2017 Year End Eurovision-related List

  1. Greta Zazza – Like I Love You (Lithuanian Selection)
  2. BQL – Heart of Gold (Slovenian Selection)
  3. Imri – I Feel Alive (ESC – Israel)
  4. Mariette – A Million Years (Swedish selection)
  5. Axel Schylostrom – Nar ingen ser (Swedish selection)
  6. Dihaj – Skeletons (ESC – Azerbaijan)
  7. Uku Suviste – Supernatural (Estonian selection)
  8. Jana Burceska – Dance Alone (ESC – Macedonia)
  9. Sunstroke Project – Hey Mamma (ESC – Moldova)
  10. Johanna Beijbom – ASAP (Danish selection)
  11. Robin Bengtsson – I Can’t Go On (ESC – Sweden)
  12. Aron Hannes Amilsson – Tonight (Icelandic selection)
  13. Aron Brink – Hypnotized (Icelandic selection)
  14. Kerli – Spirit Animal (Estonian selection)
  15. Loreen – Statements (Swedish Selection)
  16. Kristian Kostov – Beautiful Mess (ESC – Bulgaria)
  17. Almost Natural – Electric (Estonian selection)
  18. Fruela – Live It Up (Spanish selection)
  19. Jowst – Grab the Moment (ESC – Norway)
  20. Demy – This is Love (ESC – Greece)
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2017 Year End K-pop List

  1. LOONA – Odd Eye Circle – Girl Front
  2. AOA – Excuse Me / Bing Bing
  3. CLC – Hobgoblin
  4. SNSD – All Night
  5. LOONA – Singing in the Rain
  6. LOONA – Love Cherry Motion
  7. Red Velvet – Red Flavor
  8. LOONA – Eclipse
  9. Weki Meki – I Don’t Like Your Girlfriend
  10. LOONA – Odd Eye Circle – Sweet Crazy Love
  11. BoA – CAMO
  12. EXID – DDD
  13. Red Velvet – Peek a Boo
  14. Minzy – Ninano
  15. Yuseol – Ocean View
  16. Wanna One – Electric
  17. HyunA – Lip & Hip
  18. Pristin – We Like
  19. Brave Girls – Rollin
  20. Sonamoo – I (Knew It)
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2016 Year End Lists

Top 20 K-Pop Songs of 2016:

  1. Taeyeon – Why
  2. Wonder Girls – Why So Lonely?
  3. Sistar – I Like That
  4. Luna – Free Somebody
  5. HyunA – How’s This?
  6. Tiffany – I Just Wanna Dance
  7. Hyosung – Find Me
  8. Tiffany – Heartbreak Hotel
  9. Twice – TT
  10. 4Minute – Hate
  11. Nine Muses A – Lip 2 Lip
  12. Brave Girls – High Heel
  13. AOA – Good Luck
  14. Yuri & Seohyun – Secret
  15. Berry Good – Don’t Believe
  16. B.A.P. – That’s My Jam
  17. D.Holic – Color Me Rad
  18. T-ara – TIAMO
  19. Hyorin – Paradise
  20. Hyoyeon – Mystery

 

 

Top 15 Europop Songs of 2016:

  1. Alexandra Stan – Step It Up (Romania)
  2. Sweet California – Good Life (Spain)
  3. Zara Larsson – Ain’t My Fault (Sweden)
  4. Egor Kreed – Alarm Clock (Russia)
  5. Alexandra Stan – Coco Banana (Romania)
  6. Serebro – Chocolate (Russia)
  7. Christopher – Limousine (Denmark)
  8. G Girls – Call The Police (Romania)
  9. Marcus & Martinus – Girls (Norway)
  10. Margaret – Elephant (Poland)
  11. Aron – No One Like You (Romania)
  12. Jesper Jenset – High (Norway)
  13. Kendji Girac – C’est Trop (France)
  14. Alvaro Soler – Sofia (Spain)
  15. Elena Temnikova – Schastye (Russia)

 

 

Top 15 ESC-Related Songs of 2016:

  1. Sergey Lazarev – You Are the Only One (Russia – ESC)
  2. Ace Wilder – Don’t Worry (Sweden – MF)
  3. Samir & Viktor – Bada Nakna (Sweden – MF)
  4. Margaret – Cool Me Down (Poland – KE)
  5. Poli Genova – If Love Was a Crime (Bulgaria – ESC)
  6. Lisa Ajax – My Heart Wants Me Dead (Sweden – MF)
  7. Deborah C – All Around the World (Malta – MESC)
  8. Donny Montell – I’ve Been Waiting for This Night (Lithuania – ESC)
  9. Iveta Mukuchyan – LoveWave (Armenia – ESC)
  10. Samra – Miracle (Azerbaijan – ESC)
  11. Gusani Brothers – Poom Poom (Finland – UMK)
  12. Molly Pettersson Hammar – Hunger (Sweden – MF)
  13. Amir – J’ai Cherche (France – ESC)
  14. Robin Bengtsson – Constellation Prize (Sweden – MF)
  15. Xuso Jones – Victorious (Spain – OE)

 

 

Top 15 American Released Songs of 2016:

  1. Thomas Rhett – Playing with Fire
  2. Fifth Harmony – Work from Home
  3. The Chainsmokers – Don’t Let Me Down
  4. Meghan Trainor – No
  5. Chris Young – I’m Coming Over
  6. Little Mix – Touch
  7. LoCash – I Know Somebody
  8. Dierks Bentley – Somewhere On a Beach
  9. MAX – Holla
  10. G.R.L. – Kiss Myself
  11. Dan + Shay – From the Ground Up
  12. Alan Walker – Faded (Tiesto Nothern Lights Remix)
  13. Brett Eldredge – Drunk On Your Love
  14. Calvin Harris – How Deep is Your Love
  15. Florida Georgia Line – Dig Your Roots

 

 

Top 10 Albums of 2016:

  1. Alexandra Stan – ASESTA
  2. Serebro – Power of 3
  3. Taeyeon – Why
  4. Marcus & Martinus – Together
  5. Fifth Harmony – 7/27
  6. Meghan Trainor – Thank You
  7. Little Mix – Glory Days
  8. Alaska Thunderfuck – Poundcake
  9. Florida Georgia Line – Dig Your Roots
  10. Chris Young – I’m Coming Over
  11. Cole Swindell – You Should Be Here
  12. Chris Lane – Girl Problems
  13. Tiffany – I Just Wanna Dance
  14. Thomas Rhett – Tangled Up
  15. Britney Spears – Glory
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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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