Sunday, February 25, 2024

Eurovision 2023 Editor Picks

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It’s that time of year again! Eurovision is next week so of course Kori, Dan, and Seher wanted to talk about their favorite songs. Now, if you haven’t followed along since last year and are wondering, “Wait, didn’t Ukraine win? Why is this being hosted in Liverpool?”, well.

The war of Russian aggression and subsequent invasion of Ukraine is still ongoing rendering it unsafe to have a large-scale event in the country (because Russia is currently shelling and/or bombing civilians indiscriminately), and an older hosting caveat was invoked that hadn’t been used in years. Since the United Kingdom placed second and was willing, they are instead hosting the contest and are also working in moments to highlight Ukraine as well, including adding a Ukrainian host, Julia Sanina, to the lineup.

This year we’re doing something a little different. Instead of each of us talking about our favorite songs, we’re listing all of them together since let’s be honest, we have the same ideas most of the time anyway.

SWEDEN

Seher: LOREEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s all that has to be said.

Kori: Queen. Absolute Queen. Loreen, the artist who smashed through and made everyone sit up and realize Eurovision could be taken seriously again in 2012 with “Euphoria” makes her return to the contest with “Tattoo”. She had previously competed to return to the contest in 2017 with her very pointed song, “Statements”, which the world was not ready for. (Calling out Western leaders via song for making statements about the atrocities being committed in Syria while not really doing anything to help and or stop it might have also played into it.)

This year, she broke through with an absolutely smashing stage performance also honoring her Amazigh heritage proving that no matter what song you give her, Loreen will elevate the shit out of it with her vocals and live performance. Am I absolutely feral over this song and her stage show? YES. Now comes the real question.

Only one artist in the history of the contest has ever won twice, and that was Ireland’s Johnny Logan in 1980 and 1984. That’s right, it’s been nearly 40 years. If anyone was going to break that ceiling, surely it must be Loreen. Here’s hoping Liverpool telling her she had to bring a smaller panini press staging won’t hurt her overall performance.

Dan: The vocals are incredibly impressive but it kind of put me to sleep. Took two minutes to really pick up and by then it was almost done. Feels like a ballad with just enough edginess to trick you into feeling like it’s something else.

AUSTRIA

Seher: Who would have thought a song about Edgar Allan Poe would be so entertaining? I guess if I had a ghost in my body I’d sing too. I added it to my Liked Songs playlist on Spotify that’s how much I love it.

Kori: This is weird and fun as hell while also being a killer bop. Well done, Austria! (Is anyone else getting tickled at the thought of Edgar Allan Poe seeing this and reacting with utter bewilderment?)

Dan: As someone with two English degrees I think I kind of have to love this song. Big “Fuck, Me Ray Bradbury” energy and I’m here for it.

FINLAND

Kori: Oh, Finland. I love you and the fact that no matter what music is trending you’re going to march to the beat of your own drum and send whatever you want instead. This song just also happens to be high-key fun and entertaining, and might just net them their highest ranking in years.

Dan: “I want Rammstein” Finland: “We have Rammstein at home.” Definitely feels like an act aiming as much to take the meme crown as it is aiming to win overall. It’s a bit tonally inconsistent but I bet the stage show will rock.

NORWAY

Seher: Hell yah queen of kings! I feel like I could fight a man after listening to this.

Kori: For a large part of the national finals season, this was at the top of my list for favorite song until Loreen happened. It’s fun, catchy as all hell with a killer beat, and should easily sail Norway through to the Finals.

Dan: Seher has enough reasons to fight me I hope this doesn’t make it worse. It’s giving techno-Warrior Nun realness, and I love the way that beat drives things along.

Seher (again): Excuse me Dan, techno-Warrior Nun realness sounds pretty dang great!

UNITED KINGDOM

Seher: Love a bop about being mad about an ex. This is so catchy! “Instead I wrote a song!” Full disclosure, I don’t even go here regularly. Kori and Dan talk about ESC and then I get yoinked along for the ride and I don’t think I’ve ever cared about a song from the UK? What a surprise when I immediately started dancing along to this one.

Kori: Well, I never actually saw myself putting a song from the United Kingdom in my top five, but here we are. The UK’s attempts in the past decade or so have been, er, mixed, to say the least. It wasn’t until last year that they broke through consistently ranking nearly dead last on the scoreboards, and this year they actually came out with a very modern, fun, pop song. And it certainly doesn’t hurt that Mae Muller, unlike some previous artists, seems absolutely thrilled to be competing at the contest.

Dan: Another one that’s a bit of an electronic snorer, I can’t get over the process layers done over her voice. It’s almost charmingly retro in that way, like a Circus-era Britney. Like Kori said it’s nice to see the UK try for once, especially if they’re finally giving representation to the chavs on a world stage.

UKRAINE

Seher: Love the lyrics to this and Kehinde’s voice is my fav of the entire group this year! The video is also very vibes.

Dan: It’s like if Imagine Dragons was good.

Seher (again): I think Dan exists to try my patience…

Kori: In what world is this anything like Imagine Dragons? Anyways, “Heart of Steel” is very contemporary and they’ve smashed every live performance I’ve seen.

AUSTRALIA

Seher: Okay I didn’t think I was going to like this at first but as the song progresses, it’s definitely memorable. Considering I forget ESC songs immediately after listening to them…this is a compliment.

Dan: As a bisexual guy I’ve heard this a lot from guys who look just like that. I love any act that adds in some exciting rock to the dreary ballads that usually infest ESC, so I’ll definitely be rooting for this. If nothing else because Australia being in the ESC is one of the goofiest things and I’d love to see them hold it in Sydney.

Seher (again!): You know what, Dan is right.

Dan: Looking through the depressed dregs of the rest of the year (god you’d almost think there was a war on or something), I was surprised at how much this song grew on me as I listened. While he’s somehow going for multiple different aesthetics of goth at once, there’s at least some HR Giger insanity tying it together over that brooding back track. Makes you expect Blade to show up at some point and start stabbing people, which would make for an eventful ESC.

Kori: Serbia sent an MCR Gerard Way wannabe with a very generic electroclash-ish accompaniment. I mean, it’s still better than Denmark, so.

And that’s this year’s hot takes on ESC! The final is May 13th and we look forward to seeing who wins.

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Authors

  • Dan Arndt

    Fiction writer, board game fanatic, DM. Has an MFA and isn't quite sure what to do now. If you have a dog, I'd very much like to pet it. Operating out of Indianapolis.

  • Kori

    Kori is an entertainment writer and Managing Editor at the Fandomentals. In her spare time, she is a fragrance and watch enthusiast, lover of Eurovision, and Yanni devotee. Find her on Instagram at @fmkori

  • Seher

    Seher is the Associate Editor-in-Chief at The Fandomentals focusing on the ins and outs of TV, media representation, games, and other topics as they pique her interest. Otherwise, she's reading away for graduate school. pc: @poika_

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