Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Reviewing the 2017 Eurovision B̶a̶l̶l̶a̶d̶s̶ Entries

I've been at this idiocy for nearly a decade wow. Here's my past year's reviews: 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2008


Robin Bengtsson - I Can't Go On (Sweden) - The Swedes have built a robotic Cillian Murphy and he's singing a song about being overcome by the urge to fuck. C

Tako Gachechiladze - Keep The Faith (Georgia) - Power ballad with a backdrop of images of war and newspaper headlines including one about Russia invading Georgia. Probably the only performance this year to feature images of ISIS. B-

Isaiah - Don't Come Easy (Australia) - I think we've finally put up a stinker. The prettiest boy in Australia pouts through a pretty flat ballad. D+

Lindita - World (Albania) - Man the new Doctor Who got weird D+

Blanche - City Lights (Belgium) - Probably our best chance to find out if a London Grammar track can win Eurovision. B

Slavko Kalezić - Space (Montenegro) - Finally some fun from the Balkans.

Angular shirtless dude with a braid down past his waste launches into a disco song about (safe) gay sex just explicit enough that a former Warsaw Pact broadcaster will probably complain. A

Norma John - Blackbird (Finland) - This is very sad and minimalist for Eurovision, possibly the purest downer I've ever heard from this contest. Among all the ballads it is the bleakest and the saddest. Um. Maybe it will capture the mood of the continent? C+

Dihaj - Skeletons (Azerbaijan) - This is pretty much what I'd expect if you put a gun to Grimes' head do a Swedish Eurovision powerballad. Quite like it. A-

Salvador Sobral - Amar Pelos Dois (Portugal) - Portuguese Kermit the Frog could be singing this sitting on a fucking log and you will want to pinch his grotty little cheek.

All I ever really want from Eurovision is Portugal delivering something overwhelmingly uncool and out of step with the times, and this dorky hairy dude doing a quiet prewar jazz sort of thing fits that bill to a tee. A

Demy - This Is Love (Greece) - Starts out ballad, goes full banger after a minute or so. This is solid Eurovision bombast and cheese by committee and is probably destined for a pretty high finish.

Zorba content: zero. C

Kasia Moś - Flashlight (Poland) - One of the better powerballads this year, and certainly the only one about the terror of being hunted for sport.

Somehow I doubt the live staging will all be projected on her naked body like in this video, but you never can be sure with Eurovision. B

SunStroke Project - Hey Mamma! (Moldova) - The version of a joke entry where the intent is to laugh with the artist rather than at them.

The music video is a sex farce about a cockblocking mother, and I reeeally want to see them try translate that live. Unfortunately I think we'll just play up the dude with the sax thrusting around and guy with the violin cracking stupid grins. B+

Svala - Paper (Iceland) - I mean, this is a mess and there's zero reason anyone will vote for this instead of something else Scandinavian and vaguely electronic, but on the other hand she's blue and the line "I fish for you, I wish for you!" is kind of adorable. D+

Martina Bárta - My Turn (Czech Republic) - Vaguely jazzy ballad about wanting to help you be less sad because you helped her less be sad before. Serious bonus points for a defined, identifiable subject matter which isn't also so common it's a cliche. B+

Hovig - Gravity (Cyprus) - This fucking sucks. D-

Artsvik - Fly With Me (Armenia) - Sort of a very deconstructed ethnoballad. Builds quite slowly, gets where it's going. Kind of intriguing, even if the visuals seem to suggest period Chinese movie for some reason. B

Omar Naber - On My Way (Slovenia) - Half of these reviews are just defining microgenres of powerballad at this point. So here is a whispery sad defiant guy ballad. D+

Triana Park - Line (Latvia) - I'm not sure that MDMA is popular enough among the Eurovision audience for this to get anywhere. C+

O.Torvald - Time (Ukraine) - Really lacklustre rock entry, everything is supposed to be gritty and bombasty and it just falls utterly, embarassingly flat. The clock isn't gimmicky enough staging to get them anywhere. I'm not sure silver nazis would even do it. D

Alma - Requiem (France) - Starts out as a pretty decent French language pop song but then the awkward as fuck English language chorus is sort of a cut-price J-Lo bit. C

Levina - Perfect Life (Germany) - This is the musical equivalent of aspartame. D

Francesco Gabbani - Occidentali's Karma (Italy) - Italy bringing its A-game is almost unfair on the other countries. The song, about unfulfilled westerners seeking easy answers from eastern philosophy, sweeps through Hamlet, Fromm's To Have Or To Be, The Naked Ape, Heraclitis, Karl Marx, Gene Kelly.

Like, it's still a fuckin pop song but this is a level above what we have any reasonable right to expect here. A+

Manel Navarro - Do It For Your Lover (Spain) - Some dickhead with an accoustic guitar trying to be tropical and carefree. The effect is the repulsive sort of feeling you get from a robot child stuck deep in the uncanny valley. D-

Lucie Jones - Never Give Up On You (United Kingdom) - As overwrought ballads go, this is certainly one of them. C-

Tijana Bogićević - In Too Deep (Serbia) - How many fucking ways can I say this is another not-very-good shouty powerballad. C-

Nathan Trent - Running On Air (Austria) - An upbeat and perfectly serviceable plinky happy thing which is a really really welcome variation at this point. Also I'm pretty sure he sings "I can't stand land tacos" at one point, which is something we can all relate to.

Nobody is going to vote for this. B-

Julia Samoylova - Flame Is Burning (Russia) - Might not end up performing because she violated Ukraine law by entering Crimea to perform and they've banned her.

There's various conspiracy theories about this, eg Russia engineered a situation where they chose an artist with a disability who had been to Ukraine and thus violated the law, in order to embarass Ukraine.

Last I read, Ukraine faced expulsion from future contests if they follow through with the ban. It's all about what we should have expected from a contest held in Ukraine right now.

Also? The song is bad. D

Jana Burčeska - Dance Alone (F.Y.R. Macedonia) - I'm having a hard time telling if the genuinely uptempo electronic tracks are good or if it's just like a drink of water after being lost in the ballad desert. This one has a chorus which leans a bit on 'Running Up That Hill' by Kate Bush and is basically fine I guess. B-

Claudia Faniello - Breathlessly (Malta) - Dreary ballad, you won't see it in the final. D+

Ilinca ft. Alex Florea - Yodel It! - *looks at title*

Oh no.

*Sees a guy come out like he's about to rap*

Oh, no. No.

*Rapping and a yodelling call-and-response starts happening*


OG3NE - Lights And Shadows (The Netherlands) - The song basically exists to showcase the three women's harmonies. That makes it the musical equivalent of polishing a turd, because the song is really dull but even someone relatively unmusical such as myself can hear that they'd sell the shit out of better material. C-

Joci Pápai - Origo (Hungary) - FUCK YES ETHNOPOP. Then there's rapping over it but it kinda works. B+

Anja - Where I Am (Denmark) - An Australian woman screams for three minutes. C

Brendan Murray - Dying To Try (Ireland) - Is his mum gonna let him stay up late enough to perform? What if his voice breaks? D

Valentina Monetta & Jimmie Wilson - Spirit Of The Night (San Marino) - This is Monetta's fourth entry, which um, yeah. It's a retro dance sort of thing with at least four key changes, so it's a good one if you have key changes in your drinking game (I know I do).  D

Jacques Houdek - My Friend (Croatia) - What the actual fuck is this. Is this all one guy? Starts out like a Savage Garden album track, then an Italian language tenor comes in, then it turns into at least two different power ballads? A/B/C/D

JOWST - Grab The Moment (Norway) - So that's what Barenaked Ladies are up to these days. C

Timebelle - Apollo (Switzerland) - I guess she's having fun at least. D

NAVIBAND - Historyja Majho Zyccia (Belarus) - Tom Baker and some lady walking joyously through an ugly forest with a backing of vaguely celtic folk music and a tribal chanting. Obviously what you expect from the last remaining Stalinist republic in Europe. Hey! Hey! B+

Kristian Kostov - Beautiful Mess (Bulgaria) - Another technically proficient ballad. It might be the one which grabs the voters who make those fucking things so popular.

In this one, child accompanied by ravens sings angstily about a love one assumes he has never experienced. C-

Fusedmarc - Rain of Revolution (Lithuania) - Woman shouts over somebody else's synth-brassy pop song from the mid-1980s. D

Koit Toome and Laura - Verona (Estonia) - It's a straight-up duet ballad about difficult love, but the Verona metaphor is confused as fuck.

Verona here of course refers to the story of Romeo and Juliet, but at different points Verona seems to metaphorically mean a formerly ideal state of love (we have lost our Verona) instead of the suicidal shitty teenage one more sensibly referred to at other points (we are lost in Verona).

I'm overthinking this. C

IMRI - I Feel Alive (Israel) - Mostly a by-the-numbers dance track, though there's about 10 promising seconds of ETHNOPOP about 2 and a half minutes in. Nowhere near good enough. C