The Eurovision Song Contest often introduces internationally unknown artists to a global stage (never forget ABBA.) This year the title was taken out by Swedish pop singer Måns Zelmerlöw with his single Heroes. It was a worthy win and became the third highest score in Eurovision history, but Zelmerlöw is definitely no stranger to success. After all, he originally rose to fame in his country as a contestant on Swedish Idol. Not even two weeks after the spectacle the singer released his sixth studio album Perfectly Damaged, so he’s been a busy bee.
Nobody wants to get to age 65 and realise they didn’t follow through with their dreams: the influential Stir It Up is Zelmerlöw’s take on that moment, but being only 28 and winning an internationally renowned song contest extinguishes this worry for him. We’re in for an album packed with pop, we can taste it. When we reviewed the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 album we had no idea which song was going to take the title, but we did mention that Heroes was a memorable and worthy entry: Måns confirmed our stance when he took out the title with his stunning performance. Vocally the recording shone, but you can easily see why the song won the contest for Sweden when it hit the stage. Songs like Someday and Live While We’re Alive are a treat for the ears with their atmospheric pop auras: Zelmerlöw likes his inspirational lyrics. The same could be said for the beat savvy Let It Burn, another pop gem.
With Should Have Gone Home you initially think that you’re in for a scaled down piano number, but it explodes into yet another banging pop number: it’s still a nice track but we’ve heard it all before. Fade Away again explodes into loudness, but if you’ve got the talent to churn out these tunes then you would run with it like Zelmerlöw. Finally we get that intimate moment with Måns, Hearts Collide is the pop ballad we’ve been waiting for, while it still has a drum beat it’s only subtle as the ambience takes control. The Core Of You keeps the volume of the album up, as does Unbreakable with its dance influenced arrangement and powerhouse of a chorus; Kingdom In The Sky brings nothing new to the table, but undeniably belongs on this album. Lastly, singer Tilde Vinter features on the wonderful ballad What’s In Your Eyes. Their voices really compliment each other and the lyrics are beautiful.
Måns Zelmerlöw certainly has a knack for the mainstream pop genre. Perfectly Damaged consists of all the highs and some little lows complete with inspirational and deep and meaningful lyrics. At times the album felt repetitive, not lyrics wise, but sonically it wasn’t very diverse; there wasn’t a lot of downtime spent with Måns. His vulnerability and intimacy was often shrouded behind the overpowering pop beats, but he’s clearly gone for an upbeat mainstream pop record. Sweden has known of Måns Zelmerlöw’s talent since their second season of Idol ten years ago; the world is waking up to his talent now thanks to Eurovision. Perfectly Damaged should win him some new fans, especially if they dig loud pop vibes, what it lacks in versatility is made up for with catchy hooks and powerful atmosphere.