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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Yes, It's Supposed to Be That High

My tickets finally arrived! The stars finally aligned to send me to Eurovision's 60th contest. However, I won't be seeing the first semifinal, so who knows if I'll get to see the later four of these five later in the week.

20. Austria
The Makemakes - “I Am Yours”
Reaction: It's not as good as last year's winner (what could be?) but it's better than their average. This heartfelt piano rock ballad is catchy and familiar. It's an Eurovision take on the dad-rock ballad.
Best Part: Last chorus
Rating: 3/5

19. Serbia
Bojana Stamenov - “Beauty Never Lies”
Reaction: They get bonus points for being about body positivity, although the lyrics are a little awkward. The melody sounds better with Serbian lyrics, though. Both the message and energy are refreshing in this field.
Best Part: When the power ballad soul ascends to dance heaven
Rating: 3/5

18. Hungary
Boggie - “Wars for Nothing”
Reaction: Peace songs in Eurovision are practically a dime a dozen. A sweet-voiced woman with a simple repetitive melody would be unremarkable if not for the lyrics. Instead of painting an airy picture of world peace, they angrily call out the injustices of war.
Best Part: “Let me ask can you justify all the eyes that will never see daylight”
Rating: 3/5

17. Russia
Polina Gagarina - “A Million Voices”
Reaction: In contrast to the previous song, this song is one of those cliched, syrupy everyone's-together peace songs, especially in the lyrics. The chorus leans a little bit towards “shine/believe in yourself” for variety, but the lyrics are so positive it's cynical. What saves this song is the upbeat Scandinavian pop almost-perfection, almost only because of the awkward ending.
Best Part: “We can sing/we can shine” (this is for the delivery, not lyric)
Rating: 3/5

16. Finland
Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät – “Aina Mun Pitää”
Reaction: This is a burst of punk energy and attitude. The short length works perfectly because that's about all you want to hear. The lyrics express frustration and anger at society and the mundanities of life, which shows more depth than some other songs with longer sentences.
Best Part: Chorus
Rating: 3/5

Sunday, April 19, 2015

It's My Time

25. Switzerland
Mélanie René - "Time To Shine"
Reaction: I don't really like "shine" songs. The lyrics are always too saccharine and meaningless, and sometimes are too boastful. This song feels so earnest that it gets a pass. It emphasizes hard work and humility over magically getting granted success.
Best Part: "No more mucking around"
Rating: 3/5

24. Albania
Elhaida Dani - "I'm Alive"
Reaction: This is a beautifully sung R&B/pop ballad. They lyrics are sad and optimistic at the same time.
Best Part:"You cut it deep and left it bleeding hard/Will I ever heal these painful scars?"
Rating: 3/5

23. Poland
Monika Kuszynska - "In the Name of Love"
Reaction: People have said this sounds like a dated 90s ballad, but to me this is more like a 00s J-Pop ballad. It's lovely and makes me oddly nostalgic.
Best Part: Bridge into last chorus
Rating: 3/5

22. Norway
Mørland & Debrah Scarlett - "A Monster Like Me"
Reaction: This is a haunting ballad that captures the insecurity and doubt of being in a relationship that you don't think you deserve. There's also a layer of mystery with a secret being discussed but not revealed. As beautiful as it is, there are some parts that are a little too slow to the point of slowing the song down, like the bridge.
Best Part: "I better let you go/To find the prince you thought you found in me"
Rating: 3/5

21. Spain
Edurne - "Amanecer"
Reaction: Like the 2012 Spanish song by this writing team, there is a lot of belting in this song. The vocalized belting during the chorus combined with the orchestral instrumental gives this song a more epic feel.
Best Part: "EEEieEEO"
Rating: 3/5

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Don't Hold Your Breath

 Five more songs off this year's Eurovision.

30. Iceland
Maria Olafs - "Unbroken"
Reaction: This is a cute and peppy pop song with no major flaws, but it gets tired and repetitive quickly.
Best Part: Beginning of last chorus
Rating: 2/5

29. Moldova
Eduard Romanyuta - "I Want Your Love"
Reaction: A lot of people have expressed nostalgia with this song for the late 90s-early 00s of pop, but to me this sounds like late 00s-early 10s K-Pop. Specifically, this reminds me of "Boom Boom" by Super Junior, and of course each song has one writer in the same publishing group.
Best Part: "The picture that you’re paintin’ got me/All anticipating/GO!"
Rating: 2/5

28. Romania
Voltaj - "De La Capat"
Reaction: This song has a heartbreaking message, and an unique subject matter for this venue. However, the 90s-style pop-rock ballad can be a little dull.
Best Part: Switch back to Romanian in the last line
Rating: 2/5

27. Belarus
Uzari & Maimuna - "Time"
Reaction: This uptempo yet dark pop song is very Eurovisiony. With catchy choruses and lots of violin flourishes, it's a fun three minutes.
Best Part: Violin Solo
Rating: 3/5

26. Greece
Maria Elena Kyriakou - "One Last Breath"
Reaction: This power ballad isn't perfect, but it's epic. The singer emotes really well, so even if the English lyric is awkward you can tell she is feeling it.
Best Part: "I’ m begging you take me/out of this firing hell/come back and save me"
Rating: 3/5

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Create Something Timeless?

For the second week of Eurovision ranking, here are 5 songs to put in your Easter basket, but they might be more licorice than chocolate.

35. FYR Macedonia
Daniel Kajmakoski - "Autumn Leaves"
Reaction: This song lost something in the translation to English. The melody is boring and the production in the chorus is weird, too sing-alongy when it shouldn't be.
Best Part: Pre-chorus
Rating: 2/5

34. Czech Republic
Marta Jandová and Václav Noid Bárta - "Hope Never Dies"
Reaction: This is cool in a early-2000s mall metal ballad way. It's a little too slow and pop to have an edge.
Best Part: Key change to last chorus
Rating: 2/5

33. United Kingdom
Electro Velvet - "Still in Love With You"
Reaction: While the UK's song doesn't come close to capturing the heights of current British music, it does use the English language better than the average Eurovision song. The lyrics are cute and clever in a faux-Cole Porter way. However, the scatting in a bad Louis Armstrong impression is terrible. The song also goes on at least 20 seconds too long.
Best Part: "You’re bound to get sneezes/Or nasty diseases"
Rating: 2/5

32. Malta
Amber - "Warrior"
Reaction: While this ballad is competently sung, the melody is unexciting, especially compared to other similar ballads this year.
Best Part: "Create something timeless/Never look back, the past is the past/I had no choice but to become a warrior"
Rating: 2/5

31. Cyprus
John Karayiannis - “One Thing I Should Have Done”
Reaction: This simple, quiet ballad is bland at first, but its beauty develops only after many repeated listenings. The a capella part grinds the song to a halt and wrecks the momentum, and its just too quiet and unexciting to strike me as a contender. This is the kind of song I am usually wrong about (“Me and My Guitar,” “Calm After the Storm”), so maybe it will be amazing live and I'll eat my words again.
Best Part: "The road that once was paved with gold/Has turned a rusty shade/Of all the saddest colours in the world"
Rating: 2/5