A Persian Cafe, Edward Lord Weeks

Monday, 28 April 2014

Eurovision Song Contest Entries 2014

I have been looking over some of the videos for entries to the Eurovision Song Contest, and thought that I would note some of my reactions here. It should be noted that I adore the contest, even though I consider the vast majority of music it produces to be absolute dross. My recommendation is at best very week evidence that a song will do well, since my tastes do not seem to chime with those of the European public as a whole.

Basim (Denmark) Cliche Love Song
Seems to be a Bruno Mars impersonator. The song has little if anything to reccommend it. I assume it's supposed to be a satire, but the lyrics don't really suggest it. If only they'd enlisted Weird Al as a co-writer.

Ruth Lorenzo (Spain) Dancing in the Rain
What a boring song.

Emma Marrone (Italy) La Mia Citta
Better than the last two - it could have made a perfectly reasonable 90s rock song. Listenable, but you can probably find some better way to occupy your time.

Twin Twin (France) Moustache
Another satirical song - their profile at the contest website describes them as "firmly of the YOLO... generation" which is annoying enough to start. The lyrics are better than the others songs so far, and it's quirky enough that it could score a fair few points. I don't know how well it'll do without the music video, however, since the music itself is eminently forgettable.

Molly (United Kingdom) Children of the Universe
Actually a pretty good song. Unfortunately, the arrangement is absolutely dire. Honestly, it would be better with no backing than with this mess.

Elaiza (Germany) Is It Right
One of the things I love about Eurovision is the crazy combinations of instruments which get pulled out each year, and this does not disappoint with Accordion, Drums and Double Bass. The song is alright, but I really can't see it winning, again, it's just too forgettable.

Aram (Armenia) Not Alone
There's only so much intensity you can build up when you have only three minutes, and this goes from calm singing (accompanied by some incredibly hammy acting) to screeching violins to screaming voice far too quickly.

Aarzemnieki (Latvia) Cake to Bake
A very fun song - certainly my favourite so far. Clever lyrics, clever chordal progressions, well worth a listen.

Tanja (Estonia) Amazing
I was expecting more club-dance-numbers, given the success of Euphoria in 2012 and Only Teardrops in 2013; surprisingly, this is the first one so far. It's not a particularly interesting song.

Sanna Nielsen (Sweden) Undo
Rather dull. That said, the singer appears to be the First Lady of the United States.

Pollapoenk (Iceland) No Prejudice
The last two Icelandic entries were both very good; this fails to live up to those, instead competing with France for the Strangest Music Video award. It's not a terrible song by any means, but the politically-correct lyrics are very boring and it feels a bit disjointed.

Hersi (Albania) One Night's Anger
There's a solid twenty seconds of good song before it goes the same way as Spain.

Tolmachevy Sisters (Russia) Shine
Yet another non-descript song, not really going anywhere, and without any particular musical merit.

Dilara Kazimova (Azerbaijan) Start a Fire
At two-and-a-half minutes in, I thought this a reasonable quiet song which - unusually for Eurovision - resisted the temptation to head for a big climax. Then, a climax came out of nowhere, but at least it didn't go too overboard - the piano was unnecessary.

Maria Yaremchuk (Ukraine) Tick-Tock
In the wake of massive international sympathy this is an excellent chance for Ukraine to take advantage of the massive political aspect to voting in Eurovision, and the song isn't half bad. I would not be at all surprised to see a Ukrainian victory.

Axel Hirsoux (Belgium) Mother
Another high-pitched, quiet and forgettable song - the only difference being that, rather than having a female singer, it uses a male castrato.

Cristina Scarlat (Moldova) Wild Soul
Yet more overwritten modern claptrap.

Valentina Monetta (San Marino) Maybe
A respectable song, but certainly one that would not get significant exposure without this kind of event. (I do not regard giving arbitrary exposure to songs as a good thing). I would pick on the lyrics, but the sad thing is that by modern standards they're not all that bad.

Suzy (Portugal) Quero Ser Tua
It's getting very hard to think of new ways to describe the phenomenon of songs with no particular musical merit using modern arrangements. Basically, rather boring.

The Common Linnets (Netherlands) Calm After the Storm
Most of this is pretty good. The problem is with the singing, which is entirely wrong for this and clashes with the rest of the music - something far more subdued is called for.

Sergej Cetkovic (Montenegro) Moj Svijet
Another good song, but one which could do with another couple of minutes to develop towards a climax. I understand the desire to bring things to a climax, but three minutes simply isn't long enough to do that in without just sounding pretentious. (Incidentally, I've always wondered why we never try to enter Muse - they'd be perfect for Eurovision stylistically, where the whole flamboyant and over-the-top thing that is there shtick is the generally accepted norm). That said, I genuinely enjoyed this song.

Kallay-Saunders (Hungary) Running
Another serious contender to win. That is to say, it's catchy, modern, and I found it tolerable rather than enjoyable.

Firelight (Malta) Coming Home
Mumford and Sons have defected to Malta! I enjoyed this song, although it could have done with some classical references rather than the same-old platitudes which make up the lyrics to most pop songs.

Mei Finegold (Israel) Same Heart
I would mark this as a possible contender, were it not the Israeli entry. (That is, I don't expect other countries to vote for Israel, not that I personally dislike it more than I hate states in general and therefore am biased against it). Again, it's modern, and fairly bland but not completely so.

Carl Espen (Norway) Silent Storm
Another respectable song that I can listen to but generally wouldn't choose to.

Possibly to be continued. That's most of them anyway.

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