free web site hit counter

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Jöback in Phantom

On this side of the Atlantic, it's rare to get the opportunity to see an Eurovision entrant live. The same goes for national final entrants. Though I've been fortunate to see a few, I've never seen a Melodifestivalen entrant. The only Swedish musician I've seen live until now was Robyn (twice!), who is far too cool and famous to even be spoken in the same breath as "Melodifestivalen."

Until now.

And so, from April until August, the hardcore Melodifestivalen fan may have strolled down 44th St past Mamma Mia (which they've probably seen before anyway) and into The Phantom of the Opera, where Peter Jöback played the lead role.

I went last week, in the final week of Jöback's run. Besides "Hollow" and some YouTube videos of the Swedish dub of Aladdin, I wasn't really familiar with much of his work. His voice sounded great, a little higher and more youthful than expected for the Phantom. He did a good job of playing the role of "stuck in the friendzone," as it's called today. The keyboards on the title song still sound straight out of 1986.

This isn't a Broadway performance, but close enough.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Revisiting the Rankings: 1

Overrated: Russia 2011
Yes, it's RedOne, but it really isn't his best output. The song was much better in its original version, and should have been downgraded after the long, out-of-place intro was added in the final Eurovision version, making the second part too rushed.

Underrated: Sweden 2012
Can a song that is already ranked first place be underrated? Yes. This is the best song from the entire time I've been following Eurovision. It's one of the best songs of its year, out of the whole output of pop music.

Trivia: Sweden was ranked first place in 2008 and 2012. Maybe the first year it was a little overhyped, but it's still fantastic.

Other Songs: Belgium 2006, Belarus 2007, Finland 2009, Serbia 2010, Norway 2013

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Revisiting the Rankings: 2

Overrated: Armenia 2010
This song just doesn't have the extra something special that all the other songs at this rank do. It's better than other similar songs, but not overwhelmingly so.

Underrated: Serbia 2007
This should have been at number 1. Second-best winner of the millennium, and an amazing, iconic performance.

Trivia: Serbia 2007 and Slovenia 2012 have the same composer. Lately I find myself liking Slovenia 2012 just a tiny bit more, but that might be because it's newer.

Other Songs: Romania 2006, Iceland 2008, Azerbaijan 2009, Bosnia & Herzegovina 2011, Netherlands 2013

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Revisiting the Rankings: 3

Overrated: Sweden 2007
I might have over-hyped this one. I really like The Ark and I can't seem to get enough of Sweden's entries, but this is far from their best song. While it's very good, I wouldn't put it in the top 3 of its year. Can't we have "Breaking Up With God" instead (the song they performed out of competition at Melodifestivalen 2011, which is miles better)?

Underrated: Denmark 2013
A very deserving winner. It's the best out of all the songs at this ranking. It's also in some amazing mashups.

Trivia: Norway appeared three times at 3rd place: in 2006, 2011, and 2012.

Other Songs: Slovenia 2008, Romania 2009, Azerbaijan 2010

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Revisiting the Rankings: 4

Overrated: Ireland 2010
This is a sweet ballad but it lacks the power I thought it had originally. It wouldn't be a problem but it's definitely trying to be a power ballad, without power. If I ranked this year again, I wouldn't put it in the top 10.

Underrated: Slovenia 2006
I was completely obsessed with this song at the time and devastated when it didn't qualify for the final. That hasn't really changed. It's still one of my favorite Eurovision songs since I started following the contest.

Trivia: It's hard to believe now that France's song from 2008 didn't do better. How did a song produced by half of Daft Punk come in 18th place, while "Get Lucky" is the song of the summer 2013. Also, Sweden appeared twice at this rank (2009 and 2011)

Other Songs: Cyprus 2007, FYR Macedonia 2012, Greece 2012

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Revisiting the Rankings: 5

(Note: This is my 300th post!)

Overrated: FYR Macedonia 2008
The majority of the other songs at this ranking are schlager or otherwise very Eurovisiony pop. Only this and Denmark 2012 could even possibly be found outside of this contest. This song does sound like a pop song of its time, yet that's part of the problem. It is one of the better ones of its year, with a great beat and chorus, but it stayed in that year. It just sounds like something that wouldn't have been out of place on the radio, not on a "best Eurovision songs of the past decade" list.

Underrated: Ukraine 2008
I wouldn't call this actually underrated, as I think all these songs are just fine in fifth place, but this is the best of the lot. And it was another second place in the contest, so I had to consider it for this spot for completion. It's slick, professional, sexy, and powerful.

Trivia: Ukraine appeared twice at 5th place, in 2008 and 2009

Other Songs: Spain 2007, Iceland 2010, Israel 2011, Denmark 2012, Serbia 2013

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Revisiting the Rankings: 6

Overrated: Latvia 2011
I do love this song, but it doesn't have that extra level of polish and coherence that the other songs at this rank to. Any of these songs could have made the top five of their year, except this one.

Underrated: France 2010
It's still an impeccable party song. It should have been the party song of its summer, although I was only in Europe for a fraction of it, so it might have well been. Definitely deserved to be in its year's top five over some other songs.

Trivia: Bosnia & Herzegovina appeared three times at this ranking (2006, 2008, 2009), and Moldova appeared twice (2007 and 2013).

Other Songs: Cyprus 2012, which is a close second place to the underrated title.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Revisiting the Rankings: 7

Overrated: Norway 2010
Maybe it's because I tend to like songs by this songwriter, but this was placed much too high. It's simply too weak and quiet – I have to turn the volume up high in order to hear this one, in comparison with other tracks on that year's album. It's not beautiful and delicate, just out of place.

Underrated: Hungary 2011
On paper this song has a lot against it: sounds like a song from 10 years earlier, shortened from a longer version, bilingual (never as effective as it could be), “fanwank.” Those factors and a killer melody come together to create one beautiful whole.

Trivia: Croatia 2006 predicted the rise in popularity of Zumba. Surely in the future we will uncover more messages in its prophetic text.

Other Songs: Slovenia 2007, Russia 2008, Armenia 2009, Ukraine 2012, San Marino 2013

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Revisiting the Rankings: 8

Overrated: Greece 2008
It's a fun Greek dance-pop song, but it's not exceptional enough to be this high. It really isn't much better than similar songs. The other songs at this rank have something special or unique about them that this doesn't have. And the English text is too bad for a song performed by someone who was born and raised in Long Island.

Underrated: Norway 2009
This has the highest points of all time for a reason. It's still not my favorite of its year, but it's undeniable that this song is exceptional.

Trivia: 1273 Rockefeller St. (Estonia 2011) didn't exist at the time of the song, still doesn't exist. Kalomira probably wouldn't have had this issue.

Other Songs: Iceland 2006, FYR Macedonia 2007, Greece 2008, Germany 2010, Latvia 2012, Russia 2013

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Revisiting the Rankings: 9

Overrated: Switzerland 2007
It's not bad but it doesn't deserve as much hype. "Dracula My Love" from that year's Romanian selection is better on lyrical content, and as for total feel, Romania's song from 2013 completely nullifies the need for this song. After coming out the other end of the Twilight hype, this is just slightly better than the typical DJ Bobo stuff.

Underrated: Russia 2006
Had I seen a video of the performance before writing the ranking, I'd have ranked it higher, as the charismatic performance really helps it. A solid pop song, unmistakably Russian despite its attempt at English lyrics, and influential on so many Eurovision copycats. This is Dima at his peak, better than the song he would win with two years later.

Trivia; There's three songs at this rank that have "life/alive" in the title: Switzerland 2007, Sweden 2010, and Romania 2013. Also, Romania's song from this year has the best instrumental.

Other Songs: FYR Macedonia 2008, Israel 2009, United Kingdom 2011, Bulgaria 2012

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Revisiting the Rankings: 10

Overrated: Czech Republic 2008
I really do like this song, but it's too much of a mess to put in the top 10 anymore. Even though it's edited down from its original version, it's still too long. It's still the Czech Republic's best song by far in their short time in Eurovision. Maybe a top 15 song.

Underrated: Moldova 2010
The reasons I  liked this in the first place propelled it to massive internet meme status. Among the Moldovan contributions to popular internet music culture, there's only this and Dragostea Din Tei, so I expect it to get sampled by a major pop artist in the next few years.

Trivia: Sakis Rouvas (Greece 2009) and Željko Joksimović (Serbia 2012) both competed in 2004 and did worse (but not by much) on their returns.

Other Songs: Germany 2006, Georgia 2007, Ireland 2011, Iceland 2013

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Revisiting the Rankings: 11

Overrated: Malta 2006
Only a fool could love this enough to rank it this high! Not only does it not touch the other songs at its rank, it doesn't come close to the three songs below it in its year.

Underrated: Bulgaria 2007
This is far ahead of their 2013 song. The percussion and haunting vocals combine for an almost spiritual experience.

Trivia: This is the highest placing for Malta, Slovakia (2010), and Turkey (2009). The last two definitely deserve it. The first doesn't, but I'm not sure what other song of theirs I'd place highest.

Other Songs: Serbia 2008, Slovenia 2011, Iceland 2012, Germany 2013