I managed to watch about half of tonight’s federal budget before nodding off for a moment (that’s what happens when you reach middle-age) and before deciding to head off to Youtube for a bit of Swedish pop. I figured I could watch Lateline later tonight – which I did – for pretty extensive analysis of how it all went without feeling too much guilt. I figured with the Eurovision Song Contest just around the corner, and my unofficial role in my workplace as the “The Eurovision Song Contest Guy”, it was time to more fully “research” my preferred entrant this year.
It probably comes as little surprise that I’m going for Sweden this year. Like a footy fan, I reckon you support your team through the ups and downs. And over the last few years there have been a few ups and downs. After experiments with “popera” with Marlena Ernman in 2009 and “indie pop” with Anna Bergendahl in 2010, Sweden has reverted to their usually successful formula of a foot-stopping pop this year, with the song “Popular” by Eric Saade.
I actually saw him perform live in Stockholm last year, as he was the runner-up in the Swedish finals for Eurovision, “Melodifestivalen”. Last year he had the infectious pop song, “Manboy” which culminated in an on-stage “shower scene”.
He has another cracker “gimick” this year with exploding glass box, and even though I don’t like his entry this year as much as last year’s song, I’m sure he’ll do well as he has a great on stage presence, a charming manner, and he sings and dances quite well.
Well, hopefully he’ll do better than Anna Bergendahl who went on to represent Sweden last year and to make history: it was the first time ever that Sweden had failed to make the final of the Eurovision Song Contest. Honestly, if that happened again, I suspect the Swedish Prime Minister would officially declare a day of public mourning.
Even though “Popular” is a very contemporary pop song, it has elements which hark back to the 1970s. The opening refrain is a very close approximation of the opener for Boney M’s, “Rasputin”. I recognised that instantly, but it wasn’t until tonight when surfing around the internet that my attention was brought to another “homage” in the song. This time to the song “O Mama” by Swedish pop divas, “Lili och Susie” who had a few hits in Sweden back in the 1980s and who incidentally entered Melodifestivalen again in 2009.
As well as these homages – a term I prefer to plagiarism – the Huffington Post also notes his stage act and dance routine may owe a little to the Russian Music Awards from a couple of years ago.
But honestly, with “Generation Cut & Paste” as I like to call them, emerging on the popular music scene, does it really matter if he’s picked up a few tips and ideas along the way?
As I went looking for Eric Saade songs and interviews on Youtube tonight – purely for research purpose, not because he’s a good looking bloke, of course – I found the clip for his song, “Break Of Dawn”. If you want to see some great imagery of Stockholm this is a song for you.
So what do you need to know about Eric? According to Wikipedia…
Eric Khaled Saade (born 29 October 1990) is a Swedish pop singer and children’s television presenter. After two years with the boyband What’s Up!, he left in February 2009 to pursue a solo career. Eric Saade will represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest 2011 in Germany after winning the national Swedish selection Melodifestivalen 2011 with his entry “Popular”. Saade grew up in Kattarp outside Helsingborg to a Palestinian father born in Lebanon and Swedish mother, who divorced when Saade was four. He is the second of eight siblings and half siblings. Saade began writing songs at age 13. Football had been Saade’s number one interest up until he signed his first music contract at 15, which resulted in one album and three singles. None of them charted. He also came to prominence after he won the Swedish music contest Joker (now Popkorn).
And this is a link to his official site.