Friday, 20 March 2015

Eurovision 2015 Preview: Part 2

Did you enjoy the preview of Semi Final 1? Good! Let's get going with Semi Final 2 - the video playlist is here.

Azerbaijan: Elnur Huseynov - Hour of the Wolf [solo male, mid tempo inspirational]
I don't have a clue. Elnur was once half of Elnur and Samir who did this wonderfully homoerotic angel/demon business in Belgrade 2008 and now he's just singing a really tedious inspirational anthem. I do not think that this year we'll get anything as fun as Day After Day.

Cyprus: John Karayannis - One Thing I Should Have Done [solo male, trad ballad]
When I had this Euro playlist on during the week, I did a literal pshaw at this pretty, heartfelt ballad. Now it's the end of the week and I've had a glass of wine, it's making me experience a couple of tender feelings. The bit where the music drops out entirely is the kind of gimmickry we can definitely approve of. It's very sweet.

Czech Republic: Marta Jandová & Václav Noid Bárta [M/F Duo, mid tempo inspirational]
I got nothing. You should all know how much I love a stupidly overdramatic boy/girl duet, but this one is stirring nothing.

Iceland: Maria Olafs - Unbroken [solo female, mid tempo inspirational]
Because I am a Eurovision hipster, I sat and watched the Icelandic national selection. It was wonderful. They had Icelandic bossa nova, chilly Icelandic electronica, a tiny cute Icelandic singer songwriter and a totally horrific light entertainment thing. This song didn't massively jump out at me, but I certainly preferred it in Icelandic, when it was called Litil Skref. It is alright, I suppose.

Ireland: Molly Sterling - Playing By Numbers [solo female, mid tempo pop]
This is another one that didn't make a massive impact on the first listen, but revealed itself to me in stages. Now I really like it, with it's world weary regretful sound and Molly's lovely voice.

Israel: Nadav Guedj - Golden Boy [solo male, mid tempo banger]
Once this one kicks in, it's really fun. It uses modern R&B cliches in quite an interesting way, so that it's like flicking rapidly between various commercial FM stations, and the 'before you leave, let me show you Tel Aviv' line is pretty silly.

Latvia: Aminata - Love Injected [solo female, modern ballad]
A bit of genius from Latvia here. She's a beautiful space babe, in a Tron world, singing a song that seems to have been beamed in from another galaxy on the sub-etha network. It's a bit like if you asked FKA Twigs to write a giant over-the-top torch song and then got her to do a bit of appropriate choreography too. This is awesome.

Lithuania: Monika Linkytė & Vaidas Baumila - This Time [M/F duo, mid tempo pop]
I love this.  It zings and pops and the singers have wonderful chemistry. It's the first time I've ever shipped Eurovision contestants. Just look at them. They're really enjoying themselves. I'll have my tinfoil hat on and my fingers in my ears if you try to tell me that Monika and Vaidas didn't fall a little bit in love during that song. This song also has a final chorus that is basically an open invitation for that sparkly pyro shower effect they use to signify that a Very Good Song has come to a climax.

Malta: Amber - Warrior [solo female, modern ballad]
Sadly not my favourite song called Warrior in the competition, but still totally listenable.

Montenegro: Knez - Adio [solo male, trad ballad]
I remain unstirred by Montenegro for the second year running. This is the country that sent the unstoppable party beat that was Igranka, guys. What's gone wrong?

Norway: Mørland & Debrah Scarlett - A Monster Like Me [M/F Duo, modern ballad]

An unfathomably grim goth ballad from the nation that sent adorable angst mountain Carl Espen last year. I really like it. It's like the breakout hit song from 'Ibsen! The Musical' and combines a pretty tune with unrelenting misery and lost love. 

Poland: Monika Kuszyńska - In The Name Of Love [solo female, mid tempo inspirational]
Lovely, but a bit on the boring side. Needs serious pyros on the middle 8.

Portugal: Leonor Andrade - Há um mar que nos separa [solo female, mid tempo pop]

Look, it's Portugal. It's about the sea and has duende but this one is a bit rocky and Leonor the singer looks terribly grumpy about the whole thing. For some reason the feathery frock made me think about Amandine Bourgeois and that is never a bad thing.

San Marino: Michele Perniola & Anita Simoncini - Chain of Lights [M/F duo, mid tempo inspirational]
It builds to something plinky plonky in a somewhat wonky manner. There's clearly more to it. For some reason the combination of the plinky plonk sound and the accordion is making me think of an old Genesis song? Anyway, I haven't got into this one yet. Time will tell.

Sweden: Måns Zelmerlöw - Heroes [solo male, mid tempo banger]
Well, I don't like the twangy countrified verses, but the chorus is clearly immense. The presentation is cool too - the bit where he twists the galaxy around is incredible. It's a precision tooled winner. Sweden must really fancy hosting again.

Switzerland: Mélanie René - Time to Shine [solo female, mid tempo banger]
I like this mainly because Melanie promises us 'No mucking around' in the chorus and the video is like something you'd make while engaging in a bit of 'mucking around' in the park with your mates. 

Slovenia: Maraaya - Here For You [solo female, mid tempo banger]
Another absolutely brilliant sophisticated bit of pop. Paloma Faith will kick herself when she hears this. The electric fiddle bit is cracking and having the LED-covered dancer do the fiddling motions is a splendid gimmick. I was singing this song in the lab most of the morning and I expect it to penetrate my soul and my playlists quite deeply. 

Well, that was quite a semi-final. If I had my way, we'd be off to Ljubljana or Vilinus or Tallinn next year. And by the time most of the normal people watch the contest, we'll have filtered out a lot of the really blah stuff. 

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