Eurovision is back.
As a connoisseur of unironic shitness Eurovision is of course one of the highlights of my calendar. Never in the field of human endeavour has so much passion, talent and money come together to produce something so unbelievably atrocious, camp and delightful.
I live for stuff like this.
Unfortunately in recent years Eurovision has begun to ditch its reputation as the world’s stupidest party and reinvented itself as an honest to god song writing contest. The result being that it’s generally won these years by acts that not only sound like the normal dance and pop hits that are popular Europe wide but generally are the same acts that are already popular Europe wide.
There are a few stalwarts flying the flag for bizarre camp (the U.K., Ireland, France) but more and more it’s starting to resemble the top 40.
This year’s crop was particularly dour. For some reason every other song was about the anguish of the singer as they lamented their broken heart. Norway, Romania and Albania were all basically the same boring song but with the added bonus that Albania’s was badly sung.
In the dour Olympics France had an early contender with Lisa Angell – N’oubliez Pas. There is a rule in Eurovision that you can’t sing overtly political songs. A rule that is skirted and subverted fairly frequently but never so blatantly as France. Lisa Angell stands in front of a backdrop of a bombed out city and sings the following.
All that remains to me are ashes
Of my village plunged into silence
I am but a wound
A heart without an armour
How do I survive after this
But I am here, I don’t forget
In my village swept away by history
And I live here, don’t you forget
Erased from maps and memories
I remember the laughter of children
The voices of men when they left for the field
The harvest festivals
The smell in the houses
The bursts of love and joy
But I am here, I don’t forget
In my village swept away by history
When they arrived
Hidden behind their weapons
They were thousands
They laughed at our tears
They wished to destroy
Our beliefs and our souls
With words of hatred
That we did not know
I am here tonight
In the middle of these ruins
To talk to you about hope
And to sing life
And I swear
When the blood will dry
That I will rebuild my city
More beautiful than before
But don’t forget
I know we Brits bang on about the war a lot but this is just tacky. Bringing up WW2 in a silly singing contest just seems petty and vindictive.
France was a strong front runner for dreariest song of the night before Hungary’s Boggie showed up with possibly the dreariest song ever written.
Just drink in these lyrics.
Do you know our Earth is a mess?
No, keep reading. I know that opener is shockingly poe-faced and wet but it gets worse.
All the wars for nothing, it never ends
Everybody deserves a chance
All the souls, all the souls
Can you hear them cry?
That you live in peace does not mean
It’s okay to ignore all the pain
I see children joining the stars
Soldiers walk towards the dark
Let me ask
Can you justify all the eyes
That will never see daylight?
Give me one good reason to hurt
A helpless soul, break a heart
Kill a mind
Do you know how many innocents
Are hiding from punishment
For crimes they’d never commit?
All alone, all alone
Do they deserve
To die for believing something else?
For having a face someone can’t stand
Do you know our Earth is a mess?
All the wars for nothing
It never ends
All the souls, all alone
Hold them tight
All the souls deserve a chance
Fuck me sideways. When I was 13 I was a goth (sort of, I was a kind of proto-emo really) and you best believe I wrote self indulgent mopey poetry. But even 13 year old emo me would have been embarassed if I’d written something this dreadful. I’m a pretty liberal guy but listening to this makes me realise how people who watch Fox News think liberals act. This might just be so sincerely wet that it’s made me a conservative just to spite Boggie.
What I’m saying is this song is actually worse than war. This song is a war crime in an of itself. It’s…it’s very, very bad guys.
In the best scheduling decision of all time Hungary was followed by terrifying goth Nina Sublatti from Georgia singing about how she’s a fighter, a warrior and how violence will set her free. She basically sounded like she was going to beat the crap out of and possibly eat the hippies from Hungary and I would have cheered her on all the way.
I do have to question the lyric;
“I’m a warrior, oximated”
What does oximated mean?
(organic chemistry) Reaction with, or conversion into an oxime
Okay and oxime?
(organic chemistry) Any of a class of organic compounds, of general formula RR’C=NOH, derived from the condensation of an aldehyde (R’ = H) or ketone with hydroxylamine.
Well, that clears that up then.
Estonia won this year’s award for most unintentionally creepy metaphors. Although the song is probably about the man leaving in the morning after sex without waking his lady friend both his lyrics and her reaction leave open an altogether more disturbing possibility.
Him: I didn’t wanna wake you up
my love was never gonna be enough
so I took my things and got out of your way now girl
Her: why didn’t you wake me up
I’m pretty sure i would have told you to stop
Also bonus points for the following effort.
as I got outside I smiled to the dog
Lithuania’s entry doesn’t just sound a lot like Mumford and Sons it sounds almost exactly like I Will Wait, or at least the main melody does.
Germany has cloned Amy Winehouse and spliced her with J-Lo’s bum, but forgot to give her an interesting song to sing.
Armenia’s entry appeared to be the opening number in a musical about vampires. It’s very Lloyd-Webber-esque and I can just picture them moping about being immortal in a forest in their capes.
Azerbaijan is also clearly part of the same musical with another big stage musical style song but this time about werewolves. I’m guessing the musical is a bit like Underworld with a Romeo and Juliet style romance between a vampire and a werewolf.
Poland’s entry was sung by Monika Kuszyńska an existing singer who was paralysed in a traffic accident a few years ago. Midway through the song they play footage of her walking around and performing from before the accident and the audience cheers. This was really weird. What exactly are the audience cheering here? “Yay, this lady used to have working legs! Yay, …tragic accidents!”
I suspect they’re cheering her carrying on in her career in the face of adversity which, is fine I guess but the whole thing just skeeved me out. It felt very exploitative and demeaning to me.
Anyway, the song is dull and her backdrop reminds me of some bedsheets I have.
The only thing notable in Austria’s incredibly dull entry happens at 1:45 when Austria reveals itself to have wizards and one of them sets his piano on fire. This is also possibly part of the vampire/werewolf musical sweeping Europe.
Israel kept the camp alive with a boy band effort that had a distinctly Middle Eastern flavour. It also featured one of my favourite things in the Eurovision Song contest, lyrics bragging about how good your country is.
Although on that front nothing touches I love Belarus.
Yes, I am going to post that video every year. Why?
The U.K. had an entry that kind of straddled the line between taking the piss and properly trying to compete. It’s a jazz revival thing with electro mixed in that sounds like exactly the sort of weird Euro-trash nonsense we’d do if we were taking the piss but actually is kind of a fairly popular genre at the moment. Caro Emerald, Adele, Meghan Traynor, George Ezra they’re all retro-jazz influenced even if they don’t take it this far.
The staging is also a mash up between The Great Gatsby and Tron and looks ace. Songs a bit naff in the end though.
Belgium’s entry is fucking terrifying. It’s stark and minimalist to the point of seeming like something out of a dystopian fascist future sci-fi movie. And lyrically it’s all about how we have to obey the rhythm that drives us because tomorrow we’re going to die.
It’s kind of awesome but damn is it a tonal shift from the rest of the night.
The four best songs of the night were Italy, Australia, Russia and Serbia for me.
Australia’s entry had a very Bruno Mars feel with a very catchy new-soul number that did retro revivalism much better than the U.K. entry. This felt very much like something I’d listen to in the real world and it even has clever lyrics.
If you’re wondering when Australia became part of Europe? Well it’s because they were added as wildcards to celebrate the 60th anniversary. Eurovision is massive down under so it gave the Aussies a chance to compete for a change instead of just spectating. And being Aussies they promptly showed up and did everything better than the British despite us doing this for longer.
Then they didn’t give us any points. I think we need to send the Queen over there to give them all a stern talking to about solidarity within the Commonwealth. Ireland always gives us points and we spent several centuries committing genocide over there, we’re much nicer to you lot.
Italy’s Grand Amore is a bit of pop-opera (popera?) that’s fairly generic but really, really well sung. Il Volo were hands down the best singers of the evening and would have been a fair win in my book.
Russia’s “A million voices” is actually really good. It’s classic Eurovision, in that it’s a power ballad with lyrics about peace being properly belted out, but it also sounds contemporary. It’s got a lovely melody, and is really well sung but, it was Russia’s entry and understandably the rest of Europe is a bit miffed at them at the moment. Didn’t stop it coming 2nd though.
Serbia was my hands down favourite. Basically this is a Lady Gaga song sung by a fat lass about how she’s beautiful regardless of being fat. It starts far too slow, which is probably why it lost, but it does gradually build until at the end Bojana Stamenov starts properly belting it out and looks like she’s going to start knocking over members of the audience with sheer vocal force.
Sweden won with a song that sounds like any David Guetta song you’ve ever heard. They also did the same thing in 2013 proving that the best strategy for winning is to put in an entry that sounds like EDM. Because EDM is indisputably the most popular musical genre in Europe right now if not the world. This is not great EDM but neither is it terrible. It’s mostly dull with lyrics that are painfully generic (we are the heroes of our time, but we’re dancing with the demons in our mind). The performance was clever though. It’s just done with front projection but it means singer Måns Zelmerlöw had to hit his marks exactly to get the effects to work.