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If you like the Eurovision Song Contest, You'll LOVE Melodifestivalen!
January 17, 2014 11:29 AM   Subscribe

Sweden's Eurovision Song Contest selection vehicle will begin broadcasting February 1. Sweden has long been a hot bed of pop music. Having won the Eurovision Song Contest in 2012, and having hosted in 2013, Sweden has enjoyed a renewed interest in their home-grown pop.

Beyond the Eurovision winners Abba, The Herreys and Loreen, Sweden has produced Ace of Base, Aha and Icona Pop.

The Atlantic even attempts to answer the question "Why is Sweden so Good at Pop?"

But if you want to experience it first hand, you'll want to check out Melodifestivalen, Sweden's 6 week long road to Eurovision competition.

Technically, the contest is a way to select their representative, but for those in the know, it's also a way to catch some really wild musical acts.

Sean Banan with Copacabanana is one of those things you have to see twice to believe you've seen it at all.

If you want to know how pretty and lyrical a song with the title of "Only the Dead Fish Follow the Stream," then check out Louise Hoffsten's performance from last year.

Yohio, with Heatbreak Hotel, was robbed of his place as Sweden's representative last year, by the ultimate winner, a very handsome looking kid with a pretty pedestrian song, Robin Stjernberg's "You."

You may even believe that these shows are better than the Eurovision Song Contest, or at the very least a fun distraction during those long, dark winter nights.
posted by Ruthless Bunny (35 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

I never got why that Loreen song was the winner, much less the runaway winner. I'd have voted for at least five songs in 2012 before that one, including the Jedward song.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:43 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]

Holy shit. Y'all watch that Copacabanana thing and tell me what's going on. Because I don't even.
posted by asperity at 11:48 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]

Anything that extends the Eurovision season is a-okay with me.
posted by JanetLand at 11:48 AM on January 17 [4 favorites]

Chuckle if you will, but this is industrial policy.

The Atlantic link explains it: A 1999 report from Sweden’s Ministry of Finance found that royalty payments to Sweden from foreign markets were twice the U.S. per capita figure. Today, according to other reports, Sweden is the third-largest music exporter in the world behind the U.S. and the UK. In 2003, Swedish music exports began to decline, but behind the scenes, the country’s pop talent has remained active: In May of 2012, half of the top 10 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 were written or produced by Swedes.

There is a thriving music industry in this country, even if there is no music scene so to speak.
posted by three blind mice at 11:50 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]

I never got why that Loreen song was the winner

My vote's for the earwormy nature of it. I still find myself humming it in off moments. Whether that's a good thing, well...
posted by asperity at 11:51 AM on January 17

(One minor nit: a-ha are Norwegian.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:59 AM on January 17 [1 favorite]

When I was a teen in northern Sweden, watching Melodifestivalen was considered soooo dull and outdated. You were so booring if you watched it, and even more square if you cared at all about who won.

I don't know when it became such a big deal - probably since they changed the voting in 2002? But I'm much happier with how excited people are about it now. My hometown has hosted one of the qualifying rounds a few times, and there is always a lot of buzz around it, which is fun.

Worst part about it is that my 9-year old nephew is now ALL in to Sean Banan and Eric Saade, and I just have to shake my head...
posted by gemmy at 12:00 PM on January 17 [3 favorites]

(One minor nit: a-ha are Norwegian.)

Then replace a-ha with Veronica Maggio, she's great! Jag Kommer, Måndagsbarn.
posted by troika at 12:15 PM on January 17 [3 favorites]

(Another minor nit: you left out Robyn, Jens Lekman, Veronica Maggio, Laleh, Shout Out Louds, First Aid Kit, Lykke Li, Peter Bjorn and John, Familijen, The Knife, Håkan Hellström, Snook, Tingsek, Daniel Adam-Ray, Maia Hirasawa, Oskar Linros, Kapiten Röd, Säkert!, I'm From Barcelona, Kleerup, Marit Bergman, Salem Al Fakir, Soundtrack of Our Lives, Teddybears, Timbuktu...)

There's really nowhere better at music than Sverige.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:16 PM on January 17 [6 favorites]

What about Avicii? He only went and scored a UK number one last year...
posted by rory at 12:43 PM on January 17

What about Avicii? Or Swedish House Mafia, for that matter.

There's too much fantastic Swedish music out there.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:51 PM on January 17

Hi. I um....just wanted to come into this thread and mention how great Sweden is, how amazing the music is (outside of this odd thing the thread's about) and do a quick plug for


This dude with bananas.....I, well, I know some of you will enjoy it.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 1:22 PM on January 17

You can also blame the Swedes for a lot of k-pop.
posted by needled at 1:22 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]

You meant thank, right?
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:27 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]

And what about Anna Ternheim, and Miss Li?
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 1:59 PM on January 17

The Swedish pop music industry is puzzling to me. They called Ace Of Base reggae, and it seems more then half of the disco and slash or electronic dance groups that come out of there had their start in the acoustic folk scene. What is it about Sweden and their folkies going disco?
posted by mediocre at 2:16 PM on January 17

Nothing that Sweden can produce will rival the pure sonic awesome of Hurra Torpedo (Norway) playing "Total Eclipse of the Heart" on a stove and chest freezer. The folks mentioned above are probably fine musicians and lovely people, but Hurra Torpedo rules all.

...except for Einsturzende Neubauten, and that one Japanese band where the guy stops in the middle of a song to go steal a front-end loader and drive it through the wall of the club. Those two are the only exceptions to total Hurra dominance.
posted by aramaic at 2:22 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]

weirdly, I was just listening to Kent (which has nothing in common with these except being Swedish.)
posted by vespabelle at 2:26 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]

Um. I just noticed this. The Louise Hoffsten youtube link you have in the FPP is to a joke video with a different song and her picture. (A Swedish rockabilly-ish song called Smällfete Sigges Hode by Eddie Meduza.)

Actual performance of the song by Hoffsten.
posted by gemmy at 2:34 PM on January 17

Ane Brun! Rebekka Karijord!

Oh god....
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 2:44 PM on January 17

Sweden's always been good at pop, and not just mainstream pop -- their indiepop scene is possibly the best in the world. Jens Lekman is Swedish. Labrador Records is Swedish -- home of the Mary Onettes, Acid House Kings, Club 8, The Legends, Radio Dept., and a hundred other great bands. Aerospace were Swedish; I'm From Barcelona is Swedish. The Concretes, Peter Bjorn and John, The Cardigans, The Hives -- all Swedish.

I think it's something they put in the water.
posted by Fnarf at 3:14 PM on January 17

Is there any sort of legitimate way to watch these from the US when they start airing?
posted by clcapps at 3:20 PM on January 17

Robyn. Robyn all the time, Robyn forever.
posted by dismas at 3:41 PM on January 17

Actually, with bands like Opeth, The Flower Kings, and Änglagård the Swedes have proven themselves pretty good at prog rock as well.
posted by Ber at 4:02 PM on January 17

The Atlantic even attempts to answer the question "Why is Sweden so Good at Pop?"

Because happy shiny bubblegum pop helps the descendants of Vikings suppress the urge to stab an icicle through the heart of their fellow townsmen?
posted by jonp72 at 4:10 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]

Once my husband, who still lives in Stockholm, let me watch the Melodidestivalen final via Skype. That was superfun. When I lived there, I didn't know anybody but me who enjoyed it.

Sweden does crank out great music. But little of it is on display during these performances. I like watching because most of them are awful, often in amusing ways.

Dunno if it's still like this. But when I lived there the group chosen to go on to Eurovision wore the same costumes for the whole process. It wasn't Americanized into something that required 7 outfit changes. I loved that modesty and thrift. Seemed lagom to me.
posted by Bella Donna at 6:52 PM on January 17 [1 favorite]

I'm just gonna leave this here.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:26 PM on January 17

I could feel my neck tensing up when I saw a-ha in an FPP about Swedish music, but Ane Brun and Rebekka Karijord as well, people? I think I just burst a blood vessel in my eye...

(Our neighbours in Sweden does have an impressive musical output, I'll grant them that.)
posted by Harald74 at 12:19 AM on January 18

Sys Rq, was that really necessary? (Rednex inexplicably toured New Zealand last year. I did not attend)
posted by AndrewStephens at 3:37 AM on January 18

Is there any sort of legitimate way to watch these from the US when they start airing?


We go to the SVT Melodifestivalen website, and they post the entire broadcast week by week.

Ditto for Eurovision, they post the semi-finals and the finals on the official website.

We hook the computer up to the TV, invite our friends over and have a BALL!

It's almost like Europe WANTS us to watch. So we DO!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:00 AM on January 18 [2 favorites]

Let's not forget The Ark who won Melodifestivalen in 2007, though with a rather pedestrian song. Their first two albums were magnificent slices of rainbow-flavoured glam pop: It Takes A Fool To Remain Sane (2000) and Father of a Son (2002) are pretty representative.

Last year Martin Rolinski wus robbed I tell ya.
posted by kariebookish at 4:50 PM on January 18

Sys Rq, was that really necessary?

Just be glad Aqua are from Denmark.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:40 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]

Just be glad Aqua are from Denmark.

Denmark had a whole line of novelty 90s dance crap pop. I think the rest of the world was spared Daze's tamagochi song, SO LET ME INFLICT THAT UPON YOU.
posted by kariebookish at 4:38 AM on January 19

Aqua are actually kinda great.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 8:23 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]

So which part of Scandinavia wants to claim Toy Box?
posted by MartinWisse at 8:39 AM on January 19

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