos of the listed tracks below, but if you want to see and watch them all in one place, check out this playlist.
Sverige (and everywhere else)…vi har ett resultat.
Well, some of it, anyway.
#50 | Jag Är Fri (Manne Leam Frijje) by Jon Henrik Fjällgren (2015) No, I’m not joiking. As much as I love the standard Scandipop fare Melfest predominantly serves up, it was refreshing to have something on the NF’s most recent programme that managed to be super-Swedish without *Googles the songwriters just in case* having Thomas G:son’s name attached to it. Jag Är Fri could be the theme song for a tourist campaign urging us all to visit Lapland – and it totally works on me. I wonder if I could squeeze in a side trip while I’m i Sverige?
#49 | På Väg by Abalone Dots (2012)
#48 | Don’t Stop Believing by Mariette (2015) If it hadn’t been for the extremely predictable lyrics peppering this track from Mariette – and the presence of Måns + Stick Måns in Melfest 2015, of course – I’d have happily said ‘Si!’ to Sweden sending a cool, contemporary ballad-but-not-quite kind of pop song to Vienna. My favourite thing about this is how dynamic and drama-packed it is, without ever being OTT. It’s got a great melody, and overall, isn’t half as cheesy as you might expect a song called Don’t Stop Believing to be.
#47 | Make Me (La La La) by Dinah Nah (2015)
#46 | Stay The Night by Alcazar (2009) It’d practically be illegal to put together a list like this and NOT include Alcazar, unless you’re the President of the Anti-Schlager Society. Now, I’m not exactly heading up the Pro-Schlager Party, but I’ve always found Alcazar’s sound-alike Melfest entries to be infectiously irresistible. Stay The Night (the superior version of 2014’s Blame It On The Disco) is so textbook, you could sing it in your sleep even if you’d heard a minute-long snippet and nothing more. But there’s a certain appeal in such familiarity…and in that freaking catchy chorus.
#45 | Stormande Hav by Timoteij (2012)
#44 | Begging by Anton Ewald (2013) One of several surprise successes of Melodifestivalen 2013 (both Anton and Robin Stjernberg failed to qualify direkt til final, only to emerge victorious from Andra Chansen and finish 4th and 1st respectively), Begging became a big success in the Swedish charts too, and I understand why. Produced to perfection and not as derivative as your average dance track, it’s a frantically-paced club banger that I think holds its own without Anton busting many a move to add interest – partly because in studio, his vocals don’t suffer for the sake of enthusiastic pelvic thrusting. Forget about his comeback track Natural (although I personally liked that too)…it was during his debut as a frontman that he had the best musical weapon at his disposal.
#43 | Hello Goodbye by Erik Segerstedt & Tone Damli (2013)
#42 | Sean Den Förste Banan by Sean Banan (2012) GUILTY PLEASURE ALERT. I never wanted to enjoy this – even considering my crappy taste in movies and books, it should have been too low-brow for me – but what can I say? I’m easily swayed by an ear worm, and SDFB is nothing if not one heck of an ear worm. Also, bananas are my favourite fruit, and Sean has a penchant for them too, so…there’s that.
#41 | Falling by State of Drama (2013)
#40 | För Din Skull by Kalle Johansson (2015) The pre-comp Svensktoppen Nästa winners always get a raw deal in Melfest, methinks – never advancing anywhere (they’re lucky if they don’t come last in their semis). Still, I’m always a fan of their entries, and Kalle’s is no exception because it is adorable, dammit. Retro-flavoured pop doesn’t always float my boat, but För Din Skull (For Your Sake) is tinged, rather than soaked, with a slightly Sixties flavour, which lends itself very well to the Swedish language. I also really like the sound of Kalle’s voice, so all in all, this entry is sounding good, sugar (to me, at least).
#39 | I’ll Be Fine by Molly Pettersson Hammar (2015)
#38 | Bröder by Linus Svenning (2014) Before he informed us that Forever Starts Today, Linus proved that you don’t have to opt for a ballad if you want to move people – move them straight to the nearest box of tissues, in this case. Written for him by Fredrik Kempe about the death of Linus’ brother (hence the title), Bröder is far more rocky than most tributes to a lost loved one. It does start out in ballad territory, giving you a chance to notice how pretty the melody is, before upping the ante and turning hard(er)core. I loved Bröder from the first listen, felt the emotion behind it, and practically jumped for joy when it scored a second chance and made it to the 2014 final.
#37 | Around The World by Dr Alban feat. Jessica Folcker (2014)
#36 | Möt Mig I Gamla Stan by Magnus Carlsson (2015) A year ago, I would NEVER have considered including this song in my top fifty. After all, it was Magnus “I Can’t Feel My Face (Because of all the Botox)” Carlsson crashing Melfest yet again, with yet another been-there-heard -that schlager number. All of those things remain true, but the song has wormed its way into my brain and affections over time. Sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly superficial, all I want out of my music is a catchy tune. On that, Möt Mig I Gamla Stan delivers, and y’all can bet I’ll be singing the shiz out of it when I’m actually wandering around Gamla Stan.
#35 | Red by EKO (2014)
#34 | One By One by Elize Ryd & Rickard Söderberg (2015) Robbed of a place in Andra Chansen last year (IMO), this poperatic confection worked to a degree I didn’t expect. Sure, Rickard comes off a little too showy to be taken seriously at times, but Elize’s vocal saves the day, and the two do manage to mesh for the most part. One By One itself has a nice mix of light and shade, verses that are as interesting as the choruses, and a show-stopping money note from Rickard, prior to chorus no. 2, which gives me goosebumps.
#33 | Living To Die by Andreas Johnson (2015)
#32 | Yes We Can by Oscar Zia (2014) High School Musical met Melodifestivalen two years ago, when Oscar followed up his backing-singer-for-Behrang-Miri gig with a song about dancing in his underwear. Well, it was about other stuff too, but that was mentioned – and since it was okay for Lena to divulge the deets of her knickers to millions, I say it was okay for Oscar too. I feel like this entry is a rare one to fangirl over, but if I am one of just a few who’d say yes to Yes We Can, then so be it. This song’s epic! It packs a punch, it’s fun to sing along to…you can really let your hair down and rock out to it. And it reminds me of summer, making it a summer anthem, which automatically makes it awesome.
#31 | Euphoria by Loreen (2012)
Talk about ending on a (euphoric) high! Although, if you’re a massive Loreen fan, you might think seeing her ranked outside of the Top 10 is the lowliest of lows. In that case, don’t worry, because she might just crop up again in the countdown *insert mysterious, cliffhanger-type music here*.
I hope you enjoyed this supersized serving of Scandipop, with some Scandirock and Scandiotherstuff thrown in for good measure, even if you disagreed with some/all of my choices. Once again, here’s the full playlist:
Now’s the time for you to post your own #31-#50, or simply have your say on my song selections, in the comments below. Go on…do it for Christer Björkman.
I’ll be back in a few days’ time with more Melfest goodness – specifically, unveiling the Top 50 from #30 through to #11. As Anton Ewald would (probably) say, I’m begging *pelvic thrust* you to drop by and count them down with me!
Hej, children of the universe. I’m assuming that’s how Molly Smitten-Downes would address anyone she came across, although I’d say we were more like children of the Euro-verse. But I’m not here to talk about the freshly debuted UK entry for Copenhagen (that’s what my reviews are for). Nope, as promised, I’m here to celebrate Melodifestivalen just days before the 2014 final takes place in Stockholm. It’s going to be a hotly-contested comp this year, with any one of three, four, or even five songs being possible winners, which means, IMO, that Melfest is back to its former glory. You know, the kind of glory that exists in countries that haven’t just won Eurovision and really aren’t keen on winning again.
Although the 2013 final was strong, the standard in the semis was pretty low. This year, it was much higher, meaning we’ve lost some gems along the way. That’s happened on many occasions over the years. I have literally shed tears over the loss of Melfest entries at the semi stages. So, to be relevant rather than random AND revisit some of these gems, today I’m revealing my top 10 Melodifestivalen songs, 2009-2013 (because, as I have mentioned before, covering the past ten years plus is too darn difficult). There are some in this list which did make it past the semis, with a few doing very well indeed. But I’ve found that a great deal of my favourites were clearly not Sweden’s favourites at the time. Check out the lucky ten and let me know whether any of them are your personal favourites, or if I officially have the worst taste on the planet (if you’re going to say that, however, word it nicely).
PS – I chose not to include any songs that won Melfest and went on to Eurovision, because I see those more as ESC entries to be included in other lists. I also have not included any songs from the 2014 edition, because they’re still so fresh and can’t be compared to songs I’ve been listening to for, like, ever.
PPS – If you haven’t yet voted in my poll to see who will win MF on Saturday, you can find it at the end of this post, and I will bow down to you and do all your bidding if you have your say. Voting closes on Friday, so hurry and help me predict the winner!
Now, on with my top 10 Melfest entries of the past five years, beginning with #10.
#10 | Baby Goodbye by EMD (2009, 3rd in final)
The three ridiculously good-looking guys who make up EMD – Erik Segerstedt, Mattias Andreasson and Danny Saucedo – have all participated in Melfest outside of the group, but it was together that they were at their most schlager-tastic and suave. Baby Goodbye has been heard time and time again in Melfest (let’s be honest, Manboy and Youngblood are retitled versions of the same thing) but for some reason, I find it the most appealing. I suppose the hypnotic power of the three handsome men singing it could be influencing that opinion a little.
#9 | Better Or Worse by Julia Alvgard (2011, DNQ)
Julia was one of two wildcard entries into Melfest 2011, and like the other, she failed to win over the voters. She did win over a certain Australian fangirl in a big way, though (that’s me, in case you were wondering). I fell in love with her unusual synth-pop number instantly after hearing it for the first time, and whilst I knew it didn’t have much hope of going to the final, let alone winning, I was still a walking sadface when Julia ended up 6th in her semi. I will admit, the stage performance featuring those giant lampshades was disturbing, so perhaps that was partly to blame.
#8 | Förlåt Mig by Mattias Andreasson (2012, DNQ)
He wasn’t suited up when he went solo, but EMD’s Mattias was still smooth and suave in Year Euphoria – and that was before he’d even opened his mouth to bust out the first line of the slick R & B track that is Förlåt Mig. It’s not the coolest use of light sabers since Kate Ryan (almost) nailed them in Athens that makes me get down to this. It’s the general catchiness and clever construction, build worth waiting for, and the fact that it’s in Swedish, which somehow elevates it for me – perhaps because songs like this often have nauseating lyrics when they’re in English.
#7 | Begging by Anton Ewald (2013, 4th in final)
He’s one of a bunch of artists who returned to MF this year, and like the majority, Anton’s come back with a weaker song, IMO. Natural’s just fine, but Begging was the bomb! It took me a few listens to really ‘get’, which may explain why Sweden didn’t vote it straight through to the final, but to Andra Chansen instead. Not only did it emerge from AC alongside eventual winner You, but it out-scored six songs that had been voted straight through. It’s on this list because it manages to be contemporary and mainstream at the same time as being original in its genre…and, of course, because it’s freaking catchy. That’s my main criteria.
#6 | Why Start A Fire? by Lisa Miskovsky (2012, 9th in final)
Miss Miskovsky has penned songs for, among others, the Backstreet Boys – one of my many true loves – so it’s not surprising that I’m a fan of her own music. This effort from Melfest two years ago sounds nothing like a BSB chart-topper, but that makes it no less beautiful. It’s hauntingly so, if I may say so without sounding like a ponce. Whether that’s from the unusual instrumentation, her voice or a combo of both, I don’t know. I just love it. It’s a shame it didn’t do better in the final, but 2012 was a strong year, and Lisa didn’t have crab-dancing in her repertoire.
#5 | Aldrig Aldrig by Andreas Lundstedt (2012, DNQ)
Andreas did cheese as part of Six4One at Eurovision, and plenty of it as part of Alcazar (and what do you know? They’re doing it again in 2014!). When he donned a metallic dinner jacket and ventured on stage by himself, there was no cheese to be seen anywhere. Aldrig Aldrig was like the musical love child of Coldplay, Urban Symphony and Donny Montell, and I mean that in a positive way. It had symphony, claps possibly borrowed from the Friends theme song, a mod-disco beat, and, once again it was in Swedish, which instantly made it more exotic in my eyes. Andreas performed it like a boss, and I wouldn’t mind him doing it again some day if he ever manages to shake off those pesky bandmates of his. JKIDOLOVEALCAZARISWEAR!
#4 | Mystery by Dead By April (2012, 7th in final)
Am I a rock fan? Not really. Metal (if it ain’t Lordi)? Uh, no. How about songs that incorporate death growls? Forget about it! That was until Dead By April somehow won me over with the gentle verses and irresistible chorus that contrasted so nicely with the aforementioned screaming to form a cohesive piece of awesomeness. If that doesn’t make sense, it’s because I actually have no idea what it is about Mystery that I can’t get enough of – it really is a mystery. The massive crush I had on lead singer Zandro at the time may have played a part. Could it be another case of EMD syndrome?
#3 | Soldiers by Ulrik Munther (2012, 3rd in final)
2012 was a seriously amazing year for Melfest, standard-wise. Sweden’s answer to Peter Pan, Ulrik Munther, provided yet another example of that with the rousing, anthemic Soldiers, which I’m sure has won some sort of award for Best Use of a Harmonica. I don’t say this very often, but in this case it’s the lyrics that have a lot to do with how I feel about this song. They are flawless and meaningful, and don’t rhyme ‘love’ with ‘above’, or ‘heart’ with ‘apart’ or any of that cliché crap. It’s genius songwriting, is what it is. I also have a thing for the drumming, which is suitably militaristic and makes me want to march right into Neverland with Peter/Ulrik and play the harmonica for the rest of eternity. Kind of.
#2 | Kom by Timoteij (2010, 5th in final)
I’m yet to come across a person who didn’t at least like this a lot, so expect a great deal of criticism if you tell me Timoteij aren’t your cup of tea! The quartet and their respective instruments turned folk on its head by making it pop and making it dramatic. Everything they produce is in this vein and is epic, but Kom is the pinnacle to date. Just try getting that chorus and/or riff out of your head. The song won the OGAE Second Chance Contest in 2010 and made us all wonder what could have been, since things didn’t go so well for Anna Bergendahl.
Finally *drum roll*, my favourite Melodifestivalen entry of the past five years is…
#1 | You’re Out of My Life by Darin (2010, 4th in final)
Beating Timoteij in the 2010 final (despite qualifying below them in their semi) was Eurovision 2013 interval act and my favourite artist period, Darin. He did so with a ballad that gave me goosebumps on the first listen, and still does approximately 10 995 listens later. I’ll admit, the live performance didn’t have the exact impact of the studio version (that money note is a toughie) but it’s still magic as far as I’m concerned. I know hardly anyone will agree with me on this, but know that whichever songs give you the bumps probably wouldn’t do the same to me. YOOML is my personal stunner, and sometimes I do wish it had beaten Anna. And Salem. And Eric Saade. Man, 2010 RULED!
EBJ extras: the ones that just missed out…Keep On Walking by Salem Al Fakir (2010); Try Again by Dilba (2011); My Heart Is Refusing Me by Loreen (2011); Elektrisk by Anniela (2011); På Väg by Abalone Dots (2012); Why Am I Crying? by Molly Sandén (2012); Hello Goodbye by Erik Segerstedt & Tone Damli (2013).
So that’s that…what did you think? Do we have anything in common? Yay or nay, I think we can agree that this Saturday night is one to look forward to. In the latest Melodifestivalen final, one of ten songs will become a Eurovision entry, whilst the others will compete for places on lists like this one for years to come. You can still help me decide which one will come out on top by voting in the poll that I mentioned earlier, and have been bugging everyone on social media etc about for days now. Here it is!
You still have the power to change the results. You won’t win a prize if you do, but it may make you feel superior for a few minutes. #winning?
I’ll be back on Saturday with the final poll results, predictions and other (hopefully) entertaining stuff re: NF season. Takk for reading, and see you then!
I think it’s time to take a break from JESC, partly for those of you who roll your eyes at Junior Eurovision and partly for me because I’m tired of typing ‘JESC’ and ‘Junior’ every second word.
Today’s post is a hybrid, featuring the second installment of my new (ish) Most-Played series, as well as a quick look at the results of everyone’s favourite second chance contest: the OGAE SCC.
But first up, that list of most-played songs. Last time it was winners (you can read/re-read that here: https://eurovisionbyjaz.wordpress.com/2012/09/12/new-most-played-esc-winners/) and this time, as you most likely figured from the title, it’s national finalists – the songs that have tried and failed to get to the big show, but have found their place on the iPods of NF followers everywhere. Check out my list, and then comment me the ones you’ve played the most since…well, ever. Pretty please?
#1 | Kom by Timoteij (Sweden 2010)
Timoteij are to me now what the Spice Girls were to me fifteen years ago – I love everything they’ve ever produced and think they’re totally fabulous in every way (and if Timoteij had their own brand of perfume, I’d probably buy it too). The first of their two Melodifestivalen songs may have come 5th in the final, but for many it will be one of those potential ESC entries that got away. It did win the 2010 OGAE Second Chance Contest however, so that’s some *sniff* consolation *sniff*.
#2 | Nada Es Comparable A Ti by Mirela (Spain 2009)
#3 | Breathing by Bryan Rice (Denmark 2010)
#4 | En Una Vida by Coral (Spain 2010)
Here’s an epic ballad in the mould of Mirela’s and/or Pastora Soler’s Quedate Conmigo, both of which I love unconditionally. Having been beaten in Spain’s 2008 final by none other than Mr. Baila El Chiki-Chiki, I bet Coral thought she had a win coming two years on when she stepped back on the NF stage with only a curly-haired, clown-toting guy who’d been in the stage adaptation of High School Musical to defeat. Unfortunately she thought wrong, but she’ll always be the rightful winner in my eyes.
#5 | Emotions by Mista (Slovakia 2010)
#6 | You’re Out of My Life by Darin (Sweden 2010)
#7 | Nótt by Yohanna (Iceland 2011)
#8 | La Histeria by Marquess (Germany 2008)
Germany had a super-strong (or über-strong) national final in ’08. Caroline Fortenbacher! Monrose! Cinema Bizarre! It couldn’t have had more star power unless there were more famous people competing (duh). Anyway, none of those artists managed to win, and neither did Marquess – but their entry La Histeria is so much fun. Albeit more Spanish fun than German fun. I think it would have done much better in Belgrade than Disappear, a song which many fans wish would do just that.
#9 | Dear Mama by Blaxy Girls (Romania 2009)
#10 | Elektrisk by Anniela (Sweden 2011)
#11 | Forever Or Never by Cinema Bizarre (Germany 2008)
#12 | My Heart Is Refusing Me by Loreen (Sweden 2011)
Loreen was another ‘one that got away’ from Melodifestivalen, but she kind of compensated by coming back in 2012 and, you know, winning Eurovision, et cetera. The song that brought her and her wacky taste in clothing to ESC community attention was different to, but just as kick-ass as Euphoria. I still can’t believe it didn’t get out of the second chance round.
#13 | In The Club by Danny (Sweden 2011)
#14 | Better Or Worse by Julia Alvgard (Sweden 2011)
#15 | Tid Att Andas by Simon Forsberg (Sweden 2011)
#16 | Surrender by Passionworks (Finland 2009)
#17 | Or by Chen Aharoni (Israel 2011)
I am nothing if not a member of Team Dana International, but even I have to say that sending her to Düsseldorf instead of Chen was a MASSIVE mistake on Israel’s part. I swear to Mr. God that he would have qualified and made the top 10 had he been given the chance. Or is everything I want in a Eurovision song – ethnic but contemporary, catchy, dramatic, performed by a hot guy…sigh.
#18 | Do You Wanna? by Gipsy.cz (Czech Republic 2009)
#19 | Sleepless by Anna Noa (Denmark 2011)
#20 | Drømmen by Jeffery (Denmark 2011)
This is quite a humble number that slipped through the cracks, failing to make the super-final of DMGP last year. I think it’s my fondness for Scandinavian languages in hip-hop/r & b-type music that keeps me playing it. It probably wasn’t right for Eurovision, but as a listening song, it ticks all the right boxes.
The results are in: OGAE 2012
For those of you who don’t know, the OGAE Second Chance Contest is where the songs that failed to make Eurovision go to try and redeem themselves. Nominated songs from each national final are voted on by official fan clubs all over the world to determine the best of the could-have-beens.
Last year, it was Iceland’s Yohanna who won the contest with Nótt (a song that coincidentally, or nótt, made my above playlist). This year, another powerhouse female vocalist took out the competition – Pastora Soler, the most successful Spanish ESC entrant since 2004.
- Spain – Tu Vida Es Tu Vida by Pastora Soler
- Sweden – Amazing by Danny Saucedo
- Norway – High On Love by Reidun Sæther
- Denmark – Take Our Hearts by Jesper Nohrstedt
- Austria – That’s What I Am by Conchita Wurst
- Iceland – Hugarró by Magni Ásgeirsson
- Russia – Back To Her Future by Dima Bilan & Yulia Volkova
- Slovenia – A Si Sanjal Me by Eva Boto
- Estonia – Mina Jään by Lenna
- Cyprus – You Don’t Belong Here by Ivi Adamou
- Germany – Quietly by Ornella de Santis
- Netherlands – Chocolatte by Raffaëla Paton
- Portugal – Gratia Plena by Ricardo Soler
- Belgium – Safety Net by Iris
- Finland – Lasikaupunki by Ville Eetvartti
- Greece – Killer Bee by Cassiopeia
- Latvia – She’s A Queen by Roberts Pētersons
- Ireland – Mercy by Donna McCaul
- Lithuania – Why by Beissoul
I am a little surprised that Pastora managed to win. I’m not a huge fan of Tu Vida Es Tu Vida, possibly because I love Quedate Conmigo so much; and anyway, I figured Norway or Ireland would romp to victory. But she is a stellar performer, so my pointless-since-she’ll-never-see-this congratulations go out to her.
Just because, here are my personal picks of the bunch:
May we all celebrate the brilliance of these national finalists, ‘til the upcoming selection season erases them from our memories!
What do you think of the OGAE results? And don’t forget to tell me about your most-played national finalists!
NEXT TIME: It’s back to the JESC recaps as I look back on Rotterdam 2007. Then, prepare yourselves for a very frightening Halloween post as I count down the top 10 Scariest Eurovision Moments of All Time…BOO!
Guess what? I’m not going to make this a post with a long, boring intro. It’s Saturday (again) and this is what’s happened and/or happening – and that’s all you need to know.
Israel and the UK presenting and representing
Israel officially premiered their song Time by Izabo on the first of the month, and as it turns out it is the song that has been on Youtube for the past week or so under the dubious title of ‘The possible actual but still unofficial entry’. Damn that dastardly internet for spoiling Israel’s plans! Although as a result of that evil entity we have had the chance to get to know the song better by this point. Who in this day and age doesn’t like getting something earlier than expected?
I suppose it’s Time for me to tell you how I feel about the entry. Well, I can certainly say that it more closely resembles something you’d find on alternative radio than at Eurovision, but why should there be a genre that isn’t ‘Eurovision’ in sound anyway? The song’s quirkiness may be its saving grace. It’s not like any of the 2012 songs so far and is unlikely to be like any yet to come. I’d describe it as a happy little ditty (if I was about seventy years older than I actually am), something left-of-field fromIsrael. I think it has the potential to be a (good) surprise on the live stage.
Speaking of things old and surprising, the UK finally broke the silence on who their act is, only to leave gazillions of fans speechless. As I’m sure you already know, a certain Mr. Engelbert “The Hump” Humperdinck – who on one hand is tremendously popular but on the other is tremendously aged by ESC standards – will be shuffling onto the stage May 26th on behalf of the UK, and there he will most likely a) rake in the votes and make the top five or b) fail miserably, which would be more consistent with the United Kingdom’s recent results. He will be 76 years old by then, which means that not only can we make lots of hilarious jokes about his name (“Hump”…hehehehehe) but we can also make references to his being up way past his bedtime when it comes to the show.
In all seriousness, I do respect the man’s skill and credentials, and with some experienced songwriters at the helm of his entry, who knows; maybe he’ll be the live surprise. Part of me is still wondering what on Earth the BBC were thinking, but the other part can’t help but root for the underdog – or the old, arthritic dog in this instance (I’m sorry, I can’t help it!). Perhaps we should reserve our judgments for his song, as this is a song contest. For some reason I’m always forgetting that…
It’s the final countdown for Estonia, Lithuania and Spain
Well, that’s what Wikipedia is telling me, anyway. Both Estonia and Lithuania qualified last year, but after the less-than-impressive positions they ended on, both could stand to improve by picking something stand-out. As for Spain, we’ve known since December that it’s the firmly established Pastora Soler who’ll be carrying their flag. All that’s left is for her song to be chosen from a field of three. They too didn’t live up to expectation in Düsseldorf, so will bringing out the big guns (or just the one gun) change their fortune? Maybe, so long as they keep the actual guns at home, unless we are talking about the ‘guns’ of some shirtless dancers in which case I’m all for the use of weaponry.
I should really stop with the gun thing.
Second chance time in Sweden
Andra Chansen is the final obstacle (albeit one I don’t mind getting over) before the fabulous Melodifestivalen final, and the last chance for a lucky twosome to nab a place there. There’s about a 0% chance that one of the AC winners will win the whole of MF, but you never know how well they’re going to do – last year The Moniker made it out of Andra to come third in the final, beaten only by two good-looking guys in leather jackets.
Anyway, here are the four pairings that will turn into two, from which will emerge the final two songs in the March 10th decider:
Duel #1: Dynazty VS Top Cats
Duel #2: Andreas Johnson VS Timoteij
Duel #3: Thorsten Flinck & Revolutionsorkestern VS Lotta Engberg & Christer Sjögren
Duel #4: Sean Banan VS Youngblood
There are some tricky-to-pick partnerships there, but I’ve made my predictions. Check them out with the aid of this nifty and highly complicated table (FYI, green means go).
I don’t really mind who makes it through so long as one of them is Timoteij. Although if I’m honest I would like the other one to be Sean Banan (cue everyone throwing banana skins at me for my poor taste).
That’s about all I’ve got to say for the moment. This NF season sure is making me tired, although I guess that could also be due to the countless hours I spent dancing with joy yesterday on finding out that Dima Bilan will be trying again to represent Russia next week (but more on that another time – like when he wins, for instance!). See you on the other side of Saturday…
ME: It’s Saturday again?
YOU: Yes…it tends to come around every seven days or so.
ME: Very funny. Did you know sarcasm is the lowest form of humour? I think you…
YOU: Just get on with the darn post, woman!
Alright. You didn’t have to be so rude. Anyway, it is Saturday again, and this time it’s an evening of three finals. That means three more songs to add to the slowly but surely growing list for 2012. Plus, it’s semi time in Sweden, which as you may know is one of my favourite topics of conversation. So let us converse!
I(celand) am Hungary for another song…
You may be disappointed or relieved to discover that I have virtually nothing to say about the Icelandic and Hungarian finals. Having listened religiously to all the songs from every NF so far, I decided to leave these two unheard so the winning songs are a total surprise – something I plan to do a few more times during the season.
My ears were exposed to one song from Iceland by Greta Salomé & Jonsi (man candy of Eurovision ’04) which was rather interesting, and with another before-seen artist in the mix (Regina from Euroband) I reckon something good should come from the country. Let’s hope there’s no horrible-but-all-consuming sob story detracting from the entry this time around.
And let’s all cross our fingers for Hungary to produce another qualifier while we’re at it.
Norsk MGP comes to a close
This is the first year I’ve followed NMGP with as much devotion as Melodifestivalen, and I’m glad I did because Norway produced a lot of songs that add to the bank of gems that didn’t make the ESC. Of course, there is one song still to make the ESC, but only one…and it’s something from down below:
- Stay by Tooji
- High on Love by Reidun Sæther
- Sailors by Lise Karlsnes
- Ola Nordmann by Plumbo
- Crush by Malin
- Somewhere Beautiful by Nora Foss al-Jabri
- Don’t Touch The Flame by The Carburetors
- Things Change by Peter Øien & Bobby Bare
- Sammen by Yaseen & Julie Maria
- Make It Better by Tommy Fredvang
My picks: For some reason Norway didn’t tailor their qualifiers 100% to my taste (???). If they had, I’d be commanding you all to root for Rikke Normann’s Shapeshifter (you will regret leaving that behind, Norwegians!). MGP 2012 has produced a decent final line-up however, and my picks of the bunch are Stay, Crush, Somewhere Beautiful and Sammen…although High on Love and Make It Better aren’t far behind. The song that would win the whole thing in a place called Jaz’s Perfect World – a.k.a. if I could decide on behalf of an entire country – is Stay, which I think could do wonders at Eurovision despite the Saade Effect. Or maybe because of the Saade Effect? There’s something to ponder, if you are very, very bored.
My prediction: Usually – not ALWAYS, but usually – it’s one of the songs that won a semi that wins the final of a selection process. If that’s the case, Norway’s representative in Baku will be Plumbo, Nora, or (heaven forbid – how did they get to the final?) Peter & Bobby. I’m definitely feeling in my gut a victory ahead for Plumbo or Nora, but if not, then it’ll be Reidun. I don’t know how you’re feeling about this final, but for me, if the winner is not The Carburetors/Peter & Bobby I will be pleased. The odds are in my favour – how are they looking for you?
Melodifestivalen: Volume II
Listening to the semi final songs for MF is always my Saturday night highlight. Semi #2 is especially exciting due to a certain genetically blessed blonde quartet (it’s Timoteij, in case you weren’t sure) who plucked/strummed/fiddled their way into many a fan’s heart in Melodifestivalen 2010 with Kom. Will they better the 5th place they got back then or will it be a shock early exit? We’ll know soon enough. In the meantime here’s their competition – tonight’s line-up:
- Soldiers by Ulrik Munther
- Baby Doll by Top Cats
- I Din Himmel by Sonja Aldén
- Aldrig Aldrig by Andreas Lundstedt
- Stormande Hav by Timoteij
- Shout It Out by David Lindgren
- Det Går För Långsamt by Mimi Oh
- Ge Aldrig Upp by Thomas Di Leva
My picks: Soldiers, Aldrig Aldrig, Stormande Hav and Det Går För Långsamt.
Ulrik is going to be hard to beat. Combine his vocal talents with this catchy track and a face that could melt even Jon Ola Sand’s heart (is he genuinely of Eurovision age? He could easily pass as a primary-schooler) and you’ve got a package that practically screams ‘straight to the final’. I’ll be thrilled if Soldiers gets there because it’s better than I expected. Not ground-breaking, but going somewhere.
Aldrig Aldrig is a song that could do with a harder punch in the chorus, but I’m still liking it because it has just the right amount of schlager and dance.
I may be into Stormande Hav because I adore everything Timoteij have ever recorded, but I realise it’s no Kom and was never going to be, so when I say I love it I mean it. The folk-pop combo works every time when these girls get their hands/vocal chords on it, and apparently it’s a magic formula that can handle a sprinkling of dance beat. Bravo.
Det Går För Långsamt is another song with a chorus not as good as the verses promise, but I personally am not too fussed. It’s enjoyable and catchy, which is what I expect from Melodifestivalen entries for the most part.
My prediction: It’s a tough one to predict, but who says I have to be right? Thankfully nobody, or else I’d be in trouble. I’m going to say that Ulrik and Timoteij will get the golden tickets to the final, with Sonja and Andreas moving on to Andra Chansen.
That’s that. Apart from a semi final in Lithuania (I apologise for my lack of will to cover that as well) what you’ve just read is all the action that will take place around Europe tonight. Join me on Twitter, Facebook and pretty much everywhere else in the online universe tomorrow so we can discuss, dissect and possibly trash the fresh entries…and so much more.