Poland & Iceland

Poland

Fire of Love (Pali się) by Tulia

I fear that – just like the UK – my Eurovision is fading!  Perhaps I am in need of some Euroglasses, preferably rose tinted.  Or better yet, rainbow coloured, both for the symbolism, and to bring some colour back to the music video by Polish band Tulia.

I was drawn to this entry by the photo – brilliantly colourful, traditional costumes, Rapunzel hair, bucolic setting. I should have been warned by the expressions on their faces! The video is black and white. I strongly suspect it is an extended joke, but if so, the humour entirely escaped me, as did the music. Let’s hope it makes more
sense to Polish speakers.

Fun fact: “polish” is the only word in the English language that is pronounced differently if it is capitalised.

Review by Jim Mclean

Iceland


Hatrið mun sigra by Hatari

If you are sick of the stock standard music and want to shake things up, the Icelandic band Hatari is where you will find yourself. Their music is not something you will find playing through the speakers as you roam a shopping centre. With their fusion of techno, punk and rock, you will not be left unsatisfied. The sandpaper vocals combined with techno vibes opens the flood gates to exploring BDSM in society.

The song “Hate Will Prevail” is a bloodbath of hatred to burn down capitalism. In Iceland, Hatari are known as tricksters who take pranks to the extremes. From pranks stating they were going to split up, all the way to starting an Icelandic music review website to review only their music, they never cease to attract attention. But their most recent stunt to challenge the Israel prime minister to an Icelandic trouser wrestling match has been the most controversial. If Israel’s PM wins the match, he acquires the Westman Islands, but if Hatari win, they get to form a liberal BDSM colony within the borders of Israel. Regardless of the quality of music, it is clear they strive to achieve their one true goal, “we want to uncover and destroy the everyday routine for it is a scam”.

Review by Braxton Jones

Switzerland, Poland and Lithuania

SwitzerlandApollo by Timebelle

The neutral country. The Euro-dodger. The land of chocolate and cheese, of secret banks and “What Nazi stolen gold?”. One does not expect such a country to make a splash at Eurovision. And you’d be right, as they only won it one time since the invention of colour television, and in Europe’s defense they were preoccupied with the Berlin Wall falling. So, in these politically tumultuous times, will Switzerland step off the sidelines with a powerful commanding performance to finally claim victory?

Well, no.

I mean they try. The fact that none of the members of Timebelle were actually born in Switzerland probably explains their decidedly non-neutral earnestness in their quest for the crown. The lead singer has a pretty decent voice and an eye-catching dress. The song flirts with being catchy. Unlike most of my Eurovision reviews I didn’t compulsively fast forward to make it to the end. But it just can’t get past its Swiss heritage of being neutral and inoffensive. It’ll do well, but not well enough. The Swiss may have once horded the plunders of WWII, but in this year’s geopolitical conflict my money is on them not taking home the gold.

Review by Scott Fabricant

PolandFlashlight by Kasia Moś

I mean if we’re going to be making distasteful WWII references, might as well keep up the trend with Poland, who famously brought a bunch of horses to a tank fight. Same here.

It’s not a bad song by any means, it’s just very old-fashioned (by Eurovision standards). A one-woman power ballad that uses incoherent metaphors to make some vague point about love, or hate, whatever. She’s certainly got an impressive set of pipes, with a hoarse sultry timbre to her voice that’s better suited to blues or jazz. But Eurovision is a new theater of war now, one that considers Australia part of Europe. Recent conquerors of Europe include the amazing interactive graphics of Sweden 2015, the thoroughly modern Austrian drag queen of 2014, and of course Ukraine’s giant war metaphor of 2016, not to mention some spectacular runners-up like Russia’s unstoppable cookie-baking grannies.

And here stands Kasia Mos, holding the line with her old-fashioned pipes, no props, and distinct lack of techno gimmicks. I wish her well.

Review by Scott Fabricant

LithuaniaRain Of Revolution by Fusedmarc

Finally, there’s Lithuania, who wasn’t even a country during WWII so I guess I can finally let this cheap crutch of a trope go and evaluate their entry on its own merits. And I like it! It’s weird and funky, and the lead singer reminds me of a thoroughly modern Bjork minus the theatrical pseudo-insanity. Fusemarc manages to break new musical ground and be truly unique without resorting to cheap gimmicks. I’m predicting we are seeing a taste of Eurovision to come, a time when this old stalwart contest breeds true acoustic innovation.

Just kidding, I already know they never make it out of the semi-finals. A shame really, since they really are funky, and I really did like them. Usually the truly unique sounds never make it to the finals. Eurovision may love its flashy visual gimmicks, but the music remains stuck in the glory days of a pre-Brexit European glory. Maybe Poland has a fighting chance, horses and all.

Review by Scott Fabricant

Poland, Israel and Georgia

Poland
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Colour of your Life by Michał Szpak

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Stringing together a range of clichés is a tried and true Eurovision song-writing strategy…. No smoke without fire, try to figure out who you really are, don’t be afraid of your destiny etc. etc……   and a full five-piece boy-band might actually have been able to carry this number. The appropriate suite of synchronised dance moves and earnest facial poses would, at least, have appealed to some segments of the audience. As it is, poor Michal has to work his fine cheek bones and pouty-lips five-times as hard all by himself! He also sports five-times as much hair.

Review by Nansi Richards

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Israel
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Made of Stars by Hovi Star

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Anthemic in the best Eurovision tradition, Mr Star (apparently his real name) has a rather lovely voice. Appropriately attired for the night, he also has highly-sculpted hair, a long goth coat and a penchant for gesturing sky-ward. I think the distinction between stars and drones may have eluded the producers of the promo video though. One hopes this is not too easy a mistake to make in Tel Aviv. Possibly a bit gloomy for the big night and exuberant crowds.

Working in his favour, Mr Star received decidedly shabby treatment in Moscow on a recent Eurovision promo tour. Knowing how desperately President Putin longs for their approval, Eurovision voters quite like to thumb their noses at such unpleasantness. If this translates into points for Israel (as opposed to points off for Russia), Mr Star should at least make it through to the final.

Review by Nansi Richards

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Georgia
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Midnight Gold by Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz

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Both the band and the punters are justifiably mystified as to why this was Georgia’s entry this year.

These guys ooze obscure references and hipster disinterest. They’re way too cool for Eurovision. I’d be amazed if they even show up, frankly.

Review by Nansi Richards