ESC 2017 Review: Azerbaijan – Dark Goth Closet

I know that a lot of people will not like this song and it’s a weird Eurovision entry but it’s like someone wrote this song just for me. I love it to bits, nonsense lyrics and all.

These are my own PERSONAL rankings of what I think of 2017’s Eurovision songs but I’m also going to make some bold predictions about the eventual fate of the song. These will probably be very wrong for a variety of reasons including I have no idea what almost half the artists sound like live or what type of staging and song changes could be made. There’s plenty of songs that have been let down by their staging (2016 Spain for example) so in the end they’re just guesses in the dark.

Country: Azerbaijan
Artist: DiHaj
Song Title: Skeletons
My Ranking: 2nd (out of 43)
Semi Final: 1st Semi Final
Final placement prediction: 2 of 26

Azerbaijan is a fairly recent addition to Eurovision but one of the strongest ones. Joining in only 2008 they already won the contest once in 2011 with honestly one of their weaker entries, and they’ve never been NQ’d. It’s pretty solidly sure that will qualify this year as “Skeletons” is a really strong song. In the past three years Azerbaijan has fallen from grace a little as they fell out of solidly placing top 10 every year before that but maybe this year will see them that back a top 10 spot.

For 2017, Diana Hajiyeva, who goes by her stage name DiHaj, will be representing Ajerbaijan. DiHaj, 28, has previously tried to represent her country in Eurovision back in 2011 and she has also done backing vocals for other Eurovision acts including 2016’s Azerbaijani entry. DiHaj has been in the musical business for quite a few years and has a number of singles under her belt. She’s also quite stylish which jives with the fact that she’s trained in Modern and Contemporary music forms.

“Skeletons” itself is a very interesting song. It reminds me deeply of MS MR and other gothic, moody bands. Maybe a little Yeah Yeah Yeahs too. Written by Isa Melikov, the same man who penned “Running Scared”, Azerbaijan’s winning Eurovision entry, the song is impressively modern, dark, and has a calm vibe which is the complete opposite of “Running Scared” (a bubblegum pop duet). The song taps into a lot of great conflicting and interesting emotions about relationships.

It’s probably about the time to talk about the elephant in the room with this entry though: the lyrics are mostly not great English and possibly nonsense in several spots. Things like “thorn jeans” and “mirror lanes” don’t make sense to me as a native English speakers and my brain had actually filled in words that made sense instead as her accent leaves some room for ambiguity in a good way. I don’t think it’s going to be a real problem as I went quite a long time without looking up the lyrics (which I misheard in many many places) and still thought the song was amazing so I don’t know if it’s just my cup of tea and I can excuse it or if the words aren’t as important as the vocal quality and driving melody of the song.

This will qualify probably on the fact that Azeri voting bloc is strong but DiHaj’s vocal performance live was good and interesting as it was completely different from what anyone else was doing and I feel like the jury will enjoy that as well. Since we only got a music video because this was internally selected it’s hard to say what the staging will be but we can feel pretty sure that DiHaj herself will be the center with a piece of outrageous modern fashion, dark lighting, maybe shadows of skeletons that appear and disappear. I’m kind of hoping we’ll see the luminescent glow in the dark paint during the chorus or something to represent giving up all your secrets.

I know this hits my personal sweet spot for music but I also think this song will do well on its own merits and honestly anything is better for Azerbaijan than the train wreck of last year.

My skeletons are all yours DiHaj.

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