Time to continue my journey through the Swedish pop landscape. A bit of a surprise this one, Danny Saucedo might have fallen at the last hurdle in this year’s Melodifestivalen to Eric Saade, but I would certainly not write him off as a future participant for Sweden. As well as performer, he is a songwriter and also competed in Melodifestivalen as one third of E.M.D (finishing third). He’s even competed in the Eurovision Dance Contest doing a not-at-all-heterosexual cha-cha-cha. Busy boy.
So anyway, this slim album was put out this year to capitalise on the success of the Melodifestivalen entry, and for what it is, it’s a pretty solid selection.
10 In your eyes – Now I have LOVED this song for the last 5 years since The Attic released their version of it. In fairness he hasn’t done a great deal to it, but some of the production is slightly richer, the beats a bit stronger. He sings it wonderfully, and has done the cover justice, even if only by not meddling too much. The vocals come out strong at the end, hitting notes that the original singer couldn’t. Still a real winner for me.
09 Tonight (ft The Provider) – OK so this dance-pop is a common theme in this album, but it’s done very well so I can’t complain. The lyrics are pretty simplistic, but it keeps things ticking over to the strong chorus. It’s a bit of a throwback to the trancier early 00s when DJ Sammy roamed the pop landscape, and that’s a good thing in my book. Doesn’t feel the need to deviate much from its course during the song, but the songs are so short it doesn’t matter. The rap breakdown is a bit unnecessary but I guess it breaks it up a bit.
10 In the club – So here’s that Melodifestivalen track. Hardly reinventing the wheel lyrically, just going on about clubs. Actually not a LOT about the club, the chorus is a pretty basic (but very catchy) chant of “In the club, the club”. Maybe this isn’t exactly a prime example of songwriting prowess, but if you are after a song about a club, set to a full-on dancepop production that doesn’t hold anything back, then this is the one for you. I had gone off this some time into the Melodifestivalen season, but it’s really grown back on me.
08 In love with a lover – Great title… hmm. Anyway we’ve slowed it down, and a vaguely Rihanna-esque piano intro segues in a midtempo track about intense feelings of love etc. Again, not exactly a brave new world, but it’s a decent effort. I like the production, even if the song itself isn’t anything amazing. Sounds a bit like a Justin Timberlake song would if he wasn’t so scared of pop music anymore. That more-than-a-little-Eminem-esque rap section is a bit iffy, but it’s alright. Overall the song is better than the sum of its parts I think.
07 Never gonna take us down (ft Swingfly) – This sounds like a pop version of an N-Dubz song or something. Oh no, it’s that Tinie Tempah’s Written in the Stars that this reminds me of. Sort of urban-ish, but lots of synths. He even uses the F-Word, mercy! His voice is a bit too pop to be too convincing in this sort of angry song, but again it’s a pretty solid effort.
09 Catch me if you can – Back to full-on pop now, and it feels like a welcome return after a few attempts at rockier stuff (ish – a BIG ish). Again the verses are pretty insubstantial, waffling on about clubs again. But that chorus is seriously catchy, mainly that “oh oh oh” hook. He’s just got a really listenable voice. Admittedly this is album comes in at 28 minutes(!) so there’s not much time to get tired of it, but still! That’s sort of it, there’s a vaguely electro-sounding middle 8, and the old fadeout before the final chorus trick (good for “the clubz” no doubt). Pretty accomplished dancepop of the type I’ve heard a LOT worse of.
08 Just like that – What’s that? He’s off to a club again? Apparently not, he’s asserting his shaky heterosexuality by getting drunk and having sex with some floozy. With varying levels of success by the sounds of it, she’s moving around but she’s “freaking it out”. The mind boggles. There are various roundabout descriptions of HOW they are doing it, but nothing too graphic (I’m not sure he even knows). An unexpected rap segment from some unknown spectator, another round of sex and we’re done. All in 3 minutes too, lucky lady.
09 Cassandra – A ballad? Well it had to happen sooner or later (probably). Again he’s not exactly writing a masterpiece, but it sounds genuine and details lost love. The chorus is a big sweeping schlager affair, with plenty of vocal exercise but happily light on vocal gymnastics. The cow has shacked up with a Danny lookalike though, and had his kids too! No wonder he’s so upset. That chorus really is rather lovely, particularly towards the end when some of the trickier tunes are thrown in. Lays it on a bit thick, but that’s part of the appeal!
So it’s a short album, but it really delivers what I wanted: low maintenance but high-powered dance pop music. There’s nothing to say he has to show off the full spectrum of music in every album, and this is clearly a niche he knows his way around, so the best of luck to him. I’ll watch with interest what he comes up with now he’s been announced as a Melodifestivalen 2012 entrant. I just hope his songwriting skills can advance beyond the straightforward club tracks.
Keepers for the iPod: In your eyes, Tonight, In the Club, Catch me if you can, Just like that, Cassandra