Måns Zelmerlöw releases pop album after Eurovision victory
There is one thing that Måns Zelmerlöw already does better than his fellow Eurovision winners of recent years. Loreen (Sweden’s winner of 2012) and Conchita Wurst (Austria’s winner of 2014) both waited for ages (5 and 12 months respectively) after their victories before they released an album. In that sense they weren’t prepared for the big success and therefore weren’t able to directly cash in with big album sales. Måns just released his fourth studio album (not counting Christmas releases), Perfectly Damaged, only two weeks after his participation in the Eurovision Song Contest. But is faster always better?
Let me start out by saying that Perfectly Damaged never feels like a hurried release full of fillers, so it is safe to say that in this case, striking while the iron is still hot was the right method. In an interview with A Bit of Pop Music, Måns told me about the album: “The sound is similar to ‘Heroes’ and quite different to the pop/rock of my previous record, Barcelona Sessions. I would say Perfectly Damaged still has an organic feel about it, thanks to the country influences that you hear in the verses of ‘Heroes’ as well. This album is more directed at radio and potential hits.” This hit chasing sound is immediately hearable when you listen through the album. Not that there is anything wrong with that, especially not if you just admit that this is what you are going for. But will he be able to deliver another hit after the success of his Eurovision entry ‘Heroes’?
The album is full of potential radio hits and I could see him top the charts a few times more, at least in Sweden, but probably in some other European countries as well. For example the opening track ‘Stir It Up’, is a perfectly well produced pop track with great vocals, strong verses and a catchy chorus. I could see ‘Someday’ become a hit as well, with organic sounding verses and a big singalong chorus. He gets his funky side out on ‘Unbreakable’ which suits him well. Zelmerlöw takes the trend chasing a bit too far on ‘Let It Burn’ that turns out to be a little bit too faceless, basically sounding like everything that has been in the charts over the last two years with a predictable instrumental post chorus. The same goes for ‘Fade Away’ that starts out interesting with his emotive vocals over guitar and some strings, but by the time the chorus kicks in it is the same old European dance music we have heard more often and better as well. He makes up for this with an emotional mid tempo song like ‘Should’ve Gone Home’, that sounds honest and personal, but still is catchy enough to become a hit on radio. The same goes for the big and current sounding ‘The Core Of You’ that wins you over by its sweet lyrics full of love.
After the pop/rock of Barcelona Sessions one could wonder if Perfectly Damaged is the right progression for Zelmerlöw as an artist. The hit chasing with this record could be seen as a step back, but I would say he balanced it out well on this record. A few miss hits aside, Zelmerlöw and his producers and co-writers managed to make an album that has Måns written over it and at the same time is full of potential hits. It will be interesting to see what he will be capable of with this album after his deserved win at the Eurovision Song Contest of 2015.
Must listen: Heroes, Should’ve Gone Home, Stir It Up, The Core of You, Someday