Eric Saade

Saade, Vol. 2

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Rounding off an eventful year which saw him hold Sweden's highest position in the Eurovision Song Contest for over a decade, Eric Saade embarked on a 25-date sell-out tour and scored his first number one album. Saade, Vol.2 is the second full-length effort from the 21-year-old heartthrob. Following the first volume so quickly suggests that these ten tracks were either too much of a departure to appear on the same record, or that they were too strong to be kept hidden away any longer. But with regular producer Jason Gill (Anna Vissi, Darin) again at the helm for another wave of competent but unremarkable contemporary schlager pop, it turns out that neither is the case. In fact, it's hard to see why there was such a rush to get it out, with only the sultry synth pop of opener "Sky Falls Down" and the surprisingly subtle '80s-tinged electro of "Feel Alive" coming close to the triumph of his Eurovision entry. Indeed, other than the overwrought balladry of closer "Without You I'm Nothing," a drippy dedication to his fans which sounds like a leftover from his former boy band days, the rest of the album focuses on the all-too-familiar commercial club sound that's become so ubiquitous of late, and while the swirling trance pop of "Explosive Love," the floor-filling collaboration with Dev on "Hotter Than Fire," and the suggestive, dubstep-inspired "Backseat" are all crammed with brain-lodging hooks, it's all been done a million times before. Take the more inspired moments from each volume and you have a pretty solid slab of pure pop, but Saade doesn't yet possess the inventiveness to justify two very similar releases in such a short space of time.