You are released - The Agnes Discography Rate (Finished)

It all.

Comes down.

To this.



















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Hey, pipe down there, US version of Dec. No one asked you.

















Although it is an Idol gif so it is somewhat related.














For the last 3.5 months, we have been enjoying the discography of one Agnes Emilia Carlsson, and we’ve reached the final elimination.



On And On
vs
Release Me












The winner of the Popjustice Agnes Carlsson Discography Rate 2019 is...



















































... not “On And On.”

onandon.png

On And On
Average: 9.4

High scores: 11 x 2 (@londonrain, @tylerc904); 10 x 10 (@Ana Raquel, @Charley, @Hurricane Drunk, @iheartpoptarts, @Lost Boy, @Remorque, @Robsolete, @Sprockrooster, @Verandi, @WowWowWowWow)
Low score: 6.75 x 1 (@CasuallyCrazed)

Chart positions: #8 Sverigetopplistan; #8 Belgium/Flanders; #14 Netherlands; #16 Denmark; #17 Belgium/Wallonia; #37 Switzerland; #82 UK

And your silver medalist is the song that bridged the space between Agnes as Idol winner and Agnes as global rising star. And how can a song with so much impact be celebrated? Why, by being covered by Ulf Dageby on “Så mycket bättre,” of course!



Anders Nunstedt from Expressen gave Ulf’s version ZERO wasps (or whatever one wasp with an X on top of it is), calling it “unfortunately worthless”!

But we’re here to talk about Agnes and her multi-year arc of “On And On,” which spanned from the 2000s to the 2010s. Everything from her performing at Lilla Melodifestivalen 2008:



and Sommarkrysset!...

...to an audience of Schofield and Willoughby on “This Morning” in 2010:



and the Dickinson!

Get those Frenchies on your side too, Agnes!

She also performed the song at Le Concert pour la Tolérance in 2009. (This one kinda goes off the rails a bit toward the end.)

In a June 2009 interview with Digital Spy, after “Release Me” reached the top 3, Agnes herself reported that the next single was going to be “On And On.”

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Let’s see what other tidbits she had to offer.

A lot of people are comparing your voice and your look to Leona Lewis. How do you feel about that?
“I think she’s really beautiful and I love her voice, so it’s OK with me. I don’t think my voice is very similar to hers, but it’s definitely a positive comparison.”

Are you a fan of any British pop music?
“Hmm... I like Sting and the Sugababes. My favourite Sugababes song is maybe ‘Push The Button’ but I like a lot of their other songs too.”

(Honestly, it was a little dicey there for a moment when she named Gordon S, but she nailed the landing in the end.)

@Verandi is keeping count, y’all.
“The song with 10 versions and 5 videos dddd. A banger tho.” - 10

@abael was almost our lowest scorer, but that measly 0.25 was all the difference:
“Just a bit too soft to be a great pop song. It’s all a little hazy.” - 7.0

Someone who is very much not a little hazy about this track? Why @DJHazey naturally!
“I adore the chorus to pieces but the production is a tad more...overbearing than I remember, but it’s still an essential Agnes bop.” - 9.0

@danmharrow has memories that I wish I had (although I suppose if you sub in 2012 and Euphoria, it’s somewhat similar):
“It’s a bit cheesy… but dancing in Stockholm during Melodifestivalen weekend 2009 this song was played multiple times. All the fans who only knew MF/ESC songs were so confused but I continued to get my life.” - 9.0

From cheese to sugar, it’s time for an @iheartpoptarts report!
“We’re in agreement that this album is the peak of the rate, right? The pure sugar we all (hopefully) came for.” - 10

Well @berserkboi I hope you’re happy. “On And On” probably lost because of you! (I don’t know, I didn’t check.)
“Nice pop, but cannot score as highly as all the standouts!” - 9.4

Saving the 11’s for last, with @tylerc904 to open:
“This 11 is hard earned, because I think Big Blue Wall, Sometimes I Forget and Release Me would have each received my 11 at one point or another. At this exact point, On and On is easily my go-to Agnes track. A masterclass in melody and delivery.” - 11

And @londonrain to close:
“Scored for the UK mix, which is incredible and adds just the right amount of drama with the stops and starts in the instrumentation. One of my favourite dance songs ever.” - 11

Original version and video:
UK version and new video:
 
Last edited:
So of course, that leaves us with just...





releaseme.png

#1
Release Me
Average: 9.76

High scores: 11 x 3 (@Ana Raquel, @Reboot, @Remorque); 10 x 13 (@berserkboi, @Charley, @DJHazey, @Hurricane Drunk, @londonrain, @Lost Boy, @Robsolete, @Sprockrooster, @Txetxu, @tylerc904, @Untouchable Ace, @Verandi, @WowWowWowWow)
Low scores: 6.5 x 1 (@CasuallyCrazed)

Chart positions: #9 Sweden; #9 Italy; #6 Denmark; #6 Norway; #6 Belgium/Wallonia; #7 Belgium/Flanders; #7 The Netherlands; #7 France; #10 Ireland; #8 Austria; #5 Germany; #5 Switzerland; #1 US Dance/Club Chart; #3 UK

So yes, our number one is probably the song you expected, but given how high most of you scored it, you can't really be shocked, can you?

As you can see, Release Me was an international smash, and Agnes biggest hit to date. I can't remember when I first discovered it, but it does occasionally get played on Europe's most popular radio station, and I once drove around Birmingham screaming it at the top of my lungs, completely tunelessly of course.

'Release Me' was certified gold by BPI in 2013, meaning that it had sold over 400.000 copies. It was certified gold in Germany too, with the Bundesverband Musikindustrie confirming more than 150.000 copies. It's not Helene Fischer, but then again, nothing in Germany is.

Here the song had two chart runs, from December 2008 to March 2009, with the peak of #9 that you see above, before making a comeback in September of 2009, and staying until February 2010, getting to a high of #11.

@WowWowWowWow has found some reviews again:
Fraser McAlpine from the BBC gave it 4/5 stars and described it thusly:

Oh hello, what’s this? A former TV talent show winner banging out a disco torch song, supported by massed ABBA harmonies and a bass so thick you could use it as a doorstop? A modern day update of ‘I Will Survive’, which makes up in enormity what it lacks in defiance? A club-destroying barnstormer, worthy of a doffed cap from Dave Pearce himself (even if the hat-removal exercise would require some Super-Glue thinners and a pair of barber’s scissors)? The future of all heavy metal as we know it?

Well, yes, yes, yes and no. In that order.

I would say that 73% of why this is a great song rests with those amazing swooping harmonies. That’s not to take anything away from Agnes’s vocal talents, it’s just her honeyed-rasp, set to a synth-disco backing, is not THAT startlingly new a sound. Whereas those harmonies, particularly around the second and third verses, are astonishing. You could reduce things down to a beat, Agnes and the choir, and nothing would sound amiss.

The only trouble is, once you fixate on the glorious choir, some of the other bits start to sound a bit plasticky and half-arsed. I’d love to hear a version of this where the ‘Papa Don’t Preach’ strings at the beginning didn’t sound like a synth preset, where there was evidence of muscle and sinew in among the painstakingly recreated disco fizz. It’s not some rocksnob quest for ‘analogue warmth’ or whatever, it’s just those voices demand utter perfection from everything around them, and that’s a tough standard to reach.

Luckily for Agnes, her contribution is not one of the flies in the ointment. And who knows, if this had a more memorable chorus, and even MORE harmonies, why that extra star could be hers for the taking. I know, I know...she’s gonna be SO bothered, right?


Meanwhile, The Guardian’s Pete Cashmore wrote that Agnes
“has the name of a kindly, cat-laden aunt, the face of Leona Lewis’s more attractive younger sister and, as the saying goes, a fine set of pipes on her. Release Me is gasping, dramatic 21st century disco with stupefyingly heavy bass drums and pinpricks of fancy strings. Completely, utterly, Swedishly magnificent.”


In 2009, The Veronicas visited the headquarters of Digital Spy and were asked for their twin takes (sorry) on the week’s new releases. Here were their thoughts on “Release Me”:

Lisa: “I’m into it. I think the song is super-catchy but it sounds like she actually wrote it - unlike the last girl [Little Boots]. She sounds passionate and you believe that she’s gone through the emotions in the song.”
Jess: “She sounds a bit like Leona Lewis, but it’s more of a cool dance-pop sound.”
Lisa: “I like it better than Leona Lewis. She’s got a bit more of an edge to her.”


Considering they later called Shontelle “a shittier Rihanna with second-rate songs,” let’s just be grateful for what we got.


“Release Me” was subsequently remade by Julia Lindholm for the German market as “Ich lieb dich”:


Along with “Befrei mich” by Anna singt rot:


This seems like the French version, Réalise, but it also seems like it has been sped up for some reason.


Remember earlier in the rate, when Agnes covered 'Instant Repeater 99'? Well, Ebbot Lundberg from Soundtrack of Our Lives returned the sentiment by covering Release Me.


 

@Verandi saw it all coming:
"This is probably gonna win, because everybody can agree that it’s a banger." - 10.0

@DJHazey was also powerless to stop it:
'I would have to say this might be the front-runner for victory here and I’m sure as hell not going to get in the way with that giant chorus coming down the tracks.' - 10.0

@abael does an @Empty Shoebox and avoids talking about the song:
"I was going to give this a ten, but it isn’t really on that level. Like the 0, the 10 and moreover the 11 are options, not requirements, and there’s nothing here that deserves all three of those scores." - 9.0

@Sprockrooster keeps it short and simple:
'Whew. The production.'

@berserkboi makes a promise:
"Pop perfection! If it wins, it will be a 12 in the next Winners Rate, and it’s not even my 11 here!" - 10.0

@danmharrow gets a little bit nostalgic:
Nothing beats watching a Scandipop/Melodifestivalen hero getting incredible amounts of spins on radio and clubs. The song takes me back to my last year of being a student and the time I first (finally) came out and truly felt released, the sun shone and Agnes got the recognition she deserved. But she has better! - 9.5
never_experienced_that_emotion.gif

@londonrain probably thinks this is a worthy winner:
"All other scores have probably been lowered just because of how massive this song is. The fact that I can’t give it an 11 is testament to how incredible my actual 11 is. - 10.0"

@tylerc904 bemoans the lack of taste shown by the GP:
'Obviously THE signature Agnes song. Such a popjustice that this was her (unfairly brief) breakout internationally.' - 10.0

@iheartpoptarts agrees:
"These are the moments we live for on PJ—when one of those acts we stan around here but nobody we know in real life has even heard of gets the worldwide hit they deserve. That said, it’s hard to 10 because there are lots of songs I love a little bit more than it." - 9.0

Is @Ana Raquel describing the song or the rate?
"Unsurprising and anticlimactic, but what can I do if it’s my favorite? It’s that kind of atemporal song that you get chills every time you listen, kinda like Loreen’s Euphoria. Swedish talent ugh so powerful" - 11.0

@Reboot seems to be in the same school as @danmharrow:
"A pop classic. Hearing this song takes me back to 2008/2009 every time." - 11.0

@Remorque Can only applaud:
"I still remember hearing this for the first time at work and immediately getting that feeling of pure pop running through your veins. A perfect introduction to that voice, so I fell in love. A song, people." - 11.0

Here's a live performance of the acoustic version that found its way onto the Love Love Love release of Dance Love Pop:


Here's a remix by...LMFAO? Bashar al-Assad's favourite group?

This video is geoblocked here. Ha. Suffer.

Here's a long remix, for when you're off your face on eccies:


Here's a much shorter one, in case you thought that the song was all in the wrong order:


And here's a 'dirty disco':

Eww, sticky floors.
 

MORE VIDEOS
MORE PERFORMANCES
MORE CARLSSON

Here's Agnes going back to the stage that made her: Globen during the Idol final:


Here's Allsång på Skansen:

Notice that nobody else is singing. That's the whole point of allsång folks.

Here's the original video, featuring a hand dryer:

Here's another official video with Beats by Dre product placement*:

*Neither of your rate hosts endorse these products. But if you send us some money, we might consider it.

@WowWowWowWow requested me to slip this in, as performed on Wendy Williams' Show:

You had enough of 'Release Me' now? How do you think Agnes feels?

Still to come:
Album summaries, user averages and the colourful spreadsheet. But for now, I need to go to a foreign country.
 
FINAL RESULTS!

1) Release Me -- 9.76
2) On And On -- 9.4
3) All I Want Is You -- 9.24
4) Loaded -- 9.17
5) Don’t Go Breaking My Heart -- 9
6) Human Touch -- 8.8
7) Emotional -- 8.76
8) Into The Sun -- 8.71
9) Love Love Love -- 8.68
10) I Trance -- 8.67
11) Love Me Senseless -- 8.52
12) Limelight -- 8.504
13) Like God -- 8.5
14) Amazing -- 8.38
15) Instant Repeater 99 -- 8.37
16) I Need You Now -- 8.35
17) Walk Out Of Here -- 8.32
18) One Last Time -- 8.28
19) Secret Love -- 8.13
20) Got Me Good -- 8.07
21) How Do You Know -- 8.05
22) Watching It Burn -- 7.93
23) Look At Me Now -- 7.83
24) Heart Rate -- 7.79
25) Love Is All Around -- 7.76
26) Stranded -- 7.74
27) Flowers -- 7.58
28) Allt ljus på mig -- 7.57
29) Unforgiven -- 7.54
30) Now That I Found Love -- 7.47
31) Big Blue Wall -- 7.41
32) (Baby) I Want You Gone -- 7.34
33) Open Up Your Eyes -- 7.32
34) Don’t Pull Your Love Out -- 7.28
35) Forever Yours -- 7.22
36) Tough Love -- 7.09
37) Nu måste vi dra -- 7.02
38) Nothing Else Matters -- 6.78
39) I Believe In You -- 6.759
40) Kick Back Relax -- 6.757
41) En så’n karl -- 6.69
42) I Had A Feelin’ -- 6.62
43) Everybody Knows -- 6.58
44) Champion -- 6.55
45) Right Here Right Now (My Heart Belongs To You) -- 6.46
46) Top Of The World -- 6.36
47) For Love -- 6.35
48) Sometimes I Forget -- 6.32
49) My Boy -- 6.21
50) You Rain -- 6.14
51) What A Feeling -- 6.02
52) Life (Diamonds In The Dark) -- 5.94
53) Get My Math -- 5.81
54) I Believe -- 5.64
55) Hanna från Arlöv -- 5.44
56) Let Me Carry You -- 5.33
57) (What Do I Do With) All This Love -- 5.26
58) Somewhere Down The Road -- 5.04
59) If I Could Build My Whole World Around You -- 5.035
60) More Than You Know -- 4.59
61) My Everything -- 4.47
62) Alla vet -- 4.36
63) When You Tell The World You’re Mine -- 4.21
64) All I Want For C******** Is You -- 3.9
 
It's been such a fun time full of throwbacks and discoveries - thank you Swedish pop experts, I don't even think you could've done a better job if you were actually Swedish!

You both made it so much fun, I have a whole list of writers and producers to look up on Discogs now and find more bops, and I love that I got my little moment of justice for bubblegum, too!

Congrats @WowWowWowWow @Empty Shoebox on an iconic rate!
 
he/him
Continuing the great trend of co-hosted Euro bop rates, amazing job @Empty Shoebox and @WowWowWowWow! You had so much info on Swedish music and I loved your lead-ins for the commentary and graphics for the songs. Hopefully I can live up to it with the reveals for my rate. I thought Release Me might be up for a win and it really is a great representation of Agnes's music, bringing the emotion and stellar vocals along with a bop. Love her chances in a winner's rate.
 
What a perfect experience my first ever rate was! Thanks for so much hard work, and for the community feel this whole thread has had thanks to the niche target and scandipop love (love love). I've been in so many timezones during these results and at times it felt like this thread was the only thing keeping me grounded. Which is slightly overdramatic, but still.
Great results, but I'd have been happy with some of the bottom 5 winning too, Agnes is a true hero. Can't wait to dive into those German covers of Release Me once I'm back home tonight!
 
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