S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen

Eurovision entries 2008

This year's Eurovision song contest features 43 countries competing in two semi-finals and one final over the course of next week. I like getting my opinions warmed up in advance, so spent part of this afternoon watching all 43 videos. (You can see them on the BBC's Eurovision site, or on the official Eurovision site.)

Audible trends: Female soloists. String sections.
Visual trends: Fantasy and SF elements. Lack of dancers. Ballgowns. Women in clothing tied on or laced up. Sunglasses.


Best solo: Switzerland - Paolo Meneguzzi, "Era Stupendo"
Best duet: Romania - Nico and Vlad, "Pe-o Margine De Lume"
Best classical fusion song: Belgium - Ishtar, "O Julissi"
Best modern fusion song: Bulgaria - Deep Zone and Balthazar, "DJ, Take Me Away"
Best Plot: Malta - Morena, "Vodka"
Silliest: Hard call between Spain's instructional dance video and Latvia's pirates.

Albania - Olta Boka, "Zemrën E Lamë Peng" - The singer is a fluffy pink sorceress looking after a mausoleum full of lost souls. A yearning pop ballad with an interesting - but not overly memorable - beat.
Andorra - Gisela, "Casanova" - I too would be thrilled to run through a snowstorm in the middle of a forest wearing only an off-the-shoulder ballgown and heels, of course. The singer chooses worlds from an endless corridor whose doors lead there; one includes being an ice-water mermaid. There's a tragic visual twist to the visual tale. The song itself is a perky bit of pop fluff.
Armenia - Sirusho, "Qele, Qele" - An assertive folk-pop song with strange and suggestive uses of oversized drums.
Azerbaijan - Elnur and Samir, "Day After Day". - Reasoned discourse between a sweater-clad angel and a vampiric devil, in pop-rock-opera form. The first interesting one so far.
Belarus - Ruslan Alehno, "Hasta La Vista" - A callous little relationship pop ballad set in a masked ball tending towards orgy. Mentions "fairy tales" and has an iguana in it.
Belgium - Ishtar, "O Julissi" - A happy, homely folk-medieval-pop-classical piece with animated old pictures. Good for group singalongs, although the lyrics are nonsense.
Bosnia & Herz. - Laka, "Pokuöaj (Try)" - Like a pop parody of Grant Wood's "American Gothic" painting, set in the 1970s with singers who know they're singing silly things and dancers who twitch.
Bulgaria - Deep Zone and Balthazar, "DJ, Take Me Away" - More music than song, catchy, simplistic, rhythmic pop piece sung by burlesque-clothed singer with strong dance and hip-hop themes.
Croatia - Kraljevi Ulice and 75 Cents, "Romanca" - Pleasant folk song with 70-something rapper and a gymnastic female dancer in ballgown on a tram.
Cyprus - Evdokia Kadi, "Femme Fatale" - A smug folk-pop-polka-cha-cha song about a woman who amorously enslaves men. The BBC's Eurovision site's text calls this "girl power".
Czech Republic - Tereza Kerndlov, "Have Some Fun" - An unexpectedly intelligent video about a day in a restaurant. A friendly pop song with dance underlay.
Denmark - Simon Mathew, "All Night Long" - Reminiscent of "Love is all you need", but with a message of "have fun", a speakeasy setting, a flapper, and burlesque dancers.
Estonia - Kreisiraadio, "Leto Svet" - A novelty song about being bored of various foods, sung in Serbo-Croatian, German, and Finnish by a trio of suits, with shiny-gold-clad step-dancing cheerleaders.
Finland - Teräsbetoni, Missä Miehet Ratsastaa" - A perfectly decent piece of heavy metal, but the video - an epic tale of barbarian warriors, travel between worlds, and mistaken identities - is more interesting than the music.
France - Sébastien Tellier, "Divine" - A bittersweet, uptempo song to bop along to, featuring a very silly video about singing at inappropriate moments.
FYR Macedonia - Tamara, Vrcak and Adrijan, "Let Me Love You" - A typically forgettable Eurovision piece, pop/folk/rap, with riffs that remind me of the far more interesting Eurovision-winning song from Turkey, "Every Way That I Can".
Georgia - Diana Gurtskaya, "Peace Will Come" - A defiant anti-war song by a rough-voiced alto; based on the video, war requires teamwork, peace is passively hoped for by scattered invididuals.
Germany - No Angels, "Disappear" - A bittersweet pop song sung by a harmonic quartet whose refrain shows great promise but then doesn't go much of anywhere.
Greece - Kalomira, "Secret Combination" - Upbeat flirty dance song with perky diva; probably the best dancing so far, but that's not saying much.
Hungary - Csézy, "Candlelight" - Strong, yearning, hopeful pop ballad, with a video that's part Matrix, part magical surrealism.
Iceland - Euroband, "This Is My Life" - Happy power ballad with dance beat and energetically balletic backing dancers.
Ireland - Dustin the Turkey, "Irelande Douze Pointe" - The turkey puppet song is surprisingly intelligent and catchy.
Israel - Boaz, "The Fire In Your Eyes" - A yearning, tuneful pop ballad for waving cigarette lighters and cell phones to.
Latvia - Pirates of the Sea, "Wolves of the Sea" - A very earnest, rousing, inspiring pirate ballad/dance tune which is intrinsically silly.
Lithuania - Jeronimas Milius, "Nomads in the Night" - This moody operatic rock ballad would have benefitted from werewolf backup dancers.
Malta - Morena, "Vodka" - What fun! A Mission-Impossible-style plot in song and video to a driving beat.
Moldova - Geta Burlacu, "A Century of Love" - I wonder if they'll bubbles on the stage when performing this lounge jazz piece with a Latin beat like they do in the video?
Montenegro - Stefan Filipovic, Zauvijek Volim Te" - Feathers blow through the video like this earnest pop-rock piece is blowing through my mind.
Netherlands - Hind, "Your Heart Belongs to Me" - A decent but not-particularly-distinctive dance song with Middle Eastern influences about adult relationships set in a children's nursery.
Norway - Maria, Hold On Be Strong" - Slightly whiny lyrics which are meant to be inspiring to a perfectly adequate pop song.
Poland - Isis Gee, "For Life" - Wedding-themed pop ballad sung by powerful singer backed by string quartet; I thought it generic at first, but it grew on me.
Portugal - Vânia Fernandes, "Senhora Do Mar (Negras Águas)" - Assertive pop ballad with elegant lyrics in a minor key with backing singers dressed ritualistic white.
Romania - Nico and Vlad, "Pe-o Margine De Lume" - A beautiful operatic, lushly symponic pop ballad duet featuring expensive woodwork on a sandy beach. Submitted under scandal-ridden circumstances.
Russia - Dima Bilan, "Believe" - A hypnotic power ballad sung by a guy with a powerful voice.
San Marino - Miodio, "Complice" - Lonely symphonic pop boy band song about a bittersweet relationship, yearning, but on that small-scale-everyday kind of scale.
Serbia - Jelena Tomaöevic feat. Bora Dugic, "Oro" - Folk-pop power pop in a ballgown, like a large-scale performance of a nursery song.
Slovenia - Rebeka Dremelj, "Vrag Naj Vzame" - Upbeat, catchy dance song in a minor key about destructive relationships. The song for which I'd most like to see some good (any!) choreography.
Spain - Rodolfo Chikilicuatre, "Baila El Chiki Chiki" - It's like an instructional video, with backing dancers who can't take themselves seriously, and an artificially serious commedian/singer with seriously tall hair singing reggae/rap. Strangely hypnotic.
Sweden - Charlotte Perrelli, "Hero" - Appealing dance ballad with a driving beat. The lyrics are pretty generic, but the tune was decent.
Switzerland - Paolo Meneguzzi, "Era Stupendo" - A rare beastie in this year's contest, a power ballad sung by a male singer. Inspirational, dance-able, cigarette-lightable. I like it.
Turkey - Mor ve Ötesi, "Deli" - Alt-rock, generic, driving beat, flashing lights.
Ukraine - Ani Lorak, "Shady Lady" - Driving disco beat sung in skimpy formalware; forboding overtones culminate in - popular choice this year - shattering glass/mirrors.
UK - Andy Abraham, "Even If" - Not bad bit of jazzy pop, but it sounds like so many other songs I struggle to remember it. For a song with so much movement, the video's vignettes are remarkably still.

Dance highlights (for marzapane): Iceland, Moldova, Ukraine, Greece, Switzerland (especially the breakdancing)

If I were to give a prize for most intellectual song, it would go to Ireland - Dustin the Turkey, "Irelande Douze Pointe". Seriously.

Notable lyrics: From Croatia - Kraljevi Ulice and 75 Cents, "Romanca". "BUT I WAS THE FIRST THE INTERNET / IN THE WORLD / SAILING ON SHIPS WITH MY MUSIC / I CONNECTED THE PLANET"
Tags: eurovision
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