Ripping Lyrics Apart: CYP16

There is a certain appeal to this song, despite it being a horribly obvious attempt to fish for the votes of both rock lovers (guilty as charged) through the use of guitars as well as the classic Eurovision fan by doing everything but denying its Swedish roots. Basically, this is what happens when you give the Swedes a guitar – it’s either that or some heavy metal. Whatever did appeal to you in that song, I guess it was not the lyrics. We’re ripping them apart for you – here’s Minus One with Alter Ego.

 Waking up alone like a man that failed
Trapped into the mist of our fairytale
And you know, you know, you know
I’m still inside

16-year-old me is very much chuckling at “I’m still inside” here. And I assume it’s normal the other person does indeed know (or at least notice).

 I knew it all along but I couldn’t tell
This kind of love would lock my heart in jail

If love was a crime…

Caught in the middle of the dawn and the sunrise
Life is a miracle, I saw it in your eyes

And if you’re still inside her – assuming it is a her – you’ll learn about the miracle of life sooner than you wish.

 Under the spotlight, I howl in the moonlight

That… does not make sense. First, if you have spotlight there will likely not be any moonlight to howl at that you’d notice. And don’t get me started at the weirdness of doing howling for someone in spotlights. Especially being “still inside”.

I heard it all before, people always say
Time can take the sorrow and the pain away

That is somewhat true, but I fail to see how that’s relevant to your werewolfy spotlight-fucking?

I cross the oceans
I fly on the skyline

 Flying “on” a skyline? I think that 15 years ago someone did that in New York City. Can’t think of another way how that’s supposed to work if you’re not flying OVER the skyline.

Let’s be honest. This song has nice lyrics if you look at them one by one, but if there has ever been one incoherent song, lyrically, it’s this. Kinda fits the fake rock vibe, though.

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Ripping Lyrics Apart: RUS16

We have been visiting 2016 last week when we were taking a look at Joe & Jake’s You Are Not Alone, which turned out to have terribly uninteresting lyrics and was by far the least fun episode to write. Thanks to me finally downloading Spotify on this laptop (temporarily moving to Maastricht and not having my whole CD collection with me does wonders) there are now suddenly many more songs that could be picked – but the randomizer spit out another 2016 song. And it ended up being Sergey Lazarev’s You Are The Only One (but not alone!)

We can never let the word be unspoken
We will never let our loving go come undone
Everything we had is staying unbroken, now
you will always be the only one
you’re the only one

I have not much to say yet. Just a question: Why the hell is there a church bell. And please do me a favour and do NOT ever use that line in a song, even if it rhymes.

Wont ever give up cause you’re
Still somewhere out there
nothin’ or no-one’s gonna keep us apart
Breakin’ it down but i’m still gettin’ nowhere
wont stop – hold on

Sergey, I wonder if her not being dead is enough for you to keep pursuing your love interest. I mean, the girl who brutally broke my heart in tenth grade after I crushed on her for over a year is also still somewhere out there, but there’s still quite a lot keeping us apart. Thankfully, it’s the Atlantic. I  wouldn’t really want to run into her anymore. Oh, and simply breaking something down never brought anyone anywhere. Just saying.

Thunder ‘n’ lightning it’s gettin’excitin’
Lights up the skyline to show where u are
My love is rising the story’s unwindin’
Together we’ll make it ‘n’ reach for the stars

Wow. That is a HUGE number of apostrophes. Also, numerous mistakes in your method, Sergey. First of all, unless your girl is Catwoman, lighting up the skyline probably won’t help you much. Second, “My love is rising” is a euphemism in the best case. And that will probably earn you a hearty slap.

You’re the only one you’re my only one
You’re my life every breath that i take
Unforgettable so unbelievable
You’re the only one – my only one

Speaking of sentences I wouldn’t even say to my girlfriend unless I am 1000% sure about her. To someone who doesn’t even love you back, that’s somehow more creepy than romantic. If I was his crush, I’d be scared he kills himself if I reject him. That must be the bond happy relationships are made of… or not.

I could have told you to slow down ‘n’ stay down
I could have told you a secret wont u keep it now
Thinking of making a showdown when love is found
Thinking of waiting till you’re around

Umm.. the blowjob joke is almost too easy to make with “slow down and stay down”. But I cannot resist it! What is “making a showdown when love is found” supposed to mean though? He’s duelling with his rival? With his girl? We will never know… I assume the former though. If he’s duelling the girl, not waiting for her to be around doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense after all.

We now enter a whole repetition of bridge and chorus, which is only of interest if you want to expand the blowjob ‘n’ duel joke of verse two. But then there’s one huge question – why would you? Don’t kick a dead cat, so to say. And that leaves us with a rather confusing plan by Mr. Lazarev. Good night everyone!

 

Ripping Lyrics Apart – UK 2016

After the slightly heartbreaking but fun debut with Hope Never Dies – the incredibly fast moving Game of Thrones theme song – and the almost too easy and pretty effortless follow-up of The Social Network Song – Valentina Monetta’s warning about the internet and outing as a webcam performer – we are here with another mean look at lyrics. This time, it’s gonna be Joe & Jake’s You Are Not Alone from 2016.

(Joe): Heartbeat, when you’re not around its beating slow, and it’s something that I’ve never known..oh oh oh
(Jake): I’ll be, I’ll be the answer you’ve been waiting for,
(J&J): I’ll be the truth that you’ve been looking for..oh oh oh

I wish being apart from someone I like had this effect on me. It must be preferable to the fast-paced nervousness that happens to me and drains one’s energy ridiculously quickly. But if I am writing about personal experience, that must mean I don’t have much else to mock… right? Apart from questioning if a person can be the answer (maybe, depending on the question) or the truth (probably not, even though you likely could make a superhero concept out of it?).

(Joe): You’re not alone, we’re in this together, all that you want is right here forever, and they dont need to know – they don’t need to know
(Jake): You’re not alone, we’re in this together, all that you want I’m right here forever, and they don’t need to
(J&J) know – and they don’t need to know

Alright, now I am the one asking questions. WHO doesn’t need to know WHAT? Your parents don’t need to know you two are actually a couple? Well, that’s far too cute and normal to let me be happy with that interpretation. I’m placing my money on some criminal activity. They don’t look like muggers or murderers, and the “all that you want” line makes me think of drugs or smuggling. Perhaps fake CD’s that only play British Eurovision entries of the 2000’s? I’m sure you’d have to stay hidden for THAT.

(Joe): You’re free, free to let go cause I’ll be here for you, and when you fall I’ll be your parachute –
(J&J) oh oh oh
I-i-i feel like I’m dancing in the sky, I come alive when I’m with you, I come alive when I’m with you

Ugh. Unless I want to do an actual critic here – the lyrics being about as generic love song/friendship lyrics as possible – there’s really not much to say about this part. Meh. But… can some native speaker please tell me if “I come alive when I’m with you” is proper English? I wouldn’t dare to write it in a test, to be honest.

Actually, we can end this here. Yep, things get repeated a lot from now on. No, I’m not gonna rewrite it all again. Deal with it. *puts sunglasses on and Donny-llama gallops out towards The Netherlandtjes*

Ripping Lyrics Apart: SMR12

This week, the computer shuffle spits out… San Marino 2012! Valentina Monetta’s ode to Facebook social networks (it must be snapchat, given the number of cybersex mentions) is almost too easy for this category… but hey, let’s go! Valentina Monetta – The Social Network Song

oo ooooooo ooo (I like)
Are you ready for a little chat
And a song about the Internet
It’s a story ‘bout a social door
You’ve never seen before

So far, I can’t really complain about a lot, apart from the terrible terrible rhyming. But I’m here to make fun of content, not of form.

If you wanna be seen by everyone
Wanna be in the dream and have some fun
If you wanna be on the hook
Then simply take a look

There we go. “If you wanna be seen by everyone” has, especially with the next few phrases, an uncomfortable sense of realism to it, that I am not sure was intended. Surely sexting and revenge porn in San Marino isn’t a world moving topic? (Also, hook-look? Seriously? It’s like you’re not even trying.)

Oh Oh Uh Oh Oh
Everybody loves you so
Oh Oh Uh Oh Oh
Everybody that you know

First: It took two people to write the lyrics. Yes, two people were involved in a chorus like this. And one of them, Timothy Touchton, has his own German wikipedia article, so he’s apparently not a 13 year old who just discovered Facebook. An article that remarks him working on this song as “especially notable”.

Do you wanna be more than just a friend
Do you wanna play cyber sex again
If you wanna come to my house
Then click me with your mouse

This is no more usual snapchat sexting. We’re heading into online escort services here.

Hello uh oh oh
Never gonna let you go

Wow. When you think this could hardly get any creepier – we were singing about online prostitution and revenge porn to a weirdly cheerful tune – Valentina tries to warn us about the danger of axe murderers and kidnappers (who I believe are rarely female) luring in their victims online. Or is foreshadowing her own double return to Eurovision, which is almost as terrible as a thing to look forward to.

Your logging in then it begins
And your computer is waking you
Taking your time away
The scene is right for social light
You’re on the Internet anywhere
Anytime night and day

Could you make any worse advertisement for the internet in a song that seems to praise it at first glance? I bet Facebook is still breathing sighs of relief that the song had its name changed. I think we’re only lacking Nigerian princes and malware now to have covered pretty much every negative side of new technologies.

So you wanna make love with me
Am I really your cup of tea
Are you really the one that’s you
And am I really me

Apart from the terribly forced rhyme (after they decided to ditch a few rhymes altogether in the verse before), we had impersonation now as well. She’s really doing one complete warning campaign. But I doubt I have ever seen a person in cybersex situations use the term “make love”.

You’re login’ in with just a friend
But soon the Internet’s
Beeping and peeping around the bend
We used to greet friends on the street
But now it’s googling giggling gaggling
When we meet

How could I forget about the dangers of concentrating more on your phone than on the other persons in the room? Thankfully Valentina is here to remind me. This thing reads as if the authors never actually have been on the internet, but read every warning article on earth about it.

Group: Oo oo network fans
Meet ya@ the internet

“Meet ya @ the internet” is kind of hinting at the camgirl plot from earlier again. Decide already.

Do you really like politics
Wanna talk about dirty tricks
Are you really a sex machine
Or just a beauty queen

If you’d say that to a woman (online or real life), it’d be sexual assault. Just sayin. And also one of the worst pickup lines in human history, regardless of gender.

Everybody is better than before
Everybody is calling out for more
Everybody in cyber Ville
Is knocking on your door

Nope, that’s a common misconception about the internet. Not everyone is better than before and not everyone wants to know about your door. It’s just that everyone thinks they are and develop into terribly annoying human beings in consequence, and you, Miss Monetta, seem to be an example.

Beep Beep Uh Oh Oh
I like
Everybody does a show
Oo Oo Uh-Oh Oh
Mi piace
If you like it click and go
Now you know it is easy loggin’ in
For a little more fun and cyber sin
Wanna know what the net’s about
The hard part’s loggin’ out

“Everybody does a show” is about the 12th sad truth revealed here. And of course, we were still lacking an obvious addiction reference. Thanks for checking that off the list as well!

Oo Oo Uh-Oh Oh
Now I’ve got a million friends
This is how the story ends
Oh Oh –
Beep beep

Right now, Valentina Monetta has 22’401 likers on Facebook. Add a good 2000 twitter followers (that are likely to be the same people to a great share) and let’s not forget that these were the times where she ust was San Marino’s national internet warning girl and not a three times representant of a country so tiny it will never produce a valid televote and the person who pulled off the greatest surprise in the history of Eurovision semifinals. So, in short, you do not and will never have a million friends, Valentina.

Ripping Lyrics Apart: CZE15

I like to be mean, and I need content for the off-season. So here is what I came up with: I’m responding in an ironic, sarcastic, or just plain mean manner to a Eurovision song. And because there are quite a few which would just be way too easy, I’m going on shuffle to choose the song. Which means: On the menu is everything from 2007 to 2016, plus some older ones. Today, it’s one of my favourites and the episode hurts a little: Vaclav Noid Barta & Marta Jandova – Hope Never Dies.

Wait for me don’t cross the sea of pain
Wait for me I’m lost I’ve gone astray
Ravens calling my name, their wings so dark
Soon they’ll take me away, I have their mark
They never miss their prey

Is it just me or does this, in combination with the music, make it sound like they’re a wildling couple that lost their way on a raid south of the Wall? (Yes I know crows and ravens are not the same. What are you, a biology teacher?)

There is no light to pray for
Cold and dim are the skies
Wounded lying
Running out of life

There we go on with the theme. Someone among the chasers must be quite the archer, I guess.

In your eyes I could see
Our hopes and our future
Now we must let go

We’re crossing into a bit of a Romeo and Juliet territory here. But still fits the theme – even though technically the dying one doesn’t have to let go, that just happens. And the dying one could be either of them, so they’re probably bleeding out next to each other. Romantic, but a little tense for a date maybe?

Find me where the night turns into day
Your love as a torch shows us the way
How to be whole again

So, Marta – assuming she’s on the equator, which she probably isn’t – is running at 1670 km/h, all while bleeding to death. And while I’d need to ask my English teacher, but something tells me that “Your love as a torch” is not a sentence that makes any sense…

[…] Must let go, must let fade away
Or we can rise and fight

Still assuming this whole “bleeding to death while running around the equator to stay where night turns into day, because otherwise Vaclav won’t find her” theory is true, she simply suggests getting up? What did we build all those hospitals for if it’s so easy?

For a light to live for
Fire in our hearts
Through our pain
Through all the lies
We will walk, walk reborn

The light to live for is right there in front of you, you’re running with the terminator. All you gotta do is stumble or something to slow down for a second and it shines upon you, but then you wouldn’t be where night turns into day anymore. And if your plan is to walk reborn, you’re not fighting, you have given up and decided to rely on the restart button.

Hope never dies

Gabriela Guncikova agrees.

Never let me go

I will never stop loving the unintentional weirdness of two people shouting “Never let me go” at each other. You’re in front of each other, you wanna be near each other… no, I guess there’s no way to solve that.

So, apparently the Czech Republic is a nation of miracles, reincarnation and an overly active Night’s Watch on the hunt for Eurovision singers. And only god knows why Marta Jandova hasn’t used her talent in running at over the speed of sound to win an enormous amount of Olympic gold medals.

Grand Final: Awards and Draw Analysis

We have granted awards to the semi participants the night before their respective semis, and of course we will do exactly the same with the finalists! Six songs have not received their prizes yet, and tonight we will change that. Get ready for the Grand Final Awards.
ITALY: Award for the greenest stage
It takes some courage to stage your song in a garden, and to follow the theme even in the performer’s outfit. Or a level of “fuck it”, cause this could work well or fail gloriously.
SWEDEN: Award for the biggest lack of a guitar
Whenever I hear this song I hear an acoustic guitar. And then I am surprised there is none.
GERMANY: Award for the weirdest headdress
I had my manga phase a few years ago and I am usually not being mean against dressing different on purpose, but this is weird even by manga standards.
FRANCE: Award for the biggest fall
I have not even seen a full performance of him yet, but all the rehearsal bloggers stated he was terrible and suddenly this winning contender got relegated to “maybe Top 10”. That’s a rather big difference…
SPAIN: Award for the weirdest move
I can see the point in keeping the stuff from your video and all that, but whoever in this delegation thought that falling to the ground onstage is a good idea… it’s not.
UNITED KINGDOM: Award for the least offensive song
Usually Denmark has this one booked, but this year’s effort was so bland and average that this became an offense in its own right. With the UK though, there really isn’t a way to dislike it.
And now, let’s get to something completely different and much, much more important. After a long waiting time robbing us of our sleep, SVT finally finished the draw last night. Time to overanalyze!
01. BELGIUM – Screamed “OPENER” when she took first half. When doing my own order, however, I wasn’t so sure anymore as it’s usable in many places. Should work well though.
02. CZECHIA –  Poor Gabriela doesn’t benefit from this… I would have her placed at the end to bring down energy a bit in a Poland-like slot. She must have barely qualified then.
03. NETHERLANDS – This is another odd one. Douwe has the type of song that works great as a fresh breath of air, but it’s not really a good one to come on so early. However, there are not too many spots for him late in the half (I had him on #5), so it makes sense I guess.
04. AZERBAIJAN – I would want to have her over as soon as possible, so this makes sense. As it wouldn’t be a good opener, this is possibly the earliest they could give it.
05. HUNGARY – I was sceptic when reading the order, but it does kind of make sense. Hungary isn’t that easy to place as it doesn’t seem to benefit from uptempo nor ballad predecessors, which is why I had it as another possible opener.
06. ITALY – As long as she wouldn’t battle with a favourite, Francesca was probably going to be fine from any slot. It’s not exactly helped by the draw, but also not hindered.
07. ISRAEL – They missed an oppoortunity by not matching him with Douwe Bob, but that’s as good as any place for him. I assume they would have preferred a faster song before Hovi, but he worked well after an even slower one in the semi too.
08. BULGARIA – It would have worked even better if Israel wasn’t getting started in the last minute, but this is placed about where I’d have put it. It would also make for a good starter, but that slot is Belgian-occupied.
09. SWEDEN – Bulgaria provides a lot of energy and has quite a tech-y feeling especially with the sci-fi theme, so they did well in setting themselves up here. Comes across as a nice break after the rather hectic ending of Bulgaria.
10. GERMANY – I am not sure what to make of this. Coming after Sweden, the mood of the show turns rather dark at this point. I assume that ARD wanted a late draw, because honestly it would have fitted better a bit earlier and not sandwiched between two favourites.
11. FRANCE – Providing a very nice uplifting song after Germany’s mysterious darkness. I think they got a pretty nice buildup here, and it’s probably the best they could ask for in this half.
12. POLAND – With Sweden, France and Australia sharing the last five spots in this half, it was always clear there needs to be someone to separate them a bit. Poland got chosen for this unfortunate task, while I’d have taken Czechia in front of France (and France and Australia back to back – I doubt one would have hurt the other).
13. AUSTRALIA – I was rather confused at the choice of building up Australia with Poland, as both are slow and not very uplifting. But then they announced that the break would be before Dami and it made much more sense. I still think it would have been better back-to-back with France or with an uptempo separating them though.
14. CYPRUS – This is a brilliant spot for the Cypriots as Poland and Australia really bring the energy down. Everyone who is desperate for some power will love this. However, I’m surprised to see them so early. Not the best semi result?
15. SERBIA – I am not sure if this works after Cyprus. Not that they steal each other’s votes, but Sanja’s different kind of energy may be a little overshadowed by her predecessor.
16. LITHUANIA – Donny was going to be fine everywhere as long as he doesn’t have the favourites too close. He was probably happy the moment he chose second half, and he’s placed well enough to do okay.
17. CROATIA – Nina has quite a good setup with Donny in front of her, as everyone will be a little bored by his very average stage act. It’s obvious she’s mainly building up for Russia, but didn’t get too bad a draw herself.
18. RUSSIA – The rule for Sergey is probably easy: The calmer his predecessor is and the less special effects they use the better for him. The ideal song for him would probably be Czechia, but as they’re in different halves, Croatia was about as good as it gets. And I assume that being rather early may help a little, as Jamala or Iveta can’t steal his show.
19. SPAIN – I don’t really get this one to be honest. It’s probably supposed to act as a more charming and less calculated uptempo, but it’s simply not good enough to be sandwiched between two strong acts. I’d have placed her right after Australia.
20. LATVIA – This worked good as an opener in the semi and it will work well after Spain. Spain gets pretty messy in the chorus, with a lot of musical action going on, while Latvia starts very toned down and introverted which is a good contrast. I wonder if the break before it will actually help or hinder it.
21. UKRAINE – That’s the one I don’t get. When I did my own order I tried to keep her, Latvia and Armenia spread out as they all are rather electronic and modern. I assume they won’t really steal each others votes, but I doubt it works as well as it could.
22. MALTA – There’s hardly a really bad spot for Malta in the second half, but they didn’t get a brilliant one either. Malta coming right after Ukraine probably has the viewers still stunned. However those who don’t like Jamala may be relieved by the contrast.
23. GEORGIA – Quite a good one. We haven’t had a powerful uptempo song since the break and energy is not at ist heighest after Malta, so this is a good choice. I had expected them to get an earlier slot, which makes me wonder if they did better than expected in the semi.
24. AUSTRIA – That’s the second best possible draw for Austria in my opinion. Everyone who will be alienated by Georgia will get a breath and some calming sweetness in this. I think, however, this effect would have been even bigger with Ukraine in front of it. Try it out, it works brilliantly, especially as Loin d’Ici is musical antidepressiva.
25. UNITED KINGDOM – To be honest, this may be late but not exactly helped by what comes around it. Austria is providing a not too different mood, and the impact of the UK may not be too high right before Armenia. I get the impression they were mainly building up to Iveta here.
26. ARMENIA – This is another one that seemed quite natural to me. It leaves everyone pretty stunned and therefore isn’t something you wanna follow, but it definitely is something to go out with a bang. And by having the UK in front of it, the impact may even be improved because of the difference between the two.

2nd Semifinal: Award Ceremony + Predictions

We have given out awards for the first semifinal to introduce predictions and review the last developments again, and have already been asked if and when the same thing is going online for the second semifinal. Of course we will do it, and here you go: Second semifinal, prediction and awards!

Latvia: Award for the most wearable outfit
He may have to share it with Freddie actually. But I like leather jackets, so if I had to choose one to wear in everyday life, my choice would definitely be Justs’s.

Poland: Award for the most strings on stage
I doubt I have seen many entries with three violinists and a cellist that are actually on stage. Maybe that’s the way it was done in mediaeval Poland?

Switzerland: Award for the worst hair and dancing

How can she think this is a good idea?

Israel: Award for the best bitchfight-starting
Cause you may be a star in the Netherlands, but you will never be a star somewhere else. Also: Bonus Award for sparklyness!

Belarus: Award for the best PR stunt
Nobody in that delegation was ever believing they could perform with living wolves and naked. But damnit Belarus, you showed us how to get attention your way…

Serbia: Award for the biggest styling improvement

versus

Or: How to stop looking like a parody of yourself and look like a serious human being instead.

Ireland: Award for the most un-fitting lighting
He doesn’t only sing about sunlight, it’s also an upbeat, positive-vibes song! You just don’t stage those dark! Or to quote Shi: “Ireland’s sunlight needs to replace a bulb.”

(FYR) Macedonia: Award for the oldest song
Nevermind San Turkey’s (failed) retro attempt, or Russia’s datedness, Austria’s Alizée reject or Moldova’s mid-2000’s dance song. This sounds like a slightly dated 1990’s entry.

Lithuania: Award for the cheapest Justin Bieber Ripoff
Boy, just because a Baltic Beaver is popular a Baltic Bieber won’t work. Especially cause there may not be too many teen girls voting. Pick a target audience actually watching Eurovision next time, Donny!

Australia: Award for the most annoying vocal acrobatics
I know this is a somewhat popular singing style, but in the amount, key and volume she does it in, it sounds like someone needs to go out there and rescue her. Or rescue me.

Slovenia: Award for the most idiotic staging decision
Now many claim that this never had a chance from the beginning, but when it came out, I liked it in a Soluna Samay way. A breath of fresh air with an actual band and stuff. And now they take the main selling point of an entry low on them away. Thanks for nothing.

Bulgaria: Award for the biggest disappointment
All season long even. First the disappointment of If Love Was A Crime compared to Na Inat. And then the dress, and the Vilija-tribute dancing which doesn’t work. This was best when all we knew about it was that it will be Poli Genova.

Denmark: Award for the laziest song
Not only did they deliberately try to make it as average as possible, they also… got inspired by Helene Fischer of all people. Nice try, Denmark. Well, actually terrible try, Denmark.

Ukraine: Award for the most non-understandable song
Okay, I try not to trash this song too much, because I know it has its fans and I simply don’t get it. But who thought this would be perfect for a fun saturday night?

Norway: Award for the coldest production
Apparently this is wanted (and it makes sense when the song is called Icebreaker) but it’s cold. Very cold. To the point I find it soulless and repulsive.

Georgia: Award for the naughtiest lyrics
“Night will come and so will the sin”. I like naughty lyrics.

Albania: Award for the most forgettable song
Can you remember anything else than “That’s why I love YOUUUUUUU”?

Belgium: Award for the coolest beat
Too many songs with dancy beats sound similar, forcing you to dance by vibrating your body in the rhythm. While this one doesn’t make you dance but makes you want to dance.

Well, there we are, 18 more awards given out. 10 can stay, 8 must go – but who? I glouriously failed in the first semifinal, so let’s see if I can do better this time.

SURE QUALIFIERS
Australia (unfortunately)
Latvia
Serbia
Ukraine (unfortunately as well)
Bulgaria
Norway

UNSURE QUALIFIERS
Georgia (but it really should)
Belgium
Poland
Israel

UNSURE NON-QUALIFIERS
Lithuania
Denmark
FYR Macedonia

SURE NON-QUALIFIERS
Switzerland
Belarus
Ireland
Slovenia
Albania

1st Semifinal: Award Ceremony (plus predictions)

With our review series done and the second rehearsals history, it is time to look at the first semifinal again. We have, after all, not talked about rehearsals or predictions yet! I’m here to change that for you and give Music For Europe’s predictions and awards. Awards? Yes, awards for everyone actually!

Okay, some of them might not be winning in a category you actually want to win. But hey, should’ve thought about that before you picked that song or staging!

FINLAND: Award for the least Finnish sounding Finnish entry of all times
Cause nothing screams “FINLAND!” more than a third-class attempt at a summer hit.

GREECE: Award for the best (Pontic?) Greek Rap part of the year
Which is like being given an award for being the best country beginning with G and ending with reece, but I couldn’t find any category with competition that Greece would win.

MOLDOVA: Award for the most awkward language change
Cause it totally makes sense Moldova sings in French, of course, because logic.

HUNGARY: Award for the most anthemic song
Forget Ira Losco, this is the true “bigger than Europe” song. And we need an anthem, don’t we?

CROATIA: Barbara Dex Award

Any questions?

NETHERLANDS: Award for the most American song
The Netherlands seem to have that one booked. Are you still not over New York or something?

ARMENIA: Award for the sexiest outfit

Nuff Said.

SAN MARINO: Award for the creepiest song
Cause nothing screams “CREEP!” more than a middle-aged man singing these lyrics in a dark area. And the scream of the backing in the first verse doesn’t help at all.

RUSSIA: Award for the most impressive staging
I assume they have to distract from the fact the song is 10 years old, but hey, it works.

My favourite staging moment of the last years for sure.

CZECHIA: Award for the slowest song
I know some of you celebrate that, and I am impressed by her voice too, but couldn’t it be a little faster? The slowness makes me lose interest every time…

CYPRUS: Award for the best faking of a rock song
Cause we all know that is Swedish pop at its best, just that they replaced synths with guitars. And it works better than it should, really.

AUSTRIA: Award for the sweetest entry of possibly all times
Imagine a calm meadow with unicorns on it and a ton of beautiful flowers in the sunshine, drenched in sugar and honey. This is about how sweet this looks and sounds.

ESTONIA: Award for the most useless staging choice
The voice is deep and dark and awesome, the song is catchy and awesome as well. Just what the hell happened to that staging? Especially as they once had it right. Afraid to win?

CORRECTION: After seeing it on stage, I think it worked for me. Jüri’s movements though…

AZERBAIJAN: Award for the worst vocals
Hit your votes, girl. Any other country would bomb with that, but she’ll probably still Q cause Azerbaijan.

MONTENEGRO: Award for the most robbed song
Providing the authenticity and power Cyprus lacks, and yet only the Cypriots will qualify. Well, they’re used to it by now.

ICELAND: Award for the darkest stage
Was Iceland’s screen so expensive that there was no money left to pay for the lights? Well, it fits the song I guess, but seeing Greta from time to time might not be a bad thing.

BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA: Award for most useless prop
Deen & Dalal already didn’t manage to connect in the video, I’m not sure if you should put barbed wire between them. (Even though it does seem to improve their connecting)

MALTA: Award for weirdest dancing

(thanks, Jordy)
Because that may be expected from Moldova by now, but Malta? And how the hell does he even do that?

Well, those were the 18 awards to be given out today. But what about those ten that everybody actually wants to win? The ticket to the finals? Well, let’s have a look then… MFE predictions are coming your way!

SURE QUALIFIERS:
Russia
Armenia
Netherlands
Iceland
Czechia
Cyprus

UNSURE QUALIFIERS:
Malta
Austria
Hungary
Estonia

UNSURE NON-QUALIFIERS:
Azerbaijan
Bosnia & Herzegovina
Croatia

SURE NON-QUALIFIERS:
Finland
Greece
Moldova
San Marino
Montenegro (undeserved!)

 

 

Final Review x4: Malta, Belgium, UK and Russia

 

DISCLAIMER: I have not watched any rehearsal videos of these except Russia, so I don’t actually know how they staged it. It’s getting important with full videos out now, and I won’t do so to not affect my judgement.

Today, at the day of second rehearsals and a week later than originally planned (yeah I suck at deadlines, sue me) we have arrived at the final quadruple review episode. We will start off with something bigger than Europe, go on to two eternal problem-childs with VRT and BBC and end with the great favourite. Here’s Malta, Belgium, United Kingdom and Russia.

Malta: Ira Losco – Walk On Water

Malta always tends to get more attention than their usually dreadful selection shows deserve, but this time they have gone to an excessive amount that I am sure was staged from the beginning. A returner (and quite a successful one!) doing with her song what Ira did is somehow odd, and I feel like she knew she was going to win with any decent song and trying to get some extra attention. Well, it worked I guess…

Okay, so this is what they described as “bigger than Europe”. The music is somehow gone during the song, multiple times. It kind of sounds like someone tried to get a maximum effect with using his instrument as little as possible, as the whole song is basically carried by Ira’s voice. I’m actually glad I am not listening to the karaoke version, because I guess it would be even more horribly boring there. I can’t even say why, but somehow it reminds me of Bulgaria and Australia blended together, but is worse than both of them, by far. Australia is better at going big and showing off vocals, while Bulgaria actually provides us with some song structure and music instead of a backdrop for a voice.

A voice that I am pretty confident she can pull this off, by the way. Ira Losco is probably experienced and professional enough to deliver a nice performance on a Eurovision stage, and that’s what will be needed. If she does not give a 100% on point performance of the song, this stands no chance at all. You’ll need to be perfect, Ira, A-OK won’t do the trick here. I assume that they also went for a “bigger than Europe” staging built around Ira, which is kind of all you can do with that, but I’m not sure if that’ll do the trick, to be honest. The whole combination has been around too much, and while I believe that the fans of this style will be enough to take her to the final together with impressed juries, I think she’ll sink in the final. After all, only Jesus could walk on water, and for me, it’s no more than 4/10.

Belgium: Laura Tesoro – What’s The Pressure

Usually, the Belgian entries are dominated by the VRT-RTBF two-year-pattern. While the latter tends to send very modern entries and do well with it, the former is mainly known for bad songs and even weirder stagings. Given that it was a Flemish year, we were not too optimistic for the Belgians, but then again VRT had their moments as well (Tom Dice, anyone?). How about this year?

Interesting to hear such a funky intro, and interesting to have it in a song sung by someone who was probably not born yet when funk was a thing. The whole song is challenging San Marino for the most disco song of the year, and while it’s probably losing that vote, it’s obviously the better one. The bassline, as Queen-sounding as it is, is really making you move, and the brass sections make it somewhat standing out. Add a catchy melody to that in the chorus, and there you go. If this song doesn’t make you move, I don’t know what could, really.

One problem I can see with it is Laura’s voice – I like it, but towards the end of the song she starts sounding a little shaky to me. Quite understandable given the huge amount of dancing they do, but still, it could be a problem if it gets tight. The video looks like they’ll go for the retro vibe the song already has, and everything else would be a huge mistake. The song is calling for a colourful and glittery approach and I am sure the Belgians have done exactly that. And finally, nobody really expects that much from her, while she can close the semi with a song that leaves everybody with a smile and give it her best – what’s the pressure for her, so to say? I have a good feeling about this, and I award 6/10.

United Kingdom: Joe and Jake – You’re Not Alone

From Belgium to the UK, who doesn’t even get it right every other year. While they seemed to have find a working way to do things in 2014 (and just fucked up the staging instead of fucking up everything) they went back to their old bad self last year when Molly didn’t give them the desired result. This year, a new approach. Again. Did it help?

Not sure to be honest. This song makes it kind of hard for me to say anything about it, because it feels pretty soulless to me. At least from what I can hear, it’s pretty well executed. The slow drums in the chorus are not too bad, as I generally like that, but keeping them throughout the second verse as well doesn’t really work. Overall, it has a bit a “songwriter/producer 101” feeling, as if someone tried to teach you how to make a pop song. They’re just following the steps in the book a little too much, quite similar to Donny Montell or the Danes. At least the involvement of acoustic instruments makes it feel a lit less plastic-y than Denmark.

It does help that both of them look quite charming, and that they seem to be enjoying themselves. And that’s what they should stage it like, as two guys making music and having fun doing it. But knowing it’s the UK, they will probably feel the need to gimmick it up and kill any chances of this song in the process, which would be a pity. Not because the song is particularly good, but because for once the UK managed not to make any major mistakes before Eurovision Week, and it’d be a nice change to see them keep not doing any. However, given that the BBC is responsible for it, it’s also likely that “You’re not alone, we’re in this together” will sound like the artists reassuring the audience that they’re not happy either and feel for the listener and watcher. Well, for now you haven’t fucked up yet, Britain, and while I would usually punish you for the averageness of the song, that’s actually a compliment when you’re involved. Therefore, I give you 5/10.

Russia: Sergey Lazarev – You Are The Only One

Oh Russia. Throwing money at it until they win, then get a period of not really trying and accidentally producing the best entry of your history, and then throw money at it again. As the booing somewhat stopped, Sergey Lazarev finally dared to step onto the Eurovision stage, and he did in a manner that blew many minds away and made him the instant favourite, but… rightfully so?

While there have been some complaints about it, I really enjoy the dark beginning and gradual buildup. And unlike some others, they found the time to make an effort so that this is a piece of music and not a blend of noise. I’ve heard so many chorus parts by now that wash into one big load of noise that this is very appreciated. And the attention to details generally seems to be quite big in this one, with the panned arp that kind of follows its own rhythm and such stuff. And of course, the melody is insanely catchy. However, there’s also quite a bit of Eurovision-by-number elements and the fact that this could have been released at any point in the last 10-15 years. I wouldn’t necessarily call it dated, as it doesn’t sound out of place in 2016, but there’s definitely no innovation in it.

This was always going to live off its impressive visuals, which are both futuristic (to make up for the years this song comes too late to be innovative musically?) and completely unconnected to the song. But then again, who will notice? It’s an effort to impress not only Sergey’s (beautiful) only one, but also or mainly the viewer. And in my opinion that shows. I could now go on about the vocals, the lyrics or whatever, but the main point speaking against Russia is, in my opinion, that this is the definition of trying too hard. It’s so obvious that they’re out to impress that I kind of don’t want to vote for it just to punish this sooo obvious approach. Nevertheless, I can see why it’s a fav and give 7/10. 

So, after we are done with all the reviewing, let Eurovision Madness begin, and may the best song win! We see you tuesday on the Music For Europe twitter account 😉 (@musicforeurope)

Review XVI: Switzerland, Montenegro, Greece

Late last night, the so far lowest score overall was given out. Now we come to a trio that may get even worse scores if we follow fan polls, but I already have to disappoint you: I like one of those three. The country of cheese, Lys Assia and Music for Europe, the country of weirdness and balkan ballads and the country of eternal success await us. Let’s go to Switzerland, Montenegro and Greece.

Switzerland: Rykka – The Last Of Our Kind

Switzerland has not always been the most successful nation, to say things diplomatically. After hosting and winning the first ESC ever, which secured them their spot in Eurovision history, not much has been speaking in the Swiss favour lately. And so, the only Swiss that can be sure to have her appearance in the final every year remains Lys Assia. After a Canadian gave Switzerland their last victory, the homeland of this blog decided to try the same with Swiss-Canadian Rykka this year.

The sound is a little… weird. Maybe you have seen Overthinking It’s blend with Star Wars, and it kind of sounds like that inspired the sound of the song. There’s a bunch of space synths, which is something that can turn out great if used well and very annoying otherwise. Somehow it’s rather annoying here. And the drums – when present – are similarly hyperactive, giving the song a weirdly hectic feeling that doesn’t suit the singing at all. And of course, the main problem it has is that it sounds like your average radio song, and there’s really not much making it stand out.

Actually, one thing stood out in the NF, but not exactly on the good side. The whole performance is very offkey. In a voice that sounds like she’s dying soon. Honestly, this makes me wonder what exactly made nobody realize those issues in the selection. Rykka’s styling is far from my style, so I am not sure if I should be the one judging it, but the way this is staged and she looks, I am somehow in doubt that anyone will remember the song as something else than “the girl who failed to hit a note”. And can’t handle a mic, apparently. The way she sings the first syllable without anyone being able to hear it is something to laugh if it wasn’t so terribly wrong. As a Swiss myself, I am not looking forward to this performance and dare to say we have fallen to pre-Anouk/Joan-Netherlands levels of hopelessness. Try again, SRF – this only gets 2/10.

Montenegro: Highway – The Real Thing

For Montenegro, there have basically been two scenarios: they send something really weird that I like and fail to qualify or they send balkan by the numbers stuff and do reasonably well. With the rest of the Balkans back, it looks like they decided to leave that to Bosnia and Macedonia and go compete with Cyprus and Georgia for the rock vote.

Well, I am totally a member of the rock vote audience. This is an interesting blend of multiple styles – I can hear some straight forward rock (even with a little pop-punk-ish stuff in it), a bit of electro support, a lot that I like to put it briefly. But the problem, apart from alienating potential voters who don’t have an access to this kind of music, is that the parts of the song tend to feel a little disconnected, especially the calmer part right before the chorus. This song is basically all over the place between straight forward guitar riffs, electro-rock, the buildup thingy and back to the start again. I personally like that a lot, but it’s likely it will push the average viewer off a bit.

They also compete with Georgia in the category of “Who can get away with the most obvious display of sexuality in the lyrics”, and I like that as well. Judge yourself: “When I came to your smell on me” vs. “Inside me, come a little closer”. The rest, I’ll leave up to you. If you look at the video, you can already suspect a dark staging with some bright lights, and it really is the only way to go for Montenegro. (Yes, I am aware it’s the one they took). I fear again that it’s not gonna be a huge vote-grabbehough, just because of the weirdness of the whole thing. It’s like Aina Mun Pitää: if you take a song that’s not exactly “made” for it to Eurovision, it needs to be really, really good or the average viewer and jury member probably won’t really get it. Can they get their vibe across on a Eurovision stage? I hope so, and if they do, here are my 8/10!

Greece: Argo – Utopian Land

If there is one country that will always make it to the final, it’s probably Greece or Russia. But as the latter already failed at that once (1996) that leaves the Greek, who only missed ’99 due to bad results. However, this year, the general consensus seems to be that this will (finally?) be the year where the Greek final-train comes to a halt. Rightfully so?

The song choice is certainly a little bit odd, but I don’t think this is as doomed as some want it to be. The first thing I notice is how catchy the hook is, and that apart from the ethnic elements the whole thing has not much sounds in it. Which is quite well and fitting for this type of song. I know it breaks the golden rule of no rapping in Eurovision, but as the jury power has been broken a little bit and it is Greece we speak about – it would be a major surprise to see Greece fucking up really badly in televote results – I see no real reason why this shouldn’t stand a chance at qualifying. It surely will require another borderliner to fuck up, but we know Greece can push even questionable entries above the line.

I think the (Pontic) Greek parts work quite well, and the English chorus can make it more memorable – a reverse Watch My Dance so to say. It actually reminds me a bit of that one, as it’s once again a rather dark thing changing singer, mood and language for the chorus. Its maion problems for appealing to me are the idiotic lyrics – “with the rise of the rising sun”, anyone? – and the fact they went in a different direction with the staging than I hoped. It’s still more understandable than Jamala’s language mix (thanks to the chorus being English), and I don’t think it’ll do as bad as some say. I give the Greek a 5/10.

Next time, we do an even larger quadruple review, which will end this series just(s) in time for Eurovision week. Don’t forget to join for the four remaining ones: Malta, Belgium, the United Kingdom, and last but not least the big favourite, Russia!