Melodifestivalen 2010 has been a controversial one to say the least. And that was even before we all learned of the eventual fate of its winner at the Eurovision Song Contest in May.

The most overwhelming complaint aimed at Melodifestivalen this year has been from its biggest fans – and that’s a combination of there being too few of the traditional schlager songs, and too many other songs that just weren’t good enough. And to a certain extent that’s true. But we do feel that Melodifestivalen 2010 gets a bit of a raw deal.

Firstly, it was the victim of taking place in the year that something had to change. After last decade’s run of spectacular shows and magnificent music, Sweden and its press started to heap a large amount of criticism towards SVT and Christer Bjorkman. They said that it was all getting too samey, that it was unfair that the same composers, and to a lesser extent the same artists, kept being used every year, and that it was about time some new songwriters were given a chance of success and a share in the limelight. So Melodifestivalen 2010 became a bit of an experiment. New songwriters and new artists were given a shot. And some of the more popular songwriters and artists found their entries rejected. As a result, the type of songs competing changed.

Secondly, this alteration of the music normally might have fitted in and gone by unnoticed, had it not followed two years of the contest that were such fan favourites. The 2008 and 2009 Melodifestivalens featured heavily exactly the kind of music that its fans love so much, and that the press were getting tired of. And so the contrast was so great, that Melodifestivalen 2010 instantly appears as being so much of a lesser year, that it becomes a bad year. But it wasn’t really a bad year. Granted, it obviously wasn’t a brilliant year, but it WAS still a good selection of songs. Some amazing, some good, some not so good. Like every year.

With the benefit of having over four months to allow the dust to settle, we’ve revisited the 32 songs and compiled them into order of our favourite. And we can now present to you our top 20 songs of Melodifestivalen 2010!

If you haven’t watched the performances since the show aired, then perhaps this will be a good way for you to either get re-acquainted with the ones that you enjoyed, or give a second chance to the ones you didn’t! And also, if you missed the contest altogether, or are totally new to the many wonders of Melodifestivalen, then this countdown is certainly a good introduction to this year’s contest at least.

20. ‘Manipulated’ by Hanna Lindblad

A storming great club track, this is wonderful to dance to on a night out. It doesn’t try to be sing-along, which is just as well, because it doesn’t really have any sort of melody or tune to it – and thus doesn’t sound as good on your iPod as it does in a club. But we like it regardless. It’s got bundles of energy to it, demonstrated by the really quite brilliant performance of it that Hanna gives. And it manages to stand out as something very different amongst the 32 songs in the competition.

19. ‘I Did It For Love’ by Jessica Andersson

We didn’t really get this at first. It wasn’t until she performed it at andra chansen that we sat up and took note. Perhaps it was the change of hairstyle, more likely it was the extra conviction she gave it. But the song itself suffers when it’s being played without the visuals of her performance – we much prefer it live, to the studio version. But it’s still a good song. And we reckon it’ll grow on us even more in the future. This has become one of the bigger radio hits of the competition though, and actually topped the Swedish airplay chart as recently as last month!

18. ‘Underbart’ by Kalle Moraeus and Orsa Spelman

This is just charming through and through. So melodious, so uplifting, and at times, a tad comedy! That bridge and key change has to be heard to be believed, particularly when you watch it live! Not usually our type of thing at all, so it’s a testament to the song that we enjoy it so much.

17. ‘Doctor Doctor’ by Elin Lanto

We were sorely disappointed with this at first. Only because we’d had such high expectations from Elin though. We like it a lot more now though. But it sounds much better when played alongside the rest of her album, than as a standalone track at Melodifestivalen. It just suits that context more. It should have been left as an album track though, and should never have been entered into Melodifestivalen – an opinion that Elin, her record label, and the song’s composer Tony Nilsson, all agreed with when we met them earlier in the year. The song was actually submitted to the competition by Tony’s publisher.

16. ‘Road Salt’ by Pain of Salvation

Another type of song that isn’t usually our thing at all – so it’s a testament to it that we like it so much. It’s a beautiful song. Eerily pretty and effortlessly moving, it’s a stunning listen. And his vocal delivery of those lyrics, is touching. Incidentally, this song was Elin Lanto’s favourite of the competition this year.

15. ‘Unstoppable’ by Ola

Bouncey, boppy, but not brilliant. We expected a lot more from Ola. Another ‘Natalie’ perhaps, given that she’s name checked in the official title. Nevertheless, it’s become one of the bigger hits from the contest, and we seem to be in the minority in not being bowled over by it. We did love his energetic performance of it though, and we do LIKE the song, we just don’t love it like we’d hoped we would.

14. ‘We Can Work It Out’ by Andreas Johnson

An anthemic rock ballad. We love all the orchestral drama in the background when it gets big. And the softer, moodier bits are just as good. This is probably our favourite out of all of Andreas’ Melodifestivalen entries.

13. ‘You’re Out Of My Life’ by Darin

Darin’s debut in the contest, he went into it a big favourite. Him not winning his heat was a big shock, but he still managed to finish in the top half of the final. The song itself is great. An eighties pastiche of a ballad, composed by Tony Nilsson, and showcasing how great a lot of Tony’s songs have been over the last 12 months. We love the eighties feel to it, and you can imagine a video with leather trousers, steam, and big hair, when you hear the opening bars. Our favourite part though, is Darin’s glory note in the final chorus. Brilliant.

12. ‘Innen Alla Ljusen Brunnit Ut’ by Anna Maria Espinosa

Another gorgeous ballad. But one that’s totally different to anything else in the competition. It’s more alternative, the music is more soulful, and the melodies are structured less traditionally. The studio version of this is lush, but the live version of it was atrocious, with Anna Maria totally messing up the live vocal. It was grating having to listen to her, which explains why the song finished last in its heat. The song itself deserved to progress in the competition, but the performance didn’t.

11. ‘Hollow’ by Peter Joback

The most dramatic three minutes of music this year! The key changes started in the first chorus, and we lost count at around five, maybe six?! It’s a beautiful three minutes though. Moving lyrics made all the more sentimental in a pleading melody sung with a heartbroken melody. Everything from the mini middle eight onwards is particularly special. Those final choruses are just amazing!

10. ‘This Is My Life’ by Anna Bergendahl

Anna, Anna, Anna. The winner of this year’s contest. And whilst it’s not our winner, we do still like it a lot. The opening guitar chords still give us a calming sensation of bliss. It’s hard to say why we like it so much. We can’t really comment on any particular part of it, like we can with other songs in this countdown. But it’s just a great song. We can’t pinpoint why exactly, there’s just something rather special about it. Which is probably why it won and stayed atop the Swedish charts for over a month.

09. ‘Keep On Walking’ by Salem Al Fakir

Such a joyful song. Head nodding, top tapping, and sing-a-long. A joy inspired of course by Salem’s adorably merry performance of it. The music in this at times sounds like it’s from an epic sci-fi film. And the whole song is just as magical.

08. ‘Come and Get Me Now’ by Highlights and MiSt

Dansband schlager! We love this sort of thing. The melodies and music in this, sound like they’ve been designed with one purpose in mind – to lift the spirits of the listener. And they really do. It’s effortlessly sing-a-long. We don’t ever want the day to arrive when songs like this aren’t included in Melodifestivalen anymore.

07. ‘Human Frontier’ by Neo

What a debut! This man bounded on to the stage full of regal and majestic swagger, microphone in one hand, decorative cane in the other. He smiled, winked, nodded, and greeted every single camera angle with correct precision, exuding a calm confidence with each one. His was the blueprint of how one should deliver their song on such a famous stage. And the song was equally as charming too. Utterly frantic synths and beats, he vocally straddled them with ease – performing an uplifting pop song, whilst veering between normal vocal and impossible falsetto. ‘Human Frontier’ is so much fun!

06. ‘Stop’ by Sibel

A shockingly different change of direction for Sibel. Two years on from her first appearance at Melodifestivalen, she went from virginal lovestruck belle, to a fucked over hot mess, demanding answers and decisions from the man she once longed for! And we loved it! The music fidgeted and flitted between start and stop, electro and pop, and even had an amazing middle eight that sounded like it should have been in a song from her first album. Brilliant. And of course there were the two false endings that made the audience confused about when to applaud, resulting in more or less no applause in the end – echoed in its 7th place finish.

05. ‘The Saviour’ by Anders Ekborg

We love this one so much! But have yet to meet anyone that shares our opinion. Even friends think it’s insane that we like it so much. But it’s brilliant! The overblown drama of it is irresistible. And it’s half musical theatre, half schlager. We have two favourite parts; where the second chorus comes in arms wide, balls out, confident march, and knowing grin! And then that last note, that has not one, not two, but three false endings in the music. It’s anthemic stuff.

04. ‘Headlines’ by Alcazar

Old favourites Alcazar. Their biggest fans actually wanted them to stay away from the contest this year. After all, how could they top the now legendary ‘Stay The Night’, only one year on? They couldn’t of course, and they didn’t. But we don’t think they ever set out to. They were offered the chance to compete, and in truth, Alcazar love nothing more than being out there on stage performing, bringing a certain kind of camp joy to their fans. So they agreed to it. And us fans got the brilliant ‘Headlines’, with a performance polished and executed amazingly even by Alcazar standards. It might have given them their worst MF result so far, but it’s a song that we’ve thoroughly enjoyed this year. From the string intro, there’s a sense of excitement that builds throughout, culminating in that explosive last chorus.

03. ‘Jag Vill Om Du Våger’ by Pernilla Wahlgren

Pernilla was the saviour this year for many. For those that like nothing better from Melodifestivalen, than a legendary schlager dame making a comeback with a modern schlager track. And she delivered. Some could criticise this for being schlager by numbers. But that’s like saying Jelly Babies are sugar by numbers – it’s why we love them so much!!! When we saw Pernilla’s name on tha list of unfamiliar 32 artists competing this year, we knew exactly what we wanted from her. We hoped we’d get it. And she delivered. Right up to the gold sequinned dress, the hunky backing dancers, and the glorious key change!

02. ‘Manboy’ by Eric Saade

Eric has been without a doubt the breakthrough star of 2010 in Sweden. And it all started with this performance. He won his heat of course, and finished second in the final. But the song is the biggest selling single of the year so far in Sweden. It’s catchy, it’s got bundles of energy, and it commands your attention for the whole three minutes. It was a mesmerising performance too, and will go down in history as one of the greatest moments in Melodifestivalen of all time. Yes, really!

01. ‘Kom’ by Timoteij

Pure bliss from start to finish. We were hooked after the first two seconds. Everything about this is perfect. Everything! Every note, every key, every riff, every melody. The repetition in the chorus. The synths. The instruments. It’s just a delightful pop song. By far the best this year. And the intro still gives us goosebumps. Well done girls!

You can discuss this at our forum here.

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