Category Archives: Eurovision

Eurovision 2019: Sweden

Hello welcome to my series of quick takes designed to get you ready for Eurovision 2019. Just some quick thoughts / my take on each of the 41 songs this year. The countries are in alphabetical order so without further ado: Sweden.

Country: Sweden
Singer: John Lundvik
Song: Too Late for Love
Personal Score: 16 out of 41
My Prediction: Q

Sweden looked at Austria 2018 and said “I’ll have what he’s having.” For the most part this song does work but it’s a little too off-kilter for me to really enjoy it. I think John might want to work on his delivery more than his vocals (vocals are spot on, he’s got a really nice voice though its not unique enough for me to really point out anything specific just a solid singer). The actual choir appearing on stage is a mixed bag for me and it feels somehow not enough but also kind of pandering at the same time. I don’t think this song is as musically interesting as it could be and the choir seems almost written around instead of part of the song but its pleasant enough and memorable enough that I had no trouble humming it just a day or two after I first heard it which is always a good sign. Sweden will no doubt get a top 10 placement but I found the national final staging to be…too understated for such a bombastic song. I want them to pull out even more stops and it tighten the song up but I suspect that Sweden is too WYSIWYG for that and destined to land at 9th or 10th in the final because of it.

Eurovision 2019: Spain

Hello welcome to my series of quick takes designed to get you ready for Eurovision 2019. Just some quick thoughts / my take on each of the 41 songs this year. The countries are in alphabetical order so without further ado: Spain.

Country: Spain
Singer: Miki
Song: La Venda
Personal Score: 20 out of 41
My Prediction: Auto Qualifier

Secretly hate how much I don’t entirely hate this song. This song is basically like if you sat someone down and asked them to write the most hyperbolic song about the sterotypes of Spain. The weird part is that it kind of works. At first you just laugh at it but Miki has a real effortless kind of charm and the chorus is just so catchy and easy to sing. There’s a danger in singing in not-English which is that your audience won’t understand your message if you speak your own language very complexly and since you can’t vote for your own country this can be a real harm if the language politics of your country also mean that your language is seen as “bad” or “other”. Spanish doesn’t quite have those markers on it but keeping this song to very simple, easy to understand and easy to replicate phrases means that they’ve bypassed those barriers all together and made a song everyone can yell.

This is going to sound mean but stick with me. This song is “Do It For Your Lover” but in Spanish. The thing is if you listen to “Do It For Your Lover” you’ll come out the other side being able to sing that one phrase. It’s a good trick. Everyone can sing that part. In the same way many Eurovision songs include whistles, clapping, odd noises, etc. to universally draw people in, its just that Do It For Your Lover did it clumsily and alienated its audience in both tone and attitude of the performers where La Venda does it by telling everyone to dance and celebrate. Honestly, not a bad showing for Spain and probably would qualify even if they weren’t in the Big 5. (Reminds me a bit of What’s the Pressure from Belgium, might end up opening the final if the cards fall right).

Eurovision 2019: Slovenia

Hello welcome to my series of quick takes designed to get you ready for Eurovision 2019. Just some quick thoughts / my take on each of the 41 songs this year. The countries are in alphabetical order so without further ado: Slovenia.

Country: Slovenia
Singer: Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl
Song: Sebi
Personal Score: 31 out of 41
My Prediction: Q

I don’t get it.

There you go, its my hottest take. Maybe I am THE OLD now but this is completely and totally baffling to me and there is almost nothing about it that makes me feel comfortable saying its a song. I’ve read the lyrics and I think they are very nice and beautiful but the actual song is just a cleverly disguised ASMR video that they occasionally preform live as far as I can tell. This flat sing-speaking is actually becoming more and more popular and it lives side by side with “overly tuned vocals to the point of not quite human” as some of my least favorite trends in music today. If they do the same stage performance as they did at EMA I except the jury to be completely turned off and the audience to enjoy whatever it is the audience at EMA was tuning into. I’m always happy to see things outside the box show up at Eurovision so I’m not mad but this is never going to be for me. As far as I’m concerned this is more performative art than song which is fine but since the performance isn’t doing anything for me I’ll have to give it a pass.

Eurovision 2019: Serbia

Hello welcome to my series of quick takes designed to get you ready for Eurovision 2019. Just some quick thoughts / my take on each of the 41 songs this year. The countries are in alphabetical order so without further ado: Serbia.

Country: Serbia
Singer: Nevena Božović
Song: Kruna
Personal Score: 37 out of 41
My Prediction: Q

I was actually pretty disappointed in the Serbian National Finals as a whole even though I can’t say they choose the wrong song. Kruna is a perfectly serviceable ballad and Nevena is doing a great job making it look effortless but I haven’t looked up the lyrics of thing song and I never find myself in a rush to remember it. It’s a little too close to things we’ve gotten in the past and all of it delivered in a very standard and straight forward manner. I think the reason people are often so “down” on ballads is that Eurovision ballads have mainly not evolved alongside music for the past two decade. This song wouldn’t be shocking at 1999 Eurovision. Even if we talk about how all Eurovision upbeat songs sound the same it’s hard to throw them back into other years (for the most part) the same way that a ballad is a ballad is a ballad. That’s an unkind read to this particularly ballad but it just doesn’t give me anything to work with. There’s no hook, there was no staging, there were no (metaphorical) fireworks. You might note I put this as qualifying anyway because I know people love the ballads – there is a contingency of ballad fans out there and Serbia is the most likely to pass muster for them but at the end of the day this is going to end up low in the ranking even if it passes to the final. I hope its a wake up call too all ballad writers.

Eurovision 2019: San Marino

Hello welcome to my series of quick takes designed to get you ready for Eurovision 2019. Just some quick thoughts / my take on each of the 41 songs this year. The countries are in alphabetical order so without further ado: San Marino.

Country: San Marino
Singer: Serhat
Song: Say “Na Na Na”
Personal Score: 13 out of 41
My Prediction: NQ

In the running order, San Marino is in a great place but I still worry this won’t qualify because it’s San Marino and this is…a special type of cheese. Don’t get me wrong, this song does EXACTLY what it sets out to do and it does it well but you have to love cheese in a way I don’t think a wide audience is ready to embrace. If anyone proved me wrong it’s Moldova for the past two years who have been getting cheese into the final (and then doing well with it!) but I feel like the time might have run out for something like this.

Serhat is back again proving that he can join Queen Valentina from the happiest micro state on Earth and at the end of the day I’ll just be happy to see him at Eurovision no matter the outcome. The song is simple enough. It’s much better than Spirit of the Night but that doesn’t seem to actually matter in the big picture. The song is probably not going to win over the jury and there would need to be a substantial fan vote on top of a great stage show for this to get to the final but I think in a time when the world is a dark and scary place in so many ways and where we don’t have Turkey in Eurovision any more this is a sorely needed anthem for resolving a few of our troubles, if only for three minutes.

Eurovision 2019: Russia

Hello welcome to my series of quick takes designed to get you ready for Eurovision 2019. Just some quick thoughts / my take on each of the 41 songs this year. The countries are in alphabetical order so without further ado: Russia.

Country: Russia
Singer: Sergey Lazarev
Song: Scream
Personal Score: 29 out of 41
My Prediction: Q

This song confuses me. Sergey isn’t the worlds strongest singer and this song is basically a vocal showcase song. I don’t know what they’re angling at but I do know this will qualify probably no matter what. I’m very interested to hear this live and I wouldn’t be shocked if there’s some elements on the stage which move around him so that he can stand perfectly still and do his best belting. I’m a big fan of Sergey, he just has one of those friendly puppy attitudes that makes him get along with nearly everyone and this song, is fairly good as far as songs go. However, this is nothing to write home about and the literal only part of the song I recall is “they screeeeeeaaaammmmm” which bodes badly for cracking the top 10. All that being said, this is Russia and like Sweden before them, they will likely easily crack the top 10. This song could be a jury bait song with the right vocal precision and staging and it will vacuum up plenty of extra votes since Ukraine pulled itself out of the running but like “A Million Voices” (Russia 2015) I don’t think its high placement is really going to be all that deserved. I wish Russia could deliver more modern sounding songs alongside their big personalities and stage shows instead of something as middling and forgettable as this.

Eurovision 2019: Romania

Hello welcome to my series of quick takes designed to get you ready for Eurovision 2019. Just some quick thoughts / my take on each of the 41 songs this year. The countries are in alphabetical order so without further ado: Romnia.

Country: Portugal
Singer: Ester Peony
Song: On A Sunday
Personal Score: 5 out of 41
My Prediction: Q

This song was not even in the running for me going into the Romania National final but Ester completely blew me away with her slightly revamped southern Gothic inspired folk scorn vocals that night and I think this is a fantastic addition to Eurovision this year.

There is something so magical and memorable about this simple little song that makes it more than just your average song. Something is Ester’s strong commitment to the vibe of the song, or the twang, or just the simple and effective lyrics it all comes together to form something that is both over the top dramatic but also so easily relatable. Anyone who has come out of a bad relationship can find themselves in this song where it feels like its equal parts lament and anger at something just not working out. There’s plenty of places where vocals get played with but easily the stand out line is “loving you is a hard price to pay” and Ester nails it with a nice tinge of regret in her voice. If she preforms anywhere near as well as she did at the national final I see this as a crowd favorite and it should win some moderate love from the jury as well, enough for maybe a top 10 if the staging is just right. Romania is back baby!

Eurovision 2019: Portugal

Hello welcome to my series of quick takes designed to get you ready for Eurovision 2019. Just some quick thoughts / my take on each of the 41 songs this year. The countries are in alphabetical order so without further ado: Portugal.

Country: Portugal
Singer: Conan Ósiris
Song: Telemóveis
Personal Score: 28 out of 41
My Prediction: Q

I don’t get this. I vaguely don’t hate it but that’s about all the emotion I can muster for what feels like an art piece that I need explained to me. I think this might qualify just on the basis that what its doing is so outside of what anyone else is going to do. I do hope that the performance at Eurovision is more refined than the one at Portgugal’s national final but I guess at the end of the day, in my heart of hearts, I’m just happy that Portugal isn’t sending fado. This is a really interesting song that I don’t quite like but when I talk about evolving and changing trends in music coming to Eurovision this is something I would certainly like to see more of. I feel like this is well executed and interesting even if its not to my taste and its great to see an artist bring their vision to the stage. I’m excited for this in the final because I’m unsure how a wider audience might respond to something as experimental and off-kilter as this.

Eurovision 2019: Poland

Hello welcome to my series of quick takes designed to get you ready for Eurovision 2019. Just some quick thoughts / my take on each of the 41 songs this year. The countries are in alphabetical order so without further ado: Poland.

Country: Poland
Singer: Tulia
Song: Pali się
Personal Score: 19 out of 41
My Prediction: Q

Despite being ranked in the middle of the pack for me this song is a grower and every listen it draws me in a little closer. There is something really interesting and dare I say, arresting about this song. I haven’t looked up the lyrics yet (I thought I heard a little English at the end of the song but I can’t really be sure) but I don’t feel like I need to ever understand what they’re saying because the song has such a good melody that I find myself rolling it over and over in my mind all day anyway. The rhythm and strength of their harmonic voices is actually quite mesmerizing and I hope that they can bring that alive at Eurovision. This song has the potential to be see as “boring” or “static” so the key to drawing in the audience will probably be (contrary to the video) colors and movement but I think that this has the ability to really draw people in. I kind of wonder if whatever I see in this song is what many other people are seeing in Slovenia’s song as both have this trance-like quality to them that can be, in the wrong light, a complete turn off. I’m unsure if the appeal will get them higher than 20th in the final but it’s always nice to see folk music that has a more modern evolution to it at Eurovision and I wish Poland well.

Eurovision 2019: Norway

Hello welcome to my series of quick takes designed to get you ready for Eurovision 2019. Just some quick thoughts / my take on each of the 41 songs this year. The countries are in alphabetical order so without further ado: Norway.

Country: Norway
Singer: KEiiNO
Song: Spirit in the Sky
Personal Score: 2 out of 41
My Prediction: Q

This is the total package. It reminds me of Euphoria because no matter who I play it for, they seem to get into the spirit of it right away (pun probably intended but I’ll leave it for you to decide how cheesy I am). This might not be a winner in the space future of 2019 in our post “1944” as Eurovision winner world but it certainly isn’t JUST a piece of plastic produced cynically which makes it absolutely worthy of the attention its getting from betting and fans alike. This song is a bop and its more Swedish-style dance music than your average song but bringing in nice touches of that Norwegian flare and an honest to go joiker blends modern and traditional in a way that is sure to win people over.

I don’t have a lot to say about this song despite how much I absolutely adore it, I think it will simply speak for itself as it combines a lot of good elements into something better than its parts. The upbeat and pleasant sound, the positive message, and the ties with Sami people are all big pluses and I see it easily passing into the top 10, possibly the top 5 with the right staging. Really happy to see Norway bringing their A game this year.