• Sweden's news in English
 
Melodifestivalen 2014
Yay or nay to Sweden's annual Mello meltdown?
Helena Paparizou at the Thursday rehearsal for Saturday's show. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Yay or nay to Sweden's annual Mello meltdown?

Published: 31 Jan 2014 12:31 GMT+01:00

Melodifestivalen features 32 hopefuls getting ready for this year's sing-offs. From relative newbie Yohio to veteran singer Cajsa Stina Åkerström. Dang, they even dredged up Dr. Alban and Jessica Folcker from the 1980s and 1990s. Whatever you say about Mello, you can't fault the annual SVT homage to pop music for lack of variety or surprises. Yet The Local's newsroom has hardliners on both sides of the Mello yay-nay divide. When a third of the country tunes in to the Melodifestivalen final, there is one person who won't be among them.  
 
Ann Törnkvist says Nay!
 
It was never going to happen in my family. Mum an immigrant, dad a former professional classical musician, my brother donning eye-liner to emulate Rob Smith, me with a Kurt Cobain poster above my bed.
 
"Mello" was just never going to happen. We liked "good" music - Rolling Stones, Purcell, Blur, Depeche Mode. We weren't going to sully ourselves with the selection of a candidate to go out into hostile European territory to defend us!
 
I do, however, have vague memories of my childhood's Melodifestivalen. Carola's wind machine breaking down ahead of the 1991 final, which she won. I like wind machines. I turn the air conditioner on full blast in the car so I can get a breeze in my locks while I sing and squirm about to... Destiny's Child, Björk, Jay-Z... not frigging Carola, who apart from having a voice as flat as a... eh, very flat thing... once said gays could be cured with prayer. Charming. 
 
 
There have been times when I wonder if I am a snob. Well, rather, I know I am, but if it steers my rejection of all things Mello? Everyone else likes it, so I gotta hate it? Well.. the truth is that the one or two times I've watched Mello I have remembered not one song. Because the songs suck. 
 
And Oliver Gee says Yay!
 
I should have known Ann would say it's all about the music, and that was her fatal flaw. Mello isn't about the music. 
 
Let me explain.
 
You never forget your first Melodifestivalen - mine was three years ago. Granted, it dragged on for eight weekends, so it's unlikely I'll forget it anyway.  But there I was, with my girlfriend's family, rugged up in the Swedish winter, watching terrible songs and thinking "Is this for real? Am I really in Sweden and is this really what they do? For EIGHT WEEKENDS IN A ROW?"
 
But I got into it. Euro-pop brought the family together. And it all culminated in a glass-shattering win for Eric Saade, who I'd incidentally tipped, so I was especially pleased. I was hooked.
 
And if you thought he was unforgettable, imagine Loreen the year after. Her song, Euphoria, created a frenzy. I remember being at a discotheque where they played it four times in one night and people went crazy each time. 
 
It wasn't just because of the song, it was something bigger than that. It was the competition, it was wanting her to win, it was knowing that forgotten Abba Eurovision glory might be around the corner.
 
Mello isn't about the music, it's about the mood. It's scuttlebutt fodder, your own personal Jesus, and ammo for small talk with Swedes (and God knows they can use it). 
 
Sweden will always have a soft spot for Mello because without it, Swedes wouldn't have Abba, and without Abba, Sweden would still be as mysterious and anonymous as Norway, God forbid.
 
So turn on your Melodifestivalen this weekend and let yourself be swept up by the madness. Reach out and touch faith.
 
And as for those snobs who say the music isn't good enough, go and put your earphones in and your Depeche Mode on, and close the door quietly behind you. 
 

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Agency: Dream in vain of a white Christmas
There is little chance of snow in Stockholm this Christmas. File photo: TT

Agency: Dream in vain of a white Christmas

Sweden's weather agency SMHI has warned those living in southern parts of the country to stop dreaming of a white Christmas or risk disappointment. READ  

Shots fired at Stockholm migrant camp: report
File photo: TT

Shots fired at Stockholm migrant camp: report

Stockholm police have launched an investigation after reports that shots were fired at an EU migrant camp in the south of the city on Saturday. READ  

Löfven launches Swedish 'American Dream'
Photo: TT

Löfven launches Swedish 'American Dream'

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven used his Christmas speech on Saturday to launch his idea of the "Swedish Promise", an equivalent to the more familiar "American Dream". READ  

Hoho: Estelle records cute Christmas message
Princess Estelle pictured in her 2014 Christmas jumper. Photo: Kate Gabor/royalcourt.se

Hoho: Estelle records cute Christmas message

Video: Sweden's little Princess Estelle has got into the spirit of Christmas by recording a special message together with her parents. READ  

Swedes over-estimate English abilities: expert
BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg suffers a linguistic let-down at The White House in 2010. File photo: TT

Swedes over-estimate English abilities: expert

Swedes are generally confident in their own English abilities, a new survey has shown, although one expert has questioned whether this belief is misplaced. READ  

Sweden seeks ban on foreign booze advertising
File photo: Shutterstock.

Sweden seeks ban on foreign booze advertising

Two powerful Swedish lobby groups have turned to the European Commission to try and get a complete ban on alcohol advertising on television, after it emerged some channels were dodging the ban by being registered abroad. READ  

Minecraft creator beats Beyonce in mansion bid
Markus Persson created hit game Minecraft. Photo: TT

Minecraft creator beats Beyonce in mansion bid

UPDATED: Swedish billionaire Markus Persson is reported to have outbid the likes of Jay-Z and Beyonce with his half billion kronor offer ($70 million) for a 2,000-square-metre Beverly Hills mansion. READ  

Accelerated for Ice Music
Ice Music taps Texas troubadour for new tunes
A scene from a 2014 Ice Music concert in Luleå. Photo: Graeme Richardson/Swedish Lapland

Ice Music taps Texas troubadour for new tunes

The world's "coolest concert" is set for a Texas twist in 2015 when Luleå's innovative Ice Music welcomes American musical talent from Austin, home of the South By Southwest (SXSW) music festival. READ  

Second baby on the way for Princess Madeleine
Princess Madeleine at the previous Nobel banquet. Photo: TT

Second baby on the way for Princess Madeleine

UPDATED: Sweden's Royal Court has announced that Princess Madeleine is pregnant with the second child of her financier husband Chris O'Neill. READ  

Video
Video: The best & worst of Swedish Christmas
Tom says he is a big fan of the food. Photo: The Local

Video: The best & worst of Swedish Christmas

What's the best thing about Christmas in Sweden? The worst? And perhaps most importantly, the tastiest? The Local's Paul O'Mahony hits the Old Town's Christmas market as the first snow of the season falls to find out more. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: December 18th to 25th
National
'Unprecedented' Russian activity: Armed Forces
Society
Interview: The Local chats with Melinda Gates
Society
VIDEO: Stockholmers try out some Swedish tongue twisters
Society
Eight things to do when it gets dark in Umeå
Blog updates

19 December

-t or no -t? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! There are many things in the Swedish language that can give you a grey hair or two,..." READ »

 

19 December

Editor’s Blog, December 19th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, Father Time has taken another week from us, but never fear – good old Father..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Inside Sweden's first 'light therapy' school
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: December 17th
Estelle through the years
Gallery
Princess Estelle through the years
Society
Why are there so many 100-year-olds in one Swedish town?
Society
Is it time to better celebrate Sweden's diverse identity?
Gallery
Property of the week: Huddinge
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
National
CATCH UP: Russian plane in Baltic near-miss drama
Lifestyle
How my compass drew me to Sweden
National
The man whose memory you need to remember
Gallery
People-watching: December 13th - 14th
Sponsored Article
How to get your own office anywhere in the world
Politics
'Our party will stand alone': Stefan Löfven
Society
The Local chats to Ruben Östlund, director of Golden Globe nominated Force Majeure
Lifestyle
Ten things to know before a Swedish party
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: December 12th to 19th
Gallery
IN PICTURES: The 2014 Nobel Banquet
National
The Local's guide to the Nobel Prizes 2014
Education
Introducing... Education in Stockholm
Society
The Swedish Christmas market with a twist
Lifestyle
Why do so many Swedes have tattoos?
Society
Get 20% off Swedish Christmas decorations
National
Dewani family: We only heard half the story
Business & Money
Business in Stockholm: 'efficiency is money'
Gallery
Property of the week: Östermalm
National
Meet the Swedes hosting festive feasts for 'lonely' guests
Gallery
TIMELINE: Swedish honeymoon killing murder trial
Gallery
People-watching: December 7th
Gallery
IN PICTURES: What's it like to fly planes in Sweden?
National
Submarine hunters 'robbed' of reward cash
National
The Local's Countdown to Christmas
National
'Dangerous' USB charger recalled in Sweden
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's King and Queen wrap up France tour
National
Analysis: Should Snowden get asylum in Sweden?
National
Swedish schoolboy in female saint role row
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's political crisis unfolds
Gallery
People-watching: December 3rd
National
What happened to Sweden's ice bucket cash?
Lifestyle
Top Swedish songs of the month
Sponsored Article
SIS: the thinking behind globalised learning
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Family life in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

820
jobs available
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Counselling and Psychotherapy in English
Sometimes living in another culture can cause stress, confusion and feelings of sadness and loneliness. Talking to a professional psychotherapist/counsellor might help you. I am a UKCP Reg. psychotherapist. My practice is in Södermalm, Stockholm.
Contact me to discuss your options