Earlier today the Wiwi Jury – our in-house panel of music unprofessionals – caught an early morning flight to Sweden so that we could start our reviews of Melodifestivalen 2015. After grabbing some coffee, we put Jon Henrik Fjällgren on the boombox with his entry “Jag är fri (Manne Liem Frije)”. Did we love the Frozen vibes or were we turned off by those phantoms? Read on to find out!

Jon Henrik Fjällgren with “Jag är fri (Manne Liem Frije)”

http://youtu.be/ZqRP_tXjLTs

William: Easily the most stirring song in the competion, Jon Henrik rejects disposable pop for a joik that channels spirituality and soul. Built on millenia of tradition, it stands out musically and thematically. It would have been admired by ancient shamen and warriors, but also today’s Sami housewives, Sweden’s hot young things, and, potentially, Eurovision voters. Universal and moving, original and touching, this is my indigenous jam.

Score: 10/10

Billy: Jon Henrik seems really promising. His song is not. I get the traditional look, which would fit much more for a Balkan country, but I don’t understand the lyrics. Maybe because THERE AREN’T ANY. Seriously, it would be interesting to see “Jag Är Fri” at Vienna. But to be honest, it’s hopeless.

Score: 1/10

Bogdan: Props to Jon for bringing the joik to our attention. It does look like a joke though. First of all, I started to laugh out loud when I saw the choreography of the dancers. (Are they listening to “Fairytale” instead?) Then, the poor backing vocalists are hanging from the ceiling like some creepy girls from a B horror movie! Jon Henrik Fjällgren can sing, but he is expressionless and looks awkward on stage. The song itself is different for Melodifestivalen, but different is not always good. And it’s not even original, as Enigma, Deep Forest and, come to think of it, Emmelie De Forest have done it better before.

Score: 2/10

Denise: Jon is amazing. I absolutely adored Daniel’s Joik, so I was really looking forward to this song. I was hoping for something like that song, so Jag är fri was a little dissapointing. Even if this song is not as great as I was hoping for, it’s still really good. Jon isn’t a typical performer, but I believe every single non existing word he says. Normally I don’t like songs without real words like Treble and Urban Trad, but this Sami language is great! There’s so much emotion in it and it sounds incredible. He isn’t my overall favourite, but I wouldn’t mind seeing him back in May.

Score: 8/10

Deban: Just like it’s long songtitle, “Jag är fri (Manne Liem Frije)” sounds like an overstretched chorus for a jungle themed musical. Without verses or a clearly defined musical structure, it starts to appear like the composition is on a loop. Furthermore, JH’s personality and stage presence is too feeble. This song demands a thunderous vocal. I can barely see his lips move. Disappointing!

Score: 4/10

Robyn: My main issue with this song is that it sounds like Jon Henrik is singing backing vocals, while his backing singers quietly sing the main part. It’s a good performance, but it’s more of a theatrical performance than a song. It would be better as the interval act than as Sweden’s song in Vienna.

Score: 5/10

jon henrik fjällgrenRon: It is a very unique and non-typical Swedish song, which might work for it in Eurovision. However, most of the song is pre-recorded vocals, perfect and echoed backing vocals , I think this part will be tough to recreate on the Eurovision stage, where all the backing singers will have to sing live – it’s gonna sound a lot less impressive than how it sounds at Melodifestivalen. What I do like is the atmosphere, the hanging ladies and the snow! Euphoria!

Score: 8/10

Angus: This is a complete car crash. I am all for getting in touch with my spiritual side but this feels totally contrived. The overpowering pre-recorded backing says it all. Jon is there to look cute and look bemused as the song goes on around him. There’s no reason anyone should be putting this near the top because it will not go to Eurovision. #sorrynotsorry. 

Score: 4/10

Sami: I really don’t get the hype of this song. Yeah, Jon Henrik is talented but I think most people can do that. You don’t really hear the Swedish words, which makes the song even messier. The performance is also weird and I don’t understand why there’s the dancers and the ghosts. I believe this would get stuck in the semi-final if Sweden send this to Eurovision.

Score: 1.5/10

Padraig: Sweden may have sent home Elsa (Annika Herlitz), but at least they’ve seen some sense and kept on Kristoff. Because this is brilliant! I’m instantly transported to some far flung Sami territory and never want to leave. Sure the lyrics may be somewhat lacking in variety, but the rousing chants and instrumentals more than make up for them. Just one negative – ditch the floating banshees!

Score: 8/10

Wiwi Jury Average: 6.05/10

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Photo Credit: Mikael Andersson (Dala-Demokraten)

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Meh
Guest
Meh

If it was his Got Talent winning entry I would gladly vote for it http://youtu.be/ZGiB1GmgqvM

Too bad his vocals don’t stick out at all in this one, I hope Måns wins.

Eren
Guest
Eren

I wish some of the jury had done a bit of research about Sami culture and known what joiking meant, before judging Jon and his song. I honestly cannot understand how these people are given the chance to write all those ignorant comments condescending a particular culture that is right on the brink of going extinct.

Deven O'Kearney
Guest
Deven O'Kearney

I think that it would be an interesting contrast from what Sweden has sent before. But will the rest of us get Sami music is my question. I’m not sure. I’m worried it will get lost in the semi final. Failing to qualify as a result. But nevertheless, it would be a very daring move from Sweden. A country known for sending some of the best songs in Eurovision history.

Robyn Gallagher
Editor

D’oh! I’d totally forgotten that Joik doesn’t have lyrics, per se. It still feels too ethereal to work as an ESC song, but I love, love, love the staging. Those ghost ladies are probably the highlight of Melfest 2015.

Brunowskii
Guest
Brunowskii

Wonderful!!! Go Jon Henrik! It would be great to see a really different and interest entry like this at the ESC… Only Sweden could have the courage to have something like

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

@Mario: Eric is not going to beat Måns, and I don’t expect him to get past Jon, either. He’s in deep with a lot of other pop tunes (including Isa’s), and they will siphon enough points away from him to make Kristin the closest challenger to Måns and Jon, provided that a(nother) cruel joke is not played on us at A.C. this Saturday.

Variha
Guest
Variha

One of the strongest entries (for me) in MF since Loreen. It’s fantastic. It has something the other entries doesn’t have – besides yoik – it has something.. genuine. I can’t describe it. It seems honest. And Jon Henrik, he appears “real” in this, too. Perfect harmony. I think Måns might beat this (It would be okay for me, Måns is charasmatic and one of my all time MF personalities) but Jon.. No, he is the true winner for me. And I think, if he wins, he’ll go very very far. I’m not sure I understand why people think it… Read more »

Mar
Guest
Mar

Of course it doesn’t have lyrics, it’s a JOIK. I would love to see Sweden sending a song that actually represents them for once, instead of some catch-all pop song that could come from anywhere in the world, just this once. I do agree that the pre recorded backing vocals that make up most of the song could be problematic in Vienna though.

Oostenrijk
Guest
Oostenrijk

LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS SO MUCH

Alex
Guest
Alex

Ehhhhh. It didn’t really move me… the backing vocals really should be live here. It just feels cheap that they aren’t live. If the audio mixing is lousy (see Eurovision 2011), the backup vocals might be quite weak live and it may ruin the entry’s chances (see “What About My Dreams” and “Angel in Disguise,” both of whose studio versions relied on loud, strong backup vocals but which the ESC 2011 audio people didn’t enable them to have). So I’d really like to hear what they actually would sound like live. Besides, to be honest, Solju had better Sami vocals… Read more »

Lanti
Guest

I like it. It reminds me of Circle of Life from the Lion King crossed with Enya.

Mathias (From Sweden)
Guest
Mathias (From Sweden)

I’m still afraid Jon Henrik will win instead of Måns 🙁

Måns to Vienna!!

somen
Guest
somen

It’s one of the best songs i have heard for a long time. <3

Dan Marino
Guest
Dan Marino

I really don’t get the song, don’t get the hype. I just see it as 3 minutes of him singing yeah yeah that’s it

ESC Honduras
Guest
ESC Honduras

This is my favorite MelFest entry of this year.
I really, really hope it wins!!!

Timselvision
Guest
Timselvision

I LOVE this song. Some say the staging was ridiculous. I think it´s one of the most epic ESC-related stages I´ve ever seen. It´s magical. And to those who are like “it doesn´t contain any lyrics”… hello, ever heard about Belgium´s second placing in 2003? Also – Nocturne. Discribed as one of the most beautiful ESC songs ever. Sure, great lyrics…?

Of course, everybody has another taste – but I personally think this and “Heroes” are Sweden´s best choices. Or maybe Mariette. 9,5/10 (I hardly give any entries a 10 xD)

Lieke
Guest
Lieke

To me, this sounds like a few words spread out over three minutes. That’s not exactly what my idea of a good song is. Next.

Eugene ESC UK
Guest
Eugene ESC UK

Not for me thanks, It’s just a gimmick…………..right? I really can’t understand it, (literally as well.) It’s not original, it’s been done before, it’s boring, it’s SO repetitive and he does not have any personality on stage. Are there any lyrics? If there are, we can’t understand them anyway. The 3 angel thing and the dancing are just laughable, and the talking OMG!!!. I’m not sure Europe will get it and embrace it. It’s a love it or hate it one. Not good as a showcase of ESC music, this is a huge backward step for me. Sweden please don’t!!… Read more »

a.
Guest
a.

@jasmine, I personally think that it isn’t ignorance, just another PERSONAL preference. Some people could listen to instrumental music all day. Some people could read poems all day. Some people love to do both at the same time, so music with lyrics. So, I don’t think that’s called ignorancy.

jr esc nl
Guest
jr esc nl

this should totally win melodifestivalen 2015

jasmine
Guest
jasmine

Everyone has different taste, although I think it’s a bit ignorant when people convince themselves that they need words to enjoy music. Especially if music is their “job” and passion. It’s like the famous saying when it comes to writing books; “Show me, don’t tell me”, it’s the same with music; “Convey it, don’t say it.”

EF0912
Guest
EF0912

This is certainly unique. But I don’t think this will go to Vienna. It will be close but I see the Swedish people voting for Eric Saade sadly. If this does go to Vienna , it would probably qualify for the final : I’d say about 7th to 12th place in its semi (This is only a prediction)

a.
Guest
a.

the talking part is so ’90 tho XD

Adam
Guest
Adam

I like this song, but i cant imagine a song where the only lyric is “hei-o-hei-o” (minus the talking) would do well with the juries.

Mario -The Vision of Gay Love -Someday We All Be *FREE*
Guest
Mario -The Vision of Gay Love -Someday We All Be *FREE*

Fantastic! So ethereal! Reminds me of the Enigma Music! <3
10 / 10
I prefer this one or *Heroes* of Mans to win the upcoming Melodifestivalen.. 🙂
My 3rd pick would be Marriette..
But i suspect that most probably Eric Saade will gonna win instead….I hope not though..

damn
Guest
damn

Dhani, just because you have different taste, doesn’t mean it’s better. I like to listen to Johann Sebastian Bach, Debussy, but I also like the simple Calm After The Storm, and I really hate teenage girls singing plastic pop. Meanwhile, I also dislike Jon Henrik. Case in point: just because we don’t like it doesn’t mean we have no taste.

Xepher
Guest
Xepher

I think this is probably the most unique song in this year’s Melodifestivalen, it would be a huge risk for them to send this song to Vienna. Knowing how weak most of this years entries are this could stand out if it does go. Plus I would take this over Saade any day

damn
Guest
damn

See? you either love it or hate it. Songs like that aren’t suitable for ESC, imo.

Dhani
Guest

not surprised you don’t like this. masterpieces like this doesn’t fit into your taste, but 16 year old girls singing plastic-pop songs does.