A guide to Melodifestivalen 2016

Molly Sanden Melodifestivalen 2016
Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

2015 hasn’t even ended yet, but a lot of countries are already busy selecting their song for Eurovision 2016. The Netherlands have selected singer-songwriter Douwe Bob and FYR Macedonia will send Kaliopi (ESC 2012) again. For Bosnia & Herzegovina Deen (ESC 2004)gets company from singer Dalal. Sweden, known for their huge preselection called Melodifestivalen, have announced the hopefuls in 2016’s competition. A Bit of Pop Music takes a closer look as the first predictions are rolling in!

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Song of the Day: Mariette – The Next Generation Calls

Mariette The Next Generation Calls

Mariette calls for action against climate change with song
Mariette Hansson is a pop star who likes to use her voice for important causes. This summer she supported the Swedish Gay Pride with a theme song called ‘My Revolution’ and now she is back with a track she has written and recorded for the Children’s Climate Conference 2015, which takes place in Sweden. The single ‘The Next Generation Calls’ is about doing everything that is in our power to not ruin our earth and nature and will be used at the conference which takes place from the 25th to the 28th of November.

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Album Review: Mariette – My Revolution EP

Mariette My Revolution

Mariette Hansson once participated in the Swedish version of Pop Idol and released her debut album in 2008. She disappeared for quite a while, but made a glorious return during Melodifestivalen 2015, the Swedish preselection for the Eurovision Song Contest. Her song ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ reached the final and ended up in third place. She now has an EP out on which she collaborated with Swedish artists Ace Wilder and Miss Li and she recorded a song written by the composers who secured Sweden’s Eurovision winner this year, by composing ‘Heroes’. Here’s a track by track review of Mariette’s My Revolution.

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Song of the Day: Molly Pettersson Hammar – Something Right

molly pettersson hammar something right

Review:
Molly Pettersson Hammar was the talk of the town in Sweden after the first heat of Melodifestivalen 2015, the preselection for Eurovision. She opened the night with her powerful and soulful pop track ‘I’ll Be Fine’ and while she seemed a favourite to go through in the competition, her song was sent home undeservedly. If this had to do something with a malfunction in the voting app, we will never know, but what is more important is the fact that ‘I’ll Be Fine’ was number 1 in iTunes for days. There was support for this talented singer and songwriter and this gave Molly the opportunity to release a second single, called ‘Something Right’, which she co-wrote herself.

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Song of the Day: Mariette – My Revolution

Mariette My Revolution

Mariette returns with poppy second single
If there was one revelation at Melodifestivalen 2015, it was Mariette. She participated in Idol 2009, but never really had her big break yet in the Swedish music scene. Her moment came in the second semi final of the Swedish Eurovision preselection. She came on stage with the captivating, mystic pop song ‘Don’t Stop Believing’, co-written by Swedish artist Miss Li. She won her semi and went on to finish in third place in the competition. Now Mariette is back with a new single called ‘My Revolution’, that functions as the official Stockhom Pride theme.

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Eurovision News 2015: Latvia, Spain, Germany, Slovenia, United Kingdom and Sweden

Aminata

It is a busy time of the year in the world of Eurovision. The deadline for submitting a song to the European Broadcasting Union is coming closer, so country after country is announcing, premiering or choosing a song. I already wrote about a few countries two weeks ago. Let’s take a look at another handful of the Eurovision candidates we will see in Vienna in May.

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Single Review: Loreen – Paper Light (Higher)

Loreen Paper Light cover

Loreen back in full swing with new single ‘Paper Light (Higher)’

You all remember Loreen, right? She’s the Swedish singer who basically helped the Eurovision Song Contest back into the European charts with her winning single ‘Euphoria’ in 2012. She won the contest by a landslide and the song was all you heard at every party that summer all around the continent. After all the craziness and the release of her debut album, she took some time off to record new music and now she is ready for her comeback with the new single ‘Paper Light (Higher)’.

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Eurovision News 2015: Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Italy, Norway

Mariette

The preselection season for Eurovision is in full force at the moment, but I have only blogged about the premiere of the Dutch entry ‘Walk Along’ by Trijntje Oosterhuis yet. Shame on me, I know. I will make this right by catching up with some stuff that happened over the past couple of weeks in Eurovision land.

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Eurovision News 2014: Sanna Nielsen impresses in Sweden, Malta chooses a song

Sanna Nielsen Undo Melodifestivalen

February just started and that means that many European countries are about to decide which song and artist they will send to the Eurovision Song Contest. In the next few weeks I will pay attention to some of the national finals that will take place and write some reviews on the songs that will represent their country in Copenhagen in May. This weekend, the second heat in Sweden was aired and Malta decided which song they send to Denmark.

Sweden
Last week Sweden kicked off their national final with the first heat in which Ellen Benediktson and Yohio made it to the final and Helena Paparizou and Linus Svenning had to settle for a place in Andra Chansen. This week, again eight songs fought for a place in the final and let’s just be honest here, it was all about Sanna Nielsen. This year it is the seventh time Sanna participates in Melodifestivalen and she has never failed to reach the final in the competition. She finished 3rd in 2001, 5th in 2003, 8th in 2005, 7th in 2007, 2nd in 2008 and 4th in 2011. In 2008 she won the televoting with the ballad ‘Empty Room’, but Charlotte Perrelli won the juries vote at that time and managed to win the whole competition. This year, Sanna Nielsen is back with the big ballad ‘Undo’. It is a powerful song with a memorable and impressive chorus. The songs sounds quite current, but still has some traditional Eurovision ballad quality about it. The performance was classy and her vocals were on point as always. No surprise here that she qualified for the final and she might even have a shot at winning the whole competition this year.

Other than Sanna’s great performance, there was not that much to enjoy in the second heat of Melodifestivalen. Martin Stenmark, who represented in Sweden in Eurovision in 2005 with ‘Las Vegas’ was back with the track ‘När Änglarna Går Hem’. In my opinion, his song was quite alright, but the composition as well as the performance tried to present the chorus as something bigger than it actually was. Still, Stenmarck was the best of the rest and deserved a place in the final. He has to compete again in Andra Chansen though, because the simple, summery and catchy ‘Efter Solsken’ by Panetoz qualified for the final. I did not really understand the appeal of that simple melody and chaotic performance, but Sweden seemed to really like it.

JEM were able to qualify for the other spot in Andra Chansen with their pop-dance track ‘Love Trigger’. Although the song and performance were not bad, there are lots of better efforts with more personality in this overdone genre. The same goes for Manda’s ‘Glow’, which was not bad, but a bit faceless to say the least. She ended up in the 8th position. The lazy drag queen show of Pink Pistols ended up 7th, which is one place higher than I would have expected. The boys of pop/rock band Little Great Things finished sixth while I expected them to go to Andra Chansen. The performance wasn’t all that, but there was quite a good melody and hook hidden in that chorus. The good news is that ‘Hallelujah’ by The Refreshments did not make it to the next round either, because we have had to endure enough of that kind of rockabilly nonsense through the years of Melodifestivalen. Next week, SVT will present us another eight songs and here is hoping that the overall quality will be a bit higher than this week.

Malta
While Sweden still has four weeks to go before they finally decide who will represent them at the Eurovision Song Contest, Malta already decided last night. The band Firelight managed to win the national final with the song ‘Coming Home’. For me the song belongs to the same category as most songs chosen so far. They are not awful, but not really good either. Most tracks so far are quite mediocre in their genre. This goes for Malta’s song as well, which tries to be a little bit folky and country, but at the same time kind of sounds like a poor man’s Mumford and Sons. Their performance fits the song, but the vocals of the band members do not really blend well together. Last year Malta finished 8th with Gianluca’s ‘Tomorrow’ but I would be surprised if they would even come close to that result this year.