France, Moldova, Spain and Latvia

FranceRequiem by Alma

This years’ French entry is surely scandalous in France – its clear there has been far too much focus on this year’s election and they have sorely neglected their responsibilities as ambassadors of Europe. The song frankly suffers from confused cultural identity. Of all the nations, this is somewhat shocking as the French nation are so proud of their culture and yet this song has not a sliver of romance nor the welcomed gypsy chaos of a raging accordion in fact this song is a mile-long baguette from any beret. To be honest if I had not known this a French number before listening to it, I would have mistaken it as poor verson of a Gloria Estefan pop number. And to make things even more confusing Alma throws in three English words in the chorus! When asked about that Alma replied: “We decided to add English to the original version in order to reach a larger audience, I hope that if people can understand a part of the song they are more likely to like it!” Since when does France care about the rest of the world!! Don’t get me wrong Alma is very kind on the eye but I found my thoughts continually drifting off as the song is pretty dull and seemingly very long for Eurovision song. I do hope though Alma brings her shimmering jeans and they manage to have tango dancers dancing along the walls that would certainly increase the interest.

 Verdict = I’ve already forgotten the song…

Review by Matt Bulbert

 

MoldovaHey Mamma by Sunstroke Project

What do you get when you put youtube sensations ‘Epic sax guy’ and ‘Epic violin guy’ in the same room as a deadringer for Justin Timberlake? You end up with the band Sunstroke project with a pretty catchy little ditty about erotic baking. Well that’s what I gleamed from the film clip – the egg breaking sequence is priceless. It’s a real toe tapper and it has some classic elements such as Alexander Rybak inspired violin but with neon edges and a night wearing sunglasses sax player that Corey hart would have died for. My only real disappointment is that there is not an epic sax/violin solo off in the middle – it is surely a missed opportunity given the epicness of the band members. When asked what is one of the most interesting aspects of their entry they replied ‘Our performance looks like a small wedding on stage’. Small weddings are genuinely associated with Vegas and apparently, what happens in Vegas is meant to stay in Vegas so not sure who let them out nonetheless their offspring are bound to be epic.

 Verdict = Epic upon layers of Epicness

Review by Matt Bulbert

SpainDo it for your lover by Manuel Navarro

I will put it out there right now. This is just not Eurovision. This Jack Johnson inspired number is too mainstream for this competition. I just spent a field trip in North Queensland where every second song on the radio was Ed Sheeran and between those songs were announcers mentioning Ed Sheeran. I feel this song is commercial radios attempt to further promote Ed Sheeran. Oh by the way this song is not sung by Ed Sheeran but Manuel Navarro whose key inspiration is apparently – yes you guessed it – Ed Sheeran. His other apparent inspiration is Bob Dylan this is not is not so evident. The chorus is far too repetitive and frankly is pretty frustrating. He just states Do it for your lover over and over without actually tell us what IT is? Unless it turns out Manuel Navarro is actually Ed Sheeran I cannot see this one getting too far up the charts.

 Verdict = Ed Sheeran will sell another million records on his way to total world domination…oh and this song will tank badly at the Eurovision song contest

Review by Matt Bulbert

 

LativaLine by Triana Park

Well Triana Park have truly brought it to Eurovision this year for Lativa. This Kate Bush-Bjork-esque inspired pop number is sophisticated and musically intriguing for an electronica-drum-guitar combination. It’s not a toe-tapper that will bring the house down but it is surprisingly intellectually engaging. And as a result, they have not a hope in hell of winning Eurovision. Although according to their profile they love banana pancakes with Nutella and we all know I loathe bananas and consider them to be the devil’s fruit which means their direct connection to the devil potentially gives them some hope even in hell.

 Verdict = Quirky, intriguing and cool so not a chance of winning

Review by Matt Bulbert

Spain and Italy

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Say Yay! by 
Barei

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Hip, trendy, upbeat, and in English. It is a shame Barei chose an entry in a language other than Spanish. Very disappointing. It has already caused quite a stir in Spain, and I must say, I agree. While the tune is catchy, and Barei’s image is edgy and cool, I feel the idea behind all the glitz is to distract the audience from the lyrics.

Not unlike many other young pop stars, she comes off as trendy but with little substance, the “fairy floss” of the music scene as it were. I’m not sure if it is because English is not her native language but the song does little to convey any deeper meaning other than to “sing with her lalalala”. I suppose some songs don’t have to be about much more, and it’s enough that they make you feel happy and are easy to sing. Perhaps that will be enough to get her over the threshold? The idea behind performing a song in English was for it to be appealing to a wider audience. Maybe the gamble will pay off.

Review by Giselle Muchette

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Italy
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No Degree Of Separation by Francesca Michielin

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Francesca Michielin presents “Nessun grado di separazione”, “No degree of separation”. It is a lovely melody, reminiscent of Laura Paucini. The song is about a girl who lives in a drawer or a small box, isolated, protecting her heart and holding herself distant from life and one day finds the courage to leave her small, confined and safe space to experience the outside world, real life. With no degree of separation between her and the reality that surrounds her.

The video is somewhat too literal in its interpretation, with Francesca singing from within a neon “box”, but her vocals overcome the slight lack of originality of the visual concept. The music starts off soft and slightly romantic and builds up to a chorus conveying strength and courage. The message conveyed can be familiar to many people in different situations. Anyone can identify with the concept of feeling constrained and finding the courage to explore, to love, to take a risk. I feel Italy is a strong contender for the top prize this year.

Review by Giselle Muchette

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