The last day of November saw the release of Eric Saade’s highly anticipated second installment of the Saade anthology, ‘Saade Vol. 2’. Naturally, pop lovers across Europe scrambled to get their copies and I have only just emerged from ASFE HQ to give my verdict.
Personally, there were four stand out tracks for me. The first is lead single Hotter Than Fire. The second is Love Is Callin’. To my ears, it sounds like a more hard-hitting version of Timeless from Saade Vol. 1. I particurlarly like the chorus, divided into three bits and each catchy and infectious in their own right. My favourite song is Backseat. The ice-cool verses combined with a chorus that builds and builds into explosive calls of “back, back, backseat!” make it the best song on the album. In fact, I’d put this on par with It’s Gonna Rain as one of Eric Saade’s best recordings. It’s exactly the sort of mature progression in sound we were expecting.
This sound continues with my other favourite song Fingerprints. It is one of the biggest moments on the album and once the chorus gets going, you can’t help getting swept away and when the “gooooo-oh-oh-oh” bit comes on, there’s no coming back. This is exactly why we love Swedish pop music! Another stand-out track worth mentioning is Rocket Science. This unlikely collaboration with Salem Al Fakir resulted in a pleasant pop song that sees an easy amalgamation of the styles of both these artists. As for the rest of the album, they are all commendable pieces of pop but are cast in the shade of afore-mentioned four songs that essentially define Saade Vol. 2.
I’m not Simon Cowell by any stretch (even though he started out his career with Eurovision too) so I’m a bit finicky about passing judgment on someone’s hard work and talent. I just enjoy good music, so I’m going to approach my inaugural review from that perspective. And for the occasion, I’ve selected the much-anticipated sophomore release ‘Saade Vol. 1’ from Sweden’s golden boy, Eric Saade.
The album kicks off with Timeless, a very international-sounding song that would not sound out of place on the Billboard charts. Though it’s a bit lukewarm, especially as the opener, it’s saving grace is the chorus. We then move on to Hearts In The Air, featuring rapper J-Son. As the second single off the album, it’s a fairly big radio hit in Scandinavia. Eric just dropped a rather fly music video with all the trappings, including private jets and LA parties. Easily one of my favourite songs on the album for the sweeping catchy melody and empowering message of not give a flying frog what all haters of pop music say.
The album then changes gears and slows things down with the mid-tempo Me And My Radio. Composed by Cutfather, it’s one of the album’s more finer moments. Eric’s voice becomes poignant behind a deceptively simple hook. There is something vaguely ABBA-esque about it, especially in the production. We then get straight back in it with the album remix of Popular. Too be perfectly honest, I was disappointed as I was expecting a full-out remake. This is very similar to the original and barely justifies its inclusion in the album other than facilitating a better flow between the songs.
So far, ‘Saade Vol. 1’ has been a very polished, consistent body of work, with each song complementing each other. It’s still lacking some punch though. Next up is the song Someone New. A classic Jörgen Elofsson mid-tempo ballad, its been updated for the decade by Fredrik Thomander and reminiscent of Gareth Gates’ best croonery. OK, so it’s not Elofsson’s best work. Balladry then makes room for up-tempo with Killed By A Cop, the album’s most aggressive song so far. It’s perfect for the dancefloor though I admit, the lyrics leave me scratching my head at times.
After our brush with the law, the album charges on with the anthemic Big Love. I’m really enjoying this song because it sees Eric pick up a few cues from Sweden’s Mistress of Pop, Robyn herself. There quite a few parallels between Big Love and her song Time Machine. It’s one of the more mature songs on the album musically and if the Robyn influence hints at the musical direction he’s heading, then I heartily welcome it and find myself really excited by the prospect.
We then move on to the child-like simplicity of Stupid With You. With really fun production finishes like an underlying eighties-sounding video game jingle, Eric is in no hurry to grow up and this utterly charming song with its ultra-cheesy lyrics will no doubt send his tween female fan base into a flutter.
The album draws to a close with the pleasant-enough R&B ballad Still Loving It and of course, the original version of Popular which makes for a bombastic finish for ‘Saade Vol. 1’. Overall, a decently solid pop album stuffed chock-full with catchy and slickly-produced songs. I also love the various nods to some of Sweden’s biggest names, including ABBA and Robyn. But if Eric intends to carve his name alongside theirs, then he really has to up his game. Vocally, he sounds anonymous throughout and he needs to find some way to inject some uniqueness and character. ‘Saade Vol. 1’ is a good album, but I was honestly expecting more so here’s hoping ‘Saade Vol. 2’, due out in November, will be much better. For now, I’m off to play Me And My Radio again.