free web site hit counter

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Songs will be better in spring

Another week, another five songs. Luckily I got this in before midnight EST, so I wasn't sha-la-late! But enough with the bad pun, here's the ratings:

25. The Netherlands
Sieneke - “Ik ben verliefd (Sha-la-lie)”
Reaction: Like an insane jack-in-the-box, the power of sha-la-lie hits you in the face with its cheesiness. It’s hard to believe that this song was written in 2009, or that a song by a pretty teenage girl with no crazy costumes could be considered as a “novelty” song. The backlash to the song is especially productive; there are probably hundreds of covers out there (and some even commercially released) in the few short months since the first demo hit the internet to make one think, “if only.”
Best Part: Bridge
Rating: 3/5

24. Denmark
Chanee & N’Evergreen - “In a moment like this”
Reaction: This is very Danish without being as boring as the previous two years’ entries (although those did very well with everyone but me). Maybe it’s the G:Son writing credit that gives it a big of schlager. The female singer has an interesting and unique raspy sort of voice.
Best Part: Key Change
Rating: 3/5

23. Turkey
maNga - “We could be the same”
Reaction: This song is very clearly going top ten if its Youtube hits account for anything. Turkey’s second rock song in three years, it’s much fresher than “Deli”, with a fairly happy and upbeat chorus, and with greater appeal. Even though it’s in English it sounds very Turkish.
Best Part: Instrumental introduction
Rating: 3/5

22. Greece
Giorgos Alkaios & Friends - “Opa”
Reaction: There are a few fan favorites below this in my rankings (Spain, Denmark, Turkey) but the one I will probably have to defend myself most on should anyone actually read this. It’s a typical Greek entry, very catchy with an ethnic sound, perfect for lighting up the dance floor and the scoreboard. Unfortunately, it looks and sounds like it is sung by a very annoyed and bored man. The shouts of “hoo” and “hey” add another touch of masculinity.
Best Part: Shouty parts! Opa!
Rating: 3/5

21. Cyprus
Jon Lily green & the Islanders - “Life will be better in spring”
Reaction: This is a sweet and beautiful guitar ballad. It has probably one of the strongest choruses in this year’s group of songs. Unfortunately, it feels like it’s lacking something and kind of drags on by the end.
Best Part: First chorus
Rating: 3/5

Next week: songs 16 through 20! But before then: more shalalie!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What for are we listening

Another Sunday in spring, another five songs. I've made it past the bad/dull ones into the "good-but-not-amazing" ones.

30. Latvia
Aisha - “What For? (Only Mr. God Knows Why)”
Reaction: This song has the most charmingly strange lyrics this year. A good, if depressing, message shines through the broken English. It’s just a shame that the music is a little dull.
Best Part: "I've asked my uncle Joe, but he can't speak/Why does the wind still blow and blood still leaks?"
Rating: 2/5

29. Georgia
Sofia Nizharadze - “Shine”
Reaction: This is much better than the “Shine” last year. It’s a sweet and powerfully performed ballad. Unfortunately, it’s not unique and memorable enough to be higher on my list, but I wouldn’t be upset if it did well, assuming it had a good performance.
Best Part: Last chorus
Rating: 3/5

28. Spain
Daniel Diges - “Algo pequeñito”
Reaction: I’m getting to be really superstitious about this ranking: the last two years I had big fan favorites (Norway 2008 and France 2009) at this spot and acknowledged that while everyone else liked them, I didn’t. And what happened? They were in the top 10 in the final. This song again is a fan favorite (or at least it was in the period before all the songs had been chosen), and with my luck in predictions, it could do very well. I can see where it could be appealing, and it’s not badly written, but it’s too carnival-sounding for me to want to listen to it again and again.
Best Part: Ending
Rating: 3/5

27. Portugal
Filipa - “Ha dias assim”
Reaction: This starts off like a 90’s Disney ballad, then turns into a 90’s Mariah ballad. It’s a little dated and generic, but it’s moving while it lasts.
Best Part: Last chorus
Rating: 3/5

26. Poland
Marcin Mrozinski - “Legenda”
Reaction: This is the most “Fairytale”-like song, and not just because of the name. It’s not as powerful as last year’s winner, and it’s a little weak on the verses, but its strong vocals and drumbeats on the chorus make up for that.
Best Part: Key change
Rating: 3/5

Next week: Songs 21 through 25!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Stuck in an Eastern European kinda funk

It’s time for the second week of my Eurovision ranking, still at the tail end with songs 31 through 35. After coming up with this week’s list of songs, I realized that they have something in common, giving this post its title. I don’t mean this to be an insult towards those countries: I’ve had all but Estonia in my top 5 before. Their songs this year just don’t impress me.

35. Belarus
3+2 - “Butterflies"
Reaction: This would be a fine dramatic ballad if all went well, as it’s got the right parts: strings, soft drumming, vocal harmonies. However, the whole product is so dull that it could be called what some fans term “funeral dirge.” The melody is pleasant, but it’s performed with little emotion or energy and is thus forgettable.
Best part: Last chorus
Rating: 1/5

34. Ukraine
Alyosha - “Sweet People"
Reaction: Another one of those “the world is bad” songs in the vein of, say, “Nobody Hurt No One.” Despite the serious subject, it doesn’t make an impact and the music isn’t interesting
Best part: “In theatres and video games/They watch what we send to ruin”
Rating: 2/5

33. Estonia
Malcolm Lincoln - “Siren"
Reaction: This is one of those songs that a lot of people like for being different and modern and interesting, but I just can’t get into it. The chorus is decent, but the verses are just as monotonal and annoying as a siren.
Best part: Chorus
Rating: 2/5

32. Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
Gjoko Taneski feat. Billy Zver & Pejcin - "Jas ja imam silata"
Reaction: I wanted to like this song, as every year I grow more accustomed to Balkans-style Eurovision rock. It’s better than their effort last year, but it could be better. The rap part is awkward.
Best part: Guitar solo
Rating: 2/5

31. Romania
Paula Seling feat. Ovi - "Playing with fire”
Reaction: I can see where this upbeat song might appeal to some, but the melody doesn’t appeal to me. The bridge, with Ms. Seling vocalizing a very high note, sounds very strange and not in a good way.
Best part: Instrumental intro
Rating: 2/5

Next week: Songs 26-30!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Eurovision Ranking 2010 Begins!

After a short end-of-selection-season hiatus I’m back for my fifth (!) annual Eurovision rankings. I’m starting a lot later than the past few years (this time in 2007 I was doing songs 21-25 out of 42) because there’s only 39 songs this year and the contest is later than usual. It was difficult to pick a bottom four this year, as there aren’t really any “novelty” entries that would usually occupy those spots on principle. Instead of violent revulsion there’s just boredom and disappointment.

39. Slovenia
Ansambel Roka Žlindre & Kalamari - Narodnozabavni rock
Reaction: This year Slovenia gets the honor of the bottom spot on my ranking, not because it’s done something to offend me but because I always have a soft spot for Slovenia’s entries and this one just disappointed me. Instead of sounding like a structured song, it sounds like a rock band and a polka band wandered onto the same stage and started jamming. It feels like it could go on forever the same way until one or both parties got bored.
Best Part: I can’t get past “Naj bo, naj bo, naj booooo” without skipping to the next song
Rating: 1/5

38. Belgium
Tom Dice - Me and my guitar
Reaction: It’s not an awful song really, but it’s the type of song I don’t normally listen to unless the melody is particularly interesting or the lyrics are particularly clever, neither of which are features of this song. The lyrics are both too authentic in a gooey emotional way and inauthentic (it’s about getting one’s big break, but the song is performed on TV so he’s obviously already gotten his). The music is unmemorable, and there are much more memorable acoustic guitar ballads in this contest.
Best Part: Rhyming “fall” with “falls”
Rating: 1/5

37. United Kingdom
Josh - That sounds good to me
Reaction: The final version hasn’t been released yet, so I really shouldn’t write on it, but it’s already April and I can’t wait much longer. The live version of this is really disappointing because it’s written by a songwriting team with so many good songs under their belt, but this one is just so mediocre that it’s bad. For a song about having a good time the whole song is unenthusiastic and the rhythm of “Just add your laughter/it’s happy ever after” is annoying. I really hope this gets a revamping for the better and that I’ll regret putting this song in this spot come May.
Best Part: Instrumental opening
Rating: 1/5

36. Malta
Thea Garrett - My Dream
Reaction: I liked this song when I first heard it, but that was in comparison to the poor selection of songs from Malta. In comparison to the other songs chosen this year, it barely rates. It’s a sweet ballad with synthesized strings that is just too mediocre compared to other mediocre ballads. It’s pleasant and well sung but that’s not good enough. Malta needs to step it up in future years. If Chiara can’t save a mediocre ballad, then how can a newcomer who is no Chiara do it?
Best part: Last chorus
Rating: 1/5

Next Sunday I'll do songs 31-35, but this week I'll write a little more on this set of songs, time permitting. The rankings are pretty negative now but it can only get more positive as it continues.