It’s that time of year again! Eurovision Song Contest 2018 is only a week away, and for all of you Euro-faithful, Kori and Dan have put together a preview week to review every song! Today is covering the Big Five and Portugal (remember, the Big Five and the previous year’s winner automatically advance to the Grand Final), so settle in, enjoy some music, and let us know what you think in the comments below! Spoilers: Kori and Dan have wildly differing opinions this year.
Kori: Technically, politics aren’t supposed to be allowed in Eurovision, but with current events, the EBU has loosened up provided the commentary is “in general”. Italy leads the charge with an emotional commentary on the victims of war and it’s one of the more weighty entries this year. Personally, I’m not super into Meta and Moro’s voices, and I preferred last year’s bop of a number ruminating on the Western culture of rampant, empty consumerism, but this should still perform well.
Dan: Commentary based songs are rough. On the one hand, music is one of the best ways to make a statement on the world around you especially when that statement is going to be on a massive stage. But on the other hand, the musician must walk a fine line between musical quality and effective commentary. Sadly, Meta and Moro seemed to have fallen into the trap of so many socially conscious artists and sacrificed the song for the message. As they fight to cram all their words in with some sort of weird inartful spoken word/singing (there isn’t quite enough rhythm for it to be a rap), the backing music is left so simply loop. The anthemic ending bit is a hint at what this song really should have been. Instead, what could be a touching and beautiful song about war instead comes off as a monotonous and preachy bore.
Kori: You hear that sound? That’s the sound of me getting diabetes from this song. Hoping to rebound from a dismal showing last year, Spain borrowed a page from Portugal’s book and went back to basics, sending in an old school love ballad. And it’s so tooth-rottingly fluffy I’m getting cavities from it. Still, it can’t be worse than last year.
Dan: There are a lot of couples participating in the Eurovision Song Contest, but all of them were able to submit a song that wasn’t taken out of the margins of their high school notebook. This song is the equivalent of third wheeling a new couple, still in the baby-talk phase of their relationship, who won’t stop hugging and calling each other pet names while you wait behind them at McDonald’s. For god’s sakes Alfred, will you get your tongue out of her mouth and order your damn McNuggets?
Anyway, it’s not the best song and probably wouldn’t make the final if it weren’t from Spain. As is, it won’t be high on the final tally by any stretch of the imagination. And whatever you do, DON’T listen to it in English.
#3. United Kingdom
Kori: I’ve grown to love this entry based on SuRie and her quest to be the friendliest, warmest UK singer to ever enter the contest. A veteran of two Eurovision contests before (as a backing singer for Belgium), she’s seasoned and performs well live. The song is harmless fluff, but if it does well it will be down to SuRie’s charm and magnetic presence. Also, she probably has a lock on Ms./Mr. Congeniality this year. The way she stepped in to help France when their lead singer was ill and couldn’t sing at a pre-party show, on one day’s notice, definitely embodies the spirit of what Eurovision is supposed to be about.
Dan: I’m into SuRie’s performance just cause her voice is really unique among this year’s female vocalists. Most of the smoky-voiced songstresses went to ape Adele or Amy Winehouse, but SuRie is out here singing a pretty dope pop anthem. Combined with all of the graciousness she’s shown as a competitor and her Eurovision experience, expect Annie Lennox’s Clone to be a serious contender this year.
Kori: Like Italy, Madame Monsieur have a political entry this year as well. Inspired after watching a story of a refugee mother giving birth to her daughter in a boat at sea while fleeing violence from her home country, this duo have produced a distinctly French, very modern and moody number that resonates. I’d say they should score high, but France has a habit of inexplicably being screwed over in the voting (see 2013 and 2015.)
Dan: Behold: The FRENCHEST PEOPLE EVER. However, this song actually serves as a good counterpoint to Italy as, I think, it handles a political message much more effectively. It doesn’t go over the top with the imagery and it lets the song just be. There’s clear artistry to how Madame Monsieur balance a soft electronica backing with Emilie Satt’s soaring vocals. You could listen to this song unaware of the politics and still appreciate it as a song. Thanks to that it might have a good chance at success this year if it can overcome some historical anti-French bias.
Kori: So many people have said German Ed Sheeran, I’m not even going to try. “You Let Me Walk Alone” has notes from Germany’s last best-placing song from 2012 (Roman Lob’s “Standing Still”), but I can’t tell how the audience will receive this mid-tempo song about (presumably) fathers this year with all of the other options on the table.
Dan: It’s fitting that this guy came out of Germany’s version of The Voice because this song is straight out of a vocal competition final. Big vocals, bombastic piano, strategic voice breaks. It’s giving me Taylor Hicks PTSD. It’s not as good of a pop song as the competition, and it’s not anywhere close to the quality of the other male ballads submitted this year. It’s just another snoozer coasting in on “Big Five” status.
Kori: Portugal you tried. I’m sorry, but outside of Iceland, this is the biggest snoozer of the year for me. I was happy for Portugal to finally get a win last year, but I doubt that success is going to repeat in 2018. I’m sure it’s a nice song if you’re into this sort of thing, but I’ll just be trying to stay awake.
Dan: Where’s the rest of it? Portugal, you sent in half a song! Did the background music file get corrupted, so you had to have President De Sousa stand backstage and snap every few seconds? You know being the host doesn’t guarantee votes, right? You have to actually submit a full song. I’m giving you an incomplete for this assignment, please redo your work in time for next Eurovision.