It has now become even more evident that Scandinavian pop music has a large following in the UK, despite the fact that 99% of the stuff remains unreleased in this country. And the few times these shores are blessed with the import of a scandipopster, they tend to be quite successful indeed. Nevertheless, until the imminent explosion of scandipop in the UK (it WILL happen one day!!!) it remains something of a cult hit for the time being. And so we’d like to award the best of that music that Scandinavia has offered over the last 12 months – in our first annual scandipop awards!!!
We announced the nominations at the beginning of the year for you to mull over (read the article here: http://www.scandipop.co.uk/?p=322). Well now, here are the winners, along with an explanation of their success;
The 2009 scandipop Awards: The Results
Charlotte Perrelli – ‘Hero’
Put simply, this is nothing short of a Schlager anthem. Perfectly crafted by composers, Fredrik Kempe and Bobby Ljungren, expertly presented to us by a slickly choreographed performance, and flawlessly vocalled by Charlotte herself – this was deservedly track one on the soundtrack to many a scandipop fan’s 2008. It never fails to get an amazing reaction whenever it’s played at the scandipop club nights, or at any of the Eurovision parties that take place throughout the year. Everything about the song is perfect; the subtle opening, the dramatic chorus and key change, it’s a soaring three minute epic! Without a doubt, the best song of 2008.
Danny – ‘Set Your Body Free’
Oops, we still haven’t done our planned review of this astounding album. We will later in the week though, because an album of this calibre simply cannot go without a detailed review!!! ‘Set Your Body Free’ was Danny’s sophomore album released on December 26th. It had an awful lot to live up to, given that Danny’s first album, ‘Heart Beats’ was a master piece in itself. We’d say that ‘Set Your Body Free’ is actually better. Admittedly there are no big singles on there on a par with the likes of ‘Tokyo’, ‘Play It For The Girls’ or ‘If Only You’, but it’s a far more cohesive and consistent album, with a much higher standard of music. There really is not one filler track. Every song has a catchy melody, and a jaw droppingly good backing track. It’s one of the best albums of the dance/pop genre ever made, and definitely our top album of 2008.
This lady has surpassed all expectations in 2008. After a largely ignored debut album which sounded like she was still trying to master her sound, she returned in 2007 with a clutch of new tracks that blew us away! And then in 2008 she gave us some more! ‘Take My Body Close’, ‘Déjà vu’, and ‘Come Into My Life’ were all stellar singles that are a pleasure to listen to. Never have we anticipated an album as much as Velvet’s second album, and it’s due to ‘drop’ later this year, after her third appearance on Melodifestivalen. We’ve given this award to Velvet because she has so obviously raised her game, and has had a 100% strike rate with everything she’s released over the past two years.
We’ve already mentioned his uber album ‘Set Your Body Free’, and that’s the main reason he’s getting this award. But we also consider him Best Male because despite the huge success he achieved in EMD, his part time boyband project over 2007 and 2008, he still came back to give us a second album – which stayed true to the dance/pop sound of his first album, rather than ‘selling out’ and cashing in on the guitar balladry that made EMD so successful. We love it when a pop star knows which side his bread is buttered on!!!
Infernal came back with their fifth album last year, the follow up to ‘From Paris To Berlin’, which was their first album to give them major international success. Like Danny, they had a lot to live up to, but ‘Electric Cabaret’ turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable LP. They achieved that rare feat of managing to progress their sound further with a new album, whilst still maintaining the elements that caused their fans to fall in love with them in the first place. There is no filler on ‘Electric Cabaret’, every track is special. But what impressed us the most was their first take on ballads, a genre which had thus far eluded them. It hasn’t been as successful as their previous album, and hasn’t really taken off anywhere outside of their native Denmark, but we hope that they don’t throw the towel in just yet, and continue doing what they do best – making exceedingly good pop music!
Best New Act of 2008:
We’ve written about Star Pilots quite a few times already on this website, so regular reader will already be familiar with them. We love them because they make the kind of dance music that went out of fashion around three years ago, but that we, and many others, still absolutely adore. So kudos to them for going against what’s ‘in’ and just getting on with making jolly fantastic dance music! Their first single ‘In The Heat Of The Night’ is set for UK release through Hard2Beat later in the year, and they’re participating in this year’s Melodifestivalen with a song called ‘Higher’. So we’re going to be hearing a lot more from them in the coming twelve months. Thankfully!
Brightest New Hope for 2009:
This lovely lady first came to our attention when we first heard her cover version of ‘Mister Mister’, originally by Swedish girlband Wonderland. Her version is the kind of scandipop that makes us very happy indeed – catchy melodies and pulsating faux trance music (we especially love the magical extended version!). Bliss! We’ve played it at the scandipop club nights where it sounds even better – all loud and thudding! We love Belle because she says that she loves colourful, happy pop and tries to present it in a fresh package for the new generation. And we love Belle even more because she cites Aqua and BWO as her influences, as well as the story of Alice In Wonderland (?!?!?!?!). She’s currently working on new music with Pete Hammond, and Dave Pearce who used to work with Ray Hedges. So we’re extremely looking forward to hearing what she comes up with next. Her launch will take place later in the year, and before then, she’s visiting London at the end of January to embark on more work. Something special is brewing! You can listen to Belle’s music here; http://www.myspace.com/belleswe
Best Scandinavian Eurovision Song:
Charlotte Perrelli – ‘Hero’
For the same reasons mentioned above. The song and performance were exceptional!
Best Melodifestivalen 2008 Runner Up:
Linda Bengtzing – ‘Hur Svart KanDetVa’
It had to be good ol’ Linda! She never fails to deliver an amazing pop song whenever she enters Melodifestivalen, and 2008 was no exception to that admirable rule. ‘Hur Svart Kan Det Va’ saw her go direct to the final and gave her the best placing she’s had so far in the contest. Hopefully the next time she enters, she’ll win the whole thing. The song was exactly the sort of jittery, excitable Schlager that we’ve come to expect from her. It’s instantly sing along despite being in a different language (to us anyway!). We really really hope that this lady never turns her back on Schlager – nobody does it better!
Brightest Hope For Melodifestivalen 2009
Velvet – ‘The Queen’
If it’s anything like what she’s given us recently, then it’ll be absolutely amazing. We’re expecting nothing less than a power-dance anthem, the kind of song that is going to break her in the UK. We’re 100% certain that she’s got it in her and we can’t wait until Saturday March 21st when she performs the song for the first time in Heat 3.
Our Most Wanted Return to Melodifestivalen in 2010!!!:
The slightly manic looking Anne-Lie turned in three Melodifestivalen performances this decade, failing to qualify from her heat on all three occasions. Her most recent 2007 participation was a dreary ballad, but it was her appearance in 2004 and 2005 that got us all hot under the collar and anxious for a return to form at some point in the future. On those two occasions she performed two Thomas G:Son compositions – and with some gusto at that! ‘Sa Nara’ in 2005 was probably the most memorable, it saw her perform the song with an ever expanding brown feather boa!!! However, a return to Melodifestivalen is unlikely unfortunately. After failing to progress from her Heat, she sighed wistfully and stated that ‘’Sweden obviously doesn’t like me’’. Well we still love you Anne-Lie, come back!!!
Best Reaction at a scandipop Club Night:
Anna Book – ‘Samba Sambero’
Obviously Charlotte Perrelli’s ‘Hero’ gets the biggest response, it being one of the biggest hits of the year around Europe (it’s still top 20 on Hungary folks!!!), but it’s ‘Samba Sambero’ by Anna Book which gets the most joyous, heart warming, and electric reaction when played. Those genius opening bars which launch into the campest crescendo of beats ever composed (thank you again Mr G:Son!) are always met with screams and arms aloft abandonment. And what more do you want in a club atmosphere. Two years after it was first released, we salute ‘Samba Sambero’ for continuing to gauge that reaction!
And there we have it! A pat on the backs for those who delivered the most enjoyable pop music of 2008, and for those that we expect are going to release the stuff to remember in 2009. Well done all!