Alongside Danny’s album, over the last week or so I’ve been listening to the long-awaited third album by 2011’s Swedish Eurovision hopeful Eric Saade. I say long-awaited, it’s only been 5 months since his last album was released, but that was pretty great so I was looking forward to it at least. Hate to say that it doesn’t quite measure up to Saade Vol.1 (I must do a writeup for that at some point), but that’s not to say it’s not still a solid pop album. Just maybe a little squidgier than its predecessor.
09 Sky falls down (ft J-Son) – I like the sort of melancholy feel to the backing track. We are immediately back in the same sort of sound we had in Saade Vol.1, i.e. straightforward dancepop. There’s even another dose of J-Son from “Hearts in the air”. The verses are alright, a bit sparse, but that just highlights how great it is when the beats kick in for the choruses. I like the change of rhythm in the rap part of the middle-8, and the slow section before the final chorus. Pretty simple stuff, but very listenable.
08 Rocket Science – His voice doesn’t vary a great deal, so I suppose indirectly that puts the pressure on the production to keep things more varied. At times this is almost indistinguishable from the previous track. Again I like when the bridge kicks in, but the chorus isn’t really as strong as “Sky Falls Down”. It’s just a bit too laid back, and it’s a bit of a worry if your bridge has upstaged the chorus. Again I can’t say I have much criticism for it, it’s just not amazing.
10 Hotter than fire (ft Dev) – Now this is a grower, the lead single. More like “Hearts in the air” than anything, mixed with some Taio Cruz repetitive lyrics and Dev who seems to be featuring on other peoples’ songs more than her own. It just all comes together, I like the (relatively) simple rhythm, and the chorus is really catchy. I’m willing to overlook the inane lyrics, but it sets out the sort of popstar Eric is at the moment, and for a single that’s a great property in my mind. OK so it’s not “Popular” but WHAT IS?
09 Love is callin’ – This is going to find a permanent home in my cardio playlist I think (as has most of this album). It starts off as generic as anything else here, but the bridge really gets things moving, that “raise my heartbeat back” might also have all the hallmarks of a Taio Cruz insta-hit, but there’s a reason it works. The chorus raises it to another level, I can imagine Eric doing his quasi-Jacko dance moves to this on a single release later on.
08 Crashed on the dancefloor – Is this going to be a ballad? Shockingly not. This writeup sounds like the album is really samey but I don’t feel really that, they each have their particular charms, and the producers have used all the different settings on their europop software, so at least they are trying. I like the bit between the chorus and the middle 8 (or it all a middle 8? I don’t know the slang). The chorus once again is difficult to get too bored of, it’s got an easy rhythm, a simple refrain, is pretty memorable. It’s missing some key mystery element there, I don’t know what, but that doesn’t ruin my enjoyment.
09 Explosive love – No explosion noises, just “GRAA!!” effects, which is a shame. Maybe a few sirens would help too, just throw in some ACTION. After liking “Crashed on the dancefloor” I find myself thinking that this is a slightly upgraded version of that. Again it’s not amazing, but it’s totally solid, and the production is a lot richer than the previous track. At the risk of this turning into a loon review, this is pretty great too.
08 Backseat – Now IS this about anal sex (like most pop songs), or am I reading into this rather clumsy metaphor too much? You get bits like “I’m riding in your backseat, if you’ll let me” – so far so good – but then “you can be my taxi, come and get me” ?! He’s not talking about her actually being his lift to this party is he? Anyway, some very oddly jarring lyrics strewn throughout this generic shout-out to ladies, parties, drinks and so on. There’s just something about lines like “Throwing parties as a hobby” and “Fellas getting pissed” that just really jump out and seem very strange. To Swedes talk about getting pissed?? Anyway I feel like I may have given this song too much thought. It’s difficult to score a lot of these differently, as they are mostly cut from the same template. The tempo is still there, along with the truckloads of production effects, so I’m not complaining, except maybe deduct some points for the tedious party lyrics.
07 Feel alive – A nice beepy intro, I like that, and a gentle first verse. His vocals sound a little strained at a key like this, which makes me wonder why he seems to sing everything at this level. The chorus is a dud though, sadly, most of it is just one syllable and little else. It’s a (relatively) slower track though, so it does add a bit of variety, but it doesn’t quite hit the spot for me.
08 Fingerprints – “Can’t see the fuzz”? Is he actually using that slang for the police? Who is writing this?? Anyway, the verses are pretty nothingy but I LOVE the production on the choruses, just flows beautifully. It might feel a bit like a ripoff of Ke$ha’s “Blow”, but if you are going to make some trashy pop, it seems like a logical thing to do. I have literally no idea what this song is about, it’s all in English, I understand all the words, but it’s just nonsense. Thank God he’s cute. That “destiny/infinidy/idenidy” middle 8 is really hopeless isn’t it? And I STILL LIKE IT!
07 Without you I’m nothing – Is this the token ballad? Making up for the total lack of downtempos too by making this almost 6 minutes long(!). Ballads aren’t really his strong suit from what I’ve heard before, and this isn’t really an exception. Why they made such an average song so long is beyond me! The chorus is quite nice really, but it quickly descends in to “na na na” tedium once they run out of good lyrics. It’s OK, but after listening Danny Saucedo’s album this week it’s clear that he should probably just stick to what he knows until the right ballad comes along.
To be honest, the album is only 38 minutes long, so if that’s long enough to get bored of it, you probably aren’t much of a eurodance fan and this album was a bit of a duff choice in the first place. OK there is some fat to trim off, but all in all it’s a largely solid collection of dancepop songs, which might not have their place in many peoples’ lives, but it does in mine. In some ways I would have to question the necessity of releasing two albums in such a short space of time if they weren’t both jammed with hits, but I suppose ditching a bunch of songs and making a longer album would be too large a dose of what is essential is a dancepop compilation. The perfectly-good-but-not-as-good tracks from both albums would just end up feeling like annoying filler on an album like that.
I don’t want to keep bringing up Danny Saucedo, but it just seems a natural comparison since they have similar styles and literally have been competing for the same spotlight this year. Eric had the better song at Melodifestivalen this year, so I’m happy that he made it to Dusseldorf’s contest, but I think this album demonstrates that Danny – at least for now – is the more versatile performer, both vocally and in musical style. Not to say there isn’t a place for Eric, he’s more than demonstrated that this year. For me there is certainly room for both.
Keepers for the iPod: Sky falls down, Rocket Science, Hotter than fire, Love is callin’, Crashed on the dancefloor, Explosive love, Backseat, Fingerprints.