Radio silence for well over 6 months. I have been busy!
Why not, though – why not just use the annual May-based music competition to spout my opinions on music. It’s about a year since I started this and I have reviewed 50 albums! I do want to continue and it’s coming… in the mean time – this post will tackle a criticism of the blog so far – I am too kind with my numbers. I am going to rescore my previous albums with a much better system and this post should help. Not now – soon. The summer promises to be somewhat less busy but for now, I’m mostly swamped!
I’ve said all, so now my opinions on Eurovision. I have no standards! Oh I judge, but isn’t that the point? Furthermore, what better place is there to exercise a crappy arbitrary judgment that a forum which presents 26 acts than emulates the current music scene with various degrees of success. It’s fun – it’s OTT and I enjoy it. For those who want a reference, I’m sure you can find the clips on YouTube – else sources exist all over the place, especially TV catch-up.
I will be scoring out of 20: 10 for the song and a further 10 for the performance. I’ll be watching the UK feed, because Graham Norton is worth listening to. Of course, it will just be the final. Let’s see what we like – I recommend watching with your drink of choice. Here we go:
Well the transition music is just the theme from “All Creatures Great and Small”
- Ukraine: Mélovin – Under the Ladder – Immediately you are hit with the live aspect, the song is sharp in places. This shouldn’t be relevant. It’s far too generic for me and this even goes down to the staging. Yes there’s a flaming staircase with a baby grand at the top – yes the chap has one oddly coloured eye, and yes he rose out of a coffin at the beginning. Formula, formula, formula. The song was too dull to actually talk about, but for the music theorists among you. Do you find a perfect 5th interesting? Yes? Well this song will work for you.Score: 3/4
- Spain: Amaia & Alfred – Tu canción – Oh it’s Disney! Let’s all hug ourselves and genuinely sing at each other with hearts where our pupils should be. I say that but this is Eurovision done far more correctly – by that I mean a bit of saccharine nonsense but with a performance that is as hammy as a charcuterie. There was even a false key change that bated the chorus.Score: 6/7
- Slovenia: Lea Sirk – Hvala, ne! – You promise so much from your little dance at the beginning but the performance of this – I could do it! – I describe my general shape with a circumference and could do this. On a more serious note, there is nothing to this song, really and as much as I appreciate getting the crowd involved. Well… Lee Mack sums it up. It borders on less than fine – I am marking this on the day after (rewatching the songs) but I still have my initial scores. It hasn’t changed much.
- Lithuania: Ieva Zasimauskaitė – When We’re Old – Oh get up! I appreciate the imagery but it’s insulted by your song and the staging is silly – Graham Norton is right that it feels like “‘bring your husband to work’ day” and that’s all it is.. I’m not a fan of altering a “dainty” voice with one that might be considered acceptable. You enjoyed it – good – but
Score: 2/2 (and that should be fair)
- Austria: Cesár Sampson – Nobody but You – It’s a bit of a reminder of the end of the 2010 decade but not in a bad way. He plays with the crowd with an OK song. I’m into this! His singing is actually very good with his falsetto. It was good with just the right amount of crowd playing. Oh you’re not current but you’re actually good.
- Estonia: Elina Nechayeva – La forza – The song is nothing to write home about initially – until she continues singing – Performance wise- the dress effects are brilliant! She can sing too, which I think should be marked as important. Simple and effective – then she keeps proving vocal talent! The performance is all based on stage effects and it bloody well works. Say what you like but from me it gets
- Norway: Alexander Rybak – That’s How You Write a Song – I do generally love the animation and stage presence here. It’s got a theme and performance that works with good choreography and the song is catchy as hell. Ah if the catchy-ness were the criterion I marked songs on, this would be worth it but we fall back into formula – perfectly fine for a previous winner. You get full marks for performance, but your song is just on the good side of fine.
- Portugal: Cláudia Pascoal – O jardim – “Just look in a broody way at your microphone!” Oh this is not good – who’s it for?! You are milking a moment of vocals that actually don’t exist. It’s summed up though, thankfully, with this link. I’m not going to discuss it.
Score: 2/2 – (if that)
- U.K.: SuRie – Storm – This song is way too familiar but I can’t place the tune. I didn’t like this song on hearing it months before. Should I comment on the elephant? Yes – the stage invasion was ugly and generally out of the spirit of things – Whoever you are, this is not the place for your message and I’ll add that crufts doesn’t work either… Complete professional from performance and on that basis an honourary performance: 10 awarded. Invaders like this want just there 15 seconds of fame. That’s it.
The U.K. song however was a discount take on Annie Lennox, which was definitely fine but that’s it. I’m scoring based on everything around…but utter, utter kudos to SuRie for carrying on. Staging wise it was smart enough, it’s fine Eurovision.
Score: 6/7 – (but complete 10 for the “moment”)
- Serbia: Saynja Ilić & Balkanika – Nova deca – Oh we’re back to the Eurovision genicness. The staging is fun but remember that a man sweeps to the front to sing. It’s oh so tiresome and with a backing that one would hear in clubs years ago. No. Not for me.
- Germany: Michael Schulte – You Let Me Walk Alone – Yes you look like Mick Hucknall. The photos are sweet but for God’s sake this is not about that. Then there was the staging…. it’s alright… it’s good. Can I get a bit more of something? No – alright then…
- Albania: ugent Bushpepa – Mall – Oh, sing your heart out! It’s high pitched and worth a listen – his voice is good, nah its great – the stage wasn’t anything to write home about but maybe it’s a lazy point to present something generic – this concerns me in that most of the “big 5” don’t try too hard – Albania? – well hosting takes a lot money.
- France: Madame Monsieur – Mercy – hence more proof that a generic scenario will work She flirts enough with audience – and by that I mean she acknowledges the stage. Ir’s more boring that that – don’t check it out.
- Czech Republic: Mikolas Josef – Lie to Me – There is a large electroswing element here – and this is dated but it the suave artist who can work so well in the environment. Well executed… Why not and the chap performing – well he’s your mate… well enough… I like it! It’s tight and worth a watch! It’s not for everyone but it’s for me! To Graham Norton, Timberlake is not wrong…
- Denmark: Rasmussen – Higher Ground – The problem most people have with Vikings is that they represent metal music – but metal has won Eurovision before. I like the backing chords but it’s Pirates of the Caribbean meets Enya. (Yeah, think about that!) The stage presence is brilliant and an a capella moment just shows song can be fine. I’ve been a little kind, the song is too simple really.
- Ausralia: Jessica Mauboy – We Got Love – You cannot write an interesting song with ridiculously long chords. OK imagine Beyoncé and subtract the ability to sing in tune, the ability to perform choreography and imagine watching it through a Zoopraxiscope (one of those spinning running horse illusion things), because of the amount of strobing. Bad bad bad.
- Finland: Saara Aalto – Monsters – This is a return to Eurovision form in that I don’t really get it but I think that’s about right. The song harks of late 90’s house played by a xylophone but apart from that it’s too simplistic, it’s an extended jingle with fun presence on stage. She…passes; so no hard feelings!
- Bulgaria: Equinox – Bones – I was struggling to write about this until our leads took over. This song has the makings of a chart hit and certainly the staging is good enough. This is quite fine and serviceable for that evening that you will forget.
- Moldova: DoReDoS – My Lucky Day – Brilliant start already and the show style is great for no reason other than to just sit back and enjoy. The choreography is so smart here and if I’d seen more of this I would have said I was missing a lot by cooking at the time the live show was on I should add that you should be willing to notice it sounds foreign, however; take note! It has pep! Great stuff and would be better if it were on more than three notes and not consistently slightly off pitch. (That’s way too grumpy).
- Sweden: Benjamin Ingrosso – Dance You Off – Now this breeds a modern sound (listen to Gallant) with the nostalgia of Justin Timberlake. I think that sometimes if someone gets a whiff of Michael Jackson, but decides it’s not MJ enough, it gets put in the JT bin. This makes the latter sound far too undeserving and is unfair. This is a great song and a super solid performance.
- Hungary: AWS – Viszlát nyár – Ever since Lordi’s win, Eurovision can accept the metal performer. This isn’t quite there as it hits the energetic rock border but let’s give credit where credit is due in that they can at least write a song with a level of substance and stage presence. No true metal fan will have their eyes wide weeping the tears of Odin (or whatever the relevant tear to cry is) but likewise no metal or music fan could say that this wasn’t put together well enough to gig in plenty of places. Not my cup of “mead” but good.
- Israel: Netta – Toy – I wouldn’t say there wasn’t promise to start with but it ended up being a mess with fireworks to enhance it – If I’m not allowed to launch fireworks around the mess that is my life, this song isn’t allowed them. As it stands the song is woefully unbalanced with a synth horn that doesn’t blend with anything and is trying to be about 3 cultures at once. The result is a confusing blend that I imagine was… brighter and louder in person?
- Netherlands: Waylon – “Outlaw in ‘Em” – Oooo it’s country… I guess I don’t have a problem as such except it’s been done to death and what the hell is with the bizarre energetic dance from the backing dancers? It’s nothing that hasn’t been done before but I have to question if the song drained style from the dancers?
- Ireland: Ryan O’Shaughnessy – Together – I don’t hate this at all and the show is at least that! The staging is really very good with a song that is held together by a good singer/performer. I really like this for it’s staging but I think the camera work of the contest kills it a bit. I like the performer enough but sort of think he can sing in his own register a bit. I bet I’d love it if I could see more of an album. Graham Norton was right, as it was pretty serene and pleasant. Definitely!
- Cyprus: Eleni Foureira – Fuego – Oh I thought I’d seen a discount chart artist but this is just a “Single Ladies” choreography. I’ll give to the song that it may be one that you’d remember and would play in clubs. This has attraction in quite a few ways but the performance could be so much more original. I quite like it really but I do not love it.
- Italy: Ermal Meta & Fabrizio Moro – Non mi avete fatto niente – Song wise it’s really quite good in that it has such energy that keeps building. This is what we want to the mildest extent. It contains a message and that is clear that it is built around this. I can’t hate it and the passion is really there. May I say… In my quietest voice… A little boring.
As always it’s a good mix and a fun night but one that really needs a bit something to take the edge off. These are my rambles written with tongue-so-far-in-cheek-it-tastes-wallpaper.
See those of you who read this soon!