Blog complete – if you’re reading this there’s no need to hit ‘refresh’ now.
21:58 All complete – my top 3
I’m going to stop updating this post now and watch the voting. I’ve not predicted the winner accurately for many years; my last success was Denmark’s Wings of Love
in 2000 (I wasn’t blogging back then so you’ll have to take my word for it!) but at least my top few have never got ‘null points’.
So I’m going to commit to a top 3, and will leave this post up in its unedited form, so that my utter wrong-ness can be preserved for posterity.
- Iceland – Coming Home
- Estonia – Rockefeller Street
- Denmark – New Tomorrow
21:53 Georgia – One More Day
The UK’s commentator, Graham Norton, introduced this one by saying; “You know that phrase ‘save the best till last’? Well it doesn’t apply here.” I have to agree. Belting/rocking female vocalist is going for it, but the song is a bit of a rock/rap mess. The ‘Madchester’ bass/drum part doesn’t add anything – in fact it clutters the chorus, especially with the apocalyptic Evanescence-style textures. Rap call-and-response section was ridiculous. Cannot possibly win.
21:49 Serbia – Caroban
A bit confused with its timeline references, this one. The costumes are c.1968; the snare drum part is 1962; the bassline 1971; the chord changes and brass parts are from 1978. Good chorus melody – can’t think what those ‘pushed’ phrases at the end remind me of… Stevie Wonder perhaps…? Too pastiche-y – I think the voters will see through this.
21:45 Ukraine – Angel
C minor appears to be the most popular key tonight. I’ve counted at least four so far. E major is the least popular, with only one. Not enough peaks and troughs in this one, melodically, harmonically or dynamically – sounds like it’s going everywhere in third gear. The singer is doing a womanful job of selling it, but I’m not finding the song to be particularly exciting or moving.
21:41 Spain – Que Me Quiten Lo Bailao
Fantastically cheerful song, with a wonderfully catchy chorus melody. Really crowd-pleasing in the room, by the sound of it. The semitone key change was, in this case, absolutely necessary.
21:37 Iceland – Coming Home
Singalong heaven, this one. Brass riffs a bit unnecessary (and take it unfairly into a non-ironic easy listening sound). Classic root-fifth chorus bassline (think Benny bouncing on the piano stool on the outro of ‘Chiquitita’). It’s very dated (in the 1960s Eurovision sense) and probably the least cool one so far, but I’m afraid I’m in love with this chorus.
21:32 Slovenia – No One
Really enjoying this harmonically – lots of meaty stuff here, including some chromatic secondary dominant lifts. The sung melody is right over the ‘break’ in the singer’s voice, and for me the performance only really settles when she’s in ‘rock belter’ mode. Sounds great when she’s in this zone, though. Melody is slightly too dirge-y perhaps, which is a shame because there’s some really gorgeous ear-fodder here.
21:28 Azerbaijan – Running Scared
Harmonically annoying loopingness again. Verse is C-G-Am; chorus is C-G-Am-F. It’s a good title though and a strong chorus hook, although again having a chorus/title phrase that starts on the third beat of the bar (well, just before) weakens the impact for me.
21:23 Austria – The Secret is Love
Standard power ballad by numbers. I like the ABBA-esque Gb to Ab/Gb (Gb root bass pedal note) in the chorus – in fact a lot of the chord changes in this are really cool. Harmonically very lovely to listen to and a really lovely performance, but I wonder if this song (which could just as easily have been written in the 1970s) is a bit too dated.
21:19 Romania – Change
Well, this is cheerful (although I don’t understand why so many people write descending chord sequences over uplifting lyrics…). Sounds rather 1980s/Wham, or even 1970s/Drifters. Good chorus that doesn’t quite deliver on its promise in the last phrase, perhaps.
21: 16 Germany – Taken By A Stranger
Understated pulsing build in C minor. They can’t keep this going throughout, surely? Feel like I’m waiting for a dynamic lift here, but we’re 2 mins in and nothing yet. There’s some nice interplay between Cm and C major. This is pretty dark for Eurovision though, even if she is already an established star in Europe.
21:12 Moldova – So Lucky
Pointy hats and stompy trumpeting madness. Gotta love the loony ones, but this is a level of insane that might test any audiences sense of musical universality. If there was a prize for enthusiasm in a lead vocal they might be in with a… shout.
21:07 United Kingdom – I Can
Blue sing the UK’s entry. Four chord loop songs always have to work hard not to annoy me (this one is the much-loved vi-IV-I-V version – Gm-Eb-Bb-F). Chorus isn’t bad melodically but not quite strong enough to hold its head up with some of the other strong hooks IMO.
21:06 update/errata from Marc
Apparently (according to Marc Mozart of Mozart and Friends
) the Irish Song is by British writer Dan Priddy who wrote it with Danish production team D-Kay.
21:03 Switzerland – In Love For a While
Lovely chorus melodic hook on ukulele forms the intro. The chorus melody is really memorable, but starts on the third beat of the bar, making it sound a bit less assertive than it might. But that ascending major-pentatonic chorus melody (A B C# E C# B A) might just carry it.
20:57 Italy – Madness of Love
Nice! Trad New Orleans-ish jazzy bar band accompaniment and a really beautiful chorus melody. There’s a fun major-key truck driver’s gear change
at the start of the chorus, followed by a nice chromatic descent that I really like. The only bit that doesn’t quite work for me is the big dynamic lift at the end of the chorus.
A very brave bit of songwriting that is almost certainly doomed.
20:54 France – Sognu
Bolero backing track with lovely operatic-ish tenor atop. You have to admire France for singing in their native tongue every year (I remember a time when this was much more common for other countries too). The song form is interesting too. I haven’t time to wind back and analyse it fully, but it sounds like some sort of extended AABA form to me – which would be an unusual winner (unprecedented? anyone?). Don’t think it’ll win though.
20:50 Russia – Get You
If Def Leppard had played the Ibiza clubs in 1993 it might have sounded like this. For some reason the pre-chorus makes me think of Nik Kershaw. Really odd rubato intro and unmemorable verse. The chorus is really strong though.
20:46 Greece – Watch My Dance
Hating this with a passion. Terrible growly spoken verse, and then an oddly modal chorus melody (which is at least authentic-sounding, to my ears anyway). It does some interesting things with timing & phrasing. Apparently ‘Stereo Mike’ MC in this is a Commercial Music lecturer at Westminster University. There are real bouzoukis in there, but I’m afraid I didn’t get this at all (it’s all Greek to me).
20:41 Estonia – Rockefeller Street
Really appealing verse and pre-chorus, and the chorus isn’t half bad either. Nice quirky/original title by Eurovision standards. What’s this – we’re now into a lo-fi swing-groove breakdown. Nice relative major/minor playfulness – I like the A# chord that starts the resolution at the end of the chorus.
20:37 Sweden – Popular
I always love to hear what the Swedes are going to produce – but that’s just a waiting-for-the-next-ABBA thing on my part. Sadly, this isn’t it. REALLY weird key change into the chorus – the verse sounds like a completely different song. Nice strong hook, but a lyric that says “I will be popular” in the chorus is tempting fate, surely?
20:34 Ireland – Lipstick
It’s Jedward. The song is by some Swedish songwriters, apparently. Is that even allowed? Apparently so. Chorus is punchy and strong and the overall feel is a sort of in-yer-face Tainted Love. The boys are putting in a pretty decent performance, actually – better vocals than I expected.
20:29 Hungary – What About My Dreams?
Full-on disco anthem. Slightly wobbly vocal in places, but some powerful high notes – she has that overblown/sharp sound from poor monitoring, perhaps. A really great pop chorus – lots of rhetorical delivery in the lyric. I like the way the chorus has two parts, both equally catchy. The verse is weaker than the chorus – doesn’t sound as well-crafted. But that chorus might make it a high scorer.
20:26 Lithuania – C’est Ma Vie
Unusually jazzy chords and musical theatre-style opening – Sondheim meets ABBA. Ouch – she’s missed a high one. Back on track now. She’s signing the lyric – I’ve not seen this before. The verse is a really interesting melody – perhaps too interesting to win, but I really like it. Massive 80s snare drum once per bar. Chorus is a big dynamic lift but I find the melody less pleasing than the verse.
20:21 Denmark – New Tomorrow
This is more like it. A BIG BIG chorus – nice collision of classic Eurovision and guitar-rock anthem presentation. The room is jumping to this one. Favourite so far.
20:18 Bosnia & Herzegovina – Love In Rewind
Oompah folky strumming in Those Were The Days style. Nice chorus hook, but too understated I think. Some old-school key changes. Far too many pyros for a song like this!
20:15 Finland – Da Da Dam
It’s Aled Jones singing an eco anthem. The title hook is a bit throwaway and the lyric is very worthy – too much for my tastes but a new-ish angle for Eurovision I think. A fine vocal. Melody is a bit too static and the chorus rather unmemorable.