Duncan Laurence – Someone Else

Did you watch the Eurovision special ‘Shine A Light’ yesterday evening? It was a broadcast that went all across Europe as a replacement to this year’s cancelled Eurovision Song Contest. It was a sombre reminder of the state of affairs that we are all going through now. But it also showed the hope and resilience humanity has, and still found a way to celebrate music. This performance from last year’s winner was quite gorgeous, so I’m sharing it with you all. I hope you enjoy.

Duncan Laurence

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New Music: ohFrank

If you are familiar with your Swedish pop you may recognise that one half of ohFrank is Robin Stjernberg, singer and songwriter extraordinaire. This sound marks a slight shift from Robin’s sound, with a playful and lighthearted take on indie pop that is perfect for the summer months ahead.

“We want to give an honest reflection of the world we live in. To inspire culture shifts, invite or force change, to make people think. Music used to stand for something and be the great observer of society – we want to try and bring that back.”

ohFrank

Melanie Wehbe – Nothing

In addition to being a mega-talented songwriter (having worked on the likes of Jasmine Sokko, The Mamas (Eurovision 2020), Leonora (Eurovision 2019) plus two winner songs for Swedish Idol (being ‘Rain’ by Tusse and ‘Treading Water’ by Chris Kläfford), Melanie Wehbe is a talented singer in her own right.

We could be seeing one of the brightest Swedish exports to emerge for some time, with a subtle pop sound that’s easy to connect with, no matter who you are or what you enjoy listening to.

“I think most of us are familiar with the feelings of uncertainty and powerlessness. The frustration that appears when we realise that we can’t change a situation or a relationship. At the end of the day we know nothing at all.”

Melanie Wehbe

KEiiNO – Would I Lie (feat. Electric Fields)

Admittedly this isn’t something I usually feature on the site but it’s such a pop banger that I had to share it with you. Specially in these grim times, a bop like this could lift the spirits a little.

The song features KEiiNO – who placed first with the public vote at Eurovision 2019 with ‘Spirit In The Sky’ while Electric Fields are an ARIA-nominated outfit who merge Aboriginal culture with electro sounds.

KEiiNO | Electric Fields Music

Watch: FELIX SANDMAN – BOYS WITH EMOTIONS (Live at Melodifestivalen)

This song is on a six-week journey to compete as Sweden’s entry for Eurovision this year. Personally I love the concept, so I would be happy to see it win.

FELIX SANDMAN

Didirri – Raw Stuff

“I instantly remembered the half-written song I never finished, and suddenly it all made sense. Part two. ‘Raw Stuff’ instantly falls into two parts. The first half is my side of miscommunication, and the second my reaction to hearing they felt the same.”

Didirri

New Music: Kristin Husøy

Norwegian pop with an essence of bluegrass. This song in particular is competing to represent the country at this year’s Eurovision, and I think it’s got a strong chance.

Kristin Husøy

New Music: Gabrielius Vagelis

I stumbled across this dark pop gem from Lithuania over the weekend (it’s competing to represent the country in Eurovision this year). While it’s sung in its native language it felt too good not to share.

Gabrielius Vagelis

New Music: Jennifer Cohen

Charmingly delicate yet playful Estonian pop. This track is a contender to represent the country in 2020’s edition of Europe’s biggest music show, the Eurovision Song Contest.

Jennifer

Albania’s got a new Dua Lipa… And you should watch out for her!

You may have heard of Eurovision? If you haven’t then check the link and read more about it. Anyway, Albania has competed a few times (with varying degrees of success), and this week saw the start of their competition to select the song that will go on to represent the country for Eurovision in May 2020.

Tonight saw Elvana Gjata perform her entry, and as you can see – it’s not in the budget or scale of a Dua Lipa production but there’s no denying this kid has something special.

We’ll find out on Sunday night if she was successful in having her performance represent Albania at Eurovision.

These songs have made Eurovision relevant again this year…

It’s the start of Eurovision week (i.e. the world’s biggest music show), and for someone who follows the show for the fun rather than the music, this year I’ve been surprised by the number of countries submitting songs that could easily be on radio playlists.

Here’s some which have stood out to me – and as it happens, these are the main favourites to win…. Maybe Eurovision is starting to push for more current sounds again?

Duncan Lawrence – Netherlands (intense, minimal ballad with haunting elements).

Mahmood – Italy (my personal favourite this year from a talent who was featured in the past, this is punchy pop with angst).

Katerine Duska – Greece (the most beautifully melodic indie pop, along the lines of Florence & The Machine with a distinctive vocal).

Conan Osiris – Portugal (the most conceptual and idiosyncratic song this year, this feels better suited to an art installation at Tate Modern than Eurovision).

Michela – Malta (if Dua Lipa had a go at Eurovision, this would absolutely be it).

Hatari – Iceland (this has caused the biggest reaction this year- nothing is off limits with this group… It’s a bold electro/ goth/ synth sound that makes an impact from the start)

John Lundvik – Sweden (gospel pop with a mildly euphoric edge).

Luca Hänni – Switzerland (this is your standard bubblegum pop with big beats and catchy hooks).

And to be honest there’s a few more, but head on over to Eurovision’s website to check them out.

The Semi Final’s are on Tuesday 14th and Thursday 16th May, with the Grand Final on Saturday 18th May. It’s broadcast across most countries globally, so check it out!

New Music: Michela

A slightly unusual post this time… Michela is the latest winner for Malta’s edition of X Factor. Aside from a strong set of vocals on this talent, she’s also been selected to represent the country at this year’s Eurovision with a song that feels quite current for the show.

Michela Pace

Did France find it’s new Adele?

France is in the middle of choosing it’s entry for Eurovision 2019, and last night Seemone was presented as one of the contenders.

She ended up winning the entire heat with a simple and heartbreaking song that clearly meant a lot to the singer. Meaningful and beautiful pop doesn’t happen this often anymore.

The final is next Saturday evening and it’s well worth a watch.

Blanche – Moment

Track of the week. Blanche gained fame last year after representing Belgium at Eurovision.

While she didn’t win (the song she performed was considered ahead of it’s time for a music contest that has a notorious reputation for showing off the Continent’s cheesier side), she has continued to develop her uniquely dark pop sound…

Blanche

Mikolas Josef – Me Gusta

One of the more noted acts emerging from this year’s Eurovision, Mikolas Josef returns with a massive pop effort.

Benjamin Ingrosso – Dance You Off (LiTek Remix)

Benjamin finally gets to represent Sweden at tomorrow’s Eurovision semi-final. It’ll be a good one, check it out!

Benjamin Ingrosso | LiTek

This year’s Eurovision is serving some of it’s most current pop in years…

Let’s get this straight first – Eurovision (to those who aren’t familiar, this is a huge annual TV contest that Europe takes part in every May where one European country – or Australia – tries to win with a song) is notorious for showing off more cheese than edgy music. This year though, truth be told, there is a decent selection of some fun pop tracks…

 

Sweden – Dance You Off

  • Good – This is probably as edgy as Eurovision gets this year. Also, it’s from the team at the hugely successful TEN music production company.
  • Bad – Sweden do so well in this contest that the expectations are always so high for them.

 

 

 

Cyprus – Fuego

  • Good – Catchy, sassy sound.
  • Bad – Probably won’t translate well on a large arena stage.

 

 

Israel – TOY

  • Good – Easy, fun pop.
  • Bad – Chicken sounds?

 

 

 

 

Belgium – A Matter Of Time

  • Good – Belgium is forging a reputation for performing well-produced, minimal pop to this contest.
  • Bad – It’s probably too understated for a show that relies on big performances.

 

 

 

 

The show goes live on the 12th May from Lisbon. Here’s more.

 

Sweden’s entry for Eurovision this year is quite fantastic…

Sweden selected it’s entry for this year’s Eurovision last night. I think it was a well-deserved track. The production is just so slick – you wouldn’t think this was all done live!

Benjamin Ingrosso

New Music: Felix Sandman

 

Track of the week. This song was entered into Sweden’s Melodifestivalen this week and didn’t quite manage to get to the final (the winner represents the country at Eurovision). This was the performance…

 

 

I am stunned – this is by far superior to anything I’ve heard from Sweden in the way of ballads for quite some time.

There’s still a very slim chance of it winning, but in any case, it’s won me.

FELIX SANDMAN

2017’s Random List

Now in it’s sixth edition (yep… I’ve been around that long), my Random List seems to be the most visited post on this blog every ear.

Due to life being hectic I haven’t had much time to reflect on the last twelve months much, but I feel that while people are claiming new music is losing it’s direction – well, it’s good to shake things up every so often.

I’ve found myself mostly being drawn to pop in 2017, although there was a lack of those ‘massive’ hit singles that we usually see in previous years. Nonetheless, credit given where it’s deserved…

Banger Of The Year

The older I get, the more I start to dig Justin Bieber. I don’t know why. It is what it is. I think this is one of the best radio hits of the year.

Trend Of The Year

Hot British guys who manage to blend RnB with soul and funk, each of them in a very unique and painfully cool way. You’ve got Zak Abel, SG Lewis, Tom Misch, Toulouse, Louis Mattrs, Jarreau Vandal… The list goes on. And actually, I am near obsessed with each of these guys.

Scandi Country To Have Perfected Pop

Norway (they managed this accolade back in 2015 as well). I mean it couldn’t be anywhere else this year. In the last year we’ve seen some excellent music from Astrid S, SigridDagny, dePresno, Smerz… The country even has it’s own museum dedicated to pop (it’s the cool building you see up there). That’s saying something. Check out my full list of Norwegian talent here.

Best Hair

ALMA! Finnish talent has never been so exciting! The hair’s even got it’s own (amazing) song.

Most Tear-Jerking Music Moment

Portugal’s Salvador Sobral winning Eurovision this year. Whatever you think of this TV show, the kid (who was struggling with heart problems) single handedly commanded a huge arena and a whole world to listen to this blissful and simple melody.

Best Track Not Sung In English

Cezinando’s ‘Håper du har plass’ is undoubtedly my most loved song of the year. Entirely in Norwegian (see, Norway getting another mention on the same List), this mellow hip hop sound mixed with some strings had me emotional all the way through. I still feel warm when I listen to it now. And it took his home country by storm too. Just look at the love from the crowd on this…

Best Gig

Jessie Reyez put on a very short set at London’s tiny Miranda venue back in May this year, and the buzz in the room was inspiring. Powerful vocals, intensely sharp lyrics and beautiful melodies.

Most Played On My iTunes

Yep – Swedish music had to make an entry on this list somewhere. I honestly don’t know what the deal is with We The Kids aside from the fast that they released this great piece of Scandi pop earlier in the year, and that they came from the Tenacity label which is run by mega-important Swedish production company Ten. Believe it or not, this clocked up 170 plays on my iTunes since July so I really hope more comes in 2018!

Likely To Be Huge In 2018

This is a tricky one because there’s a few on my radar. I think a safe bet will be the UK’s Tom Walker. I’ve seen him live a few times this year and I honestly think he has great mainstream appeal.

But I also want to mention a Danish talent called Maximillian, who’s been on my radar for some time and I can’t fault any of his releases to date…

And there we have it! I hope you’re all as excited as I am about the next twelve months, and thank you for logging on and enjoying the music that I post – it gives me so much life!

For previous editions of The Random List, head here.