Romania, Australia and Estonia

Romania: Amnesia by Roxen

Amnesia is a song that deals with pressures of modern performance focused societies and the impossibility to achieve “it all” as the lyrics say. Comparison to the busy and ever more demanding world may lead to low self-esteem and feeling of inadequacy when the usually self-defined (but also exogenous) criteria of perfection are not met – something that almost anyone can relate to. The song is a surprisingly nice piece that keeps to its focal message without meandering too much. Overall style of the music video is something in between of emo kid style of 2000’s (imagine Arvil Lavigne around the time of ‘Sk8er boi’) and more modern version of emo style represented by Billie Eilish.

Review by Sanni Silvasti



Australia: Technicolour by Montaigne

First hearing of the song left me annoyed and made me consider insulting my future country of residence with a prickly critical review. Second time hearing the song I read the lyrics and changed my mind on most of my squeamishness; Aussie accent and elongated artsyish vocals had distracted me from a pretty nice message of the song. Further listening made me also grant that Montaigne can really sing. What finally made me box the compass with ‘Technicolour’ were the two lines in the lyrics “Everything is frustrating, Everything moves along faster than I can relate to” – my thought exactly! The song is weakened only by the shouted few lines right after the ones mentioned previously, and also maybe little bit due to the fact that the line “time to take off your cloaks” seriously sounds like Montaigne was urging us to take off our clothes!

Review by Sanni Silvasti



Estonia: The lucky one by Uku Suviste

Well, here’s a proper Eurovision contest song! Smells like nothing, tastes like nothing – did I just hear something?? A breakup song is always a dodgy choice for Eurovision since they tend to be monotonous and repetitious in character. My suspicion is that this one will be forgotten by the viewers in the midst of all the other performances and will not make it through semi-finals.

Review by Sanni Silvasti



Sweden & Romania

Sweden

John Lundvik: Too Late For Love

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!

Review by Tom White

Romania

Ester Peony: On A Sunday

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.

Review by Tom White

Netherlands, Serbia and Romania

NetherlandsWaylon: Outlaw In ‘Em

Waylon seem to be a proper band. Solid vocals, tight playing, this puts them at an immediate disadvantage at Eurovision. Their brand of Dutch-Americana might not be too bad with a couple of pints of NEIPA down at your local on Friday night. Eurovision, however, demands more of performers than competent musicianship (this is hardly required!). No soaring key changes and all the wind machine will do is blow away the atmospheric stage smoke. Sorry lowlanders, another year in the second division for you, I’m off for a pint.

Review by Matt Bruce

SerbiaSanja Ilić & Balkanika: Nova Deca

Bald guy with a long beard, women in matching outfits with an appropriate amount of hair for wind machine awesomeness, a drummer with lots of chains and Einstein playing (smoking?) some sortof pipe. Looks promising….…. Nope, boring song.

Review by Matt Bruce

RomaniaThe Humans: Goodbye

Adi, Alin, Alex, Alex, Corina and Cristina (must be confusing at band practice) could be the Romanian Brady Bunch, but they aren’t, they’re The Humans (not sure what that implies about the rest of us). “Goodbye” is a pretty standard Eurovision power ballad, likely to get lost in a lukewarm porridge of mediocrity. There is however one hope, that the creepy horror movie mask people from the video make it onto the stage. At least then we can imagine that it might turn into some sort of horror movie version of the Brady Bunch (Un Foarte Brady Halloween?). Otherwise this one isn’t going anywhere near the final.

Review by Matt Bruce

Ireland, Iceland, Portugal, Romania

Ireland

Dying to Try by Brendan Murray

Rumour has it that, as a young child, Brendan Murray’s cheeks were pinched so vigorously by passing octogenarians that he required reconstructive surgery. They say he is paid entirely in crocheted doilies and lemon tea-cakes, and is banned from releasing a Christmas album amidst fears that it would induce a mass attack of the vapours across the British Isles.

With good looks and titanium-reinforced cheekbones Brendan Murray brings dollops of gorgeousness to this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. His melancholy tune about struggling to maintain relationships has one of the most impressive key changes of this year’s line up, and has left women across Europe wondering why their daughters can’t find themselves a nice young man like Brendan. His eyebrows alone are guaranteed to get him as far as the semi-finals.

Review by James O’Hanlon

 

IcelandPaper by Svala

Svala has been granted sabbatical leave from the Borg to represent Iceland this year. The song ‘Paper’, precisely crafted to suit the musical requirements of the assimilated masses, is unsurprisingly mediocre. Nevertheless you will vote for Iceland, resistance is futile. It’s robotic rhythms and synth melodies are perfect listening for the next time you are cruising through the grid on your light cycle. Keep an eye out for the key change goose-step late in the song – a well-timed and subtle build to… nothing at all. Clearly key-changes do not compute.

Review by James O’Hanlon

 

PortugalAmar Pelos Dois by Salvador Sobral

Salvador Sobral was orphaned on the streets of Lisbon as a child. Thankfully a flock of canaries took him in and raised him as one of their own. Years later he was discovered working in a mineshaft – cramped inside a small cage and entertaining the workers with his gentle melodies. Now a full grown man and successful performer, Salvador collaborates with his sister Luisa – who wrote this song and most definitely isn’t pissed about Salvador getting all the credit.

Surprisingly this song, ‘Amor Pelos Dios’ is one of the most coherent Eurovision efforts we have heard from Portugal since, well, ever! The orchestration is tasteful, the soft piano melody is whimsical, and the singing is, believe it or not, in key. Portugal, you have surprised us all and have done well! Maybe you should get Salvador and Luisa to look into your national debt problems, it’s not like they could do any harm.

Review by James O’Hanlon

 

Romania

Yodel It! By Ilinca feat. Alex Flora

It’s Eurovision! Of course there is yodelling! I’m proud to say that Romania have inspired my latest tattoo. The phrase ‘Yodel It!” has been carved into my chest and sits nicely in between my “#YOLO” and “Frankie Says Relax” tatts.

Equal parts East 17, Aqua, and von Trapp family, Romania pairs a seductive yodeller in a leprechaun suit with a tone-deaf rapper to create this year’s abomination. Seriously it’s terrible. Me thinks the novelty value won’t float this boat very far and Romania are likely to sink early on in the quarter finals.

Review by James O’Hanlon