Category Archives: Eurovision

Eurovision 2019: Malta

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: Malta.

Country: Malta
Singer: Michela
Song: Chameleon
Personal Score: 9 out of 41
My Prediction: Q

This is basically my Macedonia 2018 of 2019. The first time I heard this I couldn’t make heads or tails or it. I thought it was like Replay, like Fuego, like a giant messy ball of songs that didn’t really go together… and so on but actually after the second and third listen I’ve decided I really enjoy this. It’s got a very interesting almost reggaeton vibe to the chorus contrasted with the a tense dance vibe during the verse. At the end of the day I actually think this song might have more in common with “Toy” than “Fuego” in terms of feeling and cadence but that’s not what is important, what’s important is that this gives me really cool vibes.

I think with the right staging (a feat Malta managed really well last year even though they didn’t qualify) this thing could really do quite well. Michela’s vocals were really good in all the appearances I saw her in and the song is so unique it should easily stand out against plenty of others. If anything tanks this it will be that either the stage direction or the clash between the chorus and verse is too much for people and I could easily see them dialing back on either to make sure that the whole piece works. I’m not usually excited about Malta’s chances but I think this could get to 10-15 at the finals with the right running order and that wouldn’t be anything to sneeze at.

Eurovision 2019: Lithuania

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: Lithuania.

Country: Lithuania
Singer: Jurij Veklenko
Song: Run with the Lions
Personal Score: 23 out of 41
My Prediction: NQ

I’m going to be the first in line to tell you that this is cookie cutter song. This is a mix and match of songs that are on the radio from the past five years and in a way that doesn’t really work. It doesn’t end up with a “personality” because there’s not anything to latch onto. It has a lot of repetitive lyrics, it’s got the weird cha-cha-cha shaking sounds, it’s got falsetto, it’s got overlapping female vocals, it’s got a pre-chorus that gets quiet before the chorus does…the same thing but now with slightly more backbeat. Oof. This is just a generic song and Jurji is far better than this song deserves.

I wouldn’t say that Jurji is really do anything to help the song specifically as he doesn’t really connect with me either but his vocal performance is one of the better ones and he basically crushes this song vocally in a way that some of the other performances doing these very cookie cutter songs seem to fail at. It’s pretty easy to fall into the Eurovision trap of having a radio-play song that isn’t sung well and sometimes those get high marks but Lithuania has an uphill battle with this song. I doubt it’ll make it out of the semi alive without amazing staging and a retooling of the song (neither of which is going to be coming any time soon). Kind of a waste of a good performer honestly.

Eurovision 2019: Latvia

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: Latvia.

Country: Latvia
Singer: Carousel
Song: That Night
Personal Score: 14 out of 41
My Prediction: Q

When I ranked all the songs the first time I was actually really surprised how high this song was for me but it is certainty a “grower” of a song. There’s not going to be a flashy stage show along with this piece but it has a beautiful folk quality that is as easy going as it is unstated. The piece feels finished in a way that Eurovision songs often don’t. The lyrics are surprisingly nice as well and don’t lean too far into cringe.

I think this was qualify because its in the easier of the two semi finals but it might be an edge case and if it does I wouldn’t be shocked to see it get stuck around 20th. There’s just not enough bells and whistles. A subdued stage preformance is likely, the vocals are polished but also quiet, and the mood is an even keel the entire time with no big moments or shocks. What I like about this song is the same thing I liked about “Calm Before the Storm”. It knows what it is and where it’s going and it’s just going to stay the course and give you the exact performance they want to put out. There’s something really appealing in a song that isn’t trying to be plastic to fit better into the mold. I don’t know if this is anyone’s #1 per se, but it’s easy to listen to if nothing else.

Eurovision 2019: Italy

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: Italy.

Country: Italy
Singer: Mahmood
Song: Soldi
Personal Score: 1 out of 41
My Prediction: Auto Qualified

It’s my favorite – everyone else can go home.

No, that’s not fair. Anyway I pretty much instantly connected with this song on a handful of levels and I’m so happy to see something that seems perfectly content to do its own thing at Eurovision. I don’t know how the jury will react to Mahmood’s almost-rap piece about his absentee father but I think this will really connect with audiences. Mahmood is wonderfully soulful singer with a soft, enchanting voice and while the lyrics in the verse may be too complex to catch for non-Italian speakers the repetitive portions of the song make it so that almost anyone can latch on to one of the hooks. The clapping sound also might be a really good entry point for people at home to get into the vibe of the song.

I’m not sure this will be the winner at Eurovision but it’s very likely to be in the top 10, the problem is probably the jury with this song. It’ll likely connect with viewers but due to the language barrier, the modern nature of the song, and Mahmood’s style and attitude I don’t know how the jury will respond to something outside of the pop dance – ballad continuum (it’s usually not well though). I think this will likely have a minimal staging but I hope they bring in some elements to help people understand the lyrics to drive this song home.

Eurovision 2019: Israel

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: Israel.

Country: Israel
Singer: Kobi Marimi
Song: Home
Personal Score: 21 out of 41
My Prediction: Auto Qualified

Someone in one of my Eurovision groups referred to Kobi’s voice as a haunted chimney and I am never going to be able to unhear it. That being said, I don’t think that’s actually a bad thing. Kobi has a really interesting and layered vocal performance that tends toward these really cold but controlled sounds but with the stark and stripped down “Home” that’s a big plus. This is probably mostly jury bait which will be ignored by the audience at home unless the performance is perfectly paced and shot to let people connect with him but that’s alright. The song is very musical but it feels strangely modern as well, you wouldn’t be too shocked to hear this on a Spotify playlist for 50 year old housewives. It’s a pretty strange match for someone this young but he is doing a great job trying to meet it where it stands. If Israel wasn’t qualifying automatically I’m not sure this would have gotten out of the semi finals but I won’t be sad to see it in the final line up, it’s a perfectly pleasant piece with some potential to be touching.

Eurovision 2019: Ireland

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: Ireland.

Country: Ireland
Singer: Sarah McTernan
Song: 22
Personal Score: 23 out of 41
My Prediction: NQ

This is a cute little diddy out of Ireland but it’s got basically nothing anyone is looking for in a Eurovision song. There’s no stellar vocals, there’s no big dance number, there’s no ear catching hook and it’s horribly out of date. The song is basically a bad match for Sarah McTernan’s voice since she can’t seem to give it enough power to turn the song into something more than just a three minute plod. I think this was written with the Megan Trainor vibe implied but Trainor’s biggest hits are already a half decade behind the times and the retro feeling in the song isn’t matched with style or energy. “22” ends up a kind of standard “I will always love you” song that seems tepid on both the love AND the always parts of that thesis. I think Ireland would have to pull a whirlwind staging again in order to have this get anywhere near the momentum it needs to cross into the final and without the power of gay dancers and vocal prowess they had last year, this is more than likely going to get held back. I will likely not remember this song in a year or two which is somehow much worse.

Eurovision 2019: Iceland

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: Iceland.

Country: Iceland
Singer: Hatari
Song: Hatrið mun sigra
Personal Score: 4 out of 41
My Prediction: Q

The most important thing to remember when considering this entry is that you can only vote for things you like, you cannot vote against things you do not like. This works well in favor of what I would call “specialty” songs, songs that fall outside the ballad, pop, and pop-ballad that regularly show up in Eurovision’s stable of qualifiers. It worked for Georgia’s psychedelic inspired rock in 2016 and especially for Hungary’s metalcore song last year and the odds are pretty good it’s going to work for Hatari this year as well.

Personally I love this. The stage show is fantastic, the costumes are fantastic, the message is intense and strangely delivered but also really fantastic, and everyone’s singing is top notch. I think this delivers exactly what Eurovision needs which is a three minute cohesive story told dramatically to music. If you look at what makes a Eurovision winner that’s all the key pieces. This is not a winner by any means (and I wouldn’t be terribly shocked if it gets stuck in the semi-finals) but this is a really well crafted piece of music and an even better crafted idea. It’s nice to see something like this at Eurovision because it always influences more diversity of sound in Europe.

Eurovision 2019: Hungary

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: Hungary.

Country: Hungary
Singer: Joci Pápai
Song: Az én apám
Personal Score: 25 out of 41
My Prediction: Q

The first time I heard this I thought that maybe I was just biased against whistling but one of my favorites from Switzerland had a whistling chorus in it so it’s not quite that. This is a pretty meaty song and it has the same folksy but modern quality that brought Joci to 8th place last time he was at Eurovision. I think of the two songs this one is MUCH weaker. Both song share a lot in common including large wordless portions of the song filled by “instrumental” and I still don’t love that. The whistle hook in this song you may have guessed, sounds very commercial and because of that it does not work for me but I do like the verses quite a bit. The staging was a little muddled at A Dal so maybe they can clarify it a little – though again, I found his staging in 2017 to also be too busy for my taste. I think sticking to his guns isn’t a terrible idea and its likely to lead to a second qualification.

Eurovision 2019: Greece

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: Greece.

Country: Greece
Singer: Katerine Duska
Song: Better Love
Personal Score: 6 out of 41
My Prediction: Q

Trying to divorce this song from the art house movie of a video is really difficult but I found a lot to love in this piece as a whole so I’m not even going to worry about it. I think it’s hard not to point out how deep and silky her voice is and that is always going to appeal to me and be a turn off for plenty of people. I hope that that staging can preserve some of the strange and mysterious feelings that the video has because that’ll help it stick in peoples mind and also give it a really cool flare. While the song seems to be about deepening a relationship it can also be read as “marriage / love / relationship equality” which is nice but doesn’t always play well at Eurovision. I think the vocals and the absolute stunning composition will easily help this modern ballad stand out. I can’t quite think of the artist it reminds me of but maybe a little Sia mixed with Florence and the Machine. An easy going vibe that feels like it is deeper than it is. Not bad Greece.

Eurovision 2019: Germany

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: Germany.

Country: Germany
Singer: S!sters
Song: Sisters
Personal Score: 41 out of 41
My Prediction: Auto Qualifier

I think Germany needs to change their selection process because this wasn’t anyone’s favorite song, and it was actually 5th or 6th with the audience and yet still won? There’s a lot about this song that just does not work for me. The staging, which I assume they’ll likely keep at Eurovision, is boring so I hope they’ll consider something else. The outfits give me little information and are of no interest. The topic of the song was never going to be a hit with me. The two women singing are…something. Their voices never really blend, they spend a lot of time singing past each other and really screeching out most of their notes with some shaky trilling and that doesn’t work for me. The song plods along without much resolution or build. I think at the end of the day they might have been trying for an empowerment vibe (a la Toy) and missed the mark by a mile because it just doesn’t read that way. I don’t know if this can be changed in any meaningful way to work but since Germany auto qualifies and they had a good placing last year I’m not sure they really care if this probably ends up in last place.