ESC 2017 Review: Lithuania – Rain of Bad Notes

Join me in counting down and pulling apart yet another 2017 Eurovision entry! Today it’s the little Baltic that hasn’t quite yet, Lithuania!

Just a reminder: These are my own PERSONAL rankings of what I think of the 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 changes could be made. There are plenty of songs that have been let down by their staging so these reviews are based solely on what I’ve heard from the artist so far or seen at a national final.

Country: Lithuania
Artist: Fusedmarc
Song Title: Rain of Revolution
My Ranking: 41st (out of 43)
Semi Final: 2nd Semi Final
Final placement prediction: NQ

Ah, Lithuania. The biggest Baltic country by population and yet the only one of the three not to have won Eurovision yet. Last year they sent Eurovision darling Donny Montell with a solid modern pop song but it still couldn’t surpass their best entry in 2006 with a joke of an entry called “We Are the Winners” which saw them ‘winning’ their way to 6th place. Lithuania has a very complex and unforgiving national final method which you would hope could produce more winning or at the very least some notable songs for them but it hasn’t worked just yet. Eurovizijos Atranka is more of a death match than a song contest, for 8 straight weeks eight songs enter each week and only one is selected from that week. The songs which survive their week move on to the final in a winner take all. This method seems like it would produce better songs but mostly it just means there’s a lot of novelty acts that have to get knocked out every week for some reason.

Anyway, let’s get to talking about this years specific Eurovizijos Atranka winner. FusedMarc is a band formed in 2004 that lists itself as an electronic and trip hop (also known as electronic hip hop) band. Despite having been a band for over a decade there’s actually very little information on them, they seem exclusively local and small show. This doesn’t surprise me for a number of reasons starting with “electronic hip hop” which is sure to be a niche genre but concludes after watching their entry.

“Rain of Revolution” is nothing if not genuinely unique. From the dress to the dance moves to whatever choices she is making with her voice this song is basically a transformer of a song. It’s a bit jazz and a bit pop and bit electronic and it really catches you off guard as it shifts from one style to another. The problem is that none of the pieces ever fit together and her vocals are shaky and under enunciated to the point of mumbling, even if that seems to be what she was going for. She spends most of her time working really hard for notes that end up sounding strained anyway. For all its interest as a weird new thing, it gets old very quickly. It’s impossible to understand her most of the time and she gets lost among her background singers when she whispers at odd intervals. At others times, she bursts out in to shouting “ah ah”s for no particular reason which kills any notion that the song was being held together in a meaningful way.

I have a theory that yelling, especially shouting out to the audience, is how you lose Eurovision. Spending half your song not particularly singing, but mostly yelling, is probably a good way to get knocked out early on. The song comes off as strange and caustic and while it may grow on some people over time, it didn’t for me. Even on the 12th listen I was still flinching every time she got to the “chorus” because I knew there would be a lot of sour notes in the future.

I’m sure some of her vocals will get smoothed out before Eurovision but I can’t fault the audio at the national final for any of these problems. I watched the whole final and all the other performers had no problem with their audio so either it’s her or this was an isolated problem. I haven’t gone and listened to a studio version and maybe I should but it’s worth noting that the live performance – not the studio – was the one submitted to the ESC channel itself. The band or the TV studio itself made the choice to submit THAT version which doesn’t make me feel confident at all.

If this one qualifies I’ll be genuinely surprised because it’s in the “harder” semi final and I doubt this will see many, if any, jury points even if it becomes a fan favorite. 1 point to Lithuania for sheer novelty.

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