Review: “Melodifestivalen 2022” – Final (Sweden)

As always, Sweden will choose its Eurovision artist and song via the “Melodifestivalen“.
The selection includes 4 semi-finals, a second-chance round, and the grand final which will take place on Saturday, the 12th of March 2022.

12 artists will participate in the final: 8 of them qualified directly from one of the first 4 semi-finals, while 4 others qualified from second-chance.

In this article, I will review the 12 songs (in a random order):

#1. Klara Hammarström – Run To The Hills

It’s an upbeat dance pop song.
The song starts with a short instrumental part of electric keyboards and electric guitar.
Klara opens the singing part with a thin and mid voice. The first verse progress little by little until it explodes in the pre-chorus. The pre-chorus is more rhythmic, as we already get a hint to the dance beat will come later on. There’s a non-uniform drum beat that combines into the main melody which is speed up. Klara sings some long high notes that join the long syllables. However, this is the place where her vocal performance fails. Maybe the indented pitch is too high or maybe is just a matter of stableness. The chorus starts with a “fancy” rhythmic beat. The beat is cyclic, but the melody also involves different effects and guitar playing. The second verse is more rhythmic than the first one, as it continues the chorus. That’s why this verse feels more natural. Right after this, we get the second pre-chorus which is faster than the first one. The chorus starts with a upbeat and powerful beat. In its third occurrence, we can hear some backing vocalists. Thereafter, we get an instrumental version of the chorus. With an echo outro that’s based on electro production, we get another powerful chorus. She ends the song with some high long notes, while backing singer support with singing the main part.
It is one of the modern songs in the line-up, and it seems like a lot efforts were invested in the production. However there are 2 weaknesses that’s important to mention: First of all, the verses aren’t convincing at all. Second of all, at Eurovision we look for a full package and namely a performance. Unfortunately, the live vocal performance wasn’t accurate at all. Having said this, the staging is well designed and memorable.

#2.THEOZ – Som du vill

It’s a teenage pop song that’s performed in the Swedish language.
The song starts with a semi-rhythmic beat. Theoz opens the singing part as the song begins. With his young voice, he twists between the amplitudes of the melody. At the beginning of each line, he sings slower than the ending. A beat of scratching finger sound is combined into the melody. Towards the end of the first verse, we can hear backing vocals. The pre-chorus has a uniform melody and we can hear keyboards playing as well. The chorus itself is upbeat and festive. However, his singing is average and sometimes blown in the melody which is composed of guitar playing, drums and rhythmic beat. The second verse relies on the “reminders” of the chorus beat. Therefore, it is much more energetic than the first verse. We are moving to the second pre-chorus where the singing is faster. The chorus is identical to the first one. The bridge opens with a dramatic pause. A non-continous drum beat leads us to the singing part that’s accompanied this time by electric guitar playing and light pop beat.
Thoez is charismatic and you can see how much he loves the stage. However, for me the song is flat and childish (not because of his age). We’ve had such pop songs thoudsnads times before, and it isn’t one of the successful ones.

#3.Anna Bergendahl – Higher Power

It’s a Schlager country-pop song.
The song starts with a dramatic beat that’s very quickly silenced and gives its place to guitar playing. Anna sings it with her special color of voice. The rate of the first verse is considerably slow. The first verse ends with echo singing and guitar singing. The second verse includes a mediocre beat, and at the same time, it preserves the structure of the first verse. The chorus starts with keyboards playing. The production goes slightly dark, while Anna sings more powerfully. The guitar playing is silenced to give a wider place to her singing. The drumbeat and guitar playing returned in the second half of the chorus. The third verse comes just after the chorus. It sounds more optimistic, and it is more rhythmic than the first one. The second chorus comes earlier. It is energetic and chilling at the same time.
In the bridge, she uses longer notes and we can hear backing vocalists as well.
The last chorus starts in a softer interpretation and it becomes more emotional. At this point, we can hear the beautiful aspects of her voice. Later on, she sings with more significant backing vocalists. The song ends with a low voice singing.
In my opinion, it isn’t one of the best efforts by Anna. She can do much better. This song plays to much into the country music field, and therefore it might lose some listeners. I enjoyed the chorus and the bridge, more than the verses. It is the classic case where the singer is much better than the song.

#4. John Lundvik – Änglavakt

It’s a dynamic ballad, with some influences of the 1990’s music.
The song starts with piano playing. His voice is a little bit raspy but still keeps on a certain pitch . The first verse is slow and simple, he lengthens the last syllables of each sentence.
The chorus is more dynamic and includes a soft beat that’s sampled over string elements. He uses some vocal improvisations. The atmosphere is somehow more romantic and comforting. We can hear a sampling of low piano notes. Towards the end of the chorus (4 last lines), it is taken in an acoustic love ballad – lullaby direction. The second verse continues the same line, with piano playing as the main motive. John’s voice is stable and convincing.
The pre-chorus arrives again, and the production combines well with the melody. The chorus is powerful, John uses long notes. Thereafter, we have something similar to modulation, although it isn’t. The song ends with the same outro as previously.
Something in the lyrics reminded me of the song “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” by Bryan Adams.
We get a different genre from John, and I appreciate it, alongside the choice to sing in Swedish. I am missing some curves and sharpness in the arrangement,

#5.Tone Sekelius – My Way

It’s a Schlager pop ballad.
The song starts with a light dance-pop beat that’s based on electric keyboards playing.
The first verse includes a sampling of wind instruments. The rate is mid-slow, towards the end of the lines, she lengthens the pronunciation of the words. Guitar playing leads us to the pre-chorus. The pre-chorus is based on guitar and other string elements. The chorus is more energetic and upbeat. The melody is based on guitar playing. Sometimes, she uses a bit higher pitch but is still within the limits of her voice. The main phrase in the chorus is “my way”. The second verse is shorter and still relies on the sampling of string and wind effects. The pre-chorus keeps the semi-ballad vibe with simple and gentle singing. The second chorus is less energetic at its beginning, but it is meant to be more emotional, and give us a clearer impression of her voice. Towards the end, it gets a festive and hopeful direction with the instrumental part that’s composed by the cello and violin playing. The bridge is based on keyboards playing and singing in high-voice until it explodes again into the familiar chorus.
I really liked the message of the song, and how Tone tells her story. However, it feels flat in music meanings. The song didn’t grab me. The memorable part is nothing but the “my way” phrase which repeats again and again.

#6. Anders Bagge – Bigger Than The Universe

It’s a mid-tempo pop hymn song.
The general atmosphere is of a Disney song.
The song starts with guitar stringing and wind instruments. He sings the first verse effortlessly. The second verse continues the same line. This time the wind instrument plays a greater role. He sings the second part of the second verse with some improvisations. The chorus is more powerful, with keyboards playing. He tries to singer with a louder volume, but sometimes it is too shouty. Some of the syllables are longer. The third verse relies on a rhythm that hasn’t been before. The second chorus is identical is its shape, but we can hear some clap effects as well. The bridge includes backing vocalists singing and a repeating on the song’s name.
Are we in 2022? Because it smells like a power ballad with schlager elements that was dated already in 1992. I thought his singing wasn’t stable enough. In addition, the lyrics and whole concept feels like a cliché.

#7. Robin Bengtsson – Innocent Love

It’s a mid-tempo pop song with 1980’s elements.
The song begins with an instrumental part that’s composed of synth keyboards and drum beat.
He sings the first verse in a mid voice. There are fading vocal effects over his singing. The pre-chorus is faster and gives more space to the drum beat and guitar playing. He uses a slightly high voice in this part. The chorus is hymn, basic and catchy at the same time. We can hear backing vocals, alongside drum and guitar playing. The outro of the chorus repeats the song title with sound effects, synth elements and guitar playing. The second verse is shorter and it is more rhythmic. Immediately after, we get the pre-chorus and the chorus. This time, the chorus relies more on the synth and digital sound effect. The bridge is acoustic, and namely based on guitar playing. The production almost doesn’t exist, the guitar playing creates a cyclic melody. Thereafter, he sings more powerfully, and at the same time the volume of the backing vocals increases. He ends the song with some vocal improvisations over the synth beat and the stadium-hymn piece of chorus.
Robin is charismatic, but the song doesn’t move me at all. It feels predictable and simple. In fact, I can’t even point out the peak moments or the memorable moments.

#8.Faith Kakembo – Freedom

It is a ballad.
The song begins with piano playing. Faith opens the singing part with a soft and remarkable voice. Her voice can be described as warm alt. The pre-chorus is emotional and hopeful, the keyboards playing becomes slower. The chorus builds up slowly, and the focus is on her singing. The next verse relies on keywords playing, but also includes a sample of guitar stringing and a cyclic instrumental part that’s based on string elements (probably violin and cello). The pre-chorus arrives earlier this time, and we can hear the string elements again. This time, the chorus is more powerful, as she is joined by backing vocalists and dancers. The bridge starts with fast singing. In this part, we can hear bell ringing effect. Strong backing vocals lead us again to the pre-chorus which has a more acoustic and gentler character. The last chorus is based on the keyboards playing and the backing vocalists.
First of all, I loved the message of the song – we all have something that holds us back and we want to find out freedom. Faith is an excellent performer. The song grows slowly and it builds up carefully. The backing vocalist’s contribution can’t be ignored. My only remark is that the song might be a little bit predictable.

#9. Liamoo – Bluffin

It’s a synth pop with electro dance elements.
The song starts with stringing elements. Liamoo sings the first verse with a mid-low raspy voice. The keyboard playing creates a periodic frame for the song. He sings the pre-chorus with a higher and thinner voice. The chorus begins with powerful singing. We can hear some backing vocals. The drop of the chorus is based on synth sounds, as well as electronic production. The second verse has a faster rate and different rhythm, but the melody stays the same. This time, we can hear the backing vocals in the verse. The pre-chorus is performed in a slightly higher voice. The chorus again starts powerful and energetic. This time the drop takes a bigger part of the chorus, as the electronic beat and echo vocals are more dominant. The last part of the song is more exposed, with simple singing and almost no production at all. The song continues in the same direction as previously, until the final chorus ends. The song feels like a missed opportunity for me.The idea of building the song in a number of different layers is something I can appreciate. However some parts are forced and over produced. It looks like he prevents playing risky. Liamoo is much better than this.

#10. Cornelia Jakobs – Hold Me Closer

It’s a dynamic ballad with mid-tempo production.
The song starts with a deep instrumental part composed of piano playing. Cornelia opens the song with a unique and stable voice. After hearing only a few words, you can already understand that she is a great storyteller. She expresses the words in a captivating way. The first verse includes bowed string instruments which contribute to the required drama. The musical measures are getting longer as the verse ends. The chorus begins with a great composition of the different instruments. She sings powerfully, and the orchestra component follows perfectly the message of the song.
The second verse is more dynamic and also includes guitar playing. The rate is faster, and it turns out we have here not only a dark ballad but also a powerful pop ballad. A short instrumental part that’s based on the orchestra’s motives, leads us to the second chorus. Cornelia sings it emotionally and powerfully. Towards the end, she uses longer notes and revealed a raspier side of her voice. Surprisingly, and almost with no effort, she moves to sing with a thin high voice.
The last part starts more acoustic and slowly it grows into a more rhythmic piece that’s composed by the guitar playing. The last chorus is similar to the first one, but this time we can hear some backing vocals. The last part reaches the maximal emotional level, as she sings with tears.
Usually, I don’t like to use dramatic statements, but this is a masterpiece. I can’t even choose would is the strongest thing about this: her voice, the lyrics, the production and etc.
Sweden, it can be your chance to collect the 7th Eurovision trophy.

#11. Cazzi Opeia – I Can’t Get Enough

It is an upbeat dance-pop song with wide influences of 1990s music.
The song starts with humming and instrumental part which is composed by keyboards and violin playing. From the beginning, it is clear that this is an uplifting and joyful song. Her singing is performed in a mid-high voice with a fast rate, that’s moving carefully in the curved twisted path that the melody creates. The pre-chorus relies on the violin playing more significantly. She sings it with a higher pitch. The pre-chorus ends with the singing of a longer note with a stable voice. The chorus starts with a clap beat and violin playing, her singing is powerful. The second half of the chorus has a lighter atmosphere, and Cazzi sings it more simply, but with intention. The dance beat takes over the melody. The same dance beat or more precisely the drumbeat builds the frame of the second verse. Therefore, it is much more rhythmic and energetic. The second pre-chorus is shorter and includes a clap beat. The second chorus starts with a faster dance beat and synth elements. She sings with a thin high voice and a great stage presence. The bridge is theatrical, the melody isn’t uniform, and includes a beat with short musical measures. Keyboards playing leads us to the last chorus. It is more festive and uplifting. The song closes with the same instrumental part from the beginning.
I really love the energy of the song. Cazzi has a great talent, she controls her voice with a challenging melody. In addition, it is a great throwback to 1990s pop music.

#12. MEDINA – In I Dimman

It’s an upbeat pop song performed in the Swedish language. The song has elements of French or Latin dance club music.
One-half of the duo opens the song with a raspy and low voice. We can hear fading backing vocals that accompany him. The melody is based on guitar and keyboard playing. The pre-chorus is more rhythmic and danceable. They sing it together. The chorus is unplugged and includes singing in a low tone of voice. We cabarelyly hear any musical instruments, but drum playing. It has the character of stadium hymn songs. Thereafter, we get an instrumental part that’s based on trumpet playing, mixed with drums and digital production. The second verse let me down, as the singer who performs it, struggles to keep it stable and unfortunately it isn’t convincing. The genre at this part is more like rap. The pre-chorus is powerful, and again we can hear more of the fading backing vocals. The chorus relies on the drum beat and masculine low voice. The same instrumental part repeats here as well. They sing the chorus again with the melody. The song ends with some vocal improvisations.
The big advantage here is the catchiness of the song. However, I feel that the melody and the instrumental part appeal more than the singing. It creates a mood and can be a wonderful song in a party line-up, not sure that it be welcomes the same way at the Eurovision itself.

My Personal Ranking

  1. Cornelia Jakobs – Hold Me Closer
  2. Cazzi Opeia – I Can’t Get Enough
  3. Faith Kakembo – Freedom
  4. LIAMOO – Bluffin
  5. John Lundvik – Änglavakt
  6. Klara Hammarström – Run to the Hills
  7. Robin Bengtsson – Innocent Love
  8. Anna Bergendahl – Higher Power
  9. Medina – In i dimman
  10. Tone Sekelius – My Way
  11. Anders Bagge – Bigger than the Universe
  12. THEOZ – Som du vill

My Prediction

It seems like the competition on the first place will be between Cornelia Jakobs, Liammo, and Anders Bagge

Which song is your favorite to win?
Who do you think will represent Sweden at Eurovison 2022?

Sweden will compete in the second half of semi-final 2 on the 12th of May 2022.
If Sweden qualifies, the country will participate in the grand final on the 14h of May 2022

Check out all Eurovision 2022 updates and playlists on the contest’s homepage HERE

Doron Lahav is 30-year-old, who lives in Israel. Doron has been watching the Eurovision Song Contest since early 2000s. Doron works as a Data Scientist and shows interest in singing and writing.

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