Finally we’ve got our hands on one of our most anticipated albums in recent months; the debut album from Eric Saade, ‘Masquerade’. Released in Sweden tomorrow, it’s shaping up to be absolutely massive. We’ve been witnessing first hand just how high Eric fever has been getting here in Sweden over the last few months. Be it outdoor gigs, filming tv shows with a studio audience, or doing signings at shopping malls, a certain kind of hysteria has been following him around everywhere he goes (or at least as hysterical as the reserved Swedes will allow themselves to get!). His single ‘Manboy’ has been the biggest selling single in Sweden for quite some time, and his performance of the song from Melodifestivalen has been getting between 10 and 20 times as many hits on youtube than most of the other performances from the show. He’s even getting more views than the show’s winner Anna Bergendahl! And as an added bonus, he’s also started to build excitement outside of his native Sweden too, and has been getting some attention from other UK music blogs.
But for us and many others, the most important thing in all of this is always how good the music actually is. So far we’ve only had ‘Manboy’ and its preceeding single ‘Sleepless’ to go by. Both brilliant songs of course, but it’s all down to how the album shapes up really. And our verdict?………It shapes up very nicely indeed! It’s a terrific debut. It’s got all the fun of ‘Manboy’, is packed full of potential hits, and sees Eric continue down the route that he started with his first two singles – disco pop! It’s a very strong album overall, and we’re proud as punch, as we backed him all the way from the beginning, when we awarded him with the ‘Brightest New Hope of 2010’ title at the 2010 scandipop awards back in early January!
Five months on, here’s our track by track review of his debut album;
A brilliant album opener. It’s got a powerhouse intro that gives a perfect indication of what you’re going to be getting with this record. The best thing about this song is the ultra dramatic string riff that dominates throughout. The strings are backed by BIG drums too. Melody wise, there are stronger songs on the rest of the album. But the production is adorable, and the general atmosphere of the song epitomises the album – big, bold, uptempo pop!
More lush strings here. The verses start out backed mainly by said strings, then some beats creep in, and then everything is turned up full for the chorus – maximum bpm, shouty vocals, and even bigger drums than in the previous song! And as with the last song, it’s the music and the production that blow you away here rather than the melodies – but fear not, the melody has its fair share of spotlight time coming up!
Break of Dawn
The album’s first ballad and Eric’s next single. This is a composition by Fredrik Kempe and Eric himself. It starts off as your typical pretty ballad, and then the chorus takes on the form of the more modern ballad – beat laden like the likes of ‘Halo’, ‘Bleeding Love’, and ‘Already Gone’. And as you’d expect from a Fredrik Kempe slow song, it’s a beauty! We loved Eric’s vocals here too.
It’s Gonna Rain
And THIS ladies and gents, is the album’s finest moment! A wonderful Fredrik Kempe penned schlager belter! It starts off as a slowy, then the electro beat comes in. And the chorus is massive, on a par with ‘Manboy’. Each time we’ve listened to this, we get the overwhelming impression that it was tailored to sound like a schlager version of Madonna’s ‘Hung Up’! And what could be better than listening to a schlager interpretation of a pop song that was itself an interpretation of a schlager song! Genius!
You all know this one by now. And if you don’t, well here’s all you need to see;
Slow time again. And this sounds like all those ballads that were produced when the UK and US sent their pop acts to Sweden to work with Swedish songwriters at the turn of the century. This is a great pop ballad, but we do prefer Eric a lot more when he’s rocking out on his uptempo numbers. It sounds like he prefers that too!
And speaking of which, here’s what was Eric’s debut single, and what made us fall in love with his music first of all.
I’ll Be Alright
Hmmm, the only track on here that we’re not particularly fond of. It’s a guitar based, mid-tempo offering. To us, it’s very forgettable, but it’ll probably appeal to some of his younger fans that don’t yet appreciate the amazingness of disco pop!
Now this is more like it! Another brilliant uptempo stomper. This sounds like a cross between Britney’s ‘If U Seek Amy’ and ‘Up’ by The Saturdays. And the electro synths are really ramped up on here. And yet again, Eric sounds right at home vocally. He’s really found a sound that suits him so well.
Why Do We Need Fashion
Hooray – full on club anthem here! This is Eric’s furthest venture into dance music, and it also provides the album with one of its catchiest hooks. Once again, the chorus is big, the melodies are addictive, and the music is wonderfully intrusive. This is what we wanted the album to sound like, and we’re very happy that it delivers.
It’s Like That With You
The record closes with a slow song, and is the album’s best ballad. It’s an understated, piano led, love song. And not only is it the album’s finest ballad musically, but also lyrically too. The words really stand out. It’s the perfect album closer, similar to the track ‘Singing Goodbye’, that closed Elin Lanto’s current LP.
What a splendid album we have here! Scandinavian pop music at its finest and most fun. Long may he reign!