Melodifestivalen (Sweden) 2022 Reviews: Semi-Final 4

Sweden’s national selection feels like the engine that quietly hums along in the background while all the chaos of other selections comes and goes. From this semi, Klara Hammarström with “Run to the Hills” and Medina’s “In i dimman” qualified for the final, while Anna Bergendahl’s “Higher Power” and Lillasyster with “Till Our Days Are Over” will be performing in next weekend’s semi-final 5. Now that all the qualifying songs have been released commercially, I’ll be reviewing them after next weekend’s chaos.

Angelino — “The End”
From the first few seconds you can tell this is all about the vocal as Angelino demonstrates his skills before you even notice there’s any music. It’s a ballad in three parts with not a lot of interesting going on musically, which makes the vocal performance even more impressive, because it really keeps the song going along. Angelino brings an authentic amount of emotion to the lyrics about a break-up without overdoing it, and finishes with a big moment. I feel like this would have gone further had they been able to give him a backing track with a bit more flavour.

Tenori — “La Stella”
Mixture of EDM and popera which manages to sound belaboured and ham-fisted. It doesn’t sound like the gents sing in English much, and maybe they shouldn’t have tried. When they go into Italian they sound much better, more confident in themselves. While they manage to get the song back on track in the final minute, this sounds more like an idea for a song that needed some more revision first.

Malin Christin — “Synd om dig”
Perhaps it’s my bias towards hearing languages other than English, but I quite liked this, even though I recognise it doesn’t offer as much as some of the other entries in this semi-final. The piano melody is far more engaging than many I’ve heard over this national selection season, but the refrain/chorus doesn’t really match up with the rest of the track, and the last section isn’t as exciting as it should have been in order to have a chance at qualification.

Lillasyster — “Till Our Days Are Over”
Well, I guess the final needed at least one rock entry? In this case of Lillasyster it must be all about their general profile given how established they are in the industry. Sure, the song will have you bouncing about and it’s a fun “shout along” track, but those vocals are very, very rough. Given how much Eurovision focuses on good singing voices, I think they’d need their fanbase to turn out in big numbers next weekend if they want to make the final.

Anna Bergendahl — “Higher Power”
An international fan favourite (winner of OGAE Second Chance in 2019) and Melfest regular returns with what initially sounds like a country-tinged pop song — Bergendahl’s costume suggests this as well — but soon swerves into more familiar dance-pop territory. A few orchestral flourishes aside, her voice is the most interesting part of the track. It’s probably not her best entry, but she knows how to deliver a song and get the best out it, and Bergendahl has definitely done that here.