Sweden’s Melodifestivalen is a musical tour de force. Every year eliminated entries are of such high quality that they could easily crack the Top 10 of Eurovision. The 2012 contest is no exception. But even in this strong field, there’s one song that rises above the rest: Loreen’s “Euphoria.”
The Swedish North-African songstress is no stranger to Eurovision pre-selections. She competed last year with an empowering number called “My heart is refusing me.” Sadly Melodifestivalen voters refused her too, and relegated her to the andra chansen (second chance) round. Although Loreen didn’t win, her song went on to chart in Sweden’s Top 10. Empowered by that experience, she’s back with an even fiercer package in 2012.
“Euphoria” is an electro-pop song with dark undertones stretching across four octaves. It’s non-stop wailing pleasure. Written by ESC veterans Thomas G.Son and Peter Bostrom, “Euphoria” is better than anything Benny Bennasi had ever dreamt of and makes the listener yearn for more. Loreen’s vocals evoke pain and suffering, but at the same time, she uses it as an instrument to prod you to the dance floor.
Although Danny Saucedo is rumoured by some to be the favourite based on how many folks have Googled him, Loreen has topped the Swedish download charts. Her Youtube videos are getting more hits. There’s a huge pre-order demand for the physical release of her single, surpassing that of every other contestant. And, perhaps most importantly, she is currently leading the WiwiBloggs.Com poll to determine “Who Should Win Melodifestivalen 2012.” As of Sunday night, she had 57% of the vote compared to Danny’s 8%.
The production team behind her entry give “Euphoria” the perfect treatment. The entire staging is in shadow effect. It’s minimalist—she shares the stage with only one other dancer towards the end—and at the same time visually captivating. Her costume design embraces the postmodernist tailoring of Rei Kawakubo. And the choreography is also a form of high art. Part urban, part butoh and created by Bounce Streetdance Company, this is contemporary dance at its finest.
If quality still matters at Melodifestivalen, then Euphoria deserves to win hands down. Apart from the song being the strongest vocally and lyrically, Loreen showcases something fresh. All the production elements stand on their own as works of art. Their combination remains cohesive, taking this act to another level. In a year of pompous crooners and milkmaids high on crack, ESC could use the lift.