It’s time to start talking about Eurovision. Fortsätt läsa
Schlagerfiasko is a big fan of Brandur, so I was thrilled to wake up to the new video for The Illusion Of this morning. Fortsätt läsa
So, after what feels like many years of Carola showing us how much she loves Elvis Presley and Barbra Streisand, she’s finally released the album – Elvis, Barbra & Jag. Frankly, Schlagerfiasko is glad she’s getting it out of her system, and hopes that she’ll move on to what she does best – power ballads and audacious vocal floorfillers (for the gays and gals, at least). But is the album worth getting?
Well, yes and no. I couldn’t understand before how the sounds of Elvis and Barbra could form any coherent connection on a record, and listening to the 12 tracks together, I still feel the same way. It’s clear that this is a deeply personal project for Carola, and she’s spoken about how her parents both loved these singers, which is absolutely wonderful. Carola’s fans will lap this up like everything else she does, but I’m not sure it’s ever going to reach the ecstatic heights of Från nu till evighet.
And that is something that Carola seems to want. She rejected her latest styling ideas because they reminded her too much of her blue outfit for Evighet, so now she’s gone semi-goth – all black and raven feathered, like the daughter of Shirley Bassey and Ozzy Osbourne.
Of course, this doesn’t reflect the music in any way. Well, maybe the Bassey bit. But that’s never a bad thing. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Carola shines on the Streisand tracks, wisely Carola-ing them up rather than trying to be Barbra (although if you haven’t seen Carola’s Yentl routine, you need to click underneath immediately, it really is the highlight you never knew about).
After the perfectly enjoyable openers of Suspicious Minds and In The Ghetto, Carola moves onto Enough Is Enough (No More Tears). This was originally a disco duet for Barbra with Donna Summer, but Carola needs no one else to make this amazing. She wisely leaves the arrangement more or less intact, and it’s fabulous. The Carola disco covers album is long overdue, and she needs to sort it out.
Woman In Love is another Barbra number that is perfect for Carola’s voice. I’m not sure whether it’s my own ambivalence to Elvis’ work that make me favour the Barbra songs, but it could also be that those songs were written for a woman (this one by Carola’s pals, the Bee Gees, no less), and are a better fit.
Carola closes the album not with a bang, but with The Way We Were. For an album obviously created for her parents, this is an apt conclusion. I really hope that, following the tour, this closes the chapter and we can get back on the dancefloor again. Please.
Elvis, Barbra & Jag is available everywhere now.
Goodness me, the eighties are back. Again. I’m not sure I wanted them the first time round, but I know nothing. That said, we had Mrs Thatcher to contend with, while Sweden, erm, didn’t.
Anyway, it isn’t against that backdrop that singer Mimi Oh arrives. She was born in 1986, so can’t remember when Lena Philipsson was dansande i neon or when Lili och Susie’s mama was ringing their bell. Or something.
But she’s done her research well, and new single Kom hit och dansa (‘come here and dance’) is the eighties in three-and-a-half minutes, but with much nice hair and clothes. While Mimi’s heart is firmly in the past, her look is assuredly in the 21st century.
”My music reminds us all that live is there for the living, and that everything is possible,” says Mimi. ”As a young woman, I want to influence girls to believe in themselves.”
The single features on Mimi’s new EP, 1986 (can you see what she did there?), with accompanying songs Tiden läker alla sår (Time heals all pain) and Du och jag (You and me) also firmly rooted in someone’s poodle perm.
Mimi Oh’s single and EP are both available now, and her blog is online here.
As you’d expect, we’re firmly in Happy Days territory in The Playtones’ new album, Rock’n Roll Is King. The clue’s in the title, really… Route 66, American diners where a Coke costs a dime, and jeans turn-ups so high that they’re almost at knee-level.
But stop the Cadillac! Is that schlager I can hear, 50 years too early? Well, not quite. But there’s something about opening track Madeleine that sounds a bit more The King and less like the Jerry Lee Lewis medley at the heart of this album…
And a quick check of the credits reveals that it was written by Thomas G:son! So that’s him and Fredrik Kempe on board. That’s usually enough to entice the most ardent of schlagerfans. Other names include Lionheart writer Karl-Ola Kjellholm (Amy Diamond, The Pusher) and young Jimmy Jansson (Melodifestivalen’s Amanda).
Highlights include the aforementioned Madeleine, as well as The King – that much is obvious. But there’s a sweet melancholy to Another Sad Goodbye, and My Heart Comes Back To You sounds like it needs to be covered by Dolly Parton. This obviously means it is amazing.
You’ll know what to expect if you put this on – but what may surprise you is that you’ll enjoy it…
We’re still in the pre-Melodifestivalen schlager lull, so I’m going back to a release covered a couple of weeks back – Sanna Nielsen’s I’m In Love, which is out today.
First of all, it’s available outside Sweden! That in itself is cause for celebration, so you can log straight onto iTunes and download. Super. If you want to hear a few snips first, visit www.tjuvlyssna.nu to hear 30-second clips. Bookmark that site, if you haven’t been there before – it features many Lionheart releases before they hit the shelves, so it’s a great way to see what’s coming up.
This year’s stunning Melodifestivalen entry, I’m In Love, is on there of course, joined by Devotion and Part Of Me – songs that have already been out for some time. The three together are a fabulous introduction to English-language Sanna, and set the tone for the rest of the album.
Stand-out tracks include the upbeat Demolition Woman (Sanna sorting out the men around her) and Foolish Heart (full-on self-flagellation as a response to previous album Stronger‘s Nobody Without You).
And then there’s the three-minute This Time Love Is Real – a possible alternative entry for Melodifestivalen? It’s certainly different from I’m In Love, more relaxed and certainly less epic. Sanna knows what she’s doing, though – it would still have gone down a storm.
This album is Sanna in reflective mood, moving on to the next stage of her career (and working a fabulous blonde crop as she does it). A nice, mature sound that doesn’t take risks. If you’re looking for Bengtzing’s 152bpm stylings, then Sanna isn’t the woman for you. What she does deliver, in spades, is classy, reflective pop.
Sanna is out and about in Sweden!
Saturday 5th March – signing at Åhléns Huvudentrén, Stockholm, kl. 14:00
Sunday 6th March – signing at Västerport Gallerian, Nyköping, kl. 14:00
15th anniversary tour starts in Bromölla (Sanna’s hometown) on 24th March. Tickets from Ticnet here!
The thought of doing the round-up of comments from the first listens is actually making me feel a bit sick this morning, so I’m not going to bother. Instead, the marvellous Damien of Swedish Stereo fame has done it (translation – he obviously took the time to write rather than going out drinking, like I did).
Instead, I’m going to sum up each review by taking one phrase from each of my own homeboys. Ahem. And those four gentlemen are:
Ken Olausson and Ronny Larsson from QX magazine, aka Schlagerprofilerna
Torbjörn Ek from Aftonbladet
Anders Nunstedt from Expressen
Melody Club – The Hunter
Ken & Ronny: ”Känns det mitten mer än toppen eller botten.”
Tobbe: ”The Ark… Mika… Toto… John Farnham.”
Anders: ”Inte imponerande.”
Julia Alvgard – Better Or Worse
Ken & Ronny: ”Helt chanslös. Åtta.”
Tobbe: ”Behövt lite mindre plastighet.”
Anders: ”Tände jag inte heller på.”
Lasse Stefanz – En blick och nånting händer
Ken & Ronny: ”Stor hit på Sandgrund.”
Tobbe: ”Trall-schlager som kommer spelas på alla Finlandsfärjor framöver.”
Anders: ”Kan bli en dark horse.”
Linda Pritchard – Alive
Ken & Ronny: ”Stora ballad signerad Kempe.”
Tobbe: ”Starkast i en ganska svårsjungen låten.”
Anders: ”Riskerar att landa på en vattenfestival utanför Gdansk.”
Anders Fernette – Run
Ken & Ronny: ”Radiorockig.”
Tobbe: ”Lite svårt att komma igång.”
Anders: ”Tjatig JC-rock.”
Linda Bengtzing – E det fel på mej?
Ken & Ronny: ”Schlager till 100%.”
Tobbe: ”Hon har hittat mannen med rätt kemi och rätt fysik.”
Anders: ”Energiska powerschlager.”
Nicke Borg – Leaving Home
Ken & Ronny: ”Bland de fyra som går vidare.”
Tobbe: ”Gin tonic-publiken vill få något lite rockigare i finalen.”
Anders: ”Smörigt gitarrsolo.”
Love Generation – Dance Alone
Ken & Ronny: ”Absolute Dance.”
Tobbe: ”Mer 80-taltjejsrock mixat med disco.”
Anders: ”Kan tjejerna bara sjunga live.”