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.

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!

The Poshest Plumage: Introducing the Eurovision Song Birds.

Well-known Swedish newspaper Metro have just launched a really cool advertising campaign celebrating the Melodifestivalen and their partnership with Sweden’s biggest music/television event. It’s a really cool concept! They’ve taken typical music genres performed on the Melodifestivalen stage and personified them as song birds.These include everything from dansband, to schlager, to electropop. I reckon this is a nod to the iconic Melodifestivalen trophy ‘The Great Song Bird’. Known as the ‘Eurovision Song Birds’, they form part of a fun, engaging and humorous campaign in the run up to the Finalen in Globen.

Check out the entire campaign here.

There are some amazing illustrations of different species of birds taking on the characteristics of Mello music as well as iconic Swedish singers. See if you can spot which one is Kikki Danielsson, Alexander Bard, Carola, Roger Pontare, Lena Philipsson and Eric Saade.

Eric Saade brings our heartbeats back with the release of Saade Vol. 2.

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.

Jeronimo presents potential bid for the Dutch Nationaal Songfestival 2012.

Dutch singer Jeronimo, best known across the low countries for his hit I Am No Superman, has uploaded a preview of the song that has purportedly been submitted to the Dutch selection for the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. It’s called Sacrifice and you can listen to it below:

It’s a very modern, catchy affair that instantly sticks in your head on the first listen. I must have played it about 20 times already. My favourite parts are the ‘uoh-woah-uoh-uoh’s. I really like it and, paired with some slick choreography and a great stage show, it could do wonders. Heck, Jeronimo could be the Dutch Eric Saade! I really do hope that Sacrifice was sent in, because the Netherlands need to wake up and realise that they can’t keep sending old-fashioned songs to the Eurovision Song Contest. They need some fresh blood and a contemporary sound flying the flag and Jeronimo is an ideal candidate.

Yes Jeronimo, you are the superman!


Eric Saade & Dev turn up the heat with preview of ‘Hotter Than Fire’.

BOOM! Eric Saade has just gone and ignited the Europop stratosphere with the full-length preview of his highly anticipated single Hotter Than Fire, featuring American rap artist du jour, Dev. Without further ado, turn your speakers up and check it out now!

Eric has gone and taken his sound from ‘Saade Vol. 1’ up another level and is by far the best song he’s ever released. In my opinion, he has the greatest chance of international success with this song. This is exactly the sort of evolution and sound I was expecting from ‘Saade Vol. 2’. Absolutely loving the song!

Eric Saade to release second installment of the ‘Saade’ anthology on 30th November.

Sweden’s golden boy and 2011 Eurovision Song Contest representative Eric Saade has just announced that the release date for ‘Saade Vol. 2’ will be the 30th of November 2011. This is the highly anticipated second installment the ‘Saade’ album anthology which Eric is releasing following his victory at Melodifestivalen 2011. After the success of ‘Saade Vol. 1’, all ears will be turned to Vol. 2 to see what Eric has in store for us. I for one am very much looking forward to this release. And by the way, how cool does the album art look? You can pre-order the album now on here and receive a signed copy.

And in case you’ve been living under a rock and missed out on ‘Saade Vol.1’, check out the review here and then go out and buy it!

New album art for Eric Saade’s ‘Popular’.

Continuing on in the series of my own take on album covers for this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, here is the Swedish entry. Popular by Eric Saade reached a commendable third place after having led much of the voting and is Sweden’s best result since their victory in 1999 with Charlotte Nilsson’s Take Me To Your Heaven. The new album art uses imagery from the ‘Saade Vol. 1’ theme for greater consistency, as Popular is in essence, the lead single off of the album. Enjoy!

Album Review: Eric Saade & the big ‘P.O.P.’

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.