Anton Ewald today releases his first ever EP. And ‘Begging’ aside, it’s the first time we get to hear what he’s all about musically.
It’s been a task and a half for him (we assume). Stepping into both a genre and a market that’s already saturated with pop fellows doing the same thing – pop fellows who are each at the top of their game in some way or another. How does one compete with Eric Saade, Danny Saucedo, and Darin – three guys who’ve been doing it for a lot longer, yet are still churning out the hits, doing them well, and most difficult of all for newbies to compete with – doing quite well with them too. It’s already driven Ola back into creative seclusion, and forced Måns to grow a beard, get out a guitar, and attempt to reinvent himself completely, at any cost.
This hasn’t phased Anton though. And instead of avoiding the large elephant in the room, he’s totally embraced it – going so far as to actually work with quite a lot of Saade’s producers, and with Saucedo himself. On each of the four new tracks though, he’s made sure he’s involved as a co-writer, and so has at each point more than likely been able to speak out about what he wants the song to sound like, and to put his own sonic stamp on it.
That sonic stamp appears to stem from a love of r&b. And that’s the single biggest influence on this pop EP. As a nipper in the late 90s, we reckon Anton first fell for music on the strength of hearing all of the r&b flavoured pop music that American was churning out (often via Swedish writers and producers!) on the radio. That’s massively evident across his own music, and also from listening to his singing voice too. And we assume it’s the insistence of paying a certain tribute to that sound, that’s helped him manage to stand out ever so slightly from the rest of his contemporaries.
The ‘A’ EP has been released today, and outside of Sweden too. Below we’ve done a small track by track review, and included the iTunes link to purchase each of the songs. Plus, to try before you buy, you can listen to previews of each song here.
Human (Anton Ewald, Jason Gill, Mattias Larsson & Robin Fredriksson)
“well my music is more r&b” has always been Anton’s stock response when asked about how he fits in with the rest of Swedish pop’s boy wonders. And track 1 on the album, ‘Human’, also sets this straight right away. It’s still pop of course, but with an r&b edge to it. A juggernaut synth that chugs throughout, a sexy verse, and an epic and melodic chorus. Not unlike ‘Governor‘, another track that two of ‘Human’s composers have also been behind.
Can’t Hold Back (Anton Ewald, Ilya Salmanzadeh, Oscar Görres & Farhad Zand)
The big pop number of the EP. What a chorus! This, along with ‘Human’ should be frontrunner to be the next single. Granted it’s the song that’s sets him aside from his colleagues the least, but when all is said and done, you just can’t turn a track like this down. And we mean that literally too – turn it up!
Would That Make You Love Me (Anton Ewald, Mattias Andréasson & Danny Saucedo)
Another r&b ‘jam’. This is a jam that’s a lot smoother however, and a little retro flavoured too. Not too retro though – you’re from the 70s but he’s a 90s bitch. And this too sounds like it could have been plucked from r&b flavoured pop’s golden age – those very 90s. Anton’s voice sounds on top form on this one. And is that M and D from EMD that we can hear on backing vox, as well as see in the songwriting credits?!
Brand New (Anton Ewald, Jeff Roman, Dhani Lennevald & Julimar Santos)
The logical conclusion to ‘Begging’, with a JT vocal. If there’s any song on this EP that will make him do another of those awe inspiring kick flip thingies mid-performance, it’s this one. The rave-up is balanced out by an achingly smooth chorus. Melody-wise, it’s the weakest song on here. But things are picked up by a good production. And that’s exactly what we thought about ‘Begging’ when we first heard it too – and look how much we all love that one now!
Begging (Fredrik Kempe & Anton Malmberg Hård af Segerstad)
AH-OOH WHAT A FEELING, AH-OOH WHAT A FEELING!