ERIC SAADE, “Every Minute”
ANTON EWALD, “New Religion”
ANA SOKLIC, “Amen”
I’m looking forward to seeing what the 2021 EuroVision song contest has to offer, having only watched it on TV for the first time two years ago, the first time it was shown in my country. I have been following Sweden’s Melodifestivalen contest for about 10 years, and this year is bringing back two of my favourites, both of whom I’ve written about many times, but both are on the comeback trail after some radio silence for a few years, and face off against each other in the upcoming finals. And for EuroVision, I have some words about the song that is Slovenia’s entry this year.
Eric Saade was on a huge roll 10 years ago with his engaging albums Saade Vol. 1 and Saade Vol. 2. These were led by the song “Popular”, which won Melodifestivalen, finished third at EuroVision, and was my #1 song of 2011. And smashing songs kept on coming, particularly “Hotter Than Fire” and “Backseat” (both reached #1 on my chart), plus other gems like “Made Of Pop”, “Sting”, “Fingerprints” and the strange but cool “Killed By A Cop”. After recording a few releases in Swedish, Eric is back with one of his most accomplished songs to date, “Every Minute”. His thoughtful and taut vocal leads a vibrant deep house track that recalls last year’s “Breaking Me” by Topic & A7S at times. The official video for the song is below.
Anton Ewald actually danced behind singers like Danny Saucedo for several years in Melodifestivalen, and then he broke out on his own with the Swedish #2 hit “Begging”, which finished 4th in Melodifestivalen that year. Again, numerous engaging singles followed like “Can’t Hold Back”, “This Could Be Something”, and “L.I.L.Y.”, all of which reached the Top 5 on my chart. His new song “New Religion”, starts off like a sultry ballad and then busts open into a rhythmic house arrangement. Anton’s enthusiasm for the song shines through and makes it a compelling if unconventional entry for Melodifestivalen, albeit with some slick choreography.
Both Eric and Anton have fierce competition from songs by The Mamas, Dotter, and Tusse, and while neither may win it is great to hear both gents back making fine pop songs.
Ana Soklič won the 2020 Slovenian song contest which didn’t take her to EuroVision because of the pandemic, so her win carries over to 2021 with the song “Amen”. Like others who have won or participated in EuroVision, 2021 could be a breakout year for the singer, who has been popular in Slovenia for more than 15 years. “Amen” is a gorgeous, hopeful ballad with a sweeping arrangement known to entice EuroVision audiences and juries. The lyrics were written by my friend and former EuroVision winner himself, Charlie Mason, who won in 2014 with Austria’s “Rise Like A Phoenix” (and previously had songs recorded by Eric Saade too). If it makes the finals, I will be happily rooting for “Amen” while I’m watching the event.