Eurovision Babbling pt. 2

Alright! Having written about the first semi-final, it’s time to tackle the acts that make up the second semi-final!

Lithuania – I love this song! Loooove. Love loooove. It’s bluegrass-y, Mumford & Sons-y goodness. It’s got a catchy chorus and is easy to sing along with. Especially that……………….pause! In the middle of the song. I think this will most definitely qualify. High hopes for it to do well after that, but I can’t say for sure.

Ireland – I quite like this song. Although last time I was gunning for Ireland, poor Ryan Dolan finished (UNDESERVINGLY) dead last. I definitely think that Molly Sterling is talented. I don’t know if she’ll qualify for the finals, though. I would love to hear this song on the radio, though.

San Marino – This song is well-composed. The vocals are cute. But meh. I’ll pass. Although San Marino could surprise everyone and possibly qualify like it did last year!

Montenegro – I’ve always really enjoyed the acts from Montenegro! Even more so, I like that they’re sung in Montenegrin! I don’t care if I don’t understand it, it’s beautiful to hear songs sung in native languages. I can’t say if they’ll qualify, but it’s a beautiful song.

Malta – Malta! Maltaaaaa! Every year, I gun for Malta to do well. And every year they DON’T. I feel like Malta is such an underdog every year and I hope that they do well this year! I’ll most likely keep loving them for years to come haha.

Norway – Man. Talk about a heavy song. I like it, though. What? No…no I’m not *sniff* I’m not crying. NO, YOU SHUT UP!

Portugal – Again, I love songs that are sung in their native language!! I was bored on my first listen but the more I listen to it, the more I enjoy it. Her voice is great!

Czech Republic – Sorry, Czech Republic. Not digging this.

Israel – One of the only uptempo songs this year, it seems. Cute song! It will most likely advance. Although, after last year’s SHOCKER of Mei Finegold not making it through, I don’t even know.

Latvia – Great vocals. I’m excited for this song. It will most likely qualify.

Azerbaijan – Meh. It’s alright.

IcelandYES. I think this is maybe my favorite song this year. I’m definitely getting some Emmelie De Forest and Taylor Swift here…but damn. I love it. And listening to this song in Icelandic? Even better! I hope this qualifies and does well!

Sweden – Alright. This is definitely an #UnpopularOpinion, but I really am not feeling Sweden’s song this year. Sure, it’s catchy, but that’s all. Måns is talented and I’ve liked him for years. But…this song is nothing really new to me. I mean, Sweden are always a powerhouse….but I’m really confused by the tidal wave of support that Sweden has this year. No doubt this will make it to the final and will collect an obscene amount of douze pointes….but I really don’t think Sweden deserves a win this year.

Switzerland – Meh. I would hate to have to perform after Sweden.

Cyprus – Meh

Slovenia – A ray of light in a forest a of ‘Meh’ closing acts for the second semi-final.

Poland –  Meh

 So those are my thoughts! What do you y’all think? Agree? Disagree? I’m especially curious to hear if anyone feels the same way about Sweden that I do haha. 

Eurovision babbling 1

IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN! EUROVISION! 

Now, as an American, I love watching Eurovision. I find myself to be mostly objective about the entries. Being so far removed from Europe, I don’t get caught up in all the political hooplah. I think it’s really more about the performances for me.

It is a bit lonely sometimes, though. Most Americans know nothing about Eurovision! But there are some who do. They are the few glittering sequins adorning this dark, clueless tapestry of the U.S.

2015 is looking to be an interesting year. (Can we talk about AUSTRALIA, THOUGH?!)

Here are some of my thoughts on the entries this year! From the first semifinal:

Moldova –  Pretty generic 90s sounding Euro pop. Weren’t there also allegations of this guy cheating the national selection process with voter fraud? It sounds like a well-known song…but I can’t place my finger on it.

Armenia – Hmmm there was a lot of hype for this entry, right? They released all the members one by one etc. I usually love Armenia’s stuff, but this is a bit underwhelming.

Belgium – This sounds like a song by Lorde. Maybe a bit too downtempo for Eurovision? Might be a surprise hit, but I’m not terribly impressed =\

 The Netherlands – “Whyyy why yai yai yaiiiii” – this song sounds familiar to me too! Why?! Where is that hook from?! This song is catchy and, judging by the surprising (to me) 2nd place last year, the Dutch entry could be a surprise!

Finland – This entry. I’m torn. On one hand, I’m impressed and inspired that Finland sent this act. It’s incredibly brave – especially considering how nasty ESC fans in other countries can be. On the other hand…I feel like it’s a bit gimmicky? We’ve seen this kind of an act out of Finland before – and it won. But I doubt it’ll be repeated again. Plus, it’s incredibly short.

Greece – Greece, what? A ballad?! I always rely on Greece to provide me with some kickass, uptempo ethnic-sounding dance party tune! I’m not digging this =\ She’s talented and everything, but meh.

Estonia – I’m honestly surprised by how much I like the Balkan entries this year! This might be the weakest one, but I still enjoy it! I think Elina’s vocals definitely outmatch her dude counterpart. This song is catchy, though, and I think it’ll do well in voting. Most definitely making it through to the final.

F.Y.R. Macedonia – I think this song is nice. It works well with the music video…but I predict it will be kind of boring when performed live. Maybe I’m wrong, though.

Serbia – Guuuuuurl. This song definitely feels like a favorite this year. Although, I think it needs to be sung in Serbian. I feel like translating it to English kind of waters it down. At least mix the two languages like Poland did last year. I think it’ll advance, though. Definitely.

Hungary – Okay. Like, I get what they’re trying to do and I respect it. But I don’t think this song is going to be received well at ESC. They already had some controversy over it; a sentence referring to how many children were killed in the Gaza conflict was removed from the background. This is one of those politically-charged songs that just kind of ekes past the guidelines about ‘no political statements’.

Belarus – After the shitshow of an entry last year, I’m glad to see Belarus sending a better act. It’s catchy and it has a cool beat. It’s not one of my favorites, but I think it will definitely advance to the final.

Russia – Eh. I’m consistently underwhelmed by Russia’s entries (ever since the adorable grannies). This kind of song, though? From Russia? lolol. I just imagine a little asterik “A Million Voices*”

*just not the gay ones. 

Denmark – Alright, Denmark. It’s like you know you can’t win again. Kudos to this guy, he’s alright but I don’t think he’s really serious haha.

Albania – I like it! It’s catchy, the vocals are good and it’s well-composed. May probably advance.

Romania – This song is surprisingly good, I think. It sounds beautiful in Romanian – even though I don’t understand a word. I’m curious to see how it does.

Georgia – YASSSS. YASSS, GEORGIA, YASSSSS. I’m loving this. What parallel universe am I living in where I’m actually super excited about an entry by Georgia?? Last year’s entry was terrible. TERRIBLE. But this? I am here for this. I assume they’ll advance and I really want them to.

What do you think, ESC fans? Agree? Disagree? Let me know!

Eurovision Flops 2014

Every year, I fanboy about Eurovision to the point that my friends and family begin to avoid me. I can see it in their faces when I start to bring it up, ‘Oh jeezus,’ their eyes practically scream. ‘Here he goes talking about that godforsaken song contest in Europe again…’.

It is true, though. When Eurovision season hits, I’m oddly obsessed with it. I always get the album and jam out to it for a solid month during and after the contest. I think that, cheese and glitter aside, Eurovision produces some great music that crosses language and geographical barriers.

But…sometimes it doesn’t. Every year there are a handful of songs that I just can’t get in to. Some of them are just generally forgettable, but sometimes they are just so BAD that I wish they were able to be expelled from my mind.

This year, I’d like to devote a list of what I think are the

 

 Flops of Eurovision 2014

 

I can’t stop seeing the Tolmachevy Twins as Children of the Corn…

 

Russia – This song is terrible. I would be willing to overlook the incredibly original title ‘Shine’, but there is just so much wrong with this. The Tolmachevy twins are surely nice people, but they are just a bit…boring. And is this song really about promoting love? Like…Russia, really? Are we just going to pretend that your country doesn’t have an abysmal track record when it comes to human rights? ‘Make a brighter day’? For who, Crimea?

I’ve asked this question before but nobody seems to be able to answer: Does anyone think the whole thing between Russia and Ukraine going to be reflected in the voting this year? I’m genuinely curious.

Regardless, it’s a terrible song.

 

Georgia – Speaking of countries that Russia has invaded, wtf at Georgia’s entry this year? Seriously. It starts out okay enough, but then it’s almost as if the acid that they’ve all ingested kicks in and it just completely devolves into a bizarre mess of a song.

I’m a native English speaker and the lyrics are nonsensical as fuck. ‘Star Jam? Sky divers? Space Jam? Space Jump’? ‘All their wives? All their whys’??? I’m seriously at a loss of words for this song. I think it’s probably best if Shin and Mariko keep orbitting whatever psychadelic planet they’re on.

I SWEAR I hear ‘Space Jam’ in this song.

 

Lithuania – ATTENTION! Oh! okay, what?! ATTENTION! what?! what do you want from me?! I think it’s a shame this song made my list – the singer seems like a really sweet person. I think that the message, female empowerment (right?), is a good one. But the delivery is so frantic and the dancing is so all-over-the-place and jerky that I don’t know what to make of it. “I’m gonna make you fall, down d-d-down down on your knees!” What?

Ireland – I hate that Ireland ended up here, I really do. I always love the Irish entries! Last year, ‘Only Love Survives’ was actually my top pick. It then ended up in dead last and I felt so bad for poor Ryan Dolan.

The Irish entry this year just bores me. And…that’s about it. Sorry, Ireland. I still love you.

 

Latvia – Latvia has always been a joy for me to watch. I mean, their pirate entry in 2008 was amazing and I generally like what they send every year. But this? I think they’ve been sharing the same drugs that the band from Georgia has been using; only it seems they’ve baked them into a cake. This song is catchy, I’ll give it that, but I just can’t take it seriously. I can’t even enjoy how ridiculous it is. At least with Pirates of the Sea, it was fun ridiculous. This song is just…bad.

 

 

Belarus– The second Eurovision song this year to be about cake…go, Belarus. It’s as if they plucked the beat from a shitty karaoke version of a 90’s song. The poor vocalist is trying to be Robin Thicke, which is in and of itself pretty upsetting. The cheesy lyrics, bad instrumentals and obvious lack of chemistry between he and the poor girl forced to dance with him is painful to watch. Sorry, Belarus.

 

F.Y.R. Macedonia – You know, I think I’ve always kind of liked the Macedonian entries over the years, but this one? Hot messssss. Seeing her lip-sync (poorly) to this song when she won the national selection was cringe-inducing. She dances super awkwardly and kind of looks really uncomfortable on stage. When she fist-bumps, I just want it to stop. It’s a pity because the song itself isn’t terrible…but her stage presence is.

 

France – France seriously, what the hell? It literally sounds like they just blatantly copied Stromae and then added in some Major Lazer winding sounds a la Pon de Floor. It’s a shame because this song would be great if it weren’t so obviously ripping off another well-known French artist. Pour quois, France? Pour quois?

I had the same reaction, Stromae!

 

Germany – Gurl. This song makes me really uncomfortable. Maybe it’s the creepy accordion? It gives me a weird carnival vibe that I don’t like. It’s nothing that we haven’t seen before in Eurovision and I find it quite boring, to be honest. Germany is lucky that it’s already advanced to the final. If it were to try to compete against the other countries with this song, I don’t think it would qualify.

 

Now, I don’t doubt that, in order for these artists to make it to Eurovision, they had to work incredibly hard. I really respect that they are all representing their countries and the hard work that it’s taken to do so. That being said, these are just my opinions.

 What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Have another country that you think qualifies as a ‘Flop’? Leave a comment and let me know!

An American’s picks for Eurovision 2014

 

As I’ve said before, Eurovision Season is always a bit lonely for American fans. Here in the US, few people know about the contest. Even when I try to explain it, it’s hard. I’ll talk about how much I like the Maltese/Moldovan/Cypriot/Armenian entry and I find myself met with a blank stare. Not everyone knows where these countries are, much less that they even exist.

Everyone likes to poke fun at Americans for not knowing about other countries and I was no exception to this stereotype. In our defense, though, I will say that having to keep track of 50 states and a handful of territories gives us a lot of news as it is. Although some people don’t care one way or the other.

Admittedly, I was the same when I began watching Eurovision. But as I watched it, I learned so much about geography, international relations and politics and even history. Whoa, Moldova was a country? Azerbaijan too? Why can Turkey and the like participate? It was exhilirating and I felt like I was learning so much and connecting myself to Europe in some way.

Regardless of it being a bit lonely, I love following Eurovision every year. The past few years have been a bit difficult for me to watch because I lived in Japan. Last year, I commandeered my poor boyfriend’s computer and forced him to watch it with me. Needless to say that he did not enjoy it as much as I did.

I think that, being an American, I am somewhat out of the loop of the whole political side of Eurovison. Sure, I know about bloc voting and how X country always gives Y country 12 points etc. But I don’t invest myself too much in this and I think it makes for more of an objective viewing. I mostly just care about the performances and songs.

And so, here are my picks as an American looking in on this wonderful annual event!

 

MY TOP TEN ACTS FOR EUROVISION 2014

(in no particular order as of yet)

 

 Greece – Ever since that old guy danced with those gogo boys in 2010 (OPA!), I have been a fan of the Greek entries. Last year their song was catchy and fun and this year they’ve brought that same energy with the catchy EDM-infused ‘Rise Up’. I wonder if he’ll actually sing the super-fast repeating part, though? “Ri-ri-ri-ri-ri-ri-riririririririririririr”. Nevertheless, I hope Greece does well.

 Israel – Another country that always puts out great songs. Israel’s song this year is a definite contender for the trophy, I think. Mei Finegold’s voice is powerhouse in both English and Hebrew. The song definitely grabs your attention and keeps it. I don’t know what everyone else is saying, but I’m betting that Israel is ranked pretty high on winning this year.

 Malta – Year after year (at least as far as I’ve been watching the contest), Malta has sent some solid acts to the world stage. Year after year, though, they never seem to do very well. I really feel for this little island, though. They’re the underdog that I like to root for. I loved their entry last year and I hope to see them do well this year. They deserve it.

 Hungary – This song is pretty damn heavy for a Eurovision entry. Maybe that’s why I like it. It’s something different, the vocals are strong and although I didn’t like the beat at first, it’s grown on me. I don’t know how it will do, but I’d like to think that it will make it far. The topic of child abuse might not appeal to Europe and the judges, though.

 Poland – I love ridiculous entries. The Polish entry this year is just that. At first, I was a bit horrified by how bad this song sounded in English but I think it’s mostly in Polish. I think the oversexualization of it is intentionally comical. Overall it’s a fun song and I find myself liking it the more I hear it.

 Switzerland – The song is cute and the whistling gets stuck in your head for days. The band is seemingly composed of male models, which I’m completely fine with. I wonder if they’re going to be able to do the whistling gimmick as effectively when they perform it live.

 Armenia – Armenia is another country that I find consistantly sends good acts. This year’s act is pretty great as well. Although it takes a while for the song to get started, Aram Mp3’s vocals and the epic instrumentals effortlessly guide the audience to the wub wubby climax. I’m definitely not a fan of dubstep, but I’ve grown to accept a wub here or there. I dig this song for a number of reasons and I think it could do well.

 Italy(!) – My god, I really love the Italian entry this year. Emma Marrone is fantastic. I love her voice, the instrumentals and overall badass-ness of this song. After watching a live performance of this song, though, I’m a bit scared of seeing her in the final. Italy just recently re-joined Eurovision after a long period of not participating. I think a win for Italy would be great but…I don’t know if Europe feels the same way that I do.

 Montenegro – I don’t know why but I really like this song. I’m not one for ballads, but this song just really appeals to me. It’s beautifully sung with a gorgeous instrumental. I don’t understand it at all but, for me, that’s not necessary in order to enjoy a song. That’s actually part of why I was so drawn to Eurovision – songs in different languages. I have no idea how this song will do, but it’s in my Top Ten because I think it’s very pretty.

 Austria – Conchita Wurst is badass. I’ll say it right now. The fact that she is performing in drag is not anything that Eurovision hasn’t seen before (Verka Serduchka, I’m looking at you). What is unique, however, is that she’s not doing it as a caricature that mocks the LGBT community. Her striking appearance has earned her a lot of publicity, both good and bad. Russia, Ukraine and Belarus being the bastions of acceptance and tolerance, have petioned the EBU to ban her performance. Luckily, it seems to be against the rules of the ESC to censor or ban any part of it. Her fishy body with full-on beard plus the empowering song have no doubt made her one of the most talked-about acts this year. Putting herself out there and promoting tolerance is an incredibly brave thing for her to do and I hope she does well.

Honorable mentions:

Denmark – I don’t think that Denmark will win (has any country ever won Eurovision two years in a row?) but I quite like their entry. It’s catchy as hell, the dance is cute the whole thing reminds me of The Jackson Five and Bruno Mars.

Netherlands. 2013 was the first year that the Netherlands qualified for the Final in seven years. This year, their song is nothing incredibly special, but I find myself really liking it. It reminds me of Fleetwood Mac and it’s very calming and emotional.

 

 What do you think?! Agree? Disagree? Are you an American who likes Eurovision as well? Let me know I’m not alone! Thanks for reading and, as always, comments are welcomed! 

Eurovision Haikus III


It’s getting closer to May! I can’t wait! Here’s another round of my Eurovision Haikus.

Austria

A bearded lady
Preaching tolerance and love?
Yasss. Werk mama.

Azerbaijan

A pretty ballad
Azerbaijan delivers
Almost every year

Belgium

Beautiful vocals
Your mom dances very well
Oh wait…who is that?

Finland

Poppy rock anthem
Cool vocals, my question is,
Can he do it live?

Germany
Weird carnival vibe
Already through to Final
Lucky Germany

Malta

I feel for Malta
Every year they send good acts
But never go far

The Netherlands

A pretty song but…
Dutch Lady Antebellum?
More like Fleetwood Mac

Norway

This sounds like something
I can’t quite place what song, though
This will bother me

Russia

Oh wow, this is bad
Flashing lights can’t cover up
Terrible vocals

Slovenia

Oh, gothic flautist
I mean…it isn’t dreadful
It’s not my fav, though.

Ukraine

Not digging this song
How many points to Russia?
Should I not ask that?

Eurovision Haikus II

Hi! I’m back with my second round of Eurovision Haikus! Here are another ten and my thoughts on them in 5-7-5 format. Here’s the first batch in case you missed it.

Armenia

Wow, Armenia
Great voice and great emotion
But why the wubwubs?

Belarus

I’m not digging this
A wannabe Robin Thicke
Lost my appetite

Estonia

Good Europop song
Has a nice dance routine but
Kind of Déjà Vu?

France

Um, France? What the hell?
Blatant copy of Stromae
So bad. Oh my god.

Georgia

Georgia, what is this?
A bizzare hippie commune.
Did they say ‘Space Jam’?

Greece

Upbeat and Catchy
Feel like I’m in a Greek club
Repetitive, though.

Italy

I really love this
Italian Power Ballad
Next year…in Venice?

Montenegro

Don’t understand but,
The emotion translates well
Very pretty song

San Marino

She has a good voice
Sounds like a James Bond theme song
or a disco jam.

Spain

What a pretty voice
Already in the final
But still could go far

****

Honestly, there are some great ones but I’m not too impressed with a lot of the songs this year. I don’t know what it is, but it seems like so many of them are just too odd. And not in the good, quirky way that makes me love so many Eurovision acts.

What do you think? Agree/Disagree? Have you already chosen your favorites? Do you have a Top Ten already? Have I missed any that have been released so far? Let me know!

Eurovision Haikus: First Impressions

 

So now that Melodifestivalen is over (I accidentally spoiled the results for myself =\ oops)  I’ve started looking at other countries’ acts! I guess it’s still early, but I’ve been a bit underwhelmed by the entries so far.

Instead of writing a review of every countries’ song (because really, would anyone actually read it?), I’ve decided to write my thoughts on the entries so far in haiku form. If you didn’t know, haiku is a Japanese poetry style that follows a 5-7-5 syllabic pattern.

Videos are linked for your viewing pleasure. Here we go:

 

Hungary

Nice Song and Vocals

Too deep for Eurovision

Yo. Trigger Warning

 

Ireland

Some cool Celtic sounds

not enough to wake me up

from the song itself

 

Israel

Impressive vocals

Half English and Half Hebrew

Gurl, you’re fierce as hell

 

Lithuania

What is going on?

There might be a message here

I am so confused

 

Macedonia

Hot Mess. Hot Mess. Hot.

Mess Hot Mess Hot Mess Hot Mess

Hot Mess. Hot Mess. Damn.

 

Romania

Cool magic vid screen

EDM beats and screaming

Assault on eardrums

 

Switzerland

What a handsome group

I understand the whistling

But that’s about it

 

United Kingdom

Seems a bit boring

But anthemic and well-sung

Don’t know how I feel

 

 What are your thoughts on the entries so far, Eurovision fans? Leave your own haiku in the comments!