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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fighting for passion

This week: five more below-average songs. Not at all terrible, but nothing that says "winner" or even "qualifier".

35 Portugal
Homems da Luta- “A Luta É Alegria”
Reaction: This is either supposed to be a 70’s style protest song or a novelty song, or maybe both. It has a somewhat pleasant melody but looks too silly on stage even though it is apparently very serious.
Best Part: Chorus
Rating: 2/5

34. FYR Macedonia
Vlatko Ilievski- “Rusinka“
Reaction: Either the vocalist can’t sing or there is no melody here. The majority of the good parts of the song come from the folk song it’s based on. Despite that, it’s kind of fun. The accordion solo saves the song.
Best Part: Accordion solo and the following “laj laj laj” part
Rating: 2/5

33. Ukraine
Mika Newton - “Angels”
Reaction: This sounds like a mediocre album track on a mediocre album by a mediocre singer. I was wrong about “Sweet people” last year as that was actually compelling on stage, I don’t think this one can be saved. The instrumental part is bland, and it probably could have used more electric guitars like “Sweet people.”
Best Part: Introduction
Rating: 2/5

32. Spain
Lucia Perez - “Que me quiten lo bailao”
Reaction: This is a cute folk-y song. Lucia has an interesting kind-of-raspy voice. However, cute can only go so far and it gets boring by the second verse.
Best Part: Bridge
Rating: 2/5

31. Albania
Aurela Gace - “Feel the passion”
Reaction: She sure does have a lot of passion! This song is very shouty, more shouting than singing. Despite the passion it doesn’t have much a melody behind the screaming.
Best Part: Albanian chorus
Rating: 2/5

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Stand by for better songs

It's time for my sixth annual Eurovision rankings! Last week should have been the first but since not all the songs were announced then this week will be a super-sized one with my eight least favorite songs from this year's group of 43.

43. Belgium
Witloof Bay - “With love baby”
Reaction:The minute this song was selected I knew it would occupy the bottom spot on my ranking. The acapella with beatboxing is annoying and a little embarrassing. It sounds so amateur, even more than other songs this year that sound like a national broadcaster picked a random person off the street to sing. This is a song a school or community acapella group would perform at some local concert, not the winner of a lengthy national competition (to be fair the second place in the Belgian selection also sounds like an amateur night entry, but it wasn’t as annoying as this).
Also, the band’s name and the song title are almost the same! That’s only excusable if the song is actually good.
Best Part: The loud “WITH LOVE” at the intro, so you know to change to the next song quickly.
Rating: 1/5

42. Romania
Hotel FM - “Change”
Reaction: This sounds really close to recent Danish entries, like “All Night Long.” It just plods along in its pseudo-Danish way, at best pleasant and at worst annoying. It never really gains enough energy or emotion to matter. The actual Danish entry beats it its “let’s change the world” message.
Best Part: Key change with heavier drum part.
Rating: 1/5

41. Malta
Glen Vella - “One Life”
Reaction: I will give this song credit for being catchy, but it is so low quality that it sounds like something produced for a vanity label. Even after a few re-recordings the song still has bad audio quality. The bridge in particular is awkward and seems tacked-on. It seems the past few years Malta has wasted good singers on awful songs, and this is no exception.
Rating: 1/5

40. Moldova
Zdob si Zdub - "So lucky"
Reaction: What a fall from “Boonika bate doba.” This is a boring rock song that shuffles along in some parts and jumps all over the place in others. The trumpets just induce a headache instead of injecting it with energy. The only good part is the short sax solo, but it’s nowhere as epic as last year’s.
Best Part: Sax solo
Rating: 1/5

39. San Marino
Senit- “Stand By”
Reaction: This song is so dull that it’s hard to remember how it goes. It’s good for falling asleep to at least. The backing chorus that comes in the last chorus is much too nasal and whiny.
Best Part: Intro?
Rating: 1/5

Eldrine - “One More Day”
Reaction: If this could be compared to any song from that past few year it would have to be “Deli,” except that was better in every way. This song lacks an interesting melody and power in the vocals. The rap part is unnecessary.
Best Part: Chorus
Rating: 1/5

37. Cyprus
Christos Mylordou - “San aggelos s’agapisa”
Reaction: Boooooring. Cyprus seems to alternate between boring entries every 2-3 years and this is one of the boring years. There aren’t really any repeating parts in here, and although there’s nothing wrong with that, there are a few other songs like that this year that do it much better. If you can’t remember how the song goes and there’s no “wow” parts why bother voting for it?
Best Part: The part that starts at around 0:50 that might have been a chorus
Rating: 2/5

36. Greece
Loucas Yiorkas Feat. Stereo Mike - “Watch My Dance”
Reaction: This is a very mixed song. The sung parts are somewhat powerful but the rap part is awful. Both vocalists sing at a slow pace that sounds like they are tired or bored. The song goes along at the same boring pace, never gaining any tension.
Best Part: Chorus
Rating: 2/5

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Oh My God: It Never Ends

This is going to be my last national finals coverage post as I won’t be able to post next week and soon after it'll be time to start the rankings.

Cyprus and Greece both presented songs that sound similar on paper (male vocals, ethnic sound, sung in Greek) that couldn’t be more different in reality. I prefer Cyprus’ as it’s more consistent throughout the song, but the Greek song definitely takes some risks.
The Belarusian song is fabulous in so many ways and could be another “Love Me Tonight,” but there’s some controversy over if it was performed before the cutoff date, so we won’t know if that will be the actual song performed this May.
Slovakia presented their song “I’m Still Alive,” yet another ballad. It’s very professional sounding but some of the other ballads have better hooks.
Armenia, Croatia, and Portugal all chose their songs on Saturday and all were underwhelming on first listen.
Sweden had their second chance round and chose the lesser of the two "Oh My God"s.
Early on Sunday the Russian song leaked in a live version and if this is indeed the song for the contest then it's already high in my rankings. I already liked the singer's "New Russian Kalinka" and of course RedOne constantly puts out good songs.
There are about seven songs left to be chosen and presented, so let's hope they're good ones!