Hit Alert!: ‘One Last Time’ by Agnes.

We’re a bit late to this party but we could not let pass a mention of the incredible Agnes Carlsson’s much-awaited return to pop.

And what a return indeed! One Last Time is unlike anything the Swedish Dame of Dance has released before. Infact, there’s no trace of dance anywhere. Instead, Agnes has served up an amazing slice of ice cool electro pop balladry. Sparkling synths seem to dance around ominous drums, contrasting most wonderfully with her heart wrenching vocal. Packaged in a stylish black & white music video, Agnes has never sounded or looked better. See for yourself:

It is, quite simply, one of the best songs she had ever released.

ASFE is back in business!

Over the past few weeks, I was so caught up in the (pardon the pun) euphoria of the Eurovision Song Contest that the blog took a backseat. Add to that Sweden’s convincing victory and ‘A Song For Europe’ was, unfortunately, completely overlooked.

BUT, I’m back in business and positively bursting at the seams with excitement at Sweden’s fifth victory as well as the prospect of them hosting the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest. Check back for my upcoming editorials on the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest and all the latest happenings in European pop.

Remember, it’s only 348 days left till the next Song Contest!

The world comes together for Spain & ‘Quédate Conmigo’.

Music is truly the universal language of the world and this is something the Eurovision Song Contest and its fans joyously celebrate. I just came across this absolutely stunning video of singers from all corners of the world covering Spain’s 2012 entry Quédate Conmigo as a show of support for Spain and Pastora Soler. And its just… wow.

Watching this just reminds you of what a truly incredible thing music is, to be able to bring people from all around the world together in song and in one voice.

This right here is why we love the Eurovision Song Contest.

Tooji unplugs the fireworks off of ‘Stay’.

I’ve always believed that the mark of a good song is its ability to translate and crossover into different languages and genres. You know a song is good when it still works in hard rock, country or even acoustic. Norweigan pop star Tooji has done just that, performing an acoustic version of his fiery hit Stay. What was initially just a one-off TV performance has lead to the possibility of actually recording and releasing this version. Check it out below:

Even has an unplugged ballad, Stay still works and for me, this proves how much of a great song it really is. Everything from the melody to the lyrics is now hauntinginly beautiful. And Tooji sounds better than I’ve ever heard him! I really hope they record this version for real.

And check out the original version of Stay for comparison, in all its blazing glory: 

Hard to pick, isn’t it? Which version do you prefer?

Hit Alert!: ‘I’m In Love’ by Ola.

After treating pop fans to some of the decade’s best tunes, Swedish pop star Ola has premiered his new, hotly anticipated single I’m In Love on P3 radio today and what a corker of a song it is!

Composed by Ola himself, along with fellow Swede Shellback (the man behind global smash hit Moves Like Jagger), I’m In Love is an ice cool piece of electro pop that combines the sensibilities of modern radio hit and Ola’s own unique, exuberant brand of music. That stuttering chorus is pure genius and definitely sounds like an international hit. After all those months of teasing, Ola has delivered the goods with a song that ought to, by all accounts, propel him to further stardom.

Ladies and gentlemen, Ola Svensson is BACK. I’m In Love will be released digitally on May 7th.

Tone Damli & Eric Saade ‘Imagine’ what love with a perfect view could have been.

It’s a match made in Scandinavian pop heaven. Norwegian songstress Tone Damli has teamed up with Swedish heartthrob Eric Saade on a brand new track that is to be featured on Tone’s upcoming album ‘Looking Back’. Entitled Imagine, it is a gloriously uplifting, electro-tinged duet that speaks of regrets in a lost love. Everything about this song, from start to finish, to the chorus and production, to Tone & Eric’s voices that seem to flawlessly meld together, is pure pop perfection. Imagine has been composed by Eric Saade, along with Jason Gill, J-Son and Leslie Tay.

Absolutely brilliant. Tone has also perviously released another song Look Back, which I wrote about here. Now we have an album to look forward to that is sort of a Greatest Hits affair, recounting all the highlights of Tone’s stellar career. It will also include some new songs, which we are eagerly awaiting if Look Back and Imagine are anything to go by.

Made in Sweden: Latin divas head north.

It’s hardly a secret that the world loves a good Swedish-penned pop tune. Recent examples include Lady GaGa, Katy Perry, Adele and Japanese boyband Kat-Tun, all of whom can owe their recent successes to Swedish songwriters.

Now, Latin American artists are jumping on the bandwagon (and the next flight to Stockholm) and working with Swedish songwriters seeking an international hit. Two such artists are Jennifer Lopez and ‘Mexican Madonna’ Paulina Rubio who have both worked with acclaimed Swedish composer RedOne on their latest releases.

J.Lo has previously had great success working with RedOne on the global smash hit On The Floor. Now they’ve teamed up again, along with Pitbull, for Dance Again, a straight-up dance anthem prescribing the therapeutic benefits of shaking your booty as a remedy for heartbreak. It’s classic Swedish pop-by-the-numbers: simple lyrics, joyously catchy chorus and superb production all wrapped up in a glossy accessible package. Even Pitbull comes across ad vaguely listenable. Check out the glitter-infused extravaganza that is Dance Again below: 

Not wanting to be outdone, Paulina Rubio has also courted RedOne and the end result is the Latin/nineties-sounding Boys Will Be Boys. It’s a fiery little number and a bit more hard-hitting but still insanely catchy. Even though reducing the entire male populace to a pack of hounds seems a tad dramatic. Nevertheless, once that chorus kicks in, lyrical content takes a backseat. Check it:

Very few people realize that it is Swedes who at the helm of today’s pop world. I tend to get alot of flak for listening to ‘unknown’, ‘obscure’ Swedish pop music so I take great pleasure in pointing out to my contemporaries that virtually every hit atop today’s chart that they’re fawning over is written by a Swede. And I never get tired of seeing that look of surprised abashment.

New Music: Marie Mai covers Robyn with ‘Sans Cri Ni Haine’.

French singer Marie Mai has just released a wonderful cover of Robyn’s Call Your Girlfriend. Reincarnated as Sans Cri Ni Haine, the song sounds spectacular in French.

Although it’s missing the heartfelt anguish of Robyn’s original, it’s still rather incroyable!

The Trackshittaz shine a light!

Check out this really cool video of Lukas Plöchl, member of Austrian pop/hip-hop group Trackshittaz, performing the song Love Shine A Light, the winning song of the 1997 Eurovision Song Contest originally performed by Katrina & The Waves. It’s a great, updated rap version complete with a gospel choir and synchronized elevated hand movements!

Also, check out this performance of One Night In Bangkok, one of my favourite songs composed by Eurovision Song Contest-winners Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, under the guidance of one of my favourite singers, Kate Ryan who herself is a former Eurovision particpant for Belgium. I sense a pattern here…

So now it should come as no surprise that Lukas, together with Manuel Hoffelner as Trackshittaz, have finally made it to the Eurovision stage. They will be representing Austria at the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest with the über catchy, utter zany song Woki Mit Deim Popo, loosely translated as ‘Shake your booty’. This is going to be a breath of fresh, fun air to the proceedings I reckon.

Morten Harket is ‘Scared Of Heights’.

Following his much-celebrated return to pop with the rather fantastic Lightning, Norwegian pop minstrel Morten Harket has followed up with the equally spectacular Scared Of Heights. The song is going to be the international lead single of his upcoming album ‘Out Of My Hands’. Check it out:

Scared Of Heights picks up where Lightning left off, in that it is a gorgeous string-laden pop song that echoes the eighties in a nod to Morten’s legacy with a-ha. On top of that, the falsetto chorus with Morten’s lush voice is truly wonderful. I really hope this record is a success, as it definitely sounds like one.