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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Melodifestivalen 2011: Final - Live Blog

It's all built up to this, folks. Though I could venture a guess (and I did, yesterday), the truth is I've got no idea how this is going to go down. And since I'm not overly obsessed with any of the songs this year, that at least will make this an interesting final.

EDIT: Geez, this stream is really crappy today.

EDIT: And by "really crappy," I mean "unwatchable" thus far. Come on, svt, get this fixed!

EDIT: For those having the same trouble as me, setting the quality to "low" seems to help a little. It's still jerky beyond belief, though.

DANNY: Barely saw this because of the crappy stream, but the energy level seemed to be higher than it was in Heat One. I still think this is a strong contender to win, though it's very, very far from my favorite (even though I like his past material)

SARA: I've grown to love this song. Unfortunately, the video stream was even worse than in Danny's. I have a feeling this live blog is going to be a lot of me complaining about the video!


Looks like I won't be able to do this today. The stream's too bad. It's like watching a succession of pictures. I'm not sure what happened with svt, but it's pretty disappointing. I'll have to watch the final later when it's not "live" and give my thoughts after. Sorry, guys, but it's pointless to try to offer thoughts when I can barely see/hear what's going on. I'll try to watch it again when the voting starts.

EDIT: OK, I'm back for the voting/results. I had the show on this entire time but sort of came in and out. The streaming hasn't gotten much better, but I know if I don't watch this live the internet will spoil the winner for me! (Also, I'm changing my vote to Swingfly. I think it would work best in Eurovision and I really like the song.)

EDIT: Well, that Rock You Like A Hurricane sounded awesome, but I could barely see it :(

EDIT: International juries go for Eric, barely (by two points). Danny and Sanna (!) are close behind. If it ends up between Eric and Danny, which it likely will, I hope it's Eric. Surprised at how well the Moniker did and how poorly Swingfly, Sara and Nicke did.

EDIT: That heavy metal cover of Anna's (crappy) winning song from last year wasn't as good as I hoped.

EDIT: WOW, that was even more of a nail-biter than I expected!! I won't spoil who won for those who don't want to know, but that's gotta be the closest vote in years!


Friday, March 11, 2011

Melodifestivalen 2011 Finale - Preview

It's been an odd year for Melodifestivalen. While I don't hate any of the tracks in tomorrow's finale, I'm not in love with many of them, either. Even stranger, I feel like there are about five songs that have the potential to win this year's competition. It's going to be a nail-biter. (but honestly, the thing I'm looking forward to the most is a second appearance by the Ark!)

Below, what I'd like to happen vs. what I think will happen:


1. Sanna Nielsen - I'm In Love Though I don't think it's their best bet if they want to do well at Eurovision, it's one of my favorite tracks this year.
2. Swingfly - Me And My Drum A much wiser choice for Eurovision, and a song that's grown on me considerably as the contest has gone on.
3. Brolle - 7 Days And 7 Nights This could be a very interesting choice. It's another of my personal favs.
4. Eric Saade – Popular In the battle of Danny vs Eric, I'm supporting Eric all the way this time. Both songs left me underwhelmed, but this is the superior effort.
5. Sara Varga - Spring för livet Another song that's grown on me quite a bit. The melody's gorgeous.
6. Linda Bengtzing - E det fel på mej In the schlager battle, I prefer Sanna's song, but this is pleasant enough.
7. The Moniker - Oh My God! I'm surprised at the amount of support he's received. This is a great single, but seems oddly misplaced in this contest.
8. Nicke Borg - Leaving Home Rock ballad by numbers. Pleasant, but unimpressive.
9. Danny - In the Club This song's actually grown more annoying as I hear it. It just doesn't have a melody. Unfortunately, I feel it's got the momentum (see below)
10. The Playtones - The King Easily my least favorite song in the final. It's way at the bottom.


1. Danny - In the Club (which would make it the 2nd winner in a row that I've disliked)
2. Sara Varga - Spring för livet
3. Eric Saade – Popular
4. Swingfly - Me And My Drum
5. Nicke Borg - Leaving Home
6. Linda Bengtzing - E det fel på mej
7. Sanna Nielsen - I'm In Love
8. The Moniker - Oh My God!
9. Brolle - 7 Days And 7 Nights
10. The Playtones - The King


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Music Video: Short Stack - Heartbreak Made Me A Killer

This is bound to be one of my favorite singles of 2011. It was already one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite albums of last year (that's a lot of favorites). I can't overstate how much I've grown to love this band. I think the video's an odd match with the song (and wish they would have stuck to the sci-fi/action story they had going with the previous ones), but I am so happy this was chosen as a single. If there's any justice in the world, it'll be a huge hit for them. And I'm loving their new look.

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Mother Mother - The Stand

"I can hardly stand the sight of it all"

I love quirky. Usually in small doses, but I love it all the same. And this song by Canadian band Mother Mother is nothing if not quirky. It's an odd amalgam of pop, rock, synth, spoken word and even a little bit of country. My immediate thought upon hearing it was that this sounds like a band that would have been popular in the 90's. It's got that odd experimental feeling to it that bands like Chumbawumba and the Bloodhound Gang rode to fame just before the turn of the century. In a world of highly processed vocals and dance beats, it's actually quite refreshing (as is their video, which reminds me of the style of 80's movie Shock Treatment -- the follow up to Rocky Horror Picture Show). This is taken from the group's third album, which is out in five days. And after a taster like this, I'm definitely curious to hear more.

The Stand by Mother Mother

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Preorder the album here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Skyship Academy - Presale

Hey, good readers! Just a friendly note to let you know that my debut YA novel, SKYSHIP ACADEMY: THE PEARL WARS is now available on Amazon for presale. I promise I won't be bombarding you with advertisements on a regular basis (this is a music blog, after all), but if you want more information and this post gets buried, just click on the cover image in the corner of the blog. It'll be up for awhile...

And on a personal note, seeing my book on a site like Amazon is definitely a dream come true. It's one of those weird things that make it all seem real.

Below is the cover (again) and the blurb from my publisher:

A devastated Earth’s last hope is found in Pearls: small, mysterious orbs that fall from space, and are capable of supplying enough energy to power entire cities. Battling to control the Pearls are the Skyship dwellers—political dissidents who live in massive ships in the Earth’s stratosphere—and the corrupt Surface government.

Jesse Fisher, a Skyship brat, and Cassius Stevenson, a young Surface operative, cross paths when they both venture into forbidden territory in pursuit of Pearls. Their chance encounter triggers an unexpected reaction, endowing each boy with remarkable—and dangerous—abilities that their respective governments would stop at nothing to possess. Enemies thrust together with a common goal, Jesse and Cassius make their way to the ruins of Seattle to uncover the truth about their new powers, the past they didn’t know they shared, and a shocking secret about the Pearls.

Skyship Academy is one of those books you’ll read straight through if at all possible. I absolutely devoured it from page one. And even though the story itself kept me captivated, I think the characters became the part I Ioved the most. A definite must read!”

–James Dashner, New York Times bestselling author of THE MAZE RUNNER and THE 13th REALITY series

Here's the Amazon link.
You can also preorder the book directly from my publisher, Flux.

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Japayork - Teenagers

"We came here to forget all the things we regret"

Japayork, he of the strange pop name, is one of those artists that I've been enjoying for some time but haven't written about at all. His voice is quite similar to alienhits' favorite, Ollie Wride, so if you haven't heard this yet I guarantee you're going to like it. It's heavy on the electronics, but that doesn't get in the way of a stunning melody. The see-saw verses of Teenagers, especially, deserve attention for their Mika-esque use of falsetto. It's the kind of song that never seems to achieve the mainstream success it deserves. I've come to think that's a good thing. Pop this good is best enjoyed by true connoisseurs of the genre. People can have their Ke$has and Britneys. I'd take something like this any day.

Japayork - Teenagers by alienhits

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the single here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.


Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Pop Blitz 3/8/11 - Diva Edition

Avril Lavigne - What The Hell
What an odd career path this girl's had. And who, honestly, thought she'd be around this long? This dials down the snottiness of Girlfriend and seems to be a natural transition. Catchy chorus, but the whole thing's definitely lightweight. B

Nicole Scherzinger - Don't Hold Your Breath
Her best single to date, by a mile. Though it remains to be seen whether or not this will get a big push in the US, it's a strong pop song with a great beat. Nicole should stick to this poppier sound. It suits her voice better than the slinky r&b they're trying to market her with. A

Keri Hilson - Pretty Girl Rock
Not bad. It's silly and a little stupid, but good fun at the same time. And that slow-burning hook really gets under your skin. B+

Britney Spears - 'Till The World Ends
It's not a good sign when the best part is the Britney-less chant that makes up the chorus. It reminds me of Deep Forest (anyone?). The rest is just not that good. The song could have been special with warmer, less synthetic vocals. C+

Rihanna - S&M
I used to like Rihanna, but this is just stupid. She should take cues from Janet's The Velvet Rope on how to tackle this subject in a more subtle, artistic way. The vocals grate and the lyrics are pretty cringe-worthy. C-

Jennifer Lopez - On The Floor
I didn't expect to like this, but I see now why it's become the worldwide hit it is. She's cleverly mixed about every trend in dance/pop that she could find, and it actually works. There's something very European about the sound. A-

Ke$ha - Blow
I've made my distaste for Ke$ha known on this blog several times, but I'm always willing to give new singles a chance because I've been surprised before. This sounds like a worse version of the Britney song. I just can't wait until we don't have to hear this voice anymore. D

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Monday, March 07, 2011

Anders Fernette - Echo

"Every memory got stuck like an echo"

Last week, my two favorite songs in the last round of Melodifestivalen got 7th and 8th place. I've already covered Melody Club (who have my favorite song in the competition by a mile), but I haven't had a chance to talk about Anders yet. I love Run, though the live MF performance left a lot to be desired (thus its last place finish). Now his long-awaited album will finally be released this week, including some of his great singles (Hungry Eyes & Lola among them). I'm eager to see if the album's going to be worth listening to, but I'm already loving this track. Echo is pure pop cheese, but its sound reminds me of one of the late 90's mid-tempo/ballad singles that Savage Garden would have released. His voice even sounds a bit like Darren Hayes in parts. At its heart, it's nothing more than a glossy pop track aimed at radio play, but (as with most Swedish pop stars) they've got this down to a fine art. Catchy from the get-go, it's a consummately pleasant listen.

Echo by UniversalMusicSweden

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the album here. Follow me on twitter and facebook.