• Sweden edition
 
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
Updated: 31 Jan 2014 12:31 GMT+01:00

It's that time of year again. Melodifestivalen, Sweden's long road to Eurovision glory, kicks off on Saturday. Love it or hate it, it's impossible to ignore. See why The Local's Ann Törnkvist says Nay!, while Oliver Gee says Yay!

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)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Ikea to introduce 'green' vegetarian meatballs

Ikea to introduce 'green' vegetarian meatballs

Swedish furniture giant Ikea is planning to put vegetarian meatballs on the menu in an attempt to cut down on its carbon footprint, the company has announced. READ () »

Students to keep paying off debt beyond 67

Students to keep paying off debt beyond 67

The Swedish government has proposed scrapping the 25-year span for repaying student loans, by suggesting those who attend higher education should keep paying the money back well into retirement. READ () »

Drowned puppies found in crayfish cage
The crayfish cage in the picture is not the one mentioned in the story. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Drowned puppies found in crayfish cage

Police in eastern Sweden have launched a preliminary investigation of animal cruelty after two puppies were found drowned in a crayfish cage. READ () »

Three rescued after cruise ship sinks boat
Rickard Rundgren Björk of the coastguard services speaks to the media after the rescue operation on April 19th 2014. Photo: Maja Suslin /TT

Three rescued after cruise ship sinks boat

Three Saturday morning sailors had a lucky escape after their small boat collided and sank after it crashed into a cruise ship whilst sailing in the Stockholm archipelago. READ () »

Missing Swede found alive and well in UK
Sofie Marie Jansson. Photo: Metropolitan Police

Missing Swede found alive and well in UK

British police have found the missing Swedish girl Sofie Jansson in London, exactly a week after she was last seen, with authorities saying she is doing well. READ () »

Social Democrats make tax pledge to elderly

Social Democrats make tax pledge to elderly

Sweden's opposition party has stepped up its efforts to secure the pensioner vote by pledging to lower taxes for the elderly and make higher earners pay more. READ () »

Malmö Nazi attack victim on the mend
Showan Shattak pictured in Malmö before his attack. Photo: Facebook

Malmö Nazi attack victim on the mend

The 25-year-old man, whose stabbing by neo-Nazis sparked mass demonstrations across Sweden, has made a strong recovery in hospital and took to social media to thank supporters for campaigning against fascism. READ () »

Police seeking missing Swede in London

British police have issued a plea for tips in the search to find Swedish national Sofie Marie Jansson who hasn't been seen for almost a week. READ () »

University applications rocket to record high

University applications rocket to record high

Swedish universities continue to draw vast amounts of applicants with the number of prospective students seeking a third level education increasing for the seventh year in a row. READ () »

Man jailed in US over Lars Vilks murder plot
Swedish artist Lars Vilks pictured in New York in 2012. Photo: Linus Sundahl-Djerf/TT

Man jailed in US over Lars Vilks murder plot

American authorities have sentenced a 20-year-old accomplice of 'Jihad Jane' to five years in prison for an attempted terror plot to kill Swedish artist Lars Vilks, after getting involved with the murder plans when he was a teenager. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
TT
Society
Kids in Victorian garb mark Swedish Easter
Shutterstock
National
Swedish MP ordered chemtrail probe
Society
Swedish supermarket Ica pulls contested Easter commercial off air
Kungahuset
Society
Swedish royals set baptism date for princess
finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 16
Politics
Who's the prime minister's heir?
Alfie Atkins
Society
Are children's books the key to families integrating in Sweden?
National
'Sweden Dem protests cater to party's martyr image'
National
'Swedish research grants were fantastic, but now it's like Australia'
Society
Only in Sweden: The ten problems you'd never encounter elsewhere
National
Swedes stopped to take my picture, but didn't look me in the eyes
Business & Money
A swipe of the hand replaced cash and cards in Lund
Advertisement:
YouTube
Features
Video: Oliver Gee finds out how to embrace The Swedish Hug
TT
National
Abba duo hints at reunion
Private
National
Flash mobs hug it out across Sweden
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching April 11-13
TT
Politics
Swedes to give six-hour workday a go
TT
Society
Aussie choir member wows Abba in Sweden
YouTube
Society
Stockholm magic a surprise YouTube hit
Fastighetsbyrån
Society
Gallery: The Local's Property of the Week
Private
Society
Swedes find 200-year-old gravestone in living room
Stockholm School of Economics
Sponsored Article
Why a bachelor's degree is no longer enough
Deepti Vashisht
Features
Deepti Vashisht dissects the magic of Sweden's personal ID number
Shutterstock
Society
Ten signs you've been in Sweden too long
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 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

Blog Update: The Diplomatic Dispatch

28 October 15:16

The Green Growth Group Summit »

"Today on the 28 October in Brussels, a large group of key EU Ministers and business people, including UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey, and Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek, will meet to discuss green growth. They all have a stake in resolving a challenge which, although it is crucial..." READ »

738
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com