Sean Banan – Sean den förste banan
There’s been a lot of discussion about whether Sean’s song will be understood by people who don’t come from Sweden. But just think the theme tune to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and you’ve got it. Sean isn’t a recent arrival to Sweden – he’s lived there for the vast majority of his life after his parents moved from Iran. So while I appreciate the message he’s trying to convey (sort of) about still feeling like an outsider in his own home, it rings a little hollow when someone like Loreen, also from a similar background (her family moved to Sweden from Morocco), uses her cultural heritage to subtler effect. That said, Rickard Engfors’ choreography and costume design are fabulous, and the song is a lot of fun (”IKEA: jävla bra, Carola: inte så bra”). But it doesn’t contain the great message about the state of multicultural society that some think it does. Fart and arse jokes an’ all. And that’s the crux – people overseas get the wrong impression, as I probably have. Sweden: ja, Eurovision: nej.
Abalone Dots – På väg
Poor Dots. Having to follow Sean Banan, they haven’t got a hope. It’s a sweet country song about the pain of love. And it sounds like they’re hurting bad…
The Moniker – I Wanna Be Chris Isaak (This Is Just The Beginning)
Given that I really didn’t like last year’s Oh My God, I actually don’t mind this. The lyrics – wistful musings on the state of Moniker’s masculinity – are incisive, bundled up in… well, here’s where the problem is. There’s no hook – no strong chorus, no loop to get in your head. Even the key change is lacklustre and barely there. I feel a bit sorry for him!
Afro-Dite – The Boy Can Dance
OLD SCHOOL SCHLAGER IS BACK. This is amazing. This is what Melodifestivalen used to be like, in the days before men were “growling” on stage. Look, I know it’s hopelessly outdated, but I don’t care. The Afro-Dite girls haven’t changed their sound in any way, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Admit it, you will be on the dance floor to this.
Dead By April – Mystery
Hang on, I thought Sean Banan was the comedy entry? This is a lot funnier. Seriously, what is this? 90s boyfriend versing has been “mashed up” (as the kidz call it) with something called “growl”, which is apparently a genre. It’s just someone putting himself at the risk of serious laryngitis. I hope the Deads can pretend this never happened, or else they’ll be laughed out of their next festival by furious metal heads. I actually know a couple (believe it or not). They thought this was some kind of piss-take. There’s a key change! Ha ha ha ha ha.
Marie Serneholt – Salt & Pepper
This is SO much better than I imagined. Marie goes mambo. It’s a lot less like Alesha Dixon’s The Boy Does Nothing than I first thought – there’s also a lot of Mambo No 5 in the verses! There’s nothing original about Salt & Pepper, but it’s fantastically catchy – little girls are going to be screaming “salt and pepper” all weekend long after hearing this. And so will I!
Thorsten Flinck och Revolutionsorkestern – Jag reser mig igen
Despite the lyric being one of not being knocked down by life, this sounds like Thorsten is having a breakdown of sorts. A bit of nasty reality about life in the middle of the schlager bubble.
Loreen – Euphoria
Yes, this is fantastic. Three minutes of pumping house, and the performance is going to be stunning. But let’s not kid ourselves that this is a breakthrough track. Tina Cousins has been doing similar for a long time. Loreen is amazing, and can do no wrong in my ears. But as Sober showed us, she’s capable of so much better – this is almost like a step back, further than My Heart Is Refusing Me. I can see now why she had reservations about entering the contest. It still deserves a final place, but may struggle. Sigh.
So, what have we got? Thorsten Flinck’s mid-life crisis and The Moniker’s early-onset mid-life crisis. The lost Abalone Dots girls and the resolutely old-style Afro-Dites – almost as old skool as Sean Banan’s cultural viewpoint. The Dead boys are very confused about what their sound is, while Loreen’s heart is refusing her. And Marie Serneholt is pouring heaps of condiment over the top.
I can’t wait for tonight!