ESC 2017 Review: Greece – Is THIS Love?

Greece actually subtly changed their song but I really had to listen to it 3 times to hear the tiny changes so who knows what’ll happen by the time we get to Eurovision.

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: Greece
Artist: Demy
Song Title: This Is Love
My Ranking: 26th (out of 43)
Semi Final: 1st Semi Final
Final placement prediction: NQ

I think it’s important to note that Greece has gone to Eurovision a respectable 36 times. They had their first win in 2005. And in 2016, they had their first non-qualifying song. Greece’s major successes have all been from leaning in to the rich history and somewhat familiar sounds and phrases and feelings the majority of people associate with Greece. Certain types of local dancing, rebetiko, the bouzouki, yelling “opa” a lot, and so on. Last year though they went with “Utopian Land” which honestly, is a touchy name for a song and the song itself was a disaster train wreck including out of place rapping and what felt like an embarrassing lack of self-awareness. I was really interested in what Greece would pick and if they would return to their old dance/opa roots but instead they’ve sent a sort of baffling piece called “This Is Love” by Demy.

Demy is a 25 year old pop and dance singer who has achieved some fame in her home country. She has two albums, about a dozen non-charting singles, but has won several artist awards. I don’t know how the Greek music industry works so it’s impossible to say how actually popular or not popular this makes her. I also haven’t heard her sing live yet but her song isn’t too difficult so I don’t imagine much of a surprise with it. The song was actually picked out of three for her – as she was internally selected and the public final was just to pick the song. According to her wiki page, which looks like her own company edited it to hype her, she’s been in several musicals and in a few TV shows so hopefully she has some stage presence to go along with her singing.

The problem comes when we get to the actual song though. The song starts out with a gentle beat that makes you believe it is only a ballad.  It takes a full minute for the ruse to drop and suddenly, surprise!, it’s actually been a pop song the entire time. There are ways to do that kind of reveal in songs which sound natural but I never really get the sense of flow inside of this song. The ballad piece and the pop piece kind of just smash in to each other like Icebreaker (Norway) last year. The cadence of the song always feels off-kilter and I never really get in to the beat because it keeps dialing back down to a ballad. For me, the words actually seem at odds with the music in a jarring way like they were written by someone who had only heard the song once and has to try and remember what the music sounds like.

Also Greece “surprises” me by picking a song that is basically the same bland Swedish plastic pop song we’ve been hearing at Eurovision for the past few years from many other countries. This song is no more Greece than Sweden’s song but it can’t out-Sweden them and I think for that reason this song is probably going to fall flat again. While it’s one of the few songs that feels like it has a trick up its sleeve I never get the sense that this song comes together to present one idea. This is the “throw something at the wall and hope it sticks” version of a song. Honestly I would suggest people not watch the music video because it makes the song a lot worse with it’s terrible hashtags in blinking random fonts and weird desaturation with red highlights that look so poor I assume they took 5 minutes in After Effects.

I think Greece can and should do a lot with the staging. I hope there’s a costume change during the tempo change because it would really suit the song. I want to believe that Demy has a personality that can sell the song but her often stilted lip syncing in the video makes me question that. In order to qualify I feel like this song will have to be changed slightly, her voice will need to be impeccable, and her stage show will have to be over the top. I heard that Greece has hired the staging director from Russia’s “You Are The Only One” last year to do the staging. So while I question the song itself, I think the show will be good.

In conclusion: do not wait 1/3 in to your song to make a reveal, you have already lost your audience by then!

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