Måns Zelmerlöw delivers solid pop album Chameleon
Over the years we have learned that winning the Eurovision Song Contest can give your career a great boost, but at the same time just as often the international success ends shortly after the victory. Swedish pop star Måns Zelmerlöw won the contest in 2015 with the track ‘Heroes’. Although he did not have any Europe wide hits after that he did enjoy some success with the follow up single ‘Should’ve Gone Home’ in some parts of Europe. After his Perfectly Damaged album was released in June last year, we already get the follow up Chameleon now: Ten tracks of solid radio pop!
Zelmerlöw started the campaign for his new album during the Eurovision Song Contest this year, of which he was one of the hosts. He presented his single ‘Fire In The Rain’, which was followed up by the upbeat ‘Hanging On To Nothing’ a few months later. Most recently he launched the latest single ‘Glorious’, which saw him explore a little bit of drum and bass in the rhythm of the chorus. What these tracks have in common is that they are all perfeclty servicable pop tunes with infectious choruses, but at the same time do not really stand out because they are quite safe, radiofriendly and coloured inside the lines. The same goes for the rest of Chameleon, which does have a surprising name for such a generic pop album. At the same time Zelmerlöw gracefully shows that there is absolutely nothing wrong with safe radio pop, when executed properly!
The first half of the record is definitely the strongest, opening with the hit worthy current single ‘Glorious’, flowing into the big and vivacious chorus of guitar pop track ‘Beautiful Lie’. ‘Happyland’ is definitely one of the most infectious tracks and the lyrically one dimensional chorus never starts to get annoyingly repetitive thanks to the bombastic and eventful way it is produced. ‘Round Round’, a duet with Danish singer Nabiha, is the only collaboration on the record, and one of the highlights at the same time. Their vocals blend well together and this type of well written contemporary duet could help both their careers within Scandinavia.
On ‘Whistleblower’ Måns follows trends with a tropical twist in the beat and an instrumental breakdown as a chorus. Not the best track written in said genre, but Justin Bieber, master in this style, probably wouldn’t be ashamed if it ended up on his album. ‘Renegade’ however is just as uneventful as predictable and you can see the emotional ballad closer ‘Wrong Decision’ coming from miles ahead. Zelmerlöw once again delivers a perfectly servicable pop album that will keep his fan base happy, but I doubt it will attract new audiences. His Chameleon is a pretty one, but could have done with bolder colours.