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Lisbon: Eurovision 2018 – The Reviews

12 May

This is my eighth or ninth year of blogging about Eurovision. That makes both of us a) old and b) a waste of life. I have to say that I’m a fan of more than a fair share of songs this year and the way the running order has fallen may well mean a complete outsider wins. A lot of the favourites are all clumped together at the end meaning that the weirdness of Israel may get nullified in the surrounding chaos.

I’ve revisited my semi final reviews as now I have seen the performances and the songs have had a chance to grow on me.

Here’s a run down you absolute spunktrumpet:

1. UKRAINE: Mélovin – Under The Ladder
It is a shame this is on first because it’s one of the best in the competition and now it has no chance of winning. I’ve got a cheeky each way at 101-1 but doubt it’ll even make it to fourth. You need to realise just how bad some of the songs are in Eurovison this year for this one to have a true impact. Oh well, it has a great pre chorus and a chorus? The song is really spoiling us! Even the verse held my attention too. Vocals could be a bit ropey but a piano and a staircase on fire is the kind of gimmick I can celebrate.

latvia

Melovin also played Gob in Arrested Development. He is also a magician.

Rating: ***** Under The Iron Curtain

2. SPAIN: Amaia & Alfred – Tu canción
A duet by stroke victims. Sloppy ooze like the final spurts of a severed penis. This is the exact sort of snot that Portugal won with and I pray to my god Satan that this finishes with nul points. And their plane home crashes.
Rating: EXPLOSIONS

3. SLOVENIA: Lea Sirk – Hvala, ne!
Ah, pink hair means despair and the dancers have hot pants so that’s something. It’s quite a subtle chorus based on a single hook. The Portugal win seems to have opened the door to boring, laid-back choruses. It’s like someone gave Eurovision a terminal disease. I do find this more interesting the more I hear it but being third basically kills its chances. Like marrying your partner from high school – it’s fucking doomed.
Rating: ***

4. LITHUANIA: Ieva Zasimauskaitė – When We’re Old
When We’re Old? Older than this ballad you mean? Christ, this is as slow as chemotherapy and more poisonous. The only joy to be found here is hearing her sing the word “old” in a way that sounds like the language is being strangled. Ironically, this hasn’t got better with age and for me this is the worst song in the competition bar Norway. It will probably win.

Death pathway

They should be called Lith-euthanasia.

Rating: * When we’re Ouoooooooooouuuuuulld

5. AUSTRIA: Cesár Sampson – Nobody But You
A real surprise this one. I absolutely loved him in the semi final. He runs around the stage, the chorus is kicking, he commands the whole performance. Being on in the first half is a problem but after that scrotal polyp from Lithuania you never know.
Rating: ***

6. ESTONIA: Elina Nechayeva – La forza
Awesome. This is the first operatic one and I am enthralled. You know, I’m listening to this on the bus as the sun streams down on the only day of summer in Scotland. I am really feeling it. Takes a minute or so to get into gear – like that song in the Fifth Element. This is very lovely and finally not in English so who knows what she’s wailing about. This could be about bumming Scooby Doo for all I care.
Rating: *****

7. NORWAY: Alexander Rybak – That’s How You Write A Song
This makes me want to hurt somebody. A crowd pleasing faux-disco disease. This is the kind of song that would ooze out of the infected anal tract of one of those [Insert Country Here]’s Got Talent shows. On the flip side, it’s very catchy and has a fun violin and melody. While my hateful black heart may be immediately triggered by the “boogie woogie woogie” section, many of the rest of you will eat it up with your Sugar Puffs. For me, too smug and condescending. For you, pure joy. Tomato tomayto.
Rating: * FUCK NORWAY

8. POOTUGAL: Cláudia Pascoal feat. Isaura – O jardim
I would rather eat a horse’s jizzing cock than hear anymore of this. The splurge of thick salty discharge would solidify into a jelly in my warm throat and clog up my nose and ears, dribbling out of all orifices. If this wins I will join ISIS.
Rating: DEATH TO THE WEST

9. UGAY: SuRie – Storm
Slow piano then shanty-pop synth chorus. Not particularly entertaining and even more tiresome after hearing it a few times. I wish the chorus really elevated near the end, maybe a solo or crazy synth to give it a boost. The arrangement otherwise is nice, delivering multiple choruses so it gets stuck in your head, and I like SuRie too.
Rating: *** Are you still reading this? Jeremy Corbyn is a cunt.

10. SERBIA: Sanja Ilić & Balkanika – Nova deca
The opening is hopeless with Dr Who’s reanimated corpse on flute. Then it gets better in the verse. The drums pick up and a hint of 90s synth threatens. Once again there is no chorus. I like the nananana moments but it’s not exactly a strong one. Incredibly this got into the final and is a walking dead entry that’s easy to piss on. There’s more chance of you being put in a death camp for your Facebook posts once far-right parties seize control of our countries than this doing well.
Rating: * Pretty sure if there were any children in the audience that flute guy would captivate them and lead them back to his hotel room.

11. SPERMANY: Michael Schulte – You Let Me Walk Alone
Basically that ginger-pubed rascal Ed Sheeran except dressed up like Chad Kroeger from Metallica or whatever gayrock band he’s in. After Serbia it may actually have some cut-through. Really though it’s just a pop song stuck in a time that music and style forgot. You know, like all German music.
Rating: * Terminal flatulence

12. ALBANIA: Eugent Bushpepa – Mall
Albania don’t care about winning Eurovision this year. Or at least the fans who voted for it in the televote didn’t care about winning Eurovision. I respect that. They chose a song that they liked. It’s pleasant enough with some lovely vocals but it’s more of an album track than a single, if I can use that analogy. It’s finished and I can’t remember it now.
Rating: *** Never put pepper in the bush

13. SMELLY FRANCE: Madame Monsieur – Mercy
Having failed French at school I’m not sure what she’s on about but it sounds like the chorus is “My name is thank you”. Maybe she means Mercy rather than the translation. Nope, no idea either. I love the spirit of this if that’s a thing. I like the coconut plinks throughout, the sad wah-wah after she says “mercy” is kinda hilarious, and I absolute adore the final third with the “mercy mercy” refrain. It’s France so it’s absolute cobblers and thoroughly French but goddamn them, I like it.
Rating: ***** The first time I’ve ever liked a French entry ever. Kill me.

14. CZECH REPUBLIC: Mikolas Josef – Lie To Me

czech

Mikolas at the alt-right rally in Charlottesville

I am fucking living for those horns, queen. While still a few years away from sounding truly modern, it manages to blend that cliché sound from Eurovision with a Justin Timberlake vocal. It’s a slightly whitewashed Talk Dirty by Jason Derulo but, importantly, I just like Lie To Me more.
Rating: ***** Yeah, yeah I want to punch him too but then maybe sleep with him

15. DENMARK: Rasmussen – Higher Ground
Dark synth with tribal drums? I am down for this. The performance I am watching is entirely in blue with a wind machine. It does not help the song. Away from that, just listening on its own, I kinda like it.
Rating: *** Mid table and impactless – which is also what St Peter will say to you after your death

16. AUSTRALIA: Jessica Mauboy – We Got Love

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Jessica Mauboy (pictured here in Australia)

I was wrong. This is not a void. Her semi final vocal really lit this up and the song hit me. Whether or not she can do it again is another matter, but I no longer think this is as worthless as a Donald Trump policy.
Rating: ****

17. FINLAND: Saara Aalto – Monsters
One note vocals with backing dancers dressed in high fashion Ghostbusters bondage gear. Folk are calling this a ‘banger’ but the only time I’d use that term is if I was referring to Saara as a used car. There just isn’t enough here. The shanty arpeggiator synth and simple beats need something else to pack a punch. It needs another instrument to bring it all together. Being wrong is awesome has never felt so right. Finland are going home with nothing.
Rating: * Dreadful

18. BULGARIA: Equinox – Bones
Noughties electric soul. A slow burn where the climax is just a more layered version of the chorus. This doesn’t make me feel anything but they have brightened it up on stage. She certainly looks like she has watched too many episodes of the Mighty Boosh.
Rating: ** Bland

19. MOLDOVA: DoReDos – My Lucky Day
Their new stage show makes this one work so much better. It looks like a 70s gameshow with each of them dressed in bold colours. The song is a nice slice of honkstep. Moldova are carving themselves out as a fun little country through Eurovision. Last year’s 3rd place with Hey Mamma and that awesome guy on sax was a true standout and should have won over the cancerous Portugal entry.  This year it’s not quite as good but just as good-natured and fun. The bastards.
Rating: *** Thanks for the horns but it’s no Hey Mamma

20. SWEDEN: Benjamin Ingrosso – Dance You Off
Oh finally. A goddamn song. Lovely performance. Funk bass, thoughtful arrangement. Just needs a stronger chorus. It’s lovely but meaningless. Luckily the stageshow and lighting elevates it to more than it should be – in the same way plastic surgery keeps Cher’s face together.
Rating: **** 

21. HUNGARY: AWS – Viszlát nyár
Dial-in rock cliches. Reminds me of the Backstreet Boys doing metal. Or PJ and Duncan (RIP). The vocals sound strained when he’s singing the first bit but it’s kinda funny when he just fucks it out the window and just screeches for the rest of the song. If you take a step back from the amusement of this being in Eurovision and compare it with some metal songs you actually like, I think you’ll find that this is an absolute embarrassment. That said, I hope the guitars are so loud everyone bleeds.
Rating: ****

22. ISRAEL: Netta – Toy
Ah. Okay then. It’s Beanie Man, Björk, La Roux and Jessie J wrapped into one. Oh, and a fucking chicken. Words can’t really do this justice. It’s kinda hilarious but after Hungary, and some of the other favourites, I wonder if this will have less impact. Still would risk an each-way bet on it. As you know, if you don’t like Israel you are as Anti-Semitic as the Labour party.

Netta

Netta outside of the competition

Rating: * or *****

23. NETHERLANDS: Waylon – Outlaw In ‘Em
So the staging of this is problematic. Aside from seemingly being an entry by a pro-gun far-right party, the sight of a white man standing head and shoulders above his black colleagues was not a good idea. This is what I see:

Waylon-Eurovision

Waylon – as seen by non-racist people

Rating: ** [Whispers:] It’s about being bummed by Geert Wilders

24. IRELAND: Ryan O’Shaughnessy – Together
A rather delicate love song which if there is enough goodwill left in the room by song 24 should see it sail gently into everyone’s hearts. I think it’s really touching and as homophobic China cut this one out of their broadcast I like it even more. It’s weird China have a problem with gays when they manufacture all our butt plugs, eh?
Rating: **** FUCK CHINA & CAPITALISM

25. CYPRUS: Eleni Foureira – Fuego
Dripping with sex this one. Her eyebrows are on point too. It’s impressive that it sounds like it could have come off a mainstream radio station and if it slipped into my Spotify playlist I’d not think anything was wrong. I wouldn’t be like “who the fuck put this shit Eurovision song on my goddamn playlist” like I would with a chunk of the others here. This is one of the best songs and a glorious mix of Beyonce and Shakira. Obviously it’s overly sexualised and in some ways exploiting the male gaze in order to win but, hey, you do you girl.
Rating: ***** Saved me three minutes on Pornhub.

26. ITALY: Ermal Meta & Fabrizio Moro – Non mi avete fatto niente

Italy.jpg

Ermal Meta and Fabrizio Moro perform for Italy

TERRORIST KLAXON! Lyrically it’s as earnest as the Manic Street Preachers but probably a little better. I’m slightly uneasy about referencing all the terrorist attacks but including Cairo makes it less Western-centric. Iceland got a good kicking for entering a “heal the world” song so I’m in two minds about how this will play out. Because it’s last it will either be ignored or absolutely storm the competition.
Rating: ***

SUMMARY

If you’ve now finished Eurovision you are probably bleeding from several unintended places and in a pit of despair. To soothe you through it, now you have to sit through the voting. I recommend you do a shot of cyanide for every point Lithuania score.

7 what I fink should win
Cyprus
Ukraine
Czech Republic
Estonia
Austria
Ireland
France (!)

7 what I fink will win because fuck me
Lithuania
Norway
Italy
Finland
Germany
Portugal
Spain

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Eurovision 2018: Lisbon ALL ARE BORED! Semi Final Two

8 May

The best thing about Semi Final 2 is that you don’t need to watch it. To say that it’s inferior to Semi Final 1 is a given. Anything here that’s okay or good will make it to the final. There is no reason to watch this unless you’re really into self-flagellation. But you know me, so on we go.

1. NORWAY: Alexander Rybak – That’s How You Write A Song
This makes me want to hurt somebody. A crowd pleasing faux-disco disease. This is the kind of song that would ooze out of the infected anal tract of one of those [Insert Country Here]’s Got Talent shows.

On the flip side, it’s very catchy and has a fun violin and melody. While my hateful black heart may be immediately triggered by the “boogie woogie woogie” section, many of the rest of you will eat it up with your Sugar Puffs. For me, too smug and condescending. For you, pure joy. Tomato tomayto.

Rating: * FUCK NORWAY
Make it to the final? 100%

2. ROMANIA: The Humans – Goodbye
After the opening featuring masked James Cordens as Michael Myers, we’re underwhelmed by tepid rock music with the delightful possibility of a wobbly “goodbye” chorus before the soft guitars come in. Their logo is Comic Sans on kidney dialysis.

Rating: * Goodbye humans
Make it to the final? 25%

3. SERBIA: Sanja Ilić & Balkanika – Nova deca
The opening is hopeless with Dr Who’s reanimated corpse on flute. Then it gets better in the verse. The drums pick up and a hint of 90s synth threatens. Once again there is no chorus. I like the nananana moments but it’s not exactly a strong one.

Rating: ** Dr Poo
Make it to the final? 50%

4. SAN MARINO: Jessika feat. Jenifer Brening – Who We Are
Oh lordy. San Marino must have already entered their entire population into Eurovision one way or another and ran out of people. This year they’ve had to enter some robots. It’s a gimmick for sure and I’ll be interested to see if they make it into the semi-final performance. I hope she wears those gigantic pants too. On the song alone I think it’s okay but I shake my head sadly at the white woman rapper moment. That was a mistake.

Rating: ** Does not compute
Make it to the final? 75%

5. DENMARK: Rasmussen – Higher Ground
Dark synth with tribal drums? I am down for this. The performance I am watching is entirely in blue with a wind machine. It does not help the song. Away from that, just listening on its own, I kinda like it.

Rating: *** Best one yet
Make it to the final? 80%

6. RUSSIA: Julia Samoylova – I Won’t Break
Genuinely looks like a mail order bride that slits your throat in your sleep. It appears Russia invented Skynet first and this is their Terminator. Bland in a way that lingers – like a bad quiche. That said, the chorus starts to gain traction by the end but maybe a little too late.

Rating: *** Vote for us or we invade
Make it to the final? 100%

7. MOLDOVA: DoReDos – My Lucky Day
When mirrors are more watchable than your main performers you picked the wrong singers. A nice slice of gypsy honkstep but why are they all wearing suits? Ruins the aesthetic. Not too much difference between chorus and verse so hope they work on its dynamics before the semi final.

Rating: *** Thanks for the horns but it’s no Hey Mamma
Make it to the final? 80%

8. NETHERLANDS: Waylon – Outlaw In ‘Em
Gives a cheer. Finally! Something different! I will be fascinated to see the staging of this one. The version I saw was just him sitting down with a guitar which didn’t exactly make it shine. Good to see a pro-gun far-right party enter Eurovision.

Rating: **** [Whispers:] It’s about being bummed by Geert Wilders
Make it to the final? 100%

9. AUSTRALIA: Jessica Mauboy – We Got Love
A void. A chasm of blandness.

Rating: * 
Make it to the final? 50%

10. GEORGIA: Ethno-Jazz Band Iriao – For You
They all look very dapper, like a photoshoot with key alt-right leaders. This is the poisonous sickness that won last year. I feel my grip on life deteriorating. I can’t be helped.

Rating: NO – Let’s just kill everyone
Make it to the final? 99% because fuck me

11. POLAND: Gromee feat. Lukas Meijer – Light Me Up
This is a bad performance. The video I have of this is just him breaking away from singing the song to get the audience to sing it. I need to hear the chorus at least once before you can expect me to sing along with it, you chubby bellend. Maybe the song has a chance but there’s too many gaps. Unfocused. Bit more fun with his dancing. People wearing hats should be exterminated.

Rating: **
Make it to the final? Yes

12. MALTA: Christabelle – Taboo
A slow club banger held by a solid vocal. Everything else feels turned down like a karaoke version. That will hopefully be sorted for the semi final. Doesn’t really hit the peak it’s striving for. I kind of liked it?

Rating: ****
Make it to the final? Yes, what the hell.

13. HUNGARY: AWS – Viszlát nyár
Dial-in rock cliches. Reminds me of the Backstreet Boys doing metal. Or PJ and Duncan (RIP). The vocals sound strained when he’s singing the first bit but it’s kinda funny when he just fucks it out the window and just screeches for the rest of the song. Absolutely no chance so I love it. Hope the guitars are so loud everyone bleeds.

Rating: ****
Make it to the final? ARGHGHGHGHHGHGHGHGHG

14. LATVIA: Laura Rizzotto – Funny Girl
I’m kinda done with waiting a fucking minute before the song starts. Latvia have chosen to make us wait four minutes instead. A shame then that the song is only three minutes long.

Rating: * A broken flush on a blocked toilet
Make it to the final? 20%

15. SWEDEN: Benjamin Ingrosso – Dance You Off
Oh finally. A goddamn song. Lovely performance. Funk bass, thoughtful arrangement. Just needs a stronger chorus. It’s lovely but meaningless. I would have pushed it further.

Rating: ****
Make it to the final? It’s. Sweden. For. Christs. Sake. 

16. MONTENEGRO: Vanja Radovanović – Inje
Eurovision seems quite anti-chorus this year. This is a flat ballad. The grim reaper of joy in a gold collar.

Rating: *
Make it to the final? 5%

17. SLOVENIA: Lea Sirk – Hvala, ne!
Ah, pink hair means despair and the dancers have hot pants so that’s something. Saved me three minutes on pornhub anyway. It’s another subtle chorus based on a single hook. The Portugal win seems to have opened the door to boring, laid-back choruses. It’s like someone gave Eurovision a terminal disease.

Rating: ***
Make it to the final? 75%

18. UKRAINE: Mélovin – Under The Ladder
That’s it lads. The best song in Semi Final 2. A pre chorus and a chorus? You’re spoiling us! Even the verse held my attention too. Vocals a bit ropey but a piano and lots of fire is the kind of gimmick I can celebrate.

Rating: ***** FUCK RUSSIA
Make it to the final? 100%

Siri, kill me.

Eurovision 2018: Lisbon ALL ARE BORED! Semi Final One

2 May

eurovision-2018-logo

Okay so, with only a week before semi final 1, I’ve left it a little late this year. To be honest, over the last couple of years the standard of songs in Eurovision has gone up significantly and the majority are relatively listenable now. True, many are still ice ages away from being good, but there has been clear progress. I’ve managed to avoid every single entry bar the United Kingdom’s so this will be my first time hearing them. No time for them to grow on me. One listen before I give my terrible, honest opinion. I pride myself on being always wrong.

This year we are in Portugal as the world continues to provide daily proof that its population have lost their tiny little minds. Nearly twelve months ago Portugal entered a rectal prolapse of a song that not one human being in living memory could hum the tune to an hour later. We all woke up the next day in shock at the events of the night before, just as with Trump’s victory or after Brexit. I have a fear in my heart that this year more cuntries will enter the same type of audio syphilis just to ruin it for everyone. I will not be kind on them.

1. AZERBAIJAN: Aisel – X My Heart
Your basic slow verse with 90s dance stabs chorus. Genuinely sounds like many pop songs you’ve heard before stitched together. For me, it reminds me of Fireworks by Katy Perry in places which is never a bad thing. Very impressed with the nonsense lyrics too, which appear to blend past with present references: “I’m tearing down firewalls, I’m stronger than cannonballs”. It’s safe to say they did not spend long on those lyrics. I have heard better from a Russian bot account on Twitter. Or Kanye West.
Rating: ***  A catchy chorus will always do well
Make it to final? 100%

2. ICELAND: Ari Ólafsson – Our Choice
Oh god. Song 2 and it’s the type of song I was dreading. You know that friend you have who’s into issues and they’re spamming your social media feeds with links to good causes, etc? And you know how they never actually do anything like volunteer or go on protests and just sit on Facebook damning everyone from a throne of self-righteousness? Well that’s Iceland’s entry.

It’s all “somehow”“and “we can” but Ari never explains how he’s going to do any of those things, making his entire proposal weak. Bring a solid fucking argument next time you Guardian-reading skidmark.

Halfway through he sings “somehow we could ease the pain”. I found a way. I skipped the song.
Rating: * Make the world a better place? No thanks, you cunt.
Make it to the final? 35%

3. ALBANIA: Eugent Bushpepa – Mall
Albania don’t care about winning Eurovision this year. Or at least the fans who voted for it in the televote didn’t care about winning Eurovision. I respect that. They chose a song that they liked. It’s pleasant enough with some lovely vocals but it’s more of an album track than a single, if I can use that analogy. It’s finished and I can’t remember it now.
Rating: *** Never put pepper in the bush
Make it to the final? No

4. BELGIUM: Sennek – A Matter Of Time
Ooh. The verse really reminds me of Confide In Me by Kylie Minogue. This has got to be a contender, eclipsing the last three. Catchy chorus with a stern, darker ballad verse. This will now all ride on how they stage it.
Rating: ***** She looks like if the female bass player from the Muppets went goth
Make it to the final? Yes

5. CZECH REPUBLIC: Mikolas Josef – Lie To Me
I am fucking living for those horns, queen. While still a few years away from sounding truly modern, it manages to blend that cliché sound from Eurovision with a Justin Timberlake vocal. It’s a slightly whitewashed Talk Dirty by Jason Derulo but, importantly, I just like Lie To Me more.
Rating: ***** He is riding a fucking camel in the video
Make it to the final? 100% and top 3

6. LITHUANIA: Ieva Zasimauskaitė – When We’re Old
When We’re Old? Older than this ballad you mean? Christ, this is as slow as chemotherapy and more poisonous. The only joy to be found here is hearing her sing the word “old” in a way that sounds like the language is being strangled.
Rating: ** When we’re Ouoooooooooouuuuuulld
Make it to the final? 50%

7. ISRAEL: Netta – Toy
Ah. Okay then. It’s Beanie Man, Björk, La Roux and Jessie J wrapped into one. Oh, and a fucking chicken. Words can’t really do this justice. The live performance will make or break this one. It’s kinda hilarious and I would risk an each-way bet on it winning.
Rating: * or ***** 
Make it to the final? 100%

8. BELARUS: Alekseev – Forever
They spunked all their money on a LED suit for the lead guy and couldn’t afford any backing singers or dancers. Song does not suit a “man in front of a screen” staging. It’s missing bolder production. His voice is too deep and muddles with the song. The lack of backing vocals to help him out sinks it. Sure looks pretty though!
Rating: **
Make it to the final? 0%

9. ESTONIA: Elina Nechayeva – La forza
Awesome. This is the first operatic one and I am enthralled. You know, I’m listening to this on the bus as the sun streams down on the only day of summer in Scotland. I am really feeling it. Takes a minute or so to get into gear – like that song in the Fifth Element. This is very lovely and finally not in English so who knows what she’s wailing about. This could be about bumming Scooby Doo for all I care.
Rating: *****
Make it to the final? 100% if she hits all the notes

10. BULGARIA: Equinox – Bones
Noughties electric soul. A slow burn where the climax is just a more layered version of the chorus. This doesn’t make me feel anything. This will fade away unless they can jazz it up on stage.
Rating: ** Bland
Make it to the final? 1%

11. MACEDONIA: Eye Cue – Lost And Found
A solid opening with a Mr Bean clumsy transition into a reggae section. It’s impressively poor and sounds like two things that just do not go together, like Michael Barrymore and pools. Importantly the video highlights how little stage presence they have, so chalk this one down as a disaster. Just watch how she does the same dance on a loop.
Rating: *
Make it to the final? No chance

12. CROATIA: Franka – Crazy
Out of the plethora of songs called Crazy I’d like to nominate this as the worst. Features a tragically weak rap, but it’s the arrangement that flushes it. A trumpet tries to save it but it’s too late and it disappears after a few bars of embarrassment as if the session musician just shrugged and gave up.
Rating: *
Make it to the final? No way

13. AUSTRIA: Cesár Sampson – Nobody But You
Well. Um. It’s. Er. A. Song. It’s fine.
He looks extremely uncomfortable singing in the video. That’s a concern for his live performance.
Rating: ***
Make it to the final? This has a chance as last couple of songs have been poor

14. GREECE: Yianna Terzi – Oneiro mou
Love the horn howl in the second verse. Haunting. A middle section that brings to mind Britney Spears’ Toxic. There’s a carefully constructed restraint on the chorus. It gets under my skin. Fuck yes.
Rating: ****
Make it to the final? 100%

15. FINLAND: Saara Aalto – Monsters
One note vocals with a black-on-black stage show. She looks like a black traffic cone doing yoga. There just isn’t enough here. The shanty arpeggiator synth and simple beats need something else to pack a punch. It needs another instrument to bring it all together.
Rating: 0% Dreadful
Make it to the final? No chance

16. ARMENIA: Sevak Khanagyan – Qami
Armenia aiming to be the Madeleine McCann of Eurovision in Portugal.
Rating: * Lost and forgotten
Make it to the final? 0% 

17. SWITZERLAND: ZiBBZ – Stones
I’m in two minds about this one. Cliché as hell but her voice is killer and the chorus gets better each time I hear it. Is that enough? Based on the last couple I think it is.
Rating: ***
Make it to the final? Yes

18. IRELAND: Ryan O’Shaughnessy – Together
A rather delicate love song which if there is enough goodwill left in the room by song 18 should see it sail gently into the final.
Rating: ****
Make it to the final: 99%

19. CYPRUS: Eleni Foureira – Fuego
Dripping with sex this one. Her eyebrows are on point too. It’s impressive that it sounds like it could have come off a mainstream radio station and if it slipped into my Spotify playlist I’d not think anything was wrong. I wouldn’t be like “who the fuck put this shit Eurovision song on my goddamn playlist” like I would with a chunk of the others here.
Rating: *****
Make it to the final: No because she’s not white and a woman: all the things Europeans hate.

Siri, turn this shit off.

END OF PART ONE

Eurovision 2018: The United Kingdom entries.

6 Feb

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A lot has happened since February last year. I’ve been made redundant and given a sack of cash, travelled to Australia and around Europe, covered the Edinburgh Fringe and Film Festival for The Fountain, recorded a new album with Vulnerable and then got a new job doing something I love. So I figured it’s about time I made my life worse by listening to Eurovision songs.

Goldstone ‘I Feel The Love’

Thin beats and a country-tinged vocal laden with jawdroppingly cliche lyrics. The clap on the chorus is louder than the main melody. In all my years reviewing music I’d never found a song that managed to promote the loss of hearing as a benefit. Goldstone have pulled it off. This has absolutely no worth in any way whatsoever. Maybe in an ISIS training camp.

Chance of representing the UK? More than half the UK are idiots so looks probable. About as likely as David Davis having alzheimer’s.

Asanda ‘Legends’

I’m feeling the horn (NOT LIKE THAT) and the beats for the first verse but then the song starts to morph. Brass stabs and clatterly synth burst out with marching drums. I can definitely feel this one doing a bit better than Goldstone but it would have no chance in the actual contest. That said, one of the writers is called Roel Rats who is Roland Rat’s son and that is definitely not a made up fact.

Chance of representing the UK? Yeah, I could see this coming out on top.

RAYA ‘Crazy’

Sigh. The state of popular music today. Again, the verse on this is completely worthless. The chorus lands well it’s tough to judge. A concrete sandwich is tastier after a shit one. I’d like us to enter a song about driving people crazy as Michel Barnier is probably thinking that about us on a hourly basis.

Chance of representing the UK? =sum(isRAYAhot*howlittleclothingshehason)

Liam Tamne ‘Astronaut’

A nicely filtered acoustic guitar sits with Liam’s vocals. Sure, it’s a slow burner but unlike the first three this doesn’t feel as falsely constructed. I like how the chorus just happens without much of a fanfare and its only on the repeat that we get the fuller sound. Yeah, it’s well arranged and a lovely little song. So what the hell is it doing in this competition?! He had a effortlessly punchable face too.

Chance of representing the UK? AstroNOUGHT

Jaz Ellington ‘You’

Haha, Jizz Ellington. Hmm. Great voice but the song is just one of those filler tracks from the album you only like the hit single from. It’s “different” I guess. And I put quote marks around that because I really meant SHITE.

Chance of representing the UK? More chance of Donald Trump being impeached.

SuRie ‘Storm’

Slow piano then shanty-pop synth chorus. Not particularly entertaining and even more tiresome after hearing the other five entries.

Chance of representing the UK? Zzzzzzz. Sorry I’m asleep. What was the question?

SUMMARY

What a sad bunch of gurning arsechuff we’ve come out with this year. The UK music scene is thriving and this is the best we can do? What I don’t get is how most of them flip between sad and slow into happy and pounding. It’s almost like the UK is having insane mood swings and doesn’t know what to do with itself… Hmm.

Anyway, I reckon Asanda will be our entry this year.

Eurovision 2017: The Final

13 May

eurovision-2017-kyiv-logo

And here we are again. The final of Eurovision 2017.

After the semi-finals a few of my favourites got flushed away and luckily so did a lot of the really sappy ballads. There are still a few but they sound a bit better sandwiched between the other songs now. The below are an updated version of my previous reviews in the same order as the final. Hope you enjoy yourselves tonight and remember:

The first rule of Eurovision is that whoever mentions Brexit gets PUNCHED IN THE FUCKING FACE.

1. ISRAEL – Imri Ziv – I Feel Alive
What a song to open on. Shame it ruins its chances to win though. You need to hear some of the dross before you realise what a good one this is. An absolute crowd pleaser of a song that is thoroughly enjoyable. Filled with the right amount of cheese and party-going joy that is infectious. Can’t see this not being in the top 10. He’s also rather pleasant on the eye…

Verdict: I’m comfortable that if the performance is good this one will do well. It being first helps too. I’m saying Top 5.

2. POLAND – Kasia Moś – Flashlight
I know Eurovision is often formulaic but you’ll hear a lot that spend the first minute whimpering then the second minute beefing things up. This is the first of many that do that. Unfortunately the second minute of this just sounds like an army marching in jackboots all over her nice song. That said, the finale has a full string section bashing away with echoes of Puff Daddy’s Come With Me, so there’s that.

Verdict: It’s a bit early for a diva ballad. This one will be forgotten.

3. BELARUS – NAVI – Story Of My Life
Well, it still sounds like they stole the music from the Lion King and the end is absolutely the worst piece of music I have heard since 1972 and I wasn’t even born then.

Verdict: If Mumford & Sons and The Corrs ever decided to write the blandest song they possibly could it would be better than this.

4. AUSTRIA – Nathan Trent – Running On Air
It’s a bit different to the others but I can’t hear anything other than a poor boyband b-side from the 1990s. Just a jangly guitar and overly cheery vocals. I think after the hallucinogen performance from Belarus this one will be too saccharine.

Verdict: Just a grown up Billy Elliot without the success.

5. ARMENIA – Artsvik – Fly With Me
It’s just not very memorable and I am glad to see it slip down the betting odds.

Verdict: It sounds like someone sped up the music from a Tarantino film for most of it.

6. NETHERLANDS – O’G3NE – Lights And Shadows
A female three piece wearing surprisingly bad outfits that takes a while to get going. It leaves me a little underwhelmed but the second half is stronger.

Verdict: I don’t think it will win but it could float around the top 10.

7. MOLDOVA – SunStroke Project – Hey Mamma!
It’s the Ed Sheeran Shape Of You xylophone sound. When the camera comes in close he often looks like a balding James McAvoy which is a little distracting. Oh wait. Did I say his looks were distracting? I mean that ridiculous saxophone is! Haha, that is just incredible cheese. The BEST type of cheese. You’ll love this. Unless you’re a proper fan of Eurovision or something.

Verdict: Awful in every conceivable way and absolutely incredible.

8. HUNGARY – Joci Pápai – Origo
Apart from it sounding like he doesn’t know the words and is just making it up on the spot this one is lovely. Some great hooks that really grows on you. Not so keen on the rap. The irony being that if I want to sing along with the very nice chorus I can’t and I have to make them up as I don’t speak Hungarian.

Verdict: Surprising even me, this is one of my favourite ones. I think being between the zaniness of Moldova and the favourite of Italy will kill its chances.

9. ITALY – Francesco Gabbani – Occidentali’s Karma
An Italian Nickelback. Ah, that’s not fair. They are having fun and the song is feel-good with the correct dosage of silliness. Really lovely arrangement throughout and that “OMMM” ending makes me think of Red Dwarf’s Smeg and the Heads so full marks there.

Verdict: Along with Portugal one of the final’s favourites. The guy looks like he has a lot of charm but that gorilla suit stuff is questionable so it could all tank.

10. DENMARK – Anja Nissen – Where I Am
Ah, back to sewage sludge. Achieves nothing. Lots of loud operatic vocals if you like that sort of thing. I am not an imbecile so of course I don’t. Pretty forgettable song but she gives it her fucking all, throwing herself around and shrieking those notes at the end like a deranged koala. I hate every second it’s on.

Verdict: Not even remotely worth acknowledging.

11. PORTUGAL – Salvador Sobral – Amar pelos dois
Bit harsh of Portugal to enter some homeless dude who looks like he’s two steps away from turning into a zombie. Gave me a right laugh though with his stupid wispy beardy face. Hope he gets a new cardboard box for a home after this. It doesn’t sound very Eurovision – or maybe it does? I don’t know anymore.

Verdict: This is probably the most “different” song in the competition and I can see it doing incredibly well. As I type this is the market favourites. I just can’t believe anyone actually likes it and is just giving the poor guy sympathy points.

12. AZERBAIJAN – Dihaj – Skeletons
From the start this one shows a lot of promise. It’s a bit of a nothing verse with a great chorus. Not that catchy and (as with all things Eurovision) the music is a little low and the vocal a little high. A lot of nice layering of cool electronic sounds in the background too. Love the bit with the horse’s head.

Verdict: After Denmark and Portugal this is a big step up.

13. CROATIA – Jacques Houdek – My Friend
Spoken word klaxon! And then you see his face and he looks like if you buzzcut your scrotum then tasered your wilted member. Then he Gollum’s into Pavarotti and does some opera singing. Croatia treating the competition like it’s the goddamn UN and they’re fundraising for something. I guess Ukraine did that last year and it worked.

Verdict: Hilariously bad. There is absolutely no song here at all. Makes me want to self harm again.

14. AUSTRALIA – Isaiah – Don’t Come Easy
Obv jokes first: No, I “don’t come easy” when you have awful eyebrows and a shit haircut like that pal. Another ballad but this time it has a very nice arrangement that includes a rather lovely spin on the orchestral hit effect. Builds nicely and doesn’t do anything over the top or pretentious.

Verdict: It’s pleasant and after that hideous Croatian mess that stunk up the stage this could hit the right tone with the juries.

15. GREECE – Demy – This Is Love
This one is another ballad and sounds like it could have been a previous entry from the last 20 years. When it turns into a banger I’m not 100% convinced. It just sounds SO Eurovision – like filling in a paint-by-numbers and failing to feign surprise at the result. And yes, that is me saying this one is rubbish because it sounds too Eurovision and saying Portugal is rubbish because it’s not Eurovision enough. Go eat a bowl of chewy foreskins.

Verdict: Demy has had some bad rehearsals where she missed the notes by miles but was fine in the semi final. Not a fan of the song so hope she blows it in the final.

16. SPAIN – Manel Navarro – Do It For Your Lover
Just utter poison.

17. NORWAY – JOWST feat. Aleksander Walmann – Grab The Moment
They seem to have MF DOOM on the decks. Wait…three sets of decks? What madness is this? A lovely sidechain synth and fun sampling work. The middle is especially good and takes us into a very catchy finale. I just wish the singer had a bit more going on. He’s basically a chunk of wood wearing a pleasant hat.

Verdict: If I heard this on the radio I’d really like this so I think this one will do well. I love the light-up Friday The 13th masks too.

18. UNITED KINGDOM – Lucie Jones – Never Give Up On You
Gah, even though I live in hope that we can enter a Scottish entry in the future when all this EU/Brexit shit has sorted itself out. Argh. I mentioned Brexit someone punch me in the face. Seriously, I’m a huge fan of this song. I love her voice and am waging that a lot of Europe feel the same way about the EU and won’t penalise us with points. Maybe?! But I don’t care. It is one of the best songs we’ve ever entered.

Verdict: Anarchy in the UK.

19. CYPRUS – Hovig – Gravity
Great hook on this one. Hammers home the chorus a lot which is always a winner in my book. You’ve got three minutes – milk it my boy. The only thing that alarmed me was thinking that if Peter Andre ever spunked his mess up Olly Murs’ fallopian tubes then the resulting offspring would look like Hovig.

Verdict: Again, there is no way this will win but I am a huge fan of it.

20. ROMANIA – Ilinca feat. Alex Florea – Yodel It!
OH YES. THIS IS THE EUROVISION YOU WANTED. It’s a shame the singer has got rid of his cornrows and now looks like a hipster barista. He looks like he could be working as a barista in a artisan coffee shop. I guess after Saturday he will be. Still, watching him rapping while a short-skirted dirty blonde does ridiculous/fantastic yodelling as the chorus is just perfect. Turn it up loud and cheer for Romania to win. Then put your head in your hands and wonder why this is your Saturday night. You fucking loser.

Verdict: You know when I said Cyprus may do well? They are boned because this comes after it.

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21. GERMANY – Levina – Perfect Life
She’s really taken that asymmetrical haircut to the limit. Looks like Kristen Stewart dressed as Worzel Gummidge (RIP). Again, going for that synth ballad and it’s nice enough.

Verdict: Mid – bottom table.

22. UKRAINE – O.Torvald – Time
Post-apocalyptic fun times. Cool for Ukraine to just throw in a solid rock song cos they knew they were in the final regardless. Not sure what the giant head is about.
That last minute though! It goes completely rifftastic. Haha, it’s great to see a country honestly not give a toss. Great song, poor ending.

Verdict: The only rock song in the entire competition? Some countries will unload their full 12 points onto this bitch and everyone else will avoid it completely.

23. BELGIUM – Blanche – City Lights
Every year I listen to Belgium’s entries and every year I like them and they never win. This year however I dislike their song. It’s a low beat slice of electronic but with ever-so-slightly annoying drumming and a wondrously pathetic vocal. It’s like watching someone try to blow up a balloon when they don’t have any lungs – utterly hopeless.

Watch her face – she looks so terrified and is all over the place on performance. I can’t believe she got through to the final. Maybe voters will mistake her fear for being solid and stable? It’s worked for Theresa May.

Verdict: The sort of laidback emotionless slop you’d play over the video footage of Martin Shkreli gassing himself with exhaust fumes in his garage.

24. SWEDEN – Robin Bengtsson – I Can’t Go On
At first I was a little disappointed by this entry but I have found myself singing it a lot. Perhaps it’s because the words “I Just Love Dongs” fit so perfectly over the chorus. It’s not as memorable as their usual offerings and it suffers from a robotic facial performance by a beige mannequin in a crap suit. I love how they are on treadmills though and there is some innovative choreography but the chorus just never pops – probably needs another melody over the final chorus to give it a kick. That said, 3rd last and after the car crash of Belgium. An each way bet on this one is likely to reap rewards – but I could say that for 2018 and 2019 for Sweden.

Verdict: Poppy banger sung by a Robin Thicke cyborg sex doll clone.

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25. BULGARIA – Kristian Kostov – Beautiful Mess
The absolute favourite from Semi-Final 2 and a great placing of second last in the final won’t harm its chances. Compared to all the silliness we’ve seen today this one is more laid back and, while a little pretentious, it is still heartfelt and serious. I imagine it will do very well.

Verdict: Top 5

26. FRANCE – Alma – Requiem
First of all, thank you for not voting in Le Pen. Here, have some sympathy points because this song you’ve entered sounds like sitting on the kerb watching a broken Renault Clio crawl past.

Verdict: Not a chance. A damp squib to end on.

SUMMARY

I’m pretty sure the betting markets have it right I just seriously hope Portugal don’t win. I’m an Anyone But Portugal kinda guy. Therefore I’ve done what I want to happen – that clearly won’t – and what is likely to happen below:

What I Want To Happen

20170513_093013

What Is Likely To Happen

20170513_090422

Eurovision Semi-Final 2: THE END OF YOUR SEMI FOREVER

11 May

I don’t know about you but I think I like Semi Final 2 more than 1. Sure there are still far too many singers on their own but overall I prefer the songs.

As a quick recap here are some thoughts on each country to skip read while you watch tonight. As always, I am wrong about everything.

SERBIA – Their decision to stage an upbeat pop song as a woman on her own is fundamentally flawed. I’m pretty confident that it will qualify, of course, but I just wish there were dancers. Or you know, a band pretending to play. I also think they hold back on the chorus so it’s not quite as banging as it could be.
Qualify? YES

AUSTRIA – The most optimistic of the ballads. Distinctly middle of the road. Again, dressed in white but performing in front of a giant moon. Which is also the symbol of Islam and gives the song a confused meaning.
QUALIFY? NO

MACEDONIA – First of all – PRETTY. Second of all – WHERE ARE YOUR DANCERS? I mean, again it’s her alone on the stage and considering there are SO many backing vocals on the song it just looks silly.
Qualify? YES

MALTA – A really dreadful ballad performed by Michelle Visage after a stroke.
Qualify? NO

ROMANIA – Peak Eurovision. So terrible and so perfect at the same time. Amazed to see the guy has ditched his cornrows and gone for the full hipster look. He looks like he could be working as a barista in a artisan coffee shop. After Saturday he will be.
Qualify? YES

NETHERLANDS – I dislike all three piece girl bands so not a fan of this either. However, this will do well. It is well staged and the song is fine. If this came before Romania I’d expect it to win the Semi Final as I have no respect for humanity. But after Romania… gonna go out on a limb and say it won’t qualify
Qualify? NO

HUNGARY – My favourite song from Semi Final 2. Just a shame he’s forgotten the words and just making funny noises.
Qualify? YES

DENMARK – After the lofi approach of Hungary the Danes go full dramaqueen. Pretty forgettable song but she gives her fucking all, throwing herself around and shrieking those notes like a deranged koala. I hate every second it’s on.
Qualify? YES

IRELAND – Nice to see Ireland enter a trans entry this year.
Qualify? NO

SAN FUCKING MARINO – You can get 10-1 for this to even qualify for the final. It isn’t that bad. It’s also a disco duet. Pathetic stage show, everything is wrong with it. I’m going to be utterly wrong and say this will qualify as it comes after Ireland.
Qualify? YES

CROATIA – Just dreadful. Operatics from Dino from Fear Factory.
Qualify? NO

NORWAY – Another personal favourite. No idea why it’s in Eurovision though.
Qualify? YES

SWITZERLAND – Looking like a sexier version of Belle from Beauty & The Beast this does everything it can to be as pleasant and inoffensive as possible.
Qualify? NO

BELARUS – Actually just the music from The Lion King
Qualify? YES

BULGARIA – A decent but dark ballad. Seems to be the favourite. Not as good as it thinks it is.
Qualify? YES

LITHUANIA – Only communists or gremlins like this.
Qualify? NO

ESTONIA – Looks like if the hosts for The Price Is Right sang a song. Tragic.
Qualify? NOT A CHANCE IN HELL

ISRAEL – Energetic with a hot singer, great voice and party tune. Ends the semi final – blatantly gonna be in the final.
Qualify? YES

SUMMARYsemifinal2

Eurovision – Kyiv, Ukraine 2017

28 Apr

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A lot has changed since last year’s Eurovision: The UK decided to firmly flush itself down the toilet, Donald Trump promoted himself from useless hairless cumrag to powerful useless hairless cumrag and, generally, things are getting worse. In fact the only thing that’s the same is that Russia is the worst place in the world.

So then onto Eurovision 2017. As always this is my first listen to each of the songs. Because the official CD wasn’t out yet when I started writing, though, this time I’ve had to use the Eurovision playlist on YouTube, which means I’ve seen a bit more than I usually do. It also means I’ve probably been influenced a little by the video and performance – I’m looking at you Montenegro and Moldova. You sexy bastards.

SEMI-FINAL 1 – Tuesday May 9th

1. SWEDEN – Robin Bengtsson – I Can’t Go On
Considering Sweden still seem to write most of the music in the charts I am surprised with this entry. Nothing as memorable as their usual offerings and it suffers from a lacklustre performance by a beige mannequin in a crap suit. In the Swedish finals I loved how they were all on treadmills – some innovative choreography – assume they will do that in the final too. But the chorus just never pops – probably needs another melody over the final chorus to give it a kick but it’s top 10 kinda stuff still.

Verdict: Poppy banger sung by a Robin Thicke cyborg sex doll clone.

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Look at his motherfreaking EYES

Final: Yes

2. GEORGIA – Tamara Gachechiladze – Keep The Faith
So this one is a song. Helpfully it is called Keep The Faith because aside from a dig at Muslims wearing veils those are the only lyrics. I think the structure is verse-chorus-then chorus to infinity. Although that may be because my brain shut down temporarily to stop me from falling into a boredom coma. There are a lot of problems with the vocal work which does not sit on the song at all. Maybe it will work live, but the balance of her Off-Broadway theatrical vocal versus the syrupy strings just clogs the whole song up like fatty deposits in your arteries before your surprise heart attack.

Verdict: Bland Aid.
Final: No

3. AUSTRALIA – Isaiah – Don’t Come Easy
Obv jokes first: No, I “don’t come easy” when you have awful eyebrows and a shit haircut like that pal. Another ballad but this time it has a very nice arrangement that includes a rather lovely spin on the orchestral hit effect. Builds nicely and doesn’t do anything over the top or pretentious.

Verdict: I just spent two weeks in Australia and it was a much better country than the UK so I’m down for this one.
Final: Yes

4. ALBANIA – Lindita – World
Ah. Someone is kidding me on. Albania isn’t even a country so it can’t even be in this competition.

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See? Albania does not exist.

Verdict: Not a real country so disqualified.
Final: No

5. BELGIUM – Blanche – City Lights
Every year I listen to Belgium’s entries and every year I like them and they never win. This year however I dislike their song. It’s a low beat slice of electronic but with ever-so-slightly annoying drumming and a wondrously pathetic vocal. It’s like watching someone try to blow up a balloon when they don’t have any lungs – utterly hopeless.

Verdict: The sort of laidback emotionless slop you’d play over the video footage of Martin Shkreli gassing himself with exhaust fumes in his garage.
Final: No

6. MONTENEGRO – Slavko Kalezić – Space
YES. This is the kind of delicious homosexual banger I dream of. It’s all shit metaphors for spunking your load everywhere. Crappy brass and funk guitar. Against all these downtempo tracks this one really jumps out. Thank god for the gays. Forget all this politics and horrible shit going on – just bone the fuck out of each other. Love it.

Verdict: If you don’t like it you’re a homophobe who drinks wee-wee cocktails.
Final: Yes

7. FINLAND – Norma John – Blackbird
Blackbird? More like Brown Turd.

Verdict: No.
Final: No

8. AZERBAIJAN – Dihaj – Skeletons
From the start this one shows a lot of promise. It’s a bit of a nothing verse with a powerhouse chorus. Video is very poor and doesn’t manage to raise any emotions so they’ll need to work on that for the show but I’ve got a good feeling on this one. A lot of nice layering of cool electronic sounds in the background too.

Verdict: A definite contender.
Final: Yes

9. PORTUGAL – Salvador Sobral – Amar pelos dois
Bit harsh of Portugal to enter some homeless dude with Tourette’s. Gave me a right laugh though with his stupid wispy beardy face. Hope he gets a new cardboard box for a home after this.

Verdict: It’s very lovely but I just don’t like and want it to be punished by a 1,000-year nuclear winter.
Final: Yes because it’s “different”

10. GREECE – Demy – This Is Love
Another ballad and this one sounds like it could have been a previous entry from the last 20 years. When it turns into a banger I’m not 100% convinced. It just sounds SO Eurovision – like filling in a paint-by-numbers and failing to feign surprise at the result. And yes, that is me saying this one is rubbish because it sounds too Eurovision and saying Portugal is rubbish because it’s not Eurovision enough. Go eat a bowl of chewy foreskins.

Verdict: SAME.
Final: Yes

11. POLAND – Kasia Moś – Flashlight
Seriously there is a lot of dirge in the first semi-final. I know Eurovision is often formulaic but how many of these songs spend the first minute whimpering then the second minute beefing things up? Unfortunately the second minute of this just sounds like an army marching in jackboots all over her nice song. The video is a poor show too. It feels like someone just barged in on her singing in the shower. That said, the finale has a full string section bashing away with echoes of Puff Daddy’s Come With Me, so there’s that.

Verdict: A few points for effort but not nearly exciting enough.
Final: Yes

12. MOLDOVA – SunStroke Project – Hey Mamma!
It’s that Ed Sheeran Shape Of You xylophone sound. In the video he often looks like a balding James McAvoy which is a little distracting. Oh wait. Did I say his looks were distracting? I mean that ridiculous saxophone is! Haha, that is just incredible cheese. The BEST type of cheese. You’ll love this. Unless you’re a proper fan of Eurovision or something.

Verdict: Sure, it’s dreadful. But a lot of fun. And I’m in a forgiving mood today. Top marks.
Final: OF FUCKING COURSE NOT

13. ICELAND – Svala – Paper
A lovely arrangement of beats, clunks and clanks with a retro chorus. Full of deep synths. It’s got that Robyn feel and definitely could be a grower. Lots of neon and 80s stylings. This is the kind of music I listen to so lovely to see it entered into Eurovision.

Verdict: I would need to see how this is staged but this will get to the final. I like it and I think many others will too.
Final: Yes

14. CZECH REPUBLIC – Martina Bárta – My Turn
*cuts off lips with scissors before attempting to blow the world’s bloodiest raspberry*

Verdict: Absolute rubbish.
Final: No

15. CYPRUS – Hovig – Gravity
Great hook on this one. Hammers home the chorus a lot which is always a winner in my book. You’ve got three minutes – milk it my boy. The only thing that alarmed me was thinking that if Peter Andre ever spunked his mess up Olly Murs’ fallopian tubes then the resulting offspring would look like Hovig.

Verdict: Again, there is no way this will win but I am a huge fan of it. I’m gonna cross my fingers and hope it does well.
Final: Yes

16. ARMENIA – Artsvik – Fly With Me
First you trick me with nonsense countries like Albania and now you try this? Nope. Not buying it. Armenia is not a real country either. You can’t trick me.

Verdict: The last thirty seconds sounds like someone sped up a Quentin Tarantino film.
Final: No

17. SLOVENIA – Omar Naber – On My Way
Did you ask for another boring ballad? Well you aren’t going to get it here. Starts slow then comes in strong with a massive chorus. The only distraction for me is a bleep that sounds like someone getting an error message on their computer – maybe the producer hates the song and was trying to delete it?

Verdict: Strong throughout and could be the powerhouse song of the finals.
Final: Yes

18. LATVIA – Triana Park – Line
Hmm. It’s just a standard dance song with all the cheesy and necessary synth arpeggiators doing what you’ve heard synth arpeggiators do a thousand times before. While it’s absolutely fine, I just don’t hear a strong enough vocal to win Eurovision. She basically just repeats the same line over and over and then it just fades out. No crescendo or anything. Blatantly an edit of a five minute long version. That drummer is so out of time in the video too – whoever edited it was clearly blind.

Verdict: So pointless the only benefit in its existance is knowing it will be a Pointless answer one day
Final: No

SEMI-FINAL 2 – 11th May

1. SERBIA – Tijana Bogićević – In Too Deep
Oh my. This isn’t really my type of song but it’s very nicely done. A lovely hook, strong vocals, loads going on with lots of changes and a middle section that absolutely sparkles. Genuinely whaps out its gigantic penis and slaps the other entries in the face. Minor criticism is that the vocals are way too loud on the video mix but that won’t be a problem by finals time.

Verdict: I think this could win.
Final: Oh yes.

2. AUSTRIA – Nathan Trent – Running On Air
Sure, okay. It’s a bit different to the others but I can’t hear anything other than a poor boyband b-side from the 1990s. Just a jangly guitar and overly cheery vocals. For someone as hateful as myself positivity triggers me and I am offended.

Verdict: Looks like a grown up Billy Elliot without the success.
Final: Nah

3. RUSSIA – Yulia Samoylova – Flame Is Burning
Flame is burning? Don’t you mean democracy? Or maybe you mean gays in Chechen concentration camps are burning? Not as catchy I suppose.

Verdict: Guilty.
Final: Withdrawn

4. MACEDONIA – Jana Burčeska – Dance Alone
At the start I was already to praise it cos I am down with these funky songs. But then the chorus happens and that’s the real problem. The chorus just isn’t as good as the verse. Not very catchy and just a bit of a “oh well”.

Hmm. My mind just wandered there for a bit while it was on. I was thinking of other stuff. Yeah, I don’t think this is very good at all.

Verdict: It just blends into the background. Minimal impact. Zero chance.
Final: No

5. MALTA – Claudia Faniello – Breathlessly
If I look up the odds and this one is in the top 10 I will be very disappointed in the world. Oh wait, I am disappointed in the world. It’s a total hodgepodge of Meat Loaf ballad cliches that just doesn’t commit itself. It needs a soft rock guitar solo over the end but instead it just goes out with a whimper.

Verdict: Emptier than Mick Jagger’s balls after a world tour.
Final: Yes because you people are dreadful

6. ROMANIA – Ilinca feat. Alex Florea – Yodel It!
OH YES. THIS IS THE EUROVISION YOU WANTED. A white guy with cornrows rapping while a short-skirted dirty blonde does ridiculous/fantastic/horrendous yodelling. Her vocals in parts are miles away from notes that you would consider tuneful and I can only hope it’s as disastrous as this in the semi-finals and hopefully the final.

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Verdict: The culmination of middle-aged people sitting around nodding murmuring “yes, this is what is cool. We shall dominate them with this song”.
Final: I can only dream.

7. NETHERLANDS – O’G3NE – Lights And Shadows
Holland always do well and coming after the previous skidmark of a song should help it out a lot. It even features a silly guitar solo and ticks all the tropes required – key changes, acapella sections, etc.

Verdict: The video is a crushing bore so with a real stage presence this could do well. I would like a few more non-ballads though.
Final: Yes

8. HUNGARY – Joci Pápai – Origo
Apart from it sounding like he doesn’t know the words and is just making it up on the spot this one is lovely. Some great hooks and the video is very smart. The irony being that if I want to sing along with the very nice chorus I can’t and I have to make them up as I don’t speak foreign.

Verdict: Surprising even me, this is my favourite one. I imagine I may wake up tomorrow and hate it but right now, after listening to all this shit, I love it.
Final: Yes

9. DENMARK – Anja Nissen – Where I Am
Ah, back to sewage sludge. Achieves nothing. Lots of loud operatic vocals if you like that sort of thing. I am not an imbecile so of course I don’t. The kind of music people who have the worst taste in music listen to.

Verdict: Not even remotely worth acknowledging.
Final: No

10. IRELAND – Brendan Murray – Dying To Try
This is the same song as Denmark, Netherlands etc., just with different lyrics.

Verdict: Torturous.
Final: Not a fucking chance

11. SAN MARINO – Valentina Monetta & Jimmie Wilson – Spirit Of The Night
If you put together an EP of all the songs Valentina Monetta has sung at Eurovision (this is her fourth) you would have a bunch of loser songs. This has a bit more going for it. It being a duet at least makes it different and it’s got a funky disco vibe and a fun squelchy bass. There is a pointless key change that I really could have done without and an acappella bit that the Netherlands did better but the main issue is that it just doesn’t pound hard enough.

Verdict: Just too tepid.
Final: A hesitant yes.

12. CROATIA – Jacques Houdek – My Friend
Spoken word klaxon! And then you see his face and he looks like if you buzzcut your scrotum then tasered your wilted member. Then Pavarotti turns up to do some opera singing. Croatia treating the competition like it’s the goddamn UN and they’re fundraising for something. I guess Ukraine did that last year and it worked.

Verdict: There isn’t actually a song here.
Final: Please god no.

13. NORWAY – JOWST feat. Aleksander Walmann – Grab The Moment
They seem to have MF DOOM on the decks. Wait…three sets of decks? What madness is this? A lovely sidechain synth and fun sampling work. The middle is especially good and takes us into a very catchy finale. I just wish the singer had a bit more going on. He’s basically a chunk of wood wearing a pleasant hat.

Verdict: If I heard this on the radio I’d really like this so I think this one will do well. I love the light-up Friday The 13th masks too.
Final: Yes

14. SWITZERLAND – Timebelle – Apollo
While the video seems to be set at Dignitas it’s a shame the song wasn’t sent there before being released.

Verdict: I may change my opinion on this one. By the end I was kinda into the chorus.
Final: Yes No

15. BELARUS – NAVI – Story Of My Life
You can’t be called Navi. It should just be this for 3 minutes. The end is absolutely the worst piece of music I have heard since 1972 and I wasn’t even born then.

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Verdict: If Mumford & Sons and The Corrs ever wound up at a sex orgy where everyone took ketamine instead of Viagra so they were weak and flaccid this would be the song they wrote.
Final: Yes because you hate all that is good in the world

16. BULGARIA – Kristian Kostov – Beautiful Mess
Sorry folks. I have been influenced by the video. I found it really well shot and wonderfully visual and that got me into the song. I think on a stage this might be too dull but with the video it’s fantastic and while a little pretentious I am 100% okay with it.

Verdict: A triumph.
Final: Yes

17. LITHUANIA – Fusedmarc – Rain Of Revolution
Oh go and boil your arse. If Bulgaria is a beautiful mess then this is a not-been-to-the-toilet-all-day splattery mess. I assume the light show has some kind of subliminal message that convinced easily-led fools to vote for it. There is an outside chance that this one is actually good but her Gremlin-like gurning and hair-on-fire-esque flailing is too distracting.

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Spot the difference. You can’t. There are none.

Verdict: Watery arse biscuits.
Final: Yes

18. ESTONIA – Koit Toome & Laura – Verona
Here we are folks. The middle of the road song. Not a snippet of a chance of winning. Doubt it will qualify. The way he looks at the floor at the end of each line really accentuates how BORING the song is when the words stop for a few bars as nothing is going on. It gets going a little but there really isn’t much here.

Verdict: PUDGY FACE.
Final: No

19. ISRAEL – Imri Ziv – I Feel Alive
Oh. This is probably the winner. An absolute crowd pleaser of a song that is thoroughly enjoyable. Filled with the right amount of cheese and party-going joy that is infectious. Can’t see this not doing extremely well.

Verdict: Would.
Final: And win I’d say.

FINALISTS

FRANCE – Alma – Requiem
Haven’t they entered this before? Sounds like sitting on the kerb watching a broken Renault Clio crawl past.

Verdict: Full review pending election results.

GERMANY – Levina – Perfect Life
She’s really taken that asymmetrical haircut to the limit. Looks like Kristen Stewart dressed as Worzel Gummidge. Still, I’m sure us lesbians will enjoy it. Again, going for that synth ballad and it’s nice enough.

Verdict: Not a contender.

ITALY – Francesco Gabbani – Occidentali’s Karma
Oh great. An Italian Nickelback. Ah, that’s not fair. They are having fun and the song is feel-good with the correct dosage of silliness. Really lovely arrangement throughout and that OMMM ending makes me think of Red Dwarf’s Smeg and the Heads so full marks there.

Verdict: This will probably win.

SPAIN – Manel Navarro – Do It For Your Lover

OH, GO GOBBLE YOUR MOTHER’S GONADS

UKRAINE – O.Torvald – Time
Post-apocalyptic fun times. Cool for Ukraine to just throw in a solid rock song cos they knew they were in the final regardless. Love how they have a countdown carved into their chests. Is that how long they have before Russia invades?

That last minute though! It goes completely rifftastic. Haha, it’s great to see a country honestly not give a fuck. Great song, poor ending.

Verdict: The only rock song in the entire competition? Some countries will unload their full 12 points onto this bitch.

UNITED KINGDOM – Lucie Jones – Never Give Up On You
Gah, even though I live in hope that we can enter a Scottish entry in the future when all this EU/Brexit shit has sorted itself out, I’m a huge fan of this song. I love her voice and am fully prepared for it to get no points as penalty for political retribution. But I don’t care. It is one of the best songs we’ve ever entered.

Verdict: Anarchy in the UK.

SUMMARY

And there we go – another year’s Eurovision songs professionally reviewed and not half-arsed at all. I will now look at the odds and betting to see how thoroughly wrong I am compared to the market and then still put all my money on Israel.

Laterz.