Eurovision 2017: The Songs


Every year I go into Eurovision season convinced this year will be the year I hate every song and I can snark without guilt. I start listening to the songs- mid-tempo nothings,  euro trash EDM, big sweeping ballads, weird national folk inspired willow wisps- and eventually a coupe get under my skin and I begin to love them. This annual crime against music has fueled my love for Turkish nü metal, Poli Genova, and the inevitable trolling from Montenegro (they are trolling, right?). Surely 2017, the year after the EBU messed everything up with new voting rules and an atonal depressing political diatribe somehow beating a great Russian track and even better Bulgarian track, would be the year where I can actually have my way.

Goddamn it, Italy. You and your dancing gorilla and catchy pop song sung by an endearing cutie.

Just go, and read.

I give up.

  1. Albania “World” by Lindita

Previous Entry: 2016’s “Fairytale”. Did not qualify for the Final.

Previous win: never

Albania keeps impressing me with their musical diversity. This year they are sending a big voiced diva, but her song is pretty good.  They still haven’t managed to get a winning combo, but they are getting closer. One day, Albania will win Eurovison.

2. Armenia “Fly With Me” by Artsvik

Previous Entry: 2016’s “LoveWave”. Finished seventh in the Final.

Previous Win: never

No. No no no. No no no no no no noooooo.

I’m usually a big proponent of folk instrumentation and melodies, but this one does not work for me on any level whatsoever. I find her voice insipid. There is nothing about this I like.

3. Australia “Don’t Come Easy” by Isaiah

Previous Entry: 2016’s “The Sound of Silence”.  Finished second in the Final.

Previous Win: never

Three for three. This sweeping ballad is sung beautifully by Isaiah. His voice has an edge of sweet sadness, and the song itself is beautiful.  It’s not something that will change how music is viewed in the Eurovision sphere, but it’s a strong song that would be a worthy winner.

4. Azerbaijan “Skeletons” by Dihaj

Previous Entry: 2016’s “Miracle”.  Finished seventeenth in the Final.

Previous Win: 2011

Ever since the Azeris won, and the fragrant desperation their early entries wafted away, they have sent the true best they have had. This year, the edgy Dihaj’s EDM inflected entry is both haunting and cool. Not two words I have ever used for a song Azerbaijan has presented at ESC.

5. Belgium “City Lights” by Blanche

Previous Entry: 2016’s “What’s the Pressure”.  Finished tenth in the Final.

Previous Win: 1986

Again, Belgium is another country who has been consistently upping their game. This song is cool, in the best sense of the word. And Blanche’s voice is unique. The iciness of the song is a breath of fresh air in a ballad heavy year. I would not be upset if Belgium won its second Eurovision with this.

6. Cyprus “Gravity” by Hovig

Previous Entry: 2016’s “Alter Ego”.  Finished twenty-first in the Final.

Previous Win: never

Another song that breaks up the ballad monotony. It’s heavy beat is welcomed, and Hovig has a great voice. The song is good, but I don’t see Cyprus coming to the top half of the board with it. That doesn’t mean they’re on the wrong track, it’s just that this song isn’t quite enough.

7. Czech Republic “My Turn” by Martina Barta

Previous Entry: 2016’s “I Stand”.  Finished twenty-fifth in the Final.

Previous Win: never

I saw another commentator say it felt like an unfinished demo, and they were right. It doesn’t feel finished. It’s got great bones, as they say, and Martina has a beautiful voice. It’s just not enough.

8. Finland “Blackbird” by Norma John

Previous Entry: 2016’s “Sing It Away”.  Did not qualify for the Final.

Previous Win: 2006

Of all the ballads it’s the most interesting. It’s also the most divisive. I personally love the song, but it doesn’t feel very Eurovision-y. It doesn’t climb to ridiculous heights, there isn’t a dramatic key change that Eurovision songs seem to contain as a rule. It’s drama is purely atmosphere. It won’t win, but kudos on Finland for standing out.

9. Georgia “Keep The Faith” by Tako Gachechiladze

Previous Entry: 2016’s “Midnight Gold”.  Finished twentieth in the Final.

Previous Win: never

Ugh. Georgia is always hit or miss, and this is a big miss. It doesn’t go anywhere, but in a bad way. The girl can sing, to be sure. But its just not a great song. And after the “1944” debacle, I don’t see a politicized song like this garnering favour.

10. Greece “This Is Love” by Demy

Previous Entry: 2016’s “Utopian Land”.  Did not qualify for the Final.

Previous Win: 2005

Greece seems to be in a state of flux. Demy is a huge star there, but they saddled her with this insipid song. There is nothing special about it. So disappointed.

11. Iceland “Paper” by Svala

Previous Entry: 2016’s “Hear them Calling”. Did not qualify for the Final.

Previous Win: never

Another song that’s all about the atmosphere. Svala has an incredible look and a voice to match, but the song, while good, is pretty one note. It would need amazing staging to stand out.

12. Latvia “Line” by Triana Park

Previous Entry: 2016’s “Heartbeat”.  Finished fifteenth in the Final.

Previous Win: 2002

Another cool song in a good way. EDM is made for Eurovision, and the Baltics seem to have a burgeoning EDM scene that needs notice. I personally love it a lot. But I can see how others might not. Shame. The national selection performance was incredible, so I hope I see the same for Kiev.

13. Moldova “Hey Mamma” by Sunstroke Project

Previous Entry: 2016’s “Falling Stars”.  Did not qualify for the final.

Previous Win: never

Epic Sax Guy is back.

The song is ridiculous, but it’s one of my favourites. Is it as good as “Run Away” (from ESC 2010)? No. But it’s charming, quirky, funny, and Epic Sax Guy is back.

Some things outshine even Eurovision.

14. Montenegro “Space” by Slavko Kalezić

Previous Entry: 2016’s “The Real Thing”.  Did not qualify for the final.

Previous Win: never

I’m not even sure what this is. I’m also not keen to find out. They have to be trolling us.

15. Poland “Flashlight” by Kasia Moś

Previous Entry: 2016’s “Color of Your Life”.  Finished eighth in the Final.

Previous Win: never

Another song big on atmospherics, and it’s amazing on record. But the liver performance I saw was hugely disappointing. Kasia’s voice is incredible, but she seems inclined to riff instead of staying on melody, and the details of both the vocals and music got lost. She needs to up the performance factor, or a really great song will end up not moving to the final.

16. Portugal “Amar Pelos Dois” by Salvador Sobral

Previous Entry: 2015’s “”Há um mar que nos separa””.  Did not qualify for the Final.

Previous Win: never

I love, love, love, love, love this song. I love jazzy Eurovision. His voice is glorious. But his awkward stage presence is a bit of a distraction, and they need to clean him up. His national selection performance was hard to watch, and he looks too scruffy. At the very least, find him a suit that fits. Please.

17. Slovenia “On My Way” by Omar Naber

Previous Entry: 2016’s “Blue And Red”.  Did not qualify for the Final.

Previous Win: never

Oh, Slovenia. Did you even try?

This song would have been adequate a dozen years ago. It sounds like a reject from the early oughties selection process. So disappointed after several years of goodish to great songs.

18. Sweden “I Can’t Go On” by Robin Bengtsson

Previous Entry: 2016’s “If I Were Sorry”.  Finished fifth in the Final.

Previous Wins: 1974, 1984, 1991, 1999, 2012, 2015

I seem to be the only person who hates this song, and Robin gives of Robin Thicke vibe. Everything about this rubs me the wrong way.  His dancers are more interesting to me than he is. Yes, he’s very good-looking. Means nothing if everything else is completely off.

19. Austria “Running on Air” by Nathan Trent

Previous Entry: 2016’s “Loin d’ici”.  Finished thirteenth in the Final.

Previous Win: 1966, 2014

Sweet. But light weight. Very Jason Mraz-y. Won’t amount to much.

20. Belarus “Story of My Life” by Naviband

Previous Entry: 2016’s “Help You Fly”.  Did not qualify for the Final.

Previous Win: never

I love this quirky folk song so much. Her voice is delightful. His is more sane. The ukulele is genius. And they are singing in Belarussian, which is utterly charming. I wish this could be a contender, but I think, like most of the folk inspired songs I love every year, it won’t even come close to the top ten.

21. Bulgaria “Beautiful Mess” by Kristian Kostov

Previous Entry: 2016’s “If Love Was a Crime”.  Finished fourth in the Final.

Previous Win: never

The song is a pretty little ballad that is made memorable by his gorgeous voice. I expect Bulgaria to come top three. Winning will be tougher. But it’s nice to see Bulgaria really trying to win this thing, after being favoured last year. Poli gave them their highest finish ever. I expect Kristian to top it.

22. Croatia “My Friend” by Jacques Houdek

Previous Entry: 2016’s “Lighthouse”.  Finished twenty-third in the Final.

Previous Win: never

I’m not sure what to think of this song. The song has a memorable chorus, but I’m not sure it’s the song writing or the fact he jumps between his pleasant “pop” voice to a slightly demonic “opera” voice and the disconnect affects my ability to enjoy the song. His voice is impressive. I see this dividing juries and voters.

23. Denmark “Where I Am” by Anja

Previous Entry: 2016’s “Soldiers of Love”.  Did not qualify for the Final.

Previous Win: 1963, 2000, 2013

Oh, Denmark. The song is good. She can sing something fierce. So fierce that I’m afraid she’s going to blast her vocal chords out of her body. I wish she didn’t over sing the song.

24. Estonia “Verona” by Koit Toome and Laura

Previous Entry: 2016’s “Play”. Did not qualify for the Final.

Previous Win: 2001

It’s fine. I’m not a big fan of the song, though both singers are great at singing it. It’s just not jiving with me.

25. F.Y.R. Macedonia “Dance Alone” by Jana Burčeska

Previous Entry: 2016’s “Dona”. Did not qualify for the Final.

Previous Win: never

I really love this dance track. Macedonia should get their best finish ever (their previous best was twelfth in the 2006 Finale), but is it enough to win? I don’t think so. The video is cool, though. Love it all.

26. Hungary “Origo” by Joci Pápai

Previous Entry: 2016’s “Pioneer”. Finished nineteenth the Final.

Previous Win: never

This one is a grower. Some Romani, some middle eastern influences, some rap- this one has it all. It’s another atmospheric song that will probably divide, but I’m thinking it will do well.

27. Ireland “Dying to Try” by Brendan Murray

Previous Entry: 2016’s “Sunlight”. Did not qualify for the Final.

Previous Win: 1970,1980, 1987, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996

I’m not loving the song. It’s okay, but Ireland should be doing better with all the talent they have. As for his voice, put me in the “No” camp. I am not a fan.

28. Israel “I Feel Alive” by IMRI

Previous Entry: 2016’s “Made of Stars”. Finished fourteenth in the Final.

Previous Win: 1978, 1979, 1998

Israel does well with dance songs, and this has a great vocal hook in the chorus, so I expect it to do well again. But it’s not quite great enough to win this year.

29. Lithuania “Rain of Revolution” by Fusedmarc

Previous Entry: 2016’s “I’ve Been Waiting For This Night”. Finished ninth the Final.

Previous Win: never

Complicated is being thrown around by ESC fans, and that’s a correct assessment. It feels cluttered, both as a song and as a performance (if the national selection is any indication).  It’s bottoming out on commentators lists, so it doesn’t look like Lithuania will go anywhere this year. I miss Donny Montell.

30. Malta “Breathlessly” by Claudia Faniello

Previous Entry: 2016’s “Walk on Water”. Finished twelfth in the Final.

Previous Win: never

I don’t understand the hate this song is getting. It’s a grand ballad, sweeping melodically, sung by a woman with an incredible voice. It’s not a winner, but it’s not awful, so I’ll enjoy it all on my own, thank you very much.

31. Norway “Grab the Moment” by JOWST

Previous Entry: 2016’s “Icebreaker”. Did not qualify for the Final,

Previous Win: 1985, 1995, 2009

Scandinavian style EDM has arrived once again at Eurovision (!Loreen! We miss you!). This one isn’t the brooding kind, it’s the uplifting kind, and I love it. I just don’t think it’s going to cut through the clutter of the top songs.

32. Romania “Yodel It!” by Ilinca ft. Alex Florea

Previous Entry: 2015’s “”De la capăt (All Over Again)”. Finished fifteenth in the Finals.

Previous Win: never

There is yodeling.

No.

Never.

Never ever ever.

33. Russia “Flame is Burning” by Julia Samoylova

Previous Entry: 2016’s “You Are The Only One”. Finished third in the Final.

Previous Win: 2008

I don’t think I’m the only one thinking Russia’s choice is a cynical one. And that poor girl. I don’t think she’ll be performing as I do not expect Ukraine will lift its ban ( and frankly, they shouldn’t. The EBU should be respecting the laws of sovereign nations, and if they refuse to let her in because she broke Ukraine’s laws, the EBU shouldn’t be playing this bullshit game now).

The song itself is terrible. Her voice is lovely, and she does what she can. I feel bad for her, I do.

The EBU has handled this badly since the get go. They should not have allowed Jamala’s song in the first place, it was blatantly political ( I felt the same about Armenia’s 2015 song, and Georgia’s 2017 song skirts the line as well). Pouting about the inevitable outcome is almost as bad as Russia playing games now. Suck it up, Jan Ola. You screwed up.

34. San Marino “Spirit of the Night” by Valentina Monetta and Jimmie Wilson

Previous Entry: 2016’s “I Didn’t Know”. Did not qualify for the Final.

Previous Win: never

Valentina’s fourth appearance will be the fourth time she doesn’t win, and the third time she doesn’t make it to the finale. What an awful, dated, poorly produced track.

35. Serbia “In Too Deep” by Tijana Bogićević

Previous Entry: 2016’s “Goodbye (Shelter)”. Finished eighteenth in the Final.

Previous Win: 2007

The verses are mediocre, but the chorus shines. I love the song myself, and Serbia usually does well. I expect them to do so again.

36. Switzerland “Apollo” by Timebelle

Previous Entry: 2016’s “The Last of Our Kind”. Did not qualify for the Final.

Previous Win: 1956, 1988

I’ve loved this sing from the get go. The chorus is so insanely catchy, and her voice is fantastic. Plus, they are a band at Eurovision, and I typically am a sucker for bands. They’re good. Really good.

37. The Netherlands “Lights and Shadows” by OG3NE

Previous Entry: 2016’s “Slow Down”. Finished eleventh in the Final.

Previous Win: 1957, 1959, 1969, 1975

Gwen was the one who looked at me and said “Wilson Phillips”. And she’s right. It literally sounds like a discarded Wilson Phillips song. The girls can all sing, the harmonies are flawless. I wish I liked the song, but I don’t. Sorry.

38. France “Requiem” by Alma

Previous Entry: 2016’s “J’ai cherche”. Finished sixth in the Final.

Previous Win: 1958, 1960, 1962, 1969, 1977

France is once again trying to move up the board, and I think they might have a potential winner. I know a lot of people are criticizing the last-minute changes, including the English language vocals, but I personally like them, and the vocal melody is interesting.

39. Germany “Perfect Life” by Levina

Previous Entry: 2016’s “Ghost”. Finished twenty-sixth in the Final.

Previous Win: 1982, 2010

What is going on with Germany? After last year’s debacle, and two last place finishes in a row, they really needed to pull from their massive talent pool. I’m not a fan of her voice, and the song is really bad. Nothing works here. Expect Germany to be languishing again at the bottom of the board.

40. Italy “Occidentali’s Karma” by Francesco Gabbani

Previous Entry: 2016’s “No Degree of Separation”. Finished sixteenth in the Final.

Previous Win: 1964, 1990

“Italy’s sending a song with a dancing gorilla.”

“What?”

Honest to God conversation I had with Gwen about the news of Italy’s song hitting Tumblr.

I was going in expecting to hate this song. But it’s my favourite of the lot. It’s just so joyous, and Francesco is utterly charming. I fully expect Italy to win. There is nothing about this that isn’t completely delightful and fun. And we need it after last year’s depressing atonal mess.

And I love the dancing gorilla.

41. Spain “Do It for Your Lover” by Manel Navarro

Previous Entry: 2016’s “Say Yay!”. Finished twenty-second in the Final.

Previous Win: 1968, 1969

Jack Johnson is Spanish? Who knew?

It sucks. Hardcore. And the way the Spanish selections played out leaves a bitter taste.

Ick.

42. Ukraine “Time” by O.Torvald

Previous Entry: 2016’s “1944”. Finished first in the Final.

Previous Win: 2004, 2016

They’re the only proper rock band this year, and the verses of the song are fantastic.

The choruses are big messes.

I think it will do better than it should because it’s the lone “rock” song at the event. Sigh.

43. United Kingdom “Never Give Up on You” by Lucie Jones

The UK turned to Emmelie de Forest and friends for their song, and it paid off. It’s by far the best song they have sent since “Love Shine A Light”. It might even have a shot. Lucie’s reworking of the track was brilliant, and she sings it so beautifully. I expect it to pay off with at least a top ten finish.

Previous Entry: 2016’s “You’re Not Alone”. Finished twenty-fourth in the Final.

Previous Win: 1967, 1969, 1976, 1981, 1997

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