Tuesday, 31 March 2009
We know that Salem was in New York in February, and we know he posted that little video clip on YouTube. Anyway tonight I was thinking a little bit about the caption on the video: "Salem fooling around on one of the Euphoria Studios upright pianos prior to working".
Well I just wondered what he was working on? Rehearsing? Recording demos maybe?
As usual....if anyone knows anything about this, please post a comment. ;)
There is a fabulous 5 out of 5 review of "Astronaut" by Sven Ove Bakke in Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet:
I liked it so much I've translated some of it as follows:
"From the Toto-replica "Roxy" via a retro futuristic twist on a Graham Nash / David Crosby-thing ("Bluest Eyes") to soul, funk, airy pop and even some lively rockers. "Now's The Time" could be a new Oasis song, had it not been that the refrain is more catchy than most from the last ten years. It smells mostly of the 80s, but Salem, illustrates that decade's sound with significant roots in the present. Even the most obvious pastiche (Toto song) has contemporary depth ...For you everything is possible. You can create things and you are 100 percent natural."
Back to Sweden, and Eskilstuna-Kuriren's Mikael Barani loves "Astronaut" too. Read the review at http://ekuriren.se/kulturnoje/1.7235 and again I thought it was worth a translation so here's some of the review:
"A sequel to Salem's acclaimed debut "This Is Who I Am" will receive the ovation and cheers also. Astronaut is an incredibly ambitious album, filled with both large and intimate moments to look back on the 60s, 70s and 80s. ...."Bluest Eyes...feels like an updated Riders on the Storm by The Doors, with a message about having a critical attitude to the broadcast on our televisions....Salem's voice carries a kind of vulnerability...and represents a large part of the magic of "Astronaut". In the orchestral "Purple Lady", Salem's ability to create with his voice a warm atmosphere....the journey here has been revolutionary".
So here we are at the end of March. What a fabulous month it has been, which began with the release of the "Astronaut" single and Salem's appearance on Popcirkus...and ended with the "Astronaut" album receiving universal critical acclaim and commercial success in Sweden.
And what will April bring?.....Salem on tour!!
Monday, 30 March 2009
I've said it before and I'm going to say it again: this is possibly the most beautiful song that Salem has ever written, and it would melt even the hardest heart.
Once again I just want to thank each and every one of you who have visited my fansite for Salem. I hope you will keep on visiting as there is so much more to come. My mission remains the same....to let the world know about Salem Al Fakir and his wonderful music.
And Salem....thank you for all your support, it means so much to me.
Sunday, 29 March 2009
Planet Salem says: It would be higher if it wasn't for all the Melodifestivalen songs and numerous versions of "Tingeling" :)
As usual, you know what to do...keep voting and let's get the song even higher in next week's chart!!
Saturday, 28 March 2009
The album gets 5 out of 6 and the reviewer says "This is the sound of pop with a large P for the year 2009".
"Much may suggest that he is an Elton John or Roger Hodgson of our time... pop music as effortless should appeal to 13-year-olds as well as 70-year-olds... you feel all the way there is a slight twist of genius that has roots in his identity as a musician. Pop with a soul feeling that Prince could reel off in his warmest moments".
The reviewer concludes: "Searching your soul a good pop with piano-based drama, you need not look further than just over the border. "Astronaut" comes to stand as one of the best pure pop albums in 2009...No hesitation - both thumbs up for Salem Al Fakir!"
And who could disagree? The review (in Norwegian) can be found at http://www.abcnyheter.no/node/86085
Friday, 27 March 2009
I don't want to bore you all about this as I know you visit this site to read about Salem and not about me, but you know how much this means to me and I'm so excited about seeing him play live.
I've been talking to my friends about Planet Salem and my forthcoming trip and they seem quite fascinated by it all. Some of them have asked me if I will get to meet Salem.
I told them that of course I would love to meet Salem, but it would be his decision if he wanted to meet the person who runs his international fansite..!
Anyway this brings me to a reminder about something which I missed earlier. There is a competition at http://www.salemalfakir.com/tavling/ which Swedish fans can enter and win tickets for one of Salem's concerts in April and also get the opportunity to meet him. The closing date for the competition is 29th March.
Maybe Salem could invent a competition for me to win so that I could meet him!!! :)
"In "Astronaut" Salem lands his rocket into Prince's 80s-charming "Roxy" to later take the direction of shimmering pop-classical symphony with the orchestral-arranged "Purple Lady". With a backpack stuffed with recognisable influences and ....exciting productions in which texts move between seriousness and humour".
I've done a brief translation of some highlights of the interview here, as I thought you might like to read it.
Louise Olsson interviewed Salem at his signing session at Bengans in Gothenburg last week. In the interview, Salem said that he wanted to change his hairstyle, and that he's become more calmer as he's got older. He also said where there were a lot of old songs on the first album, it's all new songs on the second album.
Salem also said that people abroad - particularly English speakers - found it difficult to pronounce his surname so he decided just to shorten it to Salem on the second album. Although Salem wants to succeed abroad, he said it's not the main focus right now and sees it as a "side project".
Salem said that not all the songs on the album are about him, but they are about things he has observed.
I don't know how Salem feels about that no. 7, but I'm a bit disappointed as I thought it deserved to go in at no.1. Second highest new entry isn't too bad though, and - remember this is only my opinion! - "Astronaut" will probably have a longer album chart run than that of this week's no.1 Caroline af Ugglas, as I reckon this is only doing well on the back of her Melodifestivalen success.
Anyway...it's still good news.
If you haven't bought the album yet then you need to buy it as it is utterly fantastic!! If you live outside Sweden you can buy it from the various websites listed on Salem's official site and his MySpace, I'd recommend www.cdon.com as this is where I got my copy from.
Thursday, 26 March 2009
After all the excitement of the past week, it's all gone quiet on the news front but if I hear anything I will report it on Planet Salem of course!!
Salem - have a good weekend, you need to have a good rest before before the tour starts next week. Take care! :)
"...it is easy to capitulate to Salem Al Fakir's great melodic pop...exciting for the ear, and extremely clever". Full review at http://www.untfredag.se/avd/1,1826,MC=15-AV_ID=885259,00.html
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
"moving freely and unhindered in an open pop landscape...an 80's west coast vibe that is reminiscent of Toto and Chicago. To pick the best out of a slick genre without becoming dull and boring is an achievement".
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
In this interview, Salem says "for me, it is important to be a good person". Which just proves once again that Salem is so "down to earth" and is not affected by his success or critical acclaim.
Monday, 23 March 2009
It's another 4 out of 5 review! Find it at http://www.an.no/kultur/cd/article4216099.ece
Sunday, 22 March 2009
Västerbottens Folkblad’s Niclas Holmlund describes "Astronaut" as "a musical journey: an exciting, varied and interesting one and Al Fakir is an extremely resourceful and knowledgeable guide...an astronaut in his own orbit" I would recommend that you read/translate this review as Mr Holmlund seems to perfectly describe the album, which he gives 4 out of 5.
Review at http://www.folkbladet.nu/?p=139732
Anders Dahlbom in Expressen calls it "a melodic space trip back to the 70s... Salem has not lost the ability to write songs that sounds annoying little melodic old hits...contagious choruses and shamelessly wonderful commercial production, so it smells like success again". (So why did you only give it 3 out of 5?) Review at http://www.expressen.se/noje/recensioner/skivor/1.1505811/melodisk-rymdtripp-tillbaka-till-70-talet
Aftonbladet’s Jenny Seth gives it 4 out of 5. She stated that there is a major difference in the music from the last album, listing influences such as Elton John, Paul Simon and the Zombies (I know what she means about "Bluest Eyes") and she feels that this album is "tighter and better than it’s predecessor...although some may miss the effervescent joy from the first album, the new music is just like Salem’s new hairdo - simply attractive". Review at
NWT’s Lina Hard also awards 4 out of 5 but isn’t too happy with the "... less than cheerful manner. It is innovative and with a different gravity, but we should not lose the joy". She highlights however that "...Salem has developed and dares to try new paths in music. The songs feel like the haircut he wants, not the one everyone else wants him to have...Salem IS a musical genius". Who could disagree? Review at http://nwt.se/noje/skivor/article500613.ece
Ludvig Blix in Gefle Dagblad is another reviewer with a 4 out of 5 rating: "predictable retro-pop, neatly arranged and melodically brilliant...Salem walks completely unhindered through 1960s, 70s and 80s music." The reviewer also notes "this disc has the potential to hit internationally, every song has both hitpotential and depth", his only criticism is that "he is not the least original...he is a genius, but without his own expression". (Planet Salem will disagree....Salem is a true original in every way!!) Review at
Arbetarbladet’s Christine Oden awards 3 out of 5 and says "It is a mature Salem who reveals himself in the sequel to "This is who I am"... several songs lean strongly to something that closely resembles stadium rock...but still fine melodies and beautiful arrangements". Review at http://arbetarbladet.se/noje/recensioner/paskiva/1.854522
I think most of the reviews have now been published: however I will keep looking out for new interviews and magazine articles and as usual, if any of you hear anything...please let me know!!
Come, come, come back soon
I would trade away the stars and moon
If you came, came, came back soon
My darker days would all be done
Oh Brooklyn sun....
Isn't it great to see him appearing on lots of Swedish TV shows to promote the album!
I notice that some of these lyrics are slightly different from those in the actual songs so maybe Salem changed his mind along the way!
Now you can all learn the lyrics - I already know them off by heart :)
On the CD cover, which I’d describe as ‘enigmatic’ Salem appears unrecognisable. However, when you put the CD on, you will get that reassuring feeling that despite any change in his look/name/musical style/songwriting themes, he is still distinctively....Salem.
Anyway here is my track by track review, based on my listening to the album over the past 24 hours.
"I thought I was the greatest one/of course I wasn’t".
Track 2: "Astronaut"
"I understood what she was up to/it was planned from the beginning and the plan was carried through/and I’m still in the middle"
The title track (and second single) is just beautiful. On this track, there is such sadness, emotion and regret in Salem’s voice that you can’t fail to be moved by it. At about 1:30 into the song there is a little moment where it stops and starts again ("...she left him to be with me") and that particular moment always gets me every time.
The best thing about Salem’s songs is that you can listen to them over and over and over again but you will never get tired of them: "Astronaut" is yet another example of that.
"It’s beautiful/every little step they take"
Track 4: "It’s Only You (Part II)"
"If you ever will be mine....I will never ever let you down".
"I feel a burning sensation/in the region below"
"We better all watch out/evil is hiding in the bluest eyes"
"For how long have you planned to hold me back?/I almost lost it but now I’m back on track/Hey!".
"It’s time for me to go/but I wanna play some more/can I stay until tomorrow morning?"
"They all stand in line, waiting for you to make up your mind"
This sounds a bit stupid and hard to explain, but the first time I heard this song I was moved to tears even though it’s delivered in such a happy uptempo way. Then I realised it was not because I was upset in any way, they were tears of happiness at hearing something so fantastic. This song absolutely soars above anything else on this album, I guess it’s the point where "old" and "new" Salem collide and the result is four minutes of complete magic.
"It’s time to tell the world/a true angel is gone"
Salem is an artist who has been blessed with a unique and special talent: "Astronaut" is a diverse, ambitious, rewarding and timeless collection of songs.
Thank you, Salem, for sharing them with us.
Saturday, 21 March 2009
Today I bought some of my Swedish currency, although they didn't have enough kronor in the shop for me so I will have to go back later for some more :))
I will also (finally) post the other links to album reviews from the Swedish press tomorrow: there have been so many of them but I promise I will catch up.
Remember to set your alarm clocks for Salem's appearance on TV4's Nyhetsmorgon tomorrow - I can't wait to see this and I'll be checking TV4's website for the video clips.
Once again thanks to everyone for all your support over the past week. Planet Salem has had a record number of visitors during the past seven days, and I hope you've enjoyed reading about Salem's adventures!! The story continues....
Friday, 20 March 2009
Fingers crossed that the album enters next week's album chart - preferably at number one!!
Thursday, 19 March 2009
Of course my knowledge of spoken Swedish is virtually zero so I didn't really understand any of it...so if anyone could translate what he said in the interview then I would really appreciate this :)))
It was very nice to watch though......I think you will all agree.
Meanwhile if you search over at YouTube you'll find video footage of Salem doing a little classical musical collaboration with REBaroque, which is a trailer for Axess TV's "Det Handlar Om Musik" tomorrow at 20:00. Yet more evidence of Salem's absolute musical versatility.
Wednesday, 18 March 2009
Fredrik Fischer in Trelleborgs Allehanda gives the album 3 out of 5, describing it as "a disc full of surprises...the only really bad thing in comparison with the music's high-level are the embarrassing lyrics". (Sorry Mr Fischer but I can't agree with this one - Salem's lyric writing has really matured based on the songs I've heard so far). Full review here.
Nojesguiden next, where Nicholas Ringsk isn't really happy with the album..."nice and pleasant pop songs but nothing more than that". Full review here.
Kristianstadsbladet's Lisa Appelqvist was much more positive, giving the album 4 out of 5. I liked this review - she seems to understand what Salem is all about.."in which a limited number of works reveal the artist's entire width, where no track was similar, and all equal. A musical treasure map for explorers. The only question is if the audience is brave enough to embark on the adventure game. I dare you!" Full review here.
At Allehanda.se it's another 4 out of 5 from Peter Carlsson: "perhaps there is no new "Dream girl" or "Good song", but the sequel is very much more equal in quality than its predecessor. You can see that Salem has taken the time in the studio". He goes on to highlight "Roxy", "It's Only You Part II", "One of the Others" and "Astronaut" as the best tracks. Full review here.
Smålandsposten's Jonas Allgulin only gives the album 2 out of 5: "sequel to the woefully overestimated "This Is Who I Am". But behind the fine title song is the same boring music college soul. The whole is notoriously more important than the parts." Full review here.
There is also a very good new interview at Stockholm City - link here. And not only that, there is a rather nice photo of Salem (by Johan Jeppsson) attached to the article, which I liked so much I wanted to share it with you all here, if that's ok.
I also found another nice picture (by Claudio Bresciani/Scanpix) which again I thought you might want to see:
I'll post more review links tomorrow.
Don't forget that Salem will be at Bengans in Gothenburg on Thursday at 5.30 pm doing a signing session so if you're in Gothenburg then get along there and say hello!
If any of you lucky readers get the chance to meet Salem at any of the signing sessions let me know! I'd really love to meet him some day....!
(Of course I won't be voting until I've heard all the tracks).
There are many many reviews of the album on Swedish press websites - I'll post links to these later tonight as there are so many of them to go through.
There is also a fascinating interview with Salem in today's Dagens Nyheter, it's at
Tuesday, 17 March 2009
MusExpo is an international music and media seminar taking place between 26th and 29th April in West Hollywood. More info at their website: http://www.musexpo.net/
World domination for Salem is on the way!!!!!
Sonic Magazine's Jenny Sörby says that "Astronaut" references "three decades of melodious rock and pop" with influences from Led Zeppelin to Toto to Elton John and Gyllene Tider. The reviewer also suggests that international success would be "perfectly logical" as an international audience could relate to "thirty years of common popular cultural references". She gives the album 5 out of 5 - find this very positive review here.
Mikael Ankarvik in Norra Skåne awards the album 4 out of 5 and highlights "rare broad musicality...embraces many musical genres with influences from the 70s and 80's..." . This reviewer also suggests some comparisons: Gilbert O'Sullivan, Abba, Supertramp, Prefab Sprout and Air. The reviewer concludes that "everything boils down to, however, Salem Al Fakir, a distinct voice". Find the review here.
Some great reviews for the album so far! I'll post links to more reviews when they become available. In the meantime here's a new picture of Salem....(photo courtesy of Scanpix)
I thought I'd share with you that Planet Salem received a record number of visitors yesterday so once again thank you all for visiting, I really appreciate it.
We also have an increased amount of visitors from North America. It looks as if the Volvo commercial is now being screened over there, so that will introduce Salem to a whole new audience!
Monday, 16 March 2009
I got an email tonight from CDON which says that delivery is on its way and I should receive my copy of Astronaut in the next few days.
I will try and publish my review on Planet Salem as soon as I can, of course it will all depend on when I receive the CD!! In the meantime I will post links to any reviews which I find on the internet.
The next few days are going to be very busy so I will be working hard to update Planet Salem as quickly and as often as I can. As ever, I really appreciate all the information from all my "helpers" so once again thank you all!!
I hope there will be many more positive reviews from the Swedish critics!
Sunday, 15 March 2009
What's the deal with "Someday"? Is it going to be on the album or not? It's never mentioned in any of the published tracklistings, yet if it's not on the album he seems to play it rather a lot. Or maybe it will be on a future EP? Does anyone know the answer? I'm confused!!
EDIT 16.03.09: (Thanks Karl for the answer!) "Someday" won't be on the album. Whilst I'm rather disappointed about this, I have heard a few live versions of the song recently and they've been different every time - this song is certainly a "work in progress" so if Salem wants to experiment and play a few songs live which aren't on the album then it's his choice and at least we get to hear even more songs from him than we would normally expect, so it's all for the better I guess :))
When I got home and logged on tonight I found that Svenska Dagbladet interview (by Erik Laquist) at http://www.svd.se/kulturnoje/nyheter/artikel_2599309.svd Quite a fascinating interview too...it gives an insight into where Salem is "at" just now.
Salem describes his new record as a more mature collection of songs in which he has developed his lyrics and songwriting and doesn't see it as being the typical "difficult second album". He says he is at his most comfortable when playing live - that's certainly good news for all of us who are going to see him on tour.
"Astronaut" has also entered the Digilistan chart at no.42. It's the very same situation as the Sverige Topplistan, with all those Melodifestivalen songs taking up space in the top half of the chart where Salem should be.
In my own chart, it's number one of course :)
Friday, 13 March 2009
If you go to http://www.sr.se/cgi-bin/stockholm/program/index.asp?ProgramID=746 and read further down the web page there is a link to the half-hour show.
Firstly "Someday" (is this still called "Someday" or is it called something different now?) which has turned into a bluesy little jam. Next was "Cold Shower" which I hadn't heard before. It seemed a little rough around the edges but it's probably one of the first times it's been played live so I guess that's the reason. One of the great things about Salem is that no two songs sound the same - this had a little jazz-influence about it.
EDIT 16.03.09: I've listened to "Cold Shower" several times now and it has really grown on me. I just love the little piano-lines running through it...I can't wait to hear the album-version of this.
"Astronaut" next - well what more can I say? This is already a classic.
And so on to "Bluest Eyes". This was the first time I'd heard this song and I have to say that I love it already. It's very atmospheric and darker in mood ("evil is hiding in the bluest eyes") and it ends in a fabulous guitar solo.
EDIT 16.03.09: I just know that this is going to be one of my favourite tracks on the album. Salem's lyrics have developed so much, and they are now so clever that you actually forget that he is not a native English speaker - but he writes better lyrics than native English speakers!! The instrumental part at the end of the song is stunning: it reminds me of something from the 1970s - I mean that as a compliment by the way!
It's indicative of Salem's "more serious" mood which some fans may not be happy about, however I understand that you can't stay the same all the time, and you have to move on in your musical-life and maybe explore some more serious, darker themes.
But then "Roxy" closes the show, a song which is neither serious nor dark :)) It's frivolous, cheeky, naughty and fun all at the same time. And I love it.
It was great to hear this show tonight and I recommend that you check it out. It will certainly keep me going till my copy of "Astronaut" drops through my letterbox!
Thursday, 12 March 2009
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
There is a new interview with Salem by Camilla Sundell of TT Spektra which is published in today's Svenska Dagbladet (and a number of other Swedish newspapers).
In this interview Salem says that he has developed as a person since his debut album and is happy to be older! He says that he didn't expect "This Is Who I Am" to be so successful and although he was delighted to win 4 Grammy awards he has now put them away in the closet! Salem admits that the "Astronaut" album is more serious and thoughtful but that fans should still be able to recognise his music.
His inspiration for the songs comes from daily events in his life and he says there are always things to write about.
Salem also hopes to collaborate again with the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in future.
Inevitably the conversation turned to Salem's hairstyle! He said that he was happy to get his hair cut as he had wanted that style since he was younger, and he hopes that people will no longer mix him up with his brother Nassim.
Finally, Salem is hoping that the release of his EP in various countries in Europe will lead to a European tour.
Full interview at http://www.svd.se/kulturnoje/nyheter/artikel_2578975.svd
Needless to say, Planet Salem will continue to spread the word about Salem's music all across Europe and beyond, so that hopefully some day his dream of a European tour will come true.
As usual, if anyone has any news about forthcoming TV/radio appearances to promote the single and album, please let me know.
I read something on the internet last night that a preview of the album will be available to Spotify Premium users, however I'm not sure if this has happened yet, or when it is going to happen. (I think there was a mix-up, something to do with another band which is also called Salem).
Again if anyone has any information about this, please let me know!
Tuesday, 10 March 2009
(I like the way he has recorded the video message in his kitchen: it's like another little "Kitchen Session" isn't it!!)
If you heard Salem's Berwaldhallen concert on Swedish Radio on 1 January you will have heard "One of the Others" and you will also have realised just how fantastic it is. The first time I heard it I was so moved by the melody and the arrangement.
I had that same feeling tonight, hearing the recorded version for the first time. I felt so emotional that my eyes were almost filling up with tears of happiness. Lyrically clever and musically upbeat, this song is just so fabulous I can't put it into words. (So I won't even try).
If you haven't signed up to Salem's Opendisc it's still not too late. All you have to do is pop your "This Is Who I Am" CD into your computer whilst you're connected to the internet, follow the Opendisc links and sign up.
Saturday, 7 March 2009
Friday, 6 March 2009
I hope you didn't hurt yourself too much Salem!!
Thursday, 5 March 2009
And once you get there, if you click on 'Fanblogs' you will find a link to, and the most recent posts from....Planet Salem!!!!
My life just can't get any better than it is now :))) thank you Salem!!!
Wednesday, 4 March 2009
He was amazing, wasn't he!! I've got butterflies in my stomach, it was so exciting seeing him again. I thought his band were great too, I notice he's expanded the line-up and now has backing vocalists too - Mats Karlsson was also in his band tonight along with Jesper Lagercrantz.
What about that new song "Roxy" then? It's got that very 1980s Van Halen-"Jump" kind of vibe to it. And what about those rather naughty lyrics!!
Just one more thing...who's Roxy????
I'll write more about this tomorrow as I need to watch it again!! Find it at http://svtplay.se/v/1467649/popcirkus/del_6_av_10 , Salem's interview is about 35 minutes into the show and he's on stage later in the last half hour of the show.
Here's a couple of screencaps from tonight's show.
Tuesday, 3 March 2009
OK it's only two weeks to "Astronaut Day" which I have declared an international day of celebration on this website!! Of course the new single - the title track - is out now!!
Over at Salem's MySpace you can find a list of where to buy the single and album at this link here.
I've just been thinking about how exciting the next few weeks are going to be, and how it will be the absolute high point for Planet Salem. After 15 months of doing this website, I'm so happy that the album is finally on its way. Good things come to those who wait :) Maybe it will get an international release later in the year? As I've said before, if anyone has any information about that, please let me know either by comments or by email.
And then of course, I will be going to Gothenburg to see Salem live. And that's going to get its own little countdown too :)))
Other acts confirmed to appear so far: Ace of Base, Tomas Ledin and Bullet.
If you're in the audience at Debaser tomorrow night, or if you're just watching it on TV, let us know what you thought of his performance and post your comments here!
He should sing about two or three songs and there should also be an interview - I'm sure it will be a great show :)))
Sunday, 1 March 2009
Isn't it exciting!!