Archive for the 'Eurovision' Category


Run for your life – Sara Varga

This is my favourite song in this weekend’s Melodifestivalen final and my second out of all the entries for 2011. Sara Varga sings this sad but slightly upbeat number about escaping domestic violence and self-empowerment in a laid back, jazzy style which is hard to resist. It is one of only two songs to be sung in Swedish at the final. It is called “Spring för livet” or “Run For Your Life”.

While I don’t think it’s the best choice to represent Sweden at Eurovision, it is still a wonderful song, deserving of a wider audience. I had a go at translating the lyrics so apologies if I stuff any of it up or miss any of the nuances.

Run for your life

You say that you have changed
That you never meant to hit
You say that everything has changed
If I wanted to then I would understand

You don’t hurt the one you love!
The one you actually say that you do

I live with my memories
And the wounds that no one can see
I live with my memories
Trying to forget is no use

You don’t hurt if you love
The one you actually say you do

Run for your life if you hold yourself dear
It’s not worth it to hit back
You cannot change
You will never understand
The only thing you can do is go
The only thing you can do is go

You totally broke my spirit
You said that I always did wrong
You complained about my whole existence
Until I was no longer whole

You don’t hurt if you love
The one you actually say you do

Run for your life if you hold yourself dear
It’s not worth it to hit back
You cannot change
You will never understand
The only thing you can do is go
The only thing you can do is go

And I love life
You may not take that away from me
For if hatred is now the motive
There is no hatred within me

Run for your life if you hold yourself dear
It’s not worth it to hit back
You cannot change
You will never understand
The only thing you can do is go
The only thing you can do is go

The only thing you can do is go


Will Eric Saade restore Sweden’s standing at Eurovision?

It’s no secret that Sweden hasn’t been going too well at Eurovision in recent years but hopefully that’s about to change.

Eric Saade is hot favourite to win Melodifestivalen, the Swedish heats to select the artist to represent Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest and if he is not selected, the Swedes must be crazy.

This year’s Melodifestivalen has been rather lack lustre. The format is becoming tired and the quality of songs just hasn’t been there. I really haven’t enjoyed the show that much this year and the fourth semi final was one of the worst since they introduced the semi final format. The hosts have been boring with no chemistry and the comedy sketches have been decidedly unfunny. Melodifestivalen is in desperate need of a revamp.

But Eric was a breath of fresh air with his song “Popular”. Yes, some of the other songs have been very good (Dilba, Sebastian, Jenny Silver and Sara Varga all leap to mind) but Eric is the total package. Memorable performance (Eric crashing his way out of a glass box), memorable song, easy to sing along to and Eric himself. Not only is he is easy on the eye but he does come across as an all round nice guy. He ticks all the Eurovision boxes in a way that none of the other contenders do.

Eric still has to win the Swedish final which is being held in Stockholm on Saturday 12 March 2011. Ahead of the final, the single for “Popular” is being released in Sweden today in both a digital format and physical CD format (cover above).

Lets hope Sweden get it right this year and select Eric to represent them. I am sure that Sweden will rank highly and could even win in Düsseldorf.


Brandur changes style

I do have eclectic music taste and do like my favourite singers to be eclectic too. Even so, it was a real surprise to discover that Brandur (from the Faroe Islands via Sweden) has gone all out electropop thanks to the wonderful Swedish Stereo blog (well worth checking out).

I first discovered Brandur in the 2008 Melodifestivalen singing a really sweet ballad called “Lullaby”. Last year, he released a very good album of strong, melodic pop songs and reminded me a modern version of Ted Gärdestad. I have written about him before here and here.

But now, Brandur has shown that there are more strings to his bow with this fast, energetic electropop stomper. It starts off a little slow and then explodes.

It was released today on the Swedish iTunes and I am not very happy that it is not available worldwide. This is a huge bugbear of mine and I really wish the record companies would get their act together. They are the ones killing the music industry. Oops, I better stop there before I climb on to my soap box!

Back to Brandur, he is a very talented singer/songwriter who has shown that he has many facets to his talent. I am sure that he will be one to watch and lets hope that he can finally get the recognition he deserves both in Sweden and internationally.

Brandur – The Illusion Of by Music Week

EDIT: The single has been released internationally on iTunes. It just took a little longer to show up. Lets make it a hit.


The Borg have landed – in Uppsala, Sweden

When I first saw this structure in Uppsala, I thought it looked like a Borg cube from Star Trek had landed plonk in the middle of town. A reasonable assumption since we know that Sweden is already full of the Borg (a common surname amongst the locals).

It is in actual fact a concert and conference centre known as Uppsala Konsert & Kongress. And I was there for my last full day in Sweden to attend a concert from the fabulous Nanne. Unfortunately I was there by myself since Gustav (a big Nanne fan) had a big exam the next day that he had to study and prepare for.

Uppsala is a small city, north of Stockholm. It’s not too far away and is only about 40 minutes on a train. In Sydney, of course, you’d still be in the suburbs! It is known for its university and I even spent a couple of months there back in 1997 doing a summer course in Swedish. Not much has changed except the cube, er concert hall is new.

The concert itself was fabulous. The theme was a celebration of Nanne’s 25 year career including her solo career, Sound of Music and One More Time. With the SoM and OMT songs, Nanne sang the full versions instead of truncating them into a medley like she normally does so I was happy.

A surprise opening to the second act was one of my favourite Nanne singles, “Svarta Änkan” (Black Widow). A surprise since it wasn’t a hit (crazy, I know) and Nanne rarely performs it.

There was a heavy emphasis on the new album, especially in the first act. Although I would have liked more songs from across the whole 25 years, it was still good to get better acquainted with the new stuff. Up to that point, I had been having trouble connecting with the new album but now I love it. Nanne performs with such an energy.

It’s hard to believe that this was 6 weeks ago. It has taken me a while to write about it since I felt like putting fingers to keyboard would make me feel sad. But it hasn’t.Makes me yearn for my next trip though.

Anyway, here’s a performance of “Svarta Änkan” filmed at another venue on the same tour.



Melodifestivalen is coming …

Well, it said it on the back of a bus so it must be true.

I got quite excited when I saw this. I had to chase the bus, fumbling with my mobile phone camera to get the shot. Thankfully it stopped long enough for me to snap it.

Tickets have now gone on sale for the semi finals, finals and associated dress rehearsals. I’d love to be here but unfortunately I can’t. Still, as with other years, I’ll be avidly following it via the internet. Our group will probably be watching the final at a Sydney pub. I really think that SVT should listen to us because we always know best! 😉


Some Europop from the 70s

Back in the 70s, a certain Europop band from Sweden ruled the charts here in Australia. Everyone wanted to jump on the bandwagon so went searching through their European archives of songs they had given up on to see is they could match the success of the Swedish palindrome. Here are some of my favourites.

Teach In – “Upside Down” (Netherlands)

Teach In (again) – “See The Sun” (Netherlands)

Champagne – “Rock ‘n Roll Star” (Netherlands)

Marianne Rosenberg – “A VIP” (Germany)

Silver Convention – “Get Up And Boogie” (Germany)

Silver Convention (again) – “Fly Robin Fly”


Eurovision 2010 Final – My Verdict

Another year, another final, another winner. I had a great evening of it with the Judge and James. Some great songs and performances along with some not-so-great ones which still add to the enjoyment.

It is always good to see Europe get together for a show like this. It gives you hope that people can forget their petty dramas and rivalries and replace them with a friendly rivalry and just have fun together. Making the whole of Europe be the intermission act as a huge flash mob was simple but incredibly effective. I had a big smile on my face.

Norway put on a great show. They may not have spent the kind of money that Russia did last year but there was a lot of heart and soul and glitz. The hosts were great unlike most years. I think Erik probably has his own following now with his cute fun scenes. In the final, he did that, how does one describe it, quick change sequence as he changes clothes while walking along and pulling things out of thin air. That could so easily have gone wrong but it didn’t.

I thought the quality of songs in the final overall was quite good this year. My top 5 for the night:

  1. Iceland
  2. Romania
  3. Moldova
  4. Belgium
  5. Germany

Three of my top 5 did well. Germany, of course, won the whole show. Romania came third and Belgium came sixth. I was disappointed that Iceland and Moldova got lost along the way. Although one could suspect a backlash against Iceland due to the volcano, I suspect more that the style of song wouldn’t have the broad appeal to the person on the street despite being very popular with Eurovision fans. Dare I say that it was too camp (which is definitely not a bad thing in my book). Expect to see Hera Björk making appearances at Pride Festivals around Europe.

I can’t explain Moldova. It even had saxophone and I know that I’m a sucker for good sax but it would appear that not everyone is.

Did anyone else notice how the contestants seem to be getting younger and prettier as the years go by? And there is much more prevalence of reality show contestants representing their countries. Not necessarily a bad thing since there was quite a bit of talent on display.

I liked Turkey, Armenia, Israel, Georgia (with a Swedish song), Ireland (another Swedish song) and Denmark (yet another Swedish song). Enough for me to keep playing the Eurovision CD. I didn’t think that Azerbaijan deserved all the hype and the $3,000,000 spent on it. A nice enough song but ultimately forgettable.

I did like the UK entry a lot and it certainly did not deserve last place. Getting Pete Waterman involved was a big mistake since he has always made it clear that he has contempt for Eurovision. Even as recently as an interview at the second semi-final, Waterman was still arrogantly showing his contempt. I feel sorry for Josh Dubovie who is a very good singer and a very charming one at that. I believe that he was a hit with everyone he met during Eurovision week. I like the song but he deserved a much stronger one for an international contest. My career advice to Josh would be to get as far away from Pete Waterman as possible.

One thing I have to mention that did disappoint me was that despite the sharing of the moment that Eurovision generates, portions of the audience in the stadium felt that they had to boo Russia. Okay, it was not the best song and maybe shouldn’t have got through to the final but it did so deal with it. Imagine how poor Peter Nalitch must have been feeling. Still he soldiered on and even though I didn’t like the song much at first, I didn’t mind it at all by the end of the evening. Maybe he was spurred on by the booing to give an even better performance.

And Eric Saade did make it to Eurovision. He popped up to give the results of the Swedish voting. We all were excited to see him. 🙂

I was happy that Germany won. Lena has that kind of sound that you could expect to hear on the charts today so I’m sure she’ll have a worldwide hit with it. It’s also good that it shows the big 4 what you can achieve if you take it seriously. Well done, Germany.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Romania was a big hit around the world. It has certainly overtaken Iceland (my favourite on the night) as the one I play the most and hum along to all the time.

Finally, a shout out to Graham Norton who did a great job with the commentary. He had fun with the show without making fun of it. Much better than our local hosts and way much better than that awful Wogan fellow.

Bring on 2011.