Tag Archives: Måns Zelmerlöw

Single: Måns Zelmerlöw – “Run For Your Life” (2014)

Oh Måns, I’ve missed you. It’s been 5 years since his last main studio album “MZW“, and since then it’s been a little quiet… there’s been a Christmas album, hosting Melodifestivalen 2010, and a few random appearances on singles, but otherwise Måns has been pursuing other things. At least his Instagram looks like he’s been sunning it up with friends in all manner of glamorous locations.

Mans ZelmerlowBut he’s back with a new album “The Barcelona Sessions”, out today in fact. I’ve got some catching up to do, he’s had two singles out already to support it – “Broken Parts” and “Beautiful Life” – and a third is now here to launch the album.

Oh, and a few nights ago he hosted Swedish gay magazine QX’s annual Gaygalan, in a variety of outfits including a ship’s captain, a scantily clad American footballer, and… totally naked for a Miley “Wrecking Ball” skit. I wondered why “Måns Zelmerlöw Naken” was my top search term today… I’ve updated the “Men of Malmö” post, no point disappointing anyone. But here he is anyway in his full glory. Oh Måns… Continue reading

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Singing when you’re winning

My housemate’s out tonight. I borrowed Singstar off my friend, and have just spent the last 90 minutes shrieking my way through it on my own. Is that sad? I’m not even drunk. If anything my talent is being restricted after a creamy dessert made my nostrils close up. I love it though, and soon I’m going to go to my friend’s house to get drunk and sing with him.

I don’t know why it fills me with dread so much, it just feels like such a cringey thing to do in front of someone, doesn’t it? That said, I don’t think I’m too bad. I just got the elusive “Singstar” award level for my amazing rendition of Måns Zelmerlöw’s “Cara Mia” that I downloaded from the shop. I’ve got a stack of PS2 Singstar games to bolster the collection too, it’s going to be awesome.

Anyway that’s all I have the energy to write about tonight, it’s late and I’ve been working a 12 hour shift, pretty much. Exhausting but only a half-day tomorrow and that’s one big weight off my mind.

So how have you lot been? Hopefully fine, and you aren’t getting too bored of my Eurovision stuff. It’s a bit daunting really, there are loads of national finals I haven’t written up yet, when will I get the time?!

Anyway, will be back to normal(ish) soon. xoxo

 

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Single: Måns Zelmerlöw – “Cara Mia” (2007)

Oh poop, my dear Måns wasn’t revealed to be the host of Malmö’s Eurovision Song Contest this year. I don’t know why I like him so much, he just seems good-humoured, has a decent voice, and is super hot. Actually that pretty much explains it, as does being responsible for this amazing pop song.

Måns Zelmerlöw Cara MiaWritten for Melodifestivalen – Sweden’s spectacular Eurovision selection show – back in 2007, it sadly came third in the final, behind eventual Swedish representatives The Ark (who didn’t do very well) and piece of the Melodifestivalen furniture Andreas Johnson, famous in this country for his 2000 hit “Glorious”. Well I SAY famous but I can’t imagine anyone can remember it immediately, the chorus goes “SHEEEEEEeeeEEEEE”. You’d know it if you heard it.

Anyway young Måns put in a great performance, complete with dance routine, even if he did bail out on the glory note at the end. Despite its Italian title, this is full-blown Swedish schlager. At a slim 3 minutes, it wastes no time to bust right into that awesome chorus, and an expertly-deployed key change towards the end.

It’s a song of desperation, trying to win back a love that seems to have plans to leave. The verses are brief, they know they are only the stitching between the amazing choruses. It’s just magic really, and criminal that it didn’t make it to Helsinki’s song contest. Surely that might have stopped Sweden from their run of poor luck that started in 2007?

Either way, I’m keen to hear more music from Måns, given that his last album “MZW” was released over 3 years ago now. Come back! I’ve discovered this song on PS3’s Singstar too, I must invest! Incidentally I’ve reviewed both of his albums on this blog, “MZW” and Cara Mia’s parent album “Stand by for…”.

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Album: Måns Zelmerlöw – “Stand by for…” (2007)

Time to get back on my Swedish pop odyssey, with one of my favourite discoveries Måns Zelmerlöw. I’ve been interested since I first heard Cara Mia, and while his latest studio album “MZW” (which I reviewed here) didn’t really set me alight, I’d had it on good authority that his debut album was a lot stronger. So was it?


08 Miss America – Oh someone’s got a problem! A pretty bitchy track about her some beauty queen feeling unfulfilled with her superficial life. Maybe it’s not bitchy, maybe it’s like Britney’s “Lucky”. Sounds a bit pitying though, I don’t know. Anyway the song is pretty memorable, the chorus is strong and his vocals aren’t tested too much so it all hangs together pretty well. That breakdown is alright too. I know I don’t sound enthusiastic, but I do actually like this a lot.

06 The Prayer – What’s this about? Some troubled friend? Well I haven’t got enough to dissect this, so let’s see what we have. A pretty standard downtempo, still has a hook, but there’s not enough about this song to make too much of an impact. His vocals feel a bit lost, without enough production to cover up his vocal shortcomings. I’ve always quite liked his rough tone, but the melody is too pedestrian here to even get much mileage out of that quality.

07 Paradise – Back to the uptempos, quite energising and a nice vaguely electro pop song. Understated verses and a nice melodic chorus in the same vocal style as Miss America. Works for me, but as usual it’s nothing ground-shaking. It’s just a nice pop song, of the kind that would never be a massive hit, it’s just a product of its time in the pop landscape.

06 Lively up for Monday – What?? A string of total nonsense lyrics kicks things off before it springs into a song that it’s a million miles away from “Shine” by Take That (albeit only a fraction as annoying). I wonder if this is a cover, it’s got a different set of credits to the other songs. Anyway it’s nice enough but that quirky lyric sheet really does more harm than good.

08 Stand By – A bit of buildup now, I quite like those “Stand by…” bits over a really grubby-sounding electro bassline. Things really get moving now, the verses are a bit dull aside from the production, but the chorus is really pretty hot. I think just the whole production keeps this afloat really, it’s just got a bit of fire behind it. I think it’s a standout feature of the album, as a sort-of title track, and he even gets the chance to ad-lib at the end without it sounding too cringy like it did on the previous track. Abrupt finish though!

09 Please me – Ugh a bit more of that bouncy sound from “Lively up for Monday”, but at least it breaks that cycle and moves into more modern-sounding waters. The chorus is pretty mediocre too, but melodically it’s pretty catchy so I can turn a blind eye to that. That middle-eight is really good though, pretty passionate and climactic, well done. Key change too, we are saved!! Really gets some great momentum by the end.

10 Cara Mia – Third-place finisher at 2007’s Melodifestivalen, and totally robbed. This is an incredible pop song, I can’t express how much I love this in a mere rating out of 10. Let’s call it a 10+. So simple, with a stone-cold killer chorus, I LOVE singing along to this (actually pretty demanding) track in the car at the top of my lungs. A deadly key-change, it’s just so perfect. How could this only come third? I just wish I could find a live performance of him actually attempting that epic glory note at the end.

07 Agent Zero – More nonsense lyrics, is Agent Zero a famous thing? Presumably from the other lyrics he’s supposed to be some sort of spy? Well he’s not Agent Zero evidently (though he WOULD say that…), but all he can do is write a simple love song. It is pretty simple to be honest, even seems to make reference to Melodifestivalen, seeing as his song has be “not more than 3 minutes long” (as per the rules). Curious, and memorable only mainly for the lyrics. It’s a pretty laid-back and forgettable little downtempo. Not BAD, but not really much of anything.

09 Brother oh Brother – The other Swedish hit from this album, and a strong track. Singing about some femme fatale who’s messed poor Måns around, and now he’s warning her next victim. Either that or he’s just trashing this poor girl’s reputation out of spite. Noooo, I can’t believe Måns would stoop so low. She sounds like a bit of a bitch if he’s to be believed anyway. We end up with an almost Mediterranean holiday hit feel to this one, and that chorus really sticks in your head. Love that middle-eight too, and the inevitable key change does the business as it always does. Well done.

10 Maniac – No idea why he covered this song from “Flashdance” but my god I’m glad he did. Totally poptastic and amazing, I really can’t get enough of this. A strong song anyway, and quite distinct from the other tracks on the album. That intro is just irresistible, almost as much as the insane dance routine from the live performance I’ve put at the end of this review. Oh my! A magnificent cover, and the one that tipped me over the edge to tracking down this album. She’s a maniac, maaaaaniac on the flooooor!!! *dies*

09 Dreaming – Feel like the track order of this album is a bit shuffly, but at least it’s not front-loaded like just about every album I’ve ever bought. A very pacy dance-pop song, with another deceptively simple chorus. The harmonies are pretty solid too, really like this one. I wonder if this might have been better served earlier in the album, but it’s a pleasure nonetheless. I’d expect nothing less from Cara Mia’s writers. His voice does get a bit of an exercise for that middle-eight, and he just about sees it through.

07 Work of art (Da Vinci) – Hmm naff title, doesn’t bode well. As you can expect, this is about some hot momma comparable to a masterpiece. Hopefully not like that Vitruvian Man drawing with four arms and four legs. It’s pretty cheesy swing-lite stuff, with some really excruitating lyrics in there. His tone during the bridges is unusual, but in a good way. Not a big fan of this song though, a good enough pop song but I’d be slightly ashamed of this coming up on shuffle. She likes meh-meh-meeehhh!!

09 My Mistake – What a lovely closing song. I only wish I could find a version without the hidden and decidedly sub-standard acoustic version of Cara Mia that somehow manages to drain everything good out of an ultimate pop song. But back to this song, it’s a pretty normal ballad but it’s got something really magical about it, very touching lyrics and sentimental melody. That chorus really is quite lovely isn’t it? We even get the really adorable middle-eight leading into a heart-melting key change to see us off. Really well done, and a nice change from some of the sleepy downtempos I’ve gone through on this album.

So that’s that. Måns’ debut album is – for the most part – a pretty enjoyable and undemanding listen, with a few laser-guided missiles of pop songs (Cara Mia, Maniac), which I’d call a pretty good success. Måns hasn’t got the most flexible voice, but it’s got this likeable roughness to its tone, and doesn’t waste too much energy on exhausting ad-libs like some of the divas do. He’s a good performer, perhaps not quite excelling in any particular field but a decent all-rounder, and I’d certainly be interested to hear the rumoured “Spring 2012” album on the horizon.

Keepers for the iPod: Stand By, Please me, Cara Mia, Brother oh Brother, Maniac, Dreaming, My Mistake

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Album: Absolute Schlager (Part 3)

Finally time to resume the last leg of that Absolute Schlager CD. It has been a lot of fun (by and large), but I must say CD3 isn’t the best of the bunch. Not that it’s bad, just not as great as Disc 2 in my opinion.

10 ABBA – Waterloo – Well no introduction needed here, one of the crown jewels in the history of Schlager, winning the 1974 Eurovision and launching one of the biggest bands there’s ever been. It’s very easy for this to be overexposed, as so many of ABBA’s big hits seem to be, at the expense of several great songs in their repertoire. But this is a classic for a reason, and is as timeless as ever. I just love the resignation in it, like “what’s the point fighting this?”, it just has that lovely “oh bollocks to all the drama, let’s just have fun” feel of an office party at the end of a difficult year. Or something.

06 Björn Skifs – Michelangelo – Bit of an odd choice on paper, from a man who represented Sweden twice at Eurovision, they select this 5th place Melodifestivalen entry. Has the same 70s naffness of Waterloo, but not that magic spark, it just feels a bit dated to me, and there’s not really enough to the chorus to get me too into it.

09 Carola – Evighet – Now THIS I know, or more precisely the English version “Invincible”. A pretty gay day in Athens when this former winner returned to represent her country in 2006. It’s a powerful pop song, but I never really got on board with her vocals, I guess they are an acquired taste but they seemed a bit shaky to me. The song is a triumph though, and I do recall some top-class flag waving at the time. It reversed Sweden’s Eurovision fortunes for a year, coming 5th, but it was a long time before they’d reach this high again (though in my opinion, Hero is much better).

08 Lena Philipsson – Kärleken Är Evig – 1986’s Melodifestivalen runner-up, and a rather lovely pop song. Obviously DRIPPING in 80s production (and that album cover really is beautiful…), but still really quite nice. Not really comparable with the later Lena output I’ve heard, but that chorus is lovely and memorable.

09 Shirley Clamp – Att Älska Dig
– Coming 4th in 2005’s Melodifestivalen, this is a pretty lush dancey-pop track. Actually puts me in the mindset of Sash!, which is a good thing in my book, I think that’s mostly the production though. I love the chorus, not dissimilar to Carola’s Evighet the following year. I don’t recall hearing a lot of Shirley, aside from her 2011 MF entry (one of several she’s made over the years). This is really great though.

08 E.M.D. – Baby Goodbye – I’ve recently discovered that my latest favourite Danny Saucedo is a member of this pick’n’mix of Swedish Idol entrants. It doesn’t really sound a lot like his sort of stuff. It’s catchy and I love the production, but it doesn’t quite fire on all cylinders for me. The harmonies are a bit of a waste, they all sound the same! Key change as always makes everything better.

10 Agnes – Love Love Love – Oh god I love this woman. Or what I’ve heard anyway, Release me was a triumph, as were the other singles from her Dance Love Pop album. I’d heard of this song quite a while ago but I don’t think I’d heard it before now. It’s really a dream, she’s sick of waiting for the one and just wants love NOW. That chorus is glorious and heartwarming. It might have only come 8th in 2009’s Melodifestivalen, but it’s honestly one of my favourite discoveries from this whole Schlager CD set.

06 Tomas Ledin – Det Ligger I Luften – Back to 1979’s Melodifestivalen now, with this 2nd-placer. After a ropey start, it gets into a surprisingly disco tempo. It doesn’t stay that good though, it quickly turns into something I’d imagine from a ropey 80s movie. I don’t like his strained shouty voice really, this doesn’t do a lot for me

06 Anna Book – ABC – Hmm, was she some child-star? Sounds like she was only 15 when this was a 5th place finish in 1986’s Melodifestivalen final. I don’t really see the appeal, her vocals are alright but the tune is quite annoying, and the cringey faux-rock-pop backing doesn’t really help things. I do like the fact that she had an album called Killsnack though.

06 Malta – Sommaren Som Aldrig Säger Nej – Ack, what’s this, folk music? I wanted fun dancepop, not Simon and Garfunkel. Apparently this was 5th in the 1973 Eurovision, though the wiki page for that final seems to have forgotten that…? Things brighten up a bit, but this isn’t really much to write home about. This even beat ABBA’s first Eurovision entry “Ring Ring”, but I suppose if Waterloo hadn’t happened, who knows what the world would like now (probably destroyed).

08 Chips – Dag Efter Dag – More 80s cheese now, but a bit more singalong naffness to it. Sounds like several songs of that time, and this didn’t exactly light up the Melodifestivalen that year (did she just sing Faloola??). But it’s quite fun, another sort of Christmas party song, I can’t quite put my finger one what it reminds me of, but it’s all good.

07 Pernilla Whalgren And Jan Johansen – Let Your Spirit Fly – I really loved Pernilla’s 2010 entry, and this is still rather good (just not so much). A pacey midtempo, it’s all a bit happy clappy and schmaltzy, it weighs the song down a bit too much to get me too excited. Nice enough but I’m sure it would have floundered a bit had it gone one better and represented at the 2003 Eurovision contest.

10 Måns Zelmerlöw – Hope And Glory – Oh Måns! I love this guy. The MZW album might have been a bit patchy, and this itself wasn’t really a patch on Cara Mia a few years before, but it’s a pretty hot pop song. Really singable, and a great pop song all round. Might not have quite the catchiness and spectacle of Cara Mia, but this is a great addition to my collection. The key change is super too. I guess this might have floundered a bit in the Eurovision final, I can’t really see it doing much better than Malena’s weak finish, but I enjoyed it anyway.

08 BWO – Temple Of Love – On to an act I HAVE done a brief investigation of, having a few goes at their somewhat samey greatest hits collection a little while ago. I do while like them but there’s something a bit too knowing and calculated for them to as much fun as other acts. Coming 2nd behind Carola in 2006’s Melodifestivalen, it’s catchy enough but hasn’t quite got enough of a hook. A bit like a watered-down Alcazar song without the benefit of female harmonies. It’s good but not incredible.

06 Janne Lucas – Växeln Hallå – A 1980 MF second-placer now, and a bit too cheese-rock for my tastes really, like the male-fronted album tracks you often had to sit through on ABBA albums while you were waiting for the better stuff. Only it’s not even THAT good. The chorus is plenty catchy, and I suppose that schoolgirl chant is alright if you’re into that, but not me. Lots of energy but … *shrug*

06 Chattanooga – Hallå Hela Pressen – Off to 1982, and a definite 80s feel to this. A bit of that sort of alternative rock-chick style to this one, or as close as you can get with a pretty straight-up pop song. It sounds familiar, not sure what it’s reminding me of style-wise, but it’s fair to say it’s not really my thing. Naff guitar solo bits and some pretty ropey harmonies to see us out, sigh.

08 Sarah Dawn Finer – I Remember Love – Oh now I like her, I liked her Moving On song, and this has the makings of a big ballad. 4th in 2007’s MF final, and doesn’t quite have the killer moments to turn it into a great song. Her voice is nice in tone, if a little nondescript. She comes across as being a bit of a showoff pain-in-the-arse in the few clips I’ve seen of her (hello Eurovision vote-giving). It builds nicely but it feels like it’s missing a BIG key change somewhere to really get the drama going, but it just sort of peters out.

06 Jill Johnson – Kärleken Är – Well I wasn’t a fan of her song Crazy in love particularly, but let’s go back to when she represented Sweden in 1998’s Eurovision. She came 10th, about right judging by this. Her voice is nice, but the song is pretty average. Maybe this would have been nicer in 1998, when Lighthouse Family roamed the Earth, and so on. Just sort of pootles along, I’m not really that fussed.

07 Cecilia Vennersten – Det Vacraste – Runner up in 1995’s Melodifestivalen, and seems to have been a massive hit there. It does feel like 1995 now, like an Enya song or something. It’s quite pleasant and floaty, like a Christmas song almost really. But presumably this would have been a hit in Spring/Summer? Who knows, I guess they get a lot of snow in Sweden. It’s alright.

08 One More Time – Den Vilda – Another that made it to Eurovision, this time 3rd place in 1996’s contest, a pretty good showing considering the pedigree of some of these songs. Forget what I said before, THIS is a lot more like an Enya song! Apparently they wrote the previous track too, and are pretty solid pedigree themselves, counting a son of ABBA amongst their number, and Nanne Grönvall in there too. The song has a memorable melody, another Christmassy feel, and it’s quite sweeping and waltzy. Very nice.

07 Roger Pontare – När Vindarna Viskar Mitt Namn – Another Swedish representative, this time 2000’s entry, and what I gather was a bit of an environmental message, dragging on a few eskimos to accompany him onstage. It sounds quite old fashioned considering it’s only 11 years old, but his rough-sounding vocals come across quite well in a strange way. Can’t say I’m too hot on the traditional vocals in the middle-8, but there it is. A bit much really, but it could have sounded like terrible dad-rock if handled differently.

07 Nordman – I Lågornas Sken – Is that a crow? Well at least that was vaguely in key, we are treated to some rather iffy shout-rock now. There’s effort to get into a tune, and mostly they succeed, but I guess this guy isn’t a born singer. It’s a bit strained, and evidently a bit of an alternative vote in 2008’s Melodifestivalen. The chorus isn’t half bad really, but it’s not the most pleasant voice to listen to. Have a lozenge!

07 E-Type – Paradise – Hmm, I hope DJ Sammy’s lawyers were listening here. Coming just 2 short years after Heaven, there’s an uncannily similar song called Paradise with practically the same synth hook. Despite me loving that DJ Sammy song, this guys vocals are just annoying, like a featured vocal from Eiffel 65 or something awful. I like a bit of a shit trance music, particularly from the early 00s, but this really doesn’t do it for me. He looks like a bit of a state too.

05 The Poodles – Night Of Passion – Oh Christ, have we run out of pop music already? I presume this isn’t totally serious rock music, it sounds like a naff parody act. His vocals are pretty dreadful and shrill too, they are laying it on a bit THICK to say the least. Not sure how serious this is supposed to be, but it gives me earache, this is one genre I really don’t like to get into. In Eurovision, this stuff is best left to clueless Macedonians or somesuch.

06 H.E.A.T – 1000 Miles – Another naff rock track, why are they saving all these for the end? Did we even need them at all? Lordi have a lot to answer for, that’s all I can say. This one is a bit more palatable than the Poodles’ effort, and the chorus is fine enough, but it just leaves me cold really, I wouldn’t choose to listen to this again.

06 P-Bros ft Trexx & Olga P – Tingalin – Not really sure about this, from what I can tell from Swedish wikipedia, this was a banned entry from the 2009 Melodifestivalen (for Moscow’s Eurovision final), so a Russian-themed track evidently had some controversial content? It’s a pretty rubbish effort at a novelty track, but I guess it could have at least made an impact. Sweden are above novelty entries though, aren’t they? It’s a pretty bog-standard eurodance bit of nonsense with a semi-catchy chorus, and a bit of Tetris music, it’s almost like a medley with some shitty rapping over the top of it.

Keepers for the iPod: Waterloo, Evighet/Invincible, Att Älska Dig, Love love love, Hope & Glory, Temple of love

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