Album Review: Marco Mengoni “#prontoacorrere”

Italian Stallion Marco Mengoni is the latest ESC artist to feature in our album reviews series, with “#prontoacorrere”, which translates as “Ready To Run” (why he felt the need to stylise it as a hashtag is anyone’s guess..) So, what kind of an album is it, and how does it compare to his Eurovision entry “L’essenziale”?

marco article
Marco’s album was released on March 19th

If you would expect a Marco Mengoni album to comprise of fifteen “L’essenziale”-esque Italian-language pop-rock ballads, then you’re in for a surprising listen with this one. Yes, the majority of the songs are in the Italian language, but besides that, the album succeeds in amalgamating a number of more unexpected styles into one cohesive piece, driven by Marco’s unmistakable vocals. Prime examples of this would be “Spari Nel Deserto”, which channels some of the soul-inspired sounds of his contemporary Nina Zilli; and “Una Parola”, which sees Marco taking an unexpected but welcomed sidestep into commercial dance-pop.

The title track “Pronto A Correre”, which was co-written by Mark Owen of Take That fame has been released as the second single, and could be seen as typical of his artistic style. The instrumentation is punchy and dramatic, with the melody highlighting the versatility of Marco’s voice. Plus the official video released to accompany the song sees the stunning Mr. Mengoni running a relay race in a suit (as you do). Always a bonus.

My personal favourite would have to be “La Vita Non Ascolta” (Life Doesn’t Listen); a soaring, minor-key epic of a song, being at times both subdued and energetic, all the while allowing Marco to deliver a memorable and powerful vocal line. Looking further into the meaning of the song, it would appear to be a gritty inspirational call to independence; with the chorus’ closing lines translating as “Whatever happens, take control and go”.

Other highlights would be the straight-down-the-line pop gem that is “Evitiamoci (La Soluzione)”, which features what is probably the album’s catchiest hook, complete with a backing choir of scalic “oh-oh-oh”s; alongside the piano ballad “20 Sigarette” and the song most similar to his Eurovision entry “Non Passerai”.

Your Views:

What do you think?
What do you think?

Sami Luukela from Finland: I love it!

Nathan Stella from the Netherlands: Romantic ❤

Teresa Varela from Portugal: Great singer and I love it!

So it seems that the majority of ESC fans would agree that “#prontoacorrere” is definitely worth a listen. After all, Marco is an established artist, and this, his second studio album, certainly deserves to earn him new legions of fans outside of Italy. I will enjoy listening to it for a long time to come!

Focus 2014: Fredericia

In a new series, I will take you to each of the five cites bidding to host the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 in Denmark. Today, we’re going to start with the city of Fredericia. What is in the city? What is there to do there? And what are your opinions on the city if it was chosen to host Eurovision? All is going to be revealed.

Fredericia is one of the cities that could host Eurovision next year.
Fredericia is one of the cities that could host Eurovision next year.

Fredericia is situated on the edge of mainland Denmark on the east side of the Jutland peninsula. Denmark’s second largest city, Aarhus, is only an hour away from the city. Aarhus has said that they will help the city if needs be when it comes to accommodation, and they would also help rival city Herning as well if they win the bid to host Eurovision. The map below shows the location of Fredericia.

The red dot shows the location of Fredericia.
The red dot shows the location of Fredericia.

Fredericia was the third city to enter the race to host the competition next year in Denmark, following Copenhagen and Herning and if they are offered to host the show, the Eurovision would be hosted in the MesseC, a local exhibition centre that can hold up to 8,000 people. The city is the sixteenth biggest city in Denmark with a population of only 40,000 people. By way of getting to the area, there is no airport around the vicinity of the main urban area. The nearest international airport would be Beldringe Airport which is 42 kilometres away on the island on Fyns.

When it comes to sightseeing, Fredericia offers many historic buildings that have helped shape the city into what it is today. One place of interest would be the Landsoldaten, a statue showing a proud Danish soldier and it shows how important Fredericia was to the military. Another place of interest is the city boundary, as the city is surrounded by walls and provides about an hour’s worth of sightseeing because if you follow the city walls around the city, you will come across many historical statues, cannons and buildings on your journey.

Your views:

What do you think?
What do you think of the city?

Philippe Canty from France: To be honest, I have never heard of that city just one month ago. But I bet it would be København to host it.

Davíð Pálsson from Iceland: I don’t want to have it there, I want it in Copenhagen!

Syoma Davoyan from Armenia: I  don’t want to see Eurovision in Fredericia  Herning is the best place for next year’s Contest 😀

Clayton Portelli from Malta: 8,000 isn’t enough! I hope they choose the capital!

So Fredericia isn’t really the favourite among Eurovision fans, but what do you think? Feel free to comment below if you wish!

 

UPDATE: The city of Fredericia officially withdrew its bid to host the Eurovision on the 26th of June, as the city and the region did not reach the requirements set by DR. This now means the Eurovision will be in either Copenhagen, Herning or Horsens.

Album Review: Anouk’s “Sad Singalong Songs”

Continuing with the series of reviewing the albums of the 2013 Eurovision participants, today will be the turn of Anouk of the Netherlands and her new album Sad Singalong Songs. What kind of album is it and what are your thoughts on the album? All will be revealed below.

Anouk's album was released on May 17th
Anouk’s album was released on May 17th

Anouk, 38, was one of the favourites to win the Eurovision in Malmö with her song Birds, which is featured in this album. This album’s tracks have the same qualities as Birds, as in they are slow and have a deep meaning embedded into the lyrics. From a personal viewpoint, I wasn’t expecting too much from this album as Anouk is known primarily as a rock chick and this has been reflected in the majority of her albums, but I was pleasantly surprised with this album as it showed Anouk is a versatile singer and not just a one-trick-pony.

Sad Singalong Songs contains ten songs which are mostly ballads, but some tracks on the album do carry an up-tempo beat, but the majority of the songs are slow that take you through a journey that Anouk paints, along the lines of what happens with Birds. As I said above, this album is a departure from her previous albums, because her previous efforts have been mostly containing rock/indie songs, but on Sad Singalong Songs, Anouk gently croons in the songs about the loss of her loved one, whoever it may be. The album could be classified as an alternative album, but could easily fit in as a pop album as well.

The tracks that would easily catch one’s eye when listening to the album for the first time would be StardustPretending As Always and Kill. The opening track, The Rules, tells the listener the eight rules in which they need to follow in order for them to be together. Another significant track on the album would be Only A Mother, as Anouk is dedicating the song to her children, saying she was “blessed by God” for having her four children and that “only a mother could understand”.

On the track Kill, Anouk is unsure whether to leave this man or to stay with him, because possibly she has had bad experience with men and is reluctant to give her love only to get it thrown back in her face. These lyrics could reflect Anouk’s personal life and could be just laying her feelings bare to the listener. Of course, one would recognise her Eurovision song, Birds, in an instant, referring to her lost lover as a bird who has fallen like a raindrop. The closing track, The Black Side of My Mind, has a little bit of Christmas feeling in my opinion, but the track is the perfect choice to end the album on.

For me, the tracks I prefer are her Eurovision effort, Birds, the fairytale-like Pretending As Always and The Good Life.

Your views:

What do you think?
What do you think about it?

Gijsbert Groenveld from the Netherlands: I got it on the day it was released. I think the songs are indeed very SAD but 80 % of them are real gems! I personally love “The Good Life” best.

Robbert Landegent from the Netherlands: I love it. My preference : Birds, Pretending as Always (the clip is also great!) and Kill.

Chris Cross from Germany: It’s great!

So in summary, the album has received positive views from all around. But what do you think about it? Feel free to leave a comment below if you wish!

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