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!

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!

Melodifestivalen 2012: The stage has been set.

With Melodifestivalen over for another year, its nice to still get updates and ‘backtrack’ through the past edition so that we don’t make like Peter Jöback and life doesn’t feel so Hollow. I recently found this time lapse video by Gustav Nyberg depicting how the stage of the Melodifestivalen 2012 was constructed. Check it out, its pretty awesome!

New Music: ‘Little Braveheart’ by Charlotte Perrelli & Kate Ryan.

This a truly incredible duet of epic pop proportions from two of Europe’s leading dance divas. A modern club affair with a whiff of RedOne, Little Braveheart will have its hook in your brain in no time at all and once that addictive wailing chorus kicks in, you’re a goner. Add to that Charlotte’s and Kate’s sexy smooth vocals along with a dubstep breakdown that totally kicks (and moves) butt and you’ve got yourself a bonafide hit. Little Braveheart checks off every trend in contemporary pop and gosh, what a result!

Honestly, Charlotte should have entered this into Melodifestivalen instead. You can purchase Little Braveheart, along with the rest of the new album ‘The Girl’ here.

Euphoria in Sweden! Loreen wins Melodifestivalen 2012.

Melodifestivalen, the Swedish national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest, has just celebrated its final at Globen Arena in Stockholm and was won by Loreen with the song Euphoria. It was the standout winner after the votes of 11 international juries and the Swedish public televote. Thus Sweden will be represented at the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest with Euphoria, performed by Loreen and composed by Thomas G:son and Peter Boström. Check out Sweden’s 54th Eurovision Song Contest entry:

I am just thrilled beyond words! Euphoria is so much more than an amazing song. It is a work of art. Ever since the first semi-final, I was hopelessly entranced by Euphoria and while I’m a huge fan of Danny, I had my heart set on Euphoria and Loreen’s unique interpretation of the song. Her vocals were flawless, the performance was an artistic showcase and everything was absolutely mesmerizing. On top of that, its a modern, catchy song that is completely in rhyme with the time. This will stand out a mile at the Eurovision Song Contest in May.

Sweden, you chose well. Grattis till Loreen och lycka till!

Swedish Music & Awesomeness: Melodifestivalen takes place tonight!

The day has finally arrived! After six weeks of semi-finals and a second chance round that saw mesmerizing performances, funny moments and shock exits, it all comes down to tonight as the ten acts prepare for the final countdown to do battle for the honor of representing Sweden at the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest.

The country is raging with speculation and divided into two camps over who ought to win. With the international juries having a say, it is predicted to be an extremely tight race and I, personally, am refusing to even think about it or else I’ll end up with heart palpitations. I’m going to get enough of that during the voting anyways. Here’s the line-up:

  1. Shout It Out – David Lindgren
  2. Jag Reser Mig Igen – Thorsten Flinck & Revolutionsorkestern
  3. Mystery – Dead by April
  4. Why Start A Fire – Lisa Miskovsky
  5. Baby Doll – Top Cats
  6. Euphoria – Loreen
  7. Soldiers – Ulrik Munther
  8. Mirakel – Björn Ranelid feat. Sara Li
  9. Why Am I Crying – Molly Sandén
  10. Amazing – Danny Saucedo

Apart from the strongest line-up in a good long while, SVT have a spectacular show planned. This includes the long-awaited Melodifestivalen comeback of Helena Paparizou, the Greek-Swedish diva who took Greece to their first Eurovision victory back in 2005. She’s back in Sweden and will be performing the interval act, reinterpreting last year’s winning song Popular in a completely different arrangement. According to insiders, its going to be a performance like no other. And speaking of past winners, Sweden’s golden boy and Eurovision bronze medalist Eric Saade himself will be opening the show with a medley of all his hits. Wowsers! This year’s Mello is going to rock Sweden! And you can catch it all live on SVT Play here at 20:00 CET.

And don’t forget your Swedish treats! I’ve got me my Ikea Choklad Mörk, Pepparkakor cookies (you can find my recipe here) and my Swedish flag. Here’s to an amazing show! Go Sverige!