“Paper Light (Higher)”: Queen Loreen Returns With A Legendary Performance At Melodifestivalen (With Kazaky!)

Praise her (paper) light: Queen Loreen has returned to us.

For those of you not already familiar with the Swedish vocal powerhouse, Loreen won the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2012 with her explosive single “Euphoria,” then put out Heal, one of the very best pop records of that year. (Look into it and listen. It’s a must. Seriously.)

A few years have passed since then and, at last, she’s back with a new single called “Paper Light (Higher).” And mercifully, nothing’s changed — she’s every bit as transcendent as ever.

The light and tingly electronica production comes equipped with emotional strings, a lingering piano melody and, like so many of Loreen’s amazing offerings, a soaring, pearl-clutching, briefly Earth-shattering chorus sent down from Heaven (“We’re born to be hiiiiiiigher!“) that could likely move mountains, heal wounds and temporarily resolve war.

This past Saturday, Queen Loreen premiered the song live on Melodifestivalen, the Swedish competition that determines which representative will be heading to Eurovision this year. (It’s like The Hunger Games, but with pop songs instead of deadly weapons.)

And, as if a live Loreen performance isn’t magical enough as it is, she enlisted Kazaky — everyone’s favorite sexy, svelte troupe of dancing Ukrainian muscle men in heels — to bring the song to life. Eeee!

The performance is genuinely everything: Toplessness and wet hair, bright screens, Rachel Stevens-like pink gloves, voguing — and that’s only the beginning.

Out of nowhere, the sexy boys of Kazaky arrived to the stage. And,as a killer remix began pulsating through the room, the group tore into a truly fierce dance-off. (Being the Kazaky stan I am, I recognized those moves immediately from some of their sickening runway routines.) Yes, Loreen was dancing too! A triumph of a return, if I’ve ever seen one.

With Loreen around again, the pop world is truly a better place.

“Paper Light (Higher)” was released on March 5. (iTunes)

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