Grammatical issues notwithstanding, John Lundvik’s “Too Late For Love” is a safe, straightforward dance ballad from this Euro-powerhouse. It’s true to recent form for Sweden, and to be honest if you played any of their last dozen entries over a clip of slow-motion rain I doubt whether viewers would be able to differentiate them. The strategy is effective enough having secured a top 10 finish for most of the last decade (we don’t talk about Bergendahl), but it doesn’t make for compelling listening. Get weird Sweden!
An incongruous county-blues guitar hook kicks off this gloomy electronic piece from Romania’s Ester Peony. In the great tradition of edgy alternative bands there is no hint as to what the title “On a Sunday” actually refers to, but the song carries the usual theme of love and the tremendous price it extracts from us all (are we thinking of the same thing?). The real star of the accompanying video is Ester’s husky companion, whose glossy coat, playful eyes, and regal attitude steal the show. I would very much like to scratch it behind the ears and rubs its belly, and I do hope Romania leans heavily into the canine theme for the live show, since the song and human performers are otherwise forgettable.
The live-rehearsal version of Melovin’s “Under the Ladder” is the story of man’s desperate search for a key, which doesn’t bode well for this X-Factor Ukraine alumnus come crunch time. The moody (and shaky) verse builds to a punchy chorus that admittedly has some pick-up and an appropriate number of “woah oh oh uh”s, but it’s too little too late for my money.
The pressures of Eurovision are well known to select for mimetic extremes, yet the fidelity of Benjamin Ingrosso still took me by surprise. In a direct channelling of Justin Bieber & The Weekend, with a dash of Daft Punk underneath, the 20 year old Swedish national delivers the electro-pop banger “Dance You Off” (a threat? a promise?). The vocal style isn’t for everyone, such as me, but the rolling funk-bass is worth the price of admission, and there’s no denying the piece is on trend. I predict another strong finish for Sweden this year, but not enough to really stand out from the crowd.
The UK are perennial underachievers at Eurovision and that was before Brexit, I’m not sure that the British voters realised what the Eurovision implications would be. This year’s entry Lucie Jones is, wait for it …… Welsh, she is from Cardiff, a bit of Wales that voted to stay so perhaps she should play on this a bit. The song is a rather breathless effort, it you are watching the broadcast I recommend it would to be a good 3 minutes and 14 seconds to make another drink or load the dishwasher.
Slavko Kalezić seems to split his time more or less evenly between the hairdresser, the gym and wherever you get manscaping done in Montenegro. He wants to take you to space so you can be as one, where he will, presumably, unleash some more of his thinly veiled innuendo.
The backup dancers in this number wear skivvies, dance with their hands in their pockets and drive Volvos. One of those things isn’t true. National stereotypes aside, Robin Bengtsson should do pretty well, I Can’t Go On is the kind of generic urban offering that seems to be quite popular these days and stands out against a procession of Euro-ballads. Finals for me.
So, I love anything astronomical, and Lidia serves up swirling galaxies on a bed of Balkan disco beat. I predict this will be on rotation at Club Med all around the Black Sea this summer (sadly Moldova has geographically been denied access to the Black Sea). Just a word of warning: listening to this more than three times will open a black hole in your heart!
Review by Mariella Herberstein
The Real Thing by Highway
Is this the real thing? Oh….that is quite disappointing then. The best thing about this performance is the dancer: a resolute, if not slightly angry young woman who, like I, seems to be quite disappointed with this entry from Montenegro.
Review by Mariella Herberstein
If I were sorry by Frans
Where was the Swedish Tourist Board when this video was made? Sweden has never looked so derelict. Frans will attempt to win Eurovision glory back to back for Sweden, but I don’t know if teenage emo with a bit of ‘meh’ will win over the voting grandmothers of Eurovisionland. Even if Frans is not sorry, I surely am!