We are going down alphabetically by song titles, but until now, you could really mean that we are going some kind of east to west. From Ukraine and Cyprus, we move now to the heart of Europe into two traditionally unsuccessful Eurovision nations. Is this justified in 2016? We will find out right now.
Slovenia: ManuElla – Blue And Red
Slovenia has been starting to dig out of the hole of bad results it had ended up in lately when Tinkara Kovac made their first final in three years in 2014. They did take one step further with Maraaya, producing a fan favourite and ending up 14th, generally unjustified but still a large improvement from their last year’s result. And now, can ManuElla make it three in a row AND take Slovenia’s development further, giving them their first Top 10 since Nusa Derenda in 2001?
We already threw up the question if ManuElla is somewhat related to Taylor Swift (or the same person) and actually, I am a little reminded of Taylor by the music as well. But I personally do prefer the Slovene, as she features less electronic-pop stuff and does tick more of my boxes, even though this country-ish approach usually is bad at ticking my boxes. The main difference to their non-qualifying attempts for Slovenia remains that this song, like the past ones, is much better produced and just feels more “finished”.
As a musician, I am of course in love with the lyrics (“You are not a composer, I am not your song / Wrong chords” – how can I not love that?) even though some of them don’t make much sense. Blue and red results in violet, where’s the problem there? Another thing I really like is the performance in the video, until they go one step too far with removing her jacket. I think that this needs a more down to earth approach like they go for in the beginning, and then yes, I do believe ManuElla can finish the Slovenian Hattrick. 6/10
Poland: Michal Szpak – Colour Of Your Life
Another traditionally unsuccessful nation on the way to three in a row is Poland. After three failed attempts and two break years, Poland finally got to taste the success of qualification again in 2014 when Cleo, Donatan and their girls finished 8th in their semifinal. A year later, Monika Kuszynska and her wheelchair repeated that result, but did far worse in the final. Can Michal Szpak get another 8th in the semis?
This seems like a colourful day today, but actually Michal only offers black or white. Didn’t you get told that the world is never black or white, Michal? On the other hand, it may be for Poland – either the country currently exists or ot. You never know with them. The song does make a pretty good first impression on me, apart from the weird lyrics (more on them soon), as that’s a kind of song that always makes me wail along in dramatic movements. I really like the theatrical sound this has for me, enhanced by the scenery in the video. And the frequent chorus repetition makes it pretty catchy.
Now, the major criticism point in my opinion. The lyrics sound as if someone just put together every phrase they thought sounded like a deep and missing feeling. He’s somewhat oscillating between “you lost everything”, “you only need yourself anyway” and “nothing is permanent”, adding some observations about smoke and fire which I, as a football and hockey fan, can somewhat disprove. Is this really the best you could come up with, Poland? It’s quite disappointing if something sounding that big and relying on the vocals a lot has so weak lyrics. Nevertheless, this grows onto me. 7/10, and well done Poland!
See you next time when we visit the Southern Balkans with The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and The Not Former Yugoslav Republic Of
Swiss national team Albania!