Evrovizijska laboratorija Zanimljivosti

Melodifestivalen: What’s up with that?! (1/2)

Given that this year’s competition is held in Sweden’s southernmost city, we thought it would be interesting to highlight some tracks that not many people know, but which remained shining like pearls in the dark, remaining somewhere in the semi-finals of Sweden’s Melodifestivalen (the national competition for Eurovision Song Contest).

Melodifestivalen (serb. Festival melodije) can be freely seen as a social phenomenon of this northern country. It is a music festival with an extremely long tradition, which changed in step with the Eurovision Song Contest itself. In the last couple of years, on several occasions, the Eurovision Song Contest has kept pace with it, so you should really find out why this festival is so popular up there. The Swedes, first of all, call it “hela Sveriges fest” which translates as “the party of the whole of Sweden” and I think that everything fits into that platitude already.

The so-called “Melokaravan” passes through different Swedish cities from weekend to weekend, presenting several songs from semi-final to semi-final. This nationwide party lasts more than a month – 6 festival nights, which are actually 6 consecutive Saturdays. The winner is decided last, of course. Melody has had an international character for years, because year after year it invites a foreign jury to vote for their candidates in the final. Serbia, for example, was one of the members twice — already in 2010 and this year. The famous Swedish festival has a mainstream note, which defines it in the first place and which now defines it, unfortunately.

Once upon a time, Melodifestivalen was a gathering place for experiments, new projects, highly integrated performances and dictators of trends. The current problem of the same is being stuck in the currents of everything and everything modern, where in the last three years we are continuously flooded with generic pop songs, ballads, rock songs, country, folk… Whatever genre you turn to – it’s generic and you’ve seen it before. On the other hand, for the Swedes, playing the same card pays off so well every time, because they enjoy enormous sympathy with the expert jury. The secret lies behind it.

However, we decided to put in the spotlight this time some tracks that Sweden missed, with which it may have missed the opportunity to be regarded as an alternative country, freed from norms, boring tunes and performances. We want to show that Swedes can be themselves.

The avant-garde of its era

This would be the first category, where we would place perhaps at first glance the strangest, most unpredictable tracks, which in the years that appeared on Melfest introduced a breath of fresh sound, perhaps unknown to the ear of an average Eurovision fan.

All the better connoisseurs of this competition well remember Salem Al-Fakir and his extraordinary uptempo ballad Keep on walkin’, with which he took second place in 2010. He would also be followed by the vice-champion from 2014 — Ace Wilder. With her song, inspired by the phenomenon of glorifying idleness, laziness and instrumentalization based on the then popular Swedish hit I love it by the Icona Pop group, she became a huge favorite not only that year, but every year after that she was considered a big name at Melodifestivalen.

Through the Svensktoppen nästa mini-competition, trio EKO ran for the representative of Sweden in 2014, where he presented a synth-pop gem called Red. Hitmakers Joy and Linnea Debb are behind it. We would also add the country icon Amanda Fondell, who tried her hand in 2013 with the dark song of the occult note Dumb. However, it seems to have been too dark for the Swedish mainstream ear, so it didn’t even get a second chance.

How can we talk about Scandinavia without mentioning rock?!

The story of Scandinavian music cannot do without rock and its derivatives. Scandinavia is considered the cradle of metal and gothic music. We single out the fantastic band Dead by April, who performed the famous track Mystery in 2012 and thus reached the grand final. On the other hand, there is a composition inspired by the rock of the 80s — the group Dynazty and the song Land of broken dreams. They irresistibly remind me of The final countdown of the group Europe.

Have you ever seen a fusion of manga and rock? Well, that happened too! In 2013, YOHIO appeared with the song Heartbreak Hotel and took a high 2nd place. To this day, his second place keeps that bitter taste in mouth.

Huge ballads

But unusual ones! Those of the Scandinavian type, who cry out for the Eurovision stage. The ones that have a softer introduction, and such a strong finish! Fans, smoke and dimmed lights are there as the main elements of the scenography.

The first of this type that come to mind are Linda Pritchard’s Alive and Linus Svenning’s Bröder. The first is the image and occasion of the classic Eurovision ballad, and the second is the heartbreaking cry of brother after brother.

The other two ballads have a lighter tempo and even darker themes, one might say. Emelie Irewald and the track Där och då med dig hurts because it’s sad, and it’s also in Swedish, which is rare to hear, you’ll admit. In 2015, Daniel Gildenlöw sang about his dad, who can never come back to him…

Tomorrow: Revival of genres in modern guise


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