Monday, May 9, 2016

Reviewing the 2016 Eurovision entries

So I've been reviewing Eurovision tracks since 2008 on Facebook, but this is the year they have finally destroyed basic HTML support. Thus I've moved it over to this moribund blog instead.

Here's my past year's reviews: 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2008

Here we go:

Frans - If I Were Sorry (Sweden) - This is an entire song whose lyrical content is describing how sorry this mopey bloke would be, if he were sorry, but he's not. Which is not something I've ever heard covered in a song before, most likely because it's exceedingly stupid. C+

Jamie-Lee - Ghost (Germany) - Forest fairy Rita Repulsa performing what I think is a Lana Del Rey cover. C-

Amir - J'ai cherché (France) - This is pretty jammin TBH. I don’t have much else to observe except that apparently I know a surprising amount of French given that I don’t know a single word of French.

If anti-Russian sentiment is still high enough in Europe this might even win. A

Francesca Michielin - No Degree of Separation (Italy) - Sort of a weak vaguely operatic power ballad and I'm about 80% sure it only sounds vaguely operatic because it's mostly in Italian. C

Barei - Say Yay! (Spain) - There's "uptempo" and then there's "trying to bludgeon everyone into sheer submission shouting positivity over a vaguely house track". I suspect it'll have a huge fuckin stage show. It'll want to. C

Joe and Jake - You're Not Alone (United Kingdom) - This is bad, but you don't need me to tell you that. Or even to listen to the song, really.

It's time for the UK to give Wales independence so that an oppressed but musical people can strike out on their own in this contest. D

Sandhja - Sing It Away (Finland) - This is the opposite of Finland. D+

Argo - Utopian Land (Greece) - YESSSS IT'S ZORBA TIME.

Oh christ they're rapping in Greek.

And now.. oh. Uhhh.

Oh Greece, this is terrible. Did you forget to mix this? Um, watch it now cos it's not making the final. D-

Lidia Isac - Falling Stars (Moldova) - Did shouting over EDM ever work? Next. D

Freddie - Pioneer (Hungary) - What the fuck is this oh my god fuck his voice is he choking. D-

Nina Kraljić - Lighthouse (Croatia) - This is quite subtle and plinky and pretty and Balkan and really there should be more of it. B

Douwe Bob - Slow Down (The Netherlands) - I think I liked this better when it was "It never Rains in Southern California". C

Iveta Mukuchyan - LoveWave (Armenia) - A spoken word intro that sounds a bit Tori Amos. That's a really strange place to start a Eurovision track. Then there's a 10 second building buzzing angry machine noise because of course there is. Then it rocks out carried by a really powerful voice and we go a bit ethnopop at the back end. Unexpected and superb. A+

Serhat - I Didn't Know (San Marino) - So San Marino is entering a noir disco song with some guy rasping over it. Obviously. C-

Sergey Lazarev - You Are The Only One (Russia) - Holy shit was this created in a lab somewhere for the express purpose of winning Eurovision? It's almost unfair. I'm surprised something this camp isn't illegal in Russia, but it’s going to win. B+

Gabriela Gunčíková - I Stand (Czech Republic) - Power ballad about standing in a place either metaphorically or literally. Meh. C-

Minus One - Alter Ego (Cyprus) - This is our rockish entry, and more or less directly rips off the Killers' Somebody Told Me. There's also a growly bald lead singer who tries to mind meld with a wolf before letting off a howl. C+

ZOË - Loin d’ici (Austria) - This is an honest to god *ditty*. And she's singing in French, because I assume even German speakers recognise how much cuter French is for singing. B-

Jüri Pootsmann - Play (Estonia) - I think this is shooting for suave and seductive, maybe a bit Bond track or a bit of a smoky jazz vibe. But it's Draco Malfoy performing under the name Juri Pootsmann so you can see how that's a fairly large problem. D+

Samra - Miracle (Azerbaijan) - This could have been rattled off by whatever factory produces Swedish entries on their lunchbreak. It's a pretty standard bit of uptempo slightly shouty Eurovision empowerfulment and a really underwhelming singer struggling to stay perceptible above the glitzy din. C-

Highway - The Real Thing (Montenegro) - In case you're wondering if we're still doing dubstep? Yeah. Kind of. But now with a mopey dude in a hoodie fronting a rock band as well? D

Greta Salóme - Hear Them Calling (Iceland) - I guess an Icelandic track that sounds exactly like it was written by Of Monsters and Men was probably inevitable. B-

Dalal & Deen feat. Ana Rucner and Jala - Ljubav Je (Bosnia & Herzegovina) - Will somebody just COMMIT to a Balkan ballad or other ethnic pop thing? The super folky cello riff is the best bit about this but Who on earth thought it needed someone rapping in Bosnian-Croatian-Montenegrin-Serbian in the middle? Also it's a bad song, but even so, can't you fuckers at least commit? D+

Ira Losco - Walk on Water (Malta) - Here's your overwrought multi-vocal tracked diva doing her thing over what I think is drum and bass. C

Justs - Heartbeat (Latvia) - Bloke's about 90% cheekbone. This is very boring. Next. C-

Michał Szpak - Color Of Your Life (Poland) - I'm pretty sure what's going on here is it's a terrible song, but the very squinty and hairy singer dude is very good, but he just can't save it no matter how much he pouts. Maybe he should shimmy his hair and run a hand through it more. D+

Rykka - The Last Of Our Kind (Switzerland) -"Stronger than water" is an excellent lyric mostly because the sheer power of water doesn't get namechecked enough in songs... but otherwise the only interesting aspect is how a woman with no lower vocal range was given a song probably best sing entirely there. D

Hovi Star - Made of Stars (Israel) - This is half finished but thinks its a slowburner. Two minutes of the same piano thing then 45 seconds of soaring anthem that are just too little too late. C+

IVAN - Help You Fly (Belarus) - Martin Bryant singing like Nickelback might if Nickelback were ever to enter one of the worst songs that there are. D-

ZAA Sanja Vučić - Goodbye (Shelter) (Serbia) - Bond theme fodder, but one of the bad Brosnan ones. D+

Nicky Byrne - Sunlight (Ireland) - The Irish are entering one of the guys from Westlife (this is actually a truefact) and he's singing about how great sunlight is which is ironic because the song slips spluttering into the deep ocean waves without a trace not a soul to miss it. C-

Kaliopi - Dona (F.Y.R. Macedonia) - The biggest problem I have with this Balkan ballad sort of thing is that in the chorus she keeps shouting "dona dona dona dona dona" and doesn't follow up with "chameleon" B-

Donny Montell - I‘ve been waiting for this night (Lithuania) - Fuck off. D

Dami Im - Sound Of Silence (Australia) - The chorus is cringingly weak around the word "silence" in particular. Maybe it's one of the better quiet-loud-quiet-loud ballads? Her voice is good and poorly used.

It should probably do better than the UK, which should be the only objective for Australia as long as SBS keeps buying our way into Eurovision. C+

ManuElla - Blue and Red (Slovenia) - Can early period Taylor Swift win Eurovison? Nope. C-

Poli Genova - If Love Was A Crime (Bulgaria) - This is a thumping dance pop thing with a main refrain in Bulgarian (that I assume is not saying "I"m a looser") and I really fuckin like it really. A

Lighthouse X - Soldiers Of Love (Denmark) - Three boyband dudes with no personality who might have gone okay 15 years ago. Incidentally, "soldiers of love" is an incredibly creepy concept when you think about it. C-

Jamala - 1944 (Ukraine) - Jesus fuck this is about the Soviet reprisals and forced deportations against the Crimean Tatars for alleged collaboration with the Nazis after the Soviet reconquest. It's also pretty good I guess? If a mood piece rather than a song? B

Agnete - Icebreaker (Norway) - Competently produced Scandinavian lady power ballad. C-

Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz - Midnight Gold (Georgia) - This wants to be the quirky alt-rock thing bringing some sort of new wave sensibility to the contest. But it's just extremely shit I'm afraid. D-

Eneda Tarifa - Fairytale (Albania) - How many ways can I say "mediocre shouty lady powerballad"? This one is slightly grumpier I guess? C-

Laura Tesoro - What's The Pressure (Belgium) - Apparently we get a funk track this year. This is fairly inoffensive on its own. But oh Jesus... is this the first little inkling that Uptown Funk style pop-funk monstrosities might be the next new trend at Eurovision now that dubstep is essentially dead? B