Saturday Flashback: Charlotte Perrelli – Hero

“If fire and sparks are the best way to announce a key change, then a sudden explosion of lasers is surely number two.”

Tim: Last week we looked back at a pretty good Eurovision track; today, we’ll celebrate a duff Eurovision year by looking back at an astoundingly good one.

Tim: For the song itself, there’s not a lot to say. It is, obviously, outstanding, and there genuinely isn’t a moment in there I want to criticise – for me, it’s the perfect song to see on a Eurovision stage.

Tom: I, as ever, am slightly more hesitant: there are a couple of questionable notes in that first verse. And honestly, if a song could be improved by coming in on the first chorus — and this could — then they’ve stuffed up the introduction completely.

Tim: Oh, I strongly disagree – that intro is exactly what it needs to be.

Tom: That said, completely agree with you, everything after the first chorus is gold.

Tim: Let’s look at that stage, then, and the other production elements, as there’s so much to take apart. Firstly, that’s a hell of a good camera effect to pull off live, and it took me a while to work out exactly how they might be doing it. Second, the backing singers! Why have them all on stage from the start when you can introduce them two at a time, give them the respect they deserve? The two guys in suits look a little odd, but never mind them. And finally, the key change. If fire and sparks are the best way to announce a key change, then a sudden explosion of lasers is surely number two. That’s the moment, right there, when I thought, “YES, this song is a winner.”

Tom: Which might have been true in 1999, the last time she won: there was an equally brutal key change there. You might think that’s a winner, but…

Tim: But Europe didn’t agree, sadly – ended up coming just 18th, after graduating from its semi only thanks to the jury wildcard, but we’ve said before that democracy is a failed experiment. Truly, a Eurovision great.

Tom: We can both remember it, years later: that’s probably the strongest argument for it as a song.

Tim: Fun Eurovision 2008 anecdote, while we’re here: I co-hosted a student radio show on the Friday where we played through all the tracks and discussed them briefly; turned out we misjudged the timing a bit and ended up playing Turkey and Ukraine simultaneously. Won’t lie to you: still sounded better than some of the other tracks.

Saturday Flashback: Charlotte Perrelli – No More Black & Blue


Tim: October 1998, Britney Spears revealed that her loneliness was killing her; a little over two years later, it wasn’t killing her no more. In 2008, Charlotte Perrelli brought us the album track “Black & Blue” about how her heart was beaten and broken from a sad relationship; it took a little bit longer for Charlotte, but in 2012:

Tom: That’s a cracking synth intro. I mean, that’s because it’s basically just from some early 2000s dance track, but it turns into something pretty good afterwards as well.

Tim: Doesn’t it just? I don’t know why this wasn’t a single, I really don’t, especially since it’s MILES better than the two other non-The Girl singles that got released off the album. We have POWER and STRENGTH and FORTITUDE and OTHER SYNONYMS in there, with the sound and the lyrics alike.

Tom: Which, let’s face it, is more her style.

Tim: Admittedly it probably wouldn’t have done that well as a single – sadly, none of her non-Melodifestivalen singles have charted since 2004, but really all that shows is how lost and astray the Swedish public have got since then. This is GREAT, and an ANTHEM for our times.

Charlotte Perrelli – Bröllopsvalsen

“This does seem a little… too much.”

Tim: Or, to put it Englishly, Wedding Waltz. And, much as with yesterday’s “Brinner i bröstet”, it has exactly the sound you’d associate with its title.

Tom: Good grief, it is actually a waltz! There aren’t many pop tracks in anything other than 4/4 time.

Tim: Yes, I like that – whole lot more interesting. It is entirely gentle, entirely happy, entirely waltzy; some might say dull, because even by non-banger standards there’s little to get excited about here, but it is a genuinely lovely sense of either “sit back and relax” if you’re listening at home, or “stand up and walk over to that special someone” if you’re at a wedding or some other such romantic occasion.

Tom: Something I’ve learned as friends get married: I never get emotional during wedding ceremonies, but I do during first dances. This, though, does seem a little… too much. A bit too cloying. A bit too try-hard. It’s a song about a wedding, not a song that could be played at a wedding, and I think that’s what twitches it over the edge to “a bit much”.

Tim: It’s not often I’d agree with you about too much emotional stuff, but here I think you might be right. Also, this song reminded me of how sad it is that even in this enlightened age there are, as you pointed out, still so few songs in waltz time, and that then immediately prompted me to play Queen Of My Heart, because why wouldn’t you?

Tom: I’ll bet that some couple, somewhere, has accidentally used that as a first dance song.

Tim: Given that I Will Always Love You generally tops the “songs to play at your wedding” lists, I would be astounded if you’re wrong.

Saturday Reject: Charlotte Perrelli – The Girl

5th out of a quarter of Sweden’s songs. We get Engelbert Humperdinck.

Tim: Six days before the BBC announced that Engelbert Humperdinck* would be representing Britain, a country that cares about Eurovision, and puts effort into finding a good song, had one of four semi-finals and noticed that a full four songs in it were even better than this.

* Engelbert Humperdinck, for crying out loud, whose notable achievement of the past ten years, according to Wikipedia, was auctioning his Harley Davidson for Leicestershire Air Ambulance.

Tom: What? Are you trying for the Run-On Sentence of the Year Award or something?

Tim: Put another way, a song as good as this one came fifth out of a quarter of Sweden’s songs, and we’re lumped with Engelbert Humperdinck. Jesus Christ.

Tom: I’m still not sure I follow you.

Tim: Tough.

Tom: Ooh. Their staging team have taken a couple of cues from Beyonce with that video wall. Which is probably for the best, because that opening is a bit naff compared to the rest of the song.

Tim: Wow, that Beyoncé’s things cool. But this opening, compared to the rest, yes it is a bit naff. But the rest is brilliant, which means the opening is still great.

Tom: Aside from that, and the middle eight, though – a bit too lacklustre for me there – this is a cracking song. I did keep wanting to sing Take That’s “Happy Now” over the top of it though.

Tim: Engelbert Humperdinck. My work is opening up a store in Stockholm later this year. You have no idea how much I want to get a transfer there.