Melodifestivalen 2016: Deltävling 1, Gothenburg

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1. Samir & Viktor – “Bada nakna” (Score: 8/10)

Samir & Viktor only cater to a niche audience. Their fun loving college frat party brand of pop is really off putting to anyone who is honestly a stick in the mud. Who would want to be BFF’s with a grump who didn’t smile while listening to this? It’s fun, catchy and cute. Aside from that, it has a really good big room electronic house bass drop, unexpected considering this is a Fredrik Kempe production. Good on him though.


2. Pernilla Andersson – “Himmel för två” (Score: 1/10)

Everything about this is forgettable. I appreciate she wanted to release a song about her kid, but honestly this 3:00 long song feels 300 years long.

3. Mimi Werner – “Ain’t No Good” (Score: 9/10)

Before this week I had no idea who this woman was nor did I care. Her song was said to be a country song written in Nashville, and that isn’t exactly a recipe for an iconic Melfest moment. The song however is really catchy and modern. It is more Avicii doing folk than your typical country song. It’s really catchy, very well preformed and very commercial. She honestly deserved to advance over a few of the other acts that went through.

4. Albin Johnsén & Mattias Andréasson – “Rik” (Score: 6/10)

I really expected to not like this at all, as I don’t particularly care for Albin’s style of music. Nearly every song he has released has sounded exactly the same, and none have been my cup of tea. His big smash hit “Din Soldat” wasn’t really my thing, and every song he’s released since has been a blander version of that song. The entry he penned last year with Måns Zelmerlöw, Behrang Miri & Victor Crone’s “Det Rår Vi Inte För,” was duller than dishwater and totally forgettable. “Rik” is surprisingly way better than any of his previous songs. While it’s not perfect, it’s still energetic and enjoyable. The live performance is pretty darn cute too.

5. Anna Book – “Himmel för två”(Score: 4/10)

This was disqualified from the competition, but it won’t be disqualified from my judgement! This type of dated schlager is an older Melfest fan favorite, and rightfully so, it’s a throwback to their era and probably makes them feel nostalgic. The song itself is pretty generic 1985 schlager. Its upbeat and fun, but it’s not a competitive song. She would have likely come 6th or 7th in this heat if she hadn’t have been spared. That said, I don’t really hate this. It’s not something I would download, but as a throwback designed to excite a certain niche, its fine.

6. Robin Bengtsson – “Constellation Price” (Score: 5/10)

As a long time fan of Robin Bengtsson, or B. Robin as he used to be called, I was really looking forward to this. His EP “Under My Skin” was extremely strong, with standout track after standout track. He had a grit to his music, without losing any of its glossy radio friendly appeal. His Melfest debut song, titled “Constellation Prize,” is nothing like his previous work.
While it’s very solid pop, it lacks the edge and fun factor his previous work had. The gimmicky lyrics aren’t clever or creative – it’s a ‘constellation’ because she’s like a star! – and the overall production feels like a really bland remake of Nick Jonas’ “Jealous. The harmonica bits are cute, but the production really relies on those bits to add a bit a spice to this vanilla latte. I would feel hypocritical if I criticized an artist like Molly Sandén for being bland and safe but I looked over how safe this is. The entry Andreas Weise sent last year, the energetic “Bring Out The Fire,” would have been more suited for Robin than this middle-of-the-road Disney Channel pop.

Staging-wise, the performance is really boring. He just stands there while a couple of star-like lights blink in the background. No spectacle, no showmanship. In a sense I understand why he entered this particular song, as it’s the safe type of song the general public will eat up, but it’s such a big step down from his previous work that I can’t help but feel a little empty listening to it.

7. Ace Wilder – “Don’t Worry” (Score: 10/10)
The girl who should have won back in 2014 is back to finally take her crown. She probably won’t win, as Molly is the favorite, but she is not going down without a fight. “Don’t Worry” is truly iconic. Yet another completely unique banger, Ace has proven yet again that she is not going to pander to the typical Melfest/Eurovision fan who wants a copy & paste of a something they’ve heard 100x before.
Lyrically the song is very Ace. She sings about not stressing out over small stuff. It’s relatable in the way only she can pull off. The song production is also really full. House pianos from the 90s mixed with funky brass and a surprisingly soulful vocal delivery, the song is a big mashup of genres.

The staging is even more life changing. This is 12 points from the jury level staging. This is “Heroes” level staging. While the song may not be as palatable to the generic radio hit loving ESC fan, the overall visual presentation is clearly the best from this entire semi final. How is Molly going to top this stage performance?

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Eurovision 2016: UMK – Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu

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1. Annica Milán & Kimmo Blom – “Good Enough”

This is a pretty typical power pop duet, but it’s very enjoyable. It took me a couple listens for it to grow on me, but it’s towards the top of my list now. I honestly would not mind this being sent to Eurovision.

2. Attention 2 – “Ready For the Show”

With a juvenile composition and cringe worthy video, this screams Junior Eurovision. That said, if it was in the JESC it would be a strong entry. Attention 2 have said they would have liked to participate in the JESC, but Finland doesn’t compete in that contest. Shame, as I think this would have fit better in that contest than UMK. It’s still quite catchy though.

3. Barbe-Q-Barbies – “Let Me Out”

The token Finnish rock number, it’s not a stand out. Most of the songs competing this year are at the very least pleasant to listen to, but this one is a bomb. Pass.

4. Clemso – “Thief”

This song has a mid-2000’s American R&B style production, so based on that alone is stands out from the rest. It’s a pretty decent song, but the melody could use a revamp. It doesn’t go as hard as I would’ve liked it to.

5. Cristal Snow – “Love is Blind”

Cristal Snow is the only artist in this years lineup I had heard of prior to this contestants being announced. He made budget Lady Gaga-esque dance-pop with a RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant style image, which was fun for what it is, but this new make over of his is a major improvement. That isn’t to say “Love Is Blind” is phenomenal. It is pretty middle of the road in terms of synth pop ballads, but it’s a pretty solid track that I have no problem enjoying. It’s paired with a cute LGBT friendly music video as well, so no real complaints here.

6. Eini – “Draamaa”

This is the run of the mill synth’d out schlager number. It’s catchy in the way all schlager is, but it’s nothing out of the ordinary. Once again, solid but unremarkable.

7. Gušani Brothers – “Poom Poom”

This is actually my favorite song of the bunch. It is a big Eastern European style EDM song, very similar to something Inna or Alexandra Stan would’ve released a few years ago. This could easily be a club hit throughout Europe, but it’s most likely not right for Eurovision.

8. Lieminen – “Pehmeiden arvojen vaalijat”

This wannabe Daft Punk track is a dud. One of the least interesting and least listenable tracks among the 2016 entries.

9. Mikael Saari – “On it Goes”

This is a really unremarkable ballad. It sounds very similar to Norway’s 2010 Eurovision entry “My Heart Is Yours,” but worse. It doesn’t build the way that song did.

10. Mikko Herranen – “Evil Tone”

A really out-of-date rocker ballad, but it’s kind of catchy. Hopefully this gets eliminated sooner rather than later.

11. Pää-Äijät – “Shamppanjataivas”

This is that typical up-tempo comedy/novelty act Scandinavians will find hilarious. That said, I usually mildly enjoy those entries, and this is no exception. Don’t get it twisted though, I do not want this to win.

12. Pietarin Spektaakkeli – “Liian kuuma”

I can’t quite tell if I absolutely loath this, or kind of like it. It’s a swing track, which is horrible genre to send to Eurovision. Throw back genre’s genrally don’t do well at the contest – unless the throw back is a big 80s style power ballad.

13. Rafaela Truda – “Rise Up”

This song sounds exactly like Ariana Grande’s “Problem,” which isn’t a bad thing, but it’s also not a particularly good thing either. The similarities are glaring, but the track overall is pretty solid. It has a nice Latin style production and a catchy chorus. This would be a fine UMK winner, but it may not do too well at Eurovision as voters would likely be turned off by it’s similarities to “Problem.”

14. Saara Aalto – “No Fear”

I can’t help but think this will win UMK. It’s a very odd song, with strange vocals and a really unorthodox productions in terms of how Eurovision ballads sound, with very minimal percussion being drowned out by a sitar loop. Towards the end it picks up a bit, and overall it’s a decent track that stands out from the rest. I have a feeling this is both standard and bizarre enough to win over the Finnish public.

15. Sandhja – “Sing it Away”

Very generic Eurovision-y sounding song, it is still enjoyable. I quite like this song, though it isn’t anything special.

16. Stella Christine – “Ain’t Got Time for Boys”

I really do not enjoy listening to this song. It sounds like filler.

17. Tuuli Okkonen – “Don’t Wake Me Up”

The verses of this song could use a lot of work, as they drag a bit, but the chorus is super catchy. Desperately in need of a revamp, but there is a lot of potential here.

18. Ylona – “Blazing Fire”

This song could be a fierce EDM smash, but it never quite goes all the way. It rests on just being really bland electro pop.

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Denmark: Dansk Melodi Grand Prix 2016

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1. Anja Nissen – “Never Alone”

This song sounds like the big winner here. It’s the catchiest song of the bunch by far, with not one, but two hooks in the chorus. Denmark would be stupid not to send this song.

2. Bracelet – “Breakaway”

A very generic, but fairly catchy pop/rock song. Nothing special, but enjoyable nonetheless. If Denmark sent this to Eurovision they would probably qualify for the final but I would see them struggle to do better than top 20 overall.

3. David Jay – “Rays of Sunlight”

This song is basically a Danish attempt at doing Bruno Mars song. Denmark did okay with their last Bruno copycat “Cliche Love Song,” but that song was a lot catchier than this one is.

4. Jessica – “Break it Good”

This song has a cool island-y vibe to it. It sort of has an Ace Of Base vibe to it. Very cool, but not a winner.

5. Kristel Lisberg – “Who Needs a Heart”

This is a very generic ballad. It’s not particularly memorable, but it’s pleasant. It doesn’t quite soar as high as it should.

6. Lighthouse X – “Soldiers of Love”

I quite like this song, though I will admit it is really out of date. It sounds like something Westlife might have released back in 2002. That is a compliment coming from me.

7. Muri & Mario – “To stjerner”

The only song in the bunch that has an interesting production, this track doesn’t sound like something that would work at Eurovision. It’s an indie electro track with trap influence not too different than what we’ve been hearing from DJ’s like Diplo lately. Interesting, but wrong for this contest.

8. Simone – “Heart Shaped Hole”

Very average mid tempo ballad. Not awful, but very pedestrian.

9. Sophia Nohr – “Blue Horizon”

No, just no. My least favorite song of the bunch.

10. Veronicas Illusion – “The Wrong Kind”

Some cheap sounding EDM from 2008. Sign me up! I can’t turn down a fun gym bop.

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Eurovision 2016: Donny Montell’s “I’ve Been Waiting For This Night” For Lithuania

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Donny Montell represented Lithuania at Eurovision back in 2012 with the well staged disco number “Love Is Blind.” The song was pretty good, though definitely not a winner. It gave Lithuania a very respectable placing though, so it’s a great idea to send him again.

He is back (and buffer than ever) with a new song called “I’ve Been Waiting For This Night” and it is a monster of a pop song. Ditching out-of-date disco synths in favor of deep pounding percussion, “I’ve Been Waiting” feels very powerful and modern. There is a crescendo towards the end of the song that is tailor-made for Eurovision, adding a massive punch to it and would play our perfectly in a big arena.

Donny has gone all out with this song, not only releasing a very good music video for the track, but also a lyric video that rivals most popstars official music videos.

The only thing that could use some work is the live performance. The vocals are pretty good, as Donny is a capable vocalist, but the overall staging is pretty bland. Last time Donny took the Eurovision stage, he did a blindfolded backflip before breaking out into retro Saturday Night Fever style choreography. He needs to amp this performance up a bit to match the song.

This song is already on repeat for me, and it’s modern enough to do very well at Eurovision, so hopefully the Lithuanian public doesn’t screw this up. You just never know how these things will play out.

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Egor KReeD’s (Егор Крид) “Будильник” is a Pop Masterpiece

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Russia tends to churn out young good looking pop stars like a well oiled machine, so it was just a matter of time before I discovered a new Russian heartthrob to jam to. This time around the artist’s name is Egor KReeD. He burst onto the Russian pop scene about a year ago with the excellent “Самая самая” (The Most). He followed up with an extremely good album called “Холостяк” (Bachelor) which would have made the top 5 of my year end list if I had not given it a first listen too late in the year.

He is back with a new single titled “Будильник” (Alarm Clock) and it is somehow even better than his previous stuff. With a super catchy chorus and cute dance pop production, this one really is an ear worm.

The video is top notch, as you would expect as it’s made by Russian video after all. Unlike the rest of Europe, the East – particularly Russia – tend to excel at making very expensive looking videos. All of Egor’s videos have had a lavish look to them, whether they build a set by hand or just light up a cafe they scouted.

The video plot follows Egor has he is stuck is what appears to be a Groundhog Day-esque time warp where he is stuck hooking up with a new girl in a cafe every single day. He catches on and ends the time warp. It’s a great way for him to come across as both super sexy and as a cute goofster at the same time.

Egor isn’t the best dancer by any means, and he plays upon that with a very cute and very catchy thumbs-up dance routine. It’s easy to mimic and it suits his bubbly personality. I am really interested in following his career from here on out.

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Flopstar Blog’s Top 10 Albums of 2015!

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10. Hilary Duff – Breathe In. Breathe Out.
While not the masterpiece of an album previous releases like “Dignity” and “Metamorphosis” were, this album is still pretty solid thanks mostly to the heavy Swedish production. “Sparks” not becoming a hit will haunt me for the rest of my life.

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macarena-cd_mario-bischinimages247280689. Mario Bischin – Macarena
Technically not released in 2015, I didn’t discover the album until half way through the year but it dominated my year musically. I would have placed it higher if it was a 2015 release. The album does not have a single bad song on it. I can listen to this album from start to finish without getting bored of anything.

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eurovision-song-contest-vienna-2015-cd-cover8. Eurovision 2015
Not the best Eurovision year, this compilation still had some good moments. Hoping Eurovision 2016 will be a lot stronger of a year overall though. Highlights are the Swedish winning entry “Heroes” and Israeli entry “Golden Boy.”

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cover-art-of-conchita-wursts-debut-album-conchita7. Conchita Wurst – Conchita
Very solid debut from the 2014 Eurovision winner. This album boats some expertly produced pop. Awesome vocals don’t hurt the experience. From heart breaking ballads to EDM made for the club to arena still power pop, this album really has it all. It was nice to see Conchita show some versatility on the album as well.

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perfectly_damaged6. Måns Zelmerlöw – Perfectly Damaged
Another solid album by a current Eurovision winner, but who would have assumed it wouldn’t be? It’s Swedish produced pop. Nothing gets more reliable than that. Soaring anthems are plentiful on this album that merges his old dance pop style with his more modern stripped back style.

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melodifestivalen_2015_2cd-31775495-frntl5. Melodifestivalen 2015
This year was pretty strong in my opinion. There were a lot of songs I really enjoyed and played pretty often. The amazing outcome didn’t hurt the experience either. The highlights include winning single “Heroes,” as well as the camp-tastic “Groupie” and club ready “Make Me (La La La).”

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tumblr_nqb3bg3qeo1tu668fo1_5004. AOA – Heart Attack EP
Not a full album, but there are no bad songs on this release. It’s really solid and despite having less than half the amount of songs everything else on this list has, it’s actually my most played non-compilation album of the year.

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namie-geniccddvd3. Namie Amuro – _genic.
Namie is the most reliable artist in the world when it comes to delivering really solid pop music. This album is NOT as good as “Alive,” but it is still pretty damn good. Highlights include the blazing EDM anthem”Stranger” and the sassy “Fashionista.”

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14286673849572. Antti Tuisku — Peto on irti
Definitely the most experimental mainstream dance pop album of the year, the production of this album is top notch, merging multiple genres into each song effortlessly. Not the type of music every listener will enjoy, but for those who do it is a masterpiece.

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red-velvet_1441832109_af_org1. Red Velvet – The Red
Easily the best K-pop album released in 2015, this album Is solid from start to end. Comparing it to other albums released by SM artists this year, it sticks out like a sore thumb being the only one with absolutely no filler on it.

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Flopstar Blog’s Most Anticipated Acts of Melodifestivalen 2016!!

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So it’s almost that time of the year again where I bother everyone with constant updates about the Eurovision Song Contest and all of it’s selection shows. Yes, it’s not exactly the time for that yet as things really don’t get kicked off until after New Years, but a big bit of news has come out this week and needed addressing.

The only really relevant pre-selection show in all of Europe is Sweden’s Melodifestivalen, which is also coincidentally my favorite. SVT, the company who runs Melfest, have announced all the artists who are competing next year along with  the titles of their song and their song writers. Here are some of the acts I am most excited for this year.

Ace Wilder – “Don’t Worry”

I can already tell this is going to be a monster of a bop. The subject matter will probably be similar to all her other songs, which is great because she is a breath of fresh air in a contest that will be full of love songs. I expect this to make my year end list next year.

Samir & Viktor – “Bada nakna”

This song is apparently about skinny dipping. S&V had 2 songs on my year end list for 2015, so I expect this to also follow suit and slay me to death.

Robin Bengtsson – Constellation Price”

This song title is a mess, but maybe it’ll make sense when the song is released. I liked his EP from last year quite a bit, so I have high hopes for this song.

David Lindgren – “We Are Your Tomorrow”

I love David so much. Both of his albums were amazing. This is supposedly nothing like those albums though. I am a bit concerned it will be awful, but I have faith in my boy. Also, it’s last in semi final 2, which is a pretty good spot. SVT obviously liked the entry.

Oscar Zia – “Human”

I didn’t care for “Yes We Can” much, but “Ballare Con Me” is still the bop of the life time and this song has the same team behind it as that song did. I am ready to be snatched.

Lisa Ajax – “My Heart Wants Me Dead”

That title? Girl I am already slayed. Her single from last year “Blue Eyed Girl” was also pretty solid. I am expecting good things here.

Dolly Style – “Rollercoaster”

Good song writers for this one. The song will surely be a cute euro-dance song that won’t revolutionize the industry, but it will be catchy.

Molly Sandén – “YOUniverse”

This song is the big favorite to win, and based solely off that hype I am interested in this. Otherwise I don’t care too much. Danny Saucedo wrote this, but his recent work has been trash so I am not expecting much here. Will be interesting to see what she brings to the table. The title is a mess already though.

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