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Sunday, February 25, 2007

A Comme Ci Comme Ca Week

Hello and welcome to another Eurovision Sunday roundup. I hope you're not sick of them, because I'm going to keep going until May. This week has had a few songs that I really like and a few that I really don't.

The task of writing this column started early this week. Usually nothing happens until about noon on Saturday, but this Wednesday we had the first internally selected song released. That honor goes to DJ BoBo from Switzerland and his song "Vampires are alive". It's a love-it-or-hate-it song and I'm not in the "love it" camp. It is definitely not art, and it isn't even all that pleasurable to the ear, but it gets stuck in your head fast and won't go away (even when you're trying to sleep, as I found out), so once it comes time to vote I think that viewers will remember it no matter its position in the draw. And isn't that what it's all about?

The second internally selected song revealed this week was "Comme Ci, Comme Ca" by Evridiki for Cyprus. This is one of my two favorite songs selected this week. This song also gets stuck in my head easily, but I like it there. I just hope that the title doesn't indicate the song's outcome in the voting.

The third internally selected song revealed this week is "Love power" by The Krazy Mess Groovers for Belgium. It's a fun funk/disco song that would make great background music for a party, but I don't know how interesting the performance will be. Still, I'm hoping for the best.

There were also six national finals this weekend: four on Saturday and two on Sunday. First, Bulgaria chose Eliza Todorova with "Voda". It's probably this week's most eccentric song, if not this year's. It's a sort of ethnic rave, and while it may not be everyone's cup of tea it has grown on me. I just worry that it won't have an exciting enough performance - banging on drums didn't help the Netherlands much last year - so I hope that they add some dancers to make it a good show.

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia chose "Mojot Svet" by Karolina. It's an exciting dramatic rock-influenced song, and I like it, but I have the feeling that, like recent Macedonian entries, it'll be translated into English, so I'll reserve my final judgement for later.

Remember three weeks ago when Slovenia chose "Cvet Z Juga" and I thought that opera might be a trend? Well guess what? One of my predictions actually came true! Latvia chose and their popera song "Questa Notte". I like Slovenia's song a lot better, but I'm sure that Latvia's song will appeal to people my mother's age (in fact, I'm sure my mother would like them, because she's crazy about Il Divo). It's similar in concept to last year's, except with instruments and without an awkward intro.

Finally, late on Saturday (so late, it was dark outside where I live!) Spain chose Nash to sing "I Love You Mi Vida". Of course I'm happy because it was one of my favorites. I don't like the arrangement that they're using now, so I hope they change it before they get to Helsinki, because with a little adjustment it could be amazing. Also, they are not bad looking so that is a plus.

On Sunday, Armenia chose Hayko with "Anytime You Need". The song was co-written by Karen Kavaleryan, who co-wrote some of my favorite songs ("Northern Girl", "Never let you go", and of course, "Work your magic"), so that is a good sign.
Unlike all of those songs, it is a ballad that tries to be in the style of "Lane moje" or "Lejla". It's not as good as either of those, but that is a high standard to reach.

Finally, earlier today Montenegro picked Stevan Faddy who sang "Hadje Kroci". It's a nice rock song sung by a young guy that there isn't anything too similar to yet (although Andorra's seems like it could be).

Next week has finals in Croatia, Georgia, Greece, Israel, and Lithuania, as well as a second chance round in Sweden. Maybe I'll try making some predictions on the following week's final selections too.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Avril heavenly6?

Avril Lavigne's new video is out, and the competition between the bespectacted sweater-wearing girlfriend and the "punk" girlfriend seems a little...familiar?

Avril Lavigne - "Girlfriend"

Monday, February 19, 2007

Leave Me Alone

Sorry for the delay in this week’s Eurovision column. I have had extremely limited internet access this past weekend and today I do too, so this column will be a short one. Also because of this, I won’t be able to talk about any of the semifinals that happened this weekend.

Neither of my predictions came true, again, but I’m not completely disappointed because I like all the songs selected this weekend. I was happy to hear that Hanna Pakarinen with “Leave me alone” won in Finland, because it was my favorite from Finland this year, and so far is in my top 3 songs for this year.

For Iceland Eirikur Hauksson with “Eg les i lofa thinum”. Unlike Finland, this song was not one of my favorites in its preselection, but it’s still pretty good. If the song is translated to English my opinion might change.

Finally, Ireland’s song was a breath of fresh air in the middle of all those rock songs. “They Can’t Stop The Spring” by Dervish is a lovely folk song with a feel-good message about everyone singing together. Plus, it has season-appropriate lyrics about the spring, unlike Denmark’s line about the “moonlit snow” (I’m still annoyed by that, but I’m just weird) The only downside is that it doesn’t really pick up until halfway through the song, which may be too late.

Next week is another big one, with finals in Armenia, Bulgaria, FYR Macedonia, Latvia, Montenegro, and Spain. I’m not going to bother making predictions since I haven’t heard half the songs but if the winning song for Spain is not “I Love You Mi Vida” or “Tu voz se apagara”, I will be very disappointed.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy V-Day!

While you are writing love notes and eating dinner by candlelight at a fancy restaurant, I'm writing a philosophy paper and eating take-out. If you're alone and snowed in like me, let the video for "CHU-LIP" by Ai Otsuka brighten your day. Warning: This video might not be safe for work.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Mp3 Monday: Lorie

While sorting the playlists on my non-Apple-brand mp3 player, I realized that I have 5 different songs called "SOS", not counting covers. Four of them are by ABBA, Good Charlotte, Natalia Verboten (from last year's Slovenian Eurovision preselection), and Rihanna. The fifth one is by French singer Lorie (real name: Laure Pester). According to Wikipedia she is the Britney Spears of France, although a lot more family friendly, so I assume we won't be finding her hanging out with Paris Hilton anytime soon. She also dated singer Billy Crawford a few years ago, whose only US success was performing the theme song for the first Pokemon movie, although he has had much more success in France. Lorie's "SOS" was released as a single last year and is a nice upbeat pop/R&B song with a very bright music video.

Download - Lorie - "SOS"
Buy - Lorie - Rester La Même

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Second Chances, But Not For Me

Welcome to another Sunday Eurovision roundup! First of all, I want to thank Steve Holyer of for linking to me in his article! And thank you to all the new readers who found me through ESCToday!

Well, I though I my predictions couldn't get any less accurate and then they did. None of my predictions from last week turned out to be right! The results of the Danish final were especially shocking because the winner, DQ, who sang "Drama Queen", entered the final through the second chance round! I was very disappointed at first because I was really hoping that Me & My would win. I hope that their song becomes popular even though it didn't win - I could see it as a theme song for some children's movie about friendship or something. The winning song isn't too much of an upset because it was my third favorite song. However, I don't think the song itself is interesting or original enough (I have a problem with the line "in between the street light and the moonlit snow" - it makes sense in February but I don't know if a line about snow will fly in May), so to do well I really think there needs to be new choreography. I do like DQ's dress, although maybe that's because I have a similar one. Over in Norway, neither of my predictions came true, and while I was very happy that Dusty Cowshit didn't win (although I got a kick out of hearing their name repeated by the vote announcers), I was very disappointed that Infinity didn't win either. In the end, Guri Schanke won with "Ven A Bailar Conmigo", a catchy Latin-sounding song. So far I could see it qualifying for the final, but it should face competition from Spain, should it pick a better song, which is at this point is a very real possibility. Both of the above winning performances include large feather fans - another possible trend?

In Romania, Locomondo won with "Liubi, Liubi, I Love You". I'm not exactly thrilled - in my notes I wrote one word: "Crap". In my opinion it is boring and repetitive, panders for votes by including lyrics in several different languages, is a big step down from "Tornerò", and is my least favorite song so far (so of course it will do well). The Netherlands selected singer Edsilia Rombley, who selected "Nooit meer zonder jou". I haven't seen the performance, but I have heard the song and I think it's pretty good, although once I see a video clip my opinion may change.

This weekend also had three semifinals. Lithuania again had very confusing results, so I'm not even going attempt to cover their preselection until a winner has been selected, however that may happen. Finland had its last semifinal and my favorite song out of that was "See The Signs" by Beats & Styles, but I don't think it has any chance in the final - I think a rock song will win.

The second semifinal of Melodifestivalen in Sweden brought us the other favorites to win, The Ark, and their song "The Worrying Kind". Their style of glam rock is not really my thing, but they have a strong live performance and are extremely energetic.

Next week there are finals in Finland, Iceland, and Ireland. I think that Lovex will win in Finland and Jonsi will win in Iceland, and I haven't heard the Irish songs yet. Of course I'll be wrong again, but you won't know unless you come back again next week!
Note: I will be busy all next weekend and won't be able to post about Eurovision until Monday the 19th, so be patient and I will get it up as early as I can.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Happy february6!

Tomoko Kawase's birthday is a The Goggles Do Nothing holiday. As Tommy heavenly6, her new single, "Heavy Starry Chain", is out tomorrow, and she has a new album coming out next month. To celebrate, here are all of the videos of the singles from her upcoming "Heavy Starry Heavenly" album.
Watch - Tommy heavenly6 - "Heavy Starry Chain"
Watch - Tommy heavenly6 - "I'M GONNA SCREAM+"
Watch - Tommy heavenly6 - "Lollipop Candy♥BAD♥girl"
Watch - Tommy heavenly6 - "I LOVE XMAS"
Watch - Tommy heavenly6 - "Pray"
Buy - Tommy heavenly6 - "Heavy Starry Chain"

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Opera Is The New White

At the same time that most Americans are watching the Super Bowl, I am sitting at my computer typing another Eurovision post. I'm just not one for sports, I don't really care about the halftime show (true story: I missed the Janet Jackson boob scandal in '04 because I was READING THE PAPER AS IT HAPPENED), and with the advent of YouTube I don't have to bother watching the commercials and using the actual game as a snack break.

The big news of the week is that four countries selected their songs, and I only correctly predicted one. As the title says, Slovenia chose opera singer Alenka Gotar's song "Cvet Z Juga". I personally wanted Sebastian to win - with the flag routine of "Invincible" and the music of "Show Me Your Love", mathematically it could have come 6th. Alenka's song is still very good, her vocals are strong live, and she has the ever-popular wind machine. I wonder if opera will be an unlikely trend just as wearing white was in last year's final (hence the title of this post) - Finland (Katra) and Croatia (Trio Fantasticus) also have opera songs in their preselections. This observation would have worked better if the hilarity that is"Starlight" had won in Malta, but that wasn't really opera but bad musical theatre.

The only prediction I got right was "Time to Party" by The Jet Set for Poland. It's a very fun and modern song, so it has a chance to do well. If Fergie was singing it would be a hit. One of the predictions I got wrong was Estonia, who picked Gerli Padar and her song "Partners In Crime". I'm not disappointed, though, because it was my second favorite after "Birds of Peace". The other prediction I got wrong was Malta, who selected "Vertigo" by Olivia Lewis. This also was my second favorite from its country, but the song and the camera work in the national final performance make me a little dizzy. I'm sure that's intentional, though.

Besides a few finals, there were also a bunch of semifinals. Bulgaria narrowed down their 18 songs to 12, and luckily for me (maybe not so lucky for the results) kept boy band Grupata. In Denmark, Me & My made it through to the final, where it is their destiny to win in order to be the third artist in a row featured in Dance Dance Revolution to also be in Eurovision. It's not the best song ever, but it's a nice simple inspirational pop song so it's easily accessible. I'd change the outfits though - the black and shiny gold superhero outfits are just ridiculous. If they don't win, my second choice would be James Sampson with his 60's-sounding "Say You Love Me". In Finland, all the semifinals have been strong so far, but I think the third one was the strongest. I think Lovex has a good chance of winning the Finnish preselection because their song is strong, and according to my younger brother (everyone should have one, to keep in touch with what's cool with kids today) they're more than a little bit emo (at the very least, their hair is).Iceland had another semifinal, which had no songs qualify that I was particularly passionate about. I still think the first two had better songs.

Latvia narrowed down their songs for the final...three weeks from now. I didn't really like any of the songs, but they picked the best from what they had for the final. In Lithuania there was another semifinal but apparently a computer glitch gave the wrong results. In Norway, the last semifinal had songs that weren't that bad, but I think the previous two had better songs. Romania had its last semifinal, which included a hip hop song about Dracula. Seriously.

Finally, Sweden started the semifinals of Melodifestivalen, which requires a whole new paragraph because it's the "important" one. My favorite from this semifinal was Elin Lanto's "Money", which didn't quite make it to the final but is going to the second chance round. Lyrically it is similar to a Pay TV song, and musically it sounds a little like, predictably, "Money, Money, Money". The favorite to win, "Samba sambero" by Anna Book, is very good but it broke my schlagerometer, and I think if they add a keyboard and some spacey sounds it might become eurobeat (I could probably DDR to it as is).

Now for the predictions. Four countries have finals next week, and my favorite song is probably not the one that will win in any of them. I predict Me&My for Denmark, Dusty Cowshit for Norway (but I want Infinity to win), and that Dracula song for Romania. I haven't heard any of the Dutch songs so I can't make a prediction. Come back next week to see how wrong I am, and if you made it all the way through this post, thank you!

Today has been a very interesting day. First, I read the New York Times as I do most Sunday mornings. In the Arts & Leisure section there were reviews of Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Linda Sundblad. I have recently become somewhat obsessed with both these artists through Into The Groove and Catchy Tunes of Sweden respectively, so I was excited to see them reviewed in American "old media" so they can be discovered by people who don't read Popjustice. The reviews were written by Kelefa Sanneh, who appears to be a big supporter of pop music.

Later, I went to H&M to buy clothes when I heard on the in-store radio "Beware of the Dog" by Jamelia. I became confused because I'm pretty sure Jamelia does not have an US record deal and that song was not released stateside. If someone could clarify how such chain stores get their music that would be a big help.