It’s a funny old lot at Eurovision this year. A great many songs that can be classed as pretty damn good, but very few that could be labelled as genuinely fantastic. And on the flipside, very few really awful moments too, which is a relief. As a result, the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest album has turned into a jolly enjoyable listen – with not that many tracks that need skipping, albeit again not that many which command instant repeating. And so this translates into what should hopefully be an entertaining Eurovision Song Contest in store for all of us throughout next week.
We’ve done this over the last couple of years, so why not do it again. Highlight the however-many-number of songs from this year’s line-up that we feel command your attention (if you’ve not yet braved listening to the lot already, that is. If you have, you’ve no doubt already found your own favourites).
It was a bit more difficult this year. At first, finding any songs that stood out as being worthy of that aforementioned attention. And then, upon accepting that while there aren’t many amazing moments, there are a lot of good songs that are on a par with each other in terms of quality – whittling them down to select our favourites. But we’ve done it. And you can listen to them below.
Below though, is our list of the ten songs from this year’s Eurovision Song Contest that you should be checking out ahead of the contest next week (and the accompanying Spotify playlist which we’ve compiled);
Semi Final 1 kicks off next Tuesday, Semi 2 on Thursday, and the big Final on Saturday.
Paula Seling & Ovi: Miracle
Piano pop turns to piano dance, and all via a cracking great melody and a sonically exciting song structure – peaking with an astounding middle eight section. Totally invigorating pop music. We’d very much like an extended version. Paula’s vocals on this are a particular highlight – we’re looking forward to hearing how she manages the final minute or so live on the night. Or are we……… “whhhhooooooaaaaaAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHeeeeerrrrrrrrrrooooooooooooaaaaaaaahhhhh”
Emma: La Mia Città
Utterly forgettable on first listen (oops!), but after a couple more plays the chorus of this one TAKES OVER. And once that’s done its magic, the rest of the song falls into place as an infectious dose of up-tempo, rousing rockpop – performed with an acceptable level of nonchalant attitude. It’s a potential hot mess in a contest that has too few potential hot messes this year. But at its heart, it’s good pop.
Freaky Fortune feat RiskyKidd: Rise Up
A brilliant Balkan (!) pop number that instantly stood out as one of the better songs this year. It’s as current as you can get for a lot of Europe. So this is most probably going to do just as well as it deserves. It’s also the most likely of all of this year’s song to cross over and become a big summer hit across most of the continent. It sounds more like a Romanian entry than a Greek entry though.
Suzy: Quero Ser Tua
This is precisely the kind of thing a lot of us tune into Eurovision for. Cheap, trashy pop music that you can’t even call outdated, as it was probably never even ‘in’ date in the first place. Generic latino pop merged with an odd ethnic flavour, and delivered by a similarly cheap, trashy and outdated singer that one gets the impression doesn’t quite know what’s going on or what she’s let herself in for. It’s the sonic and stage definition of the blind leading the blind. But actually, all rescued by an infectious and quite frankly DELICIOUS chorus that makes the whole thing absolutely loveable. Adorable stuff. And it represents the popular Eurovision song of yesteryear.
Molly: Children Of The Universe
One that we just couldn’t understand the fuss about at first, no matter how hard we tried. But keep trying we did. And now we love it. That’s potentially not the best omen, but at least it means that people get there in the end. What’s also worrying for the song is that it was the intricacies of the production that made us fall for it in the end. And that still gives us goosebumps now. The melody that Molly sings, no matter how well she sings it, isn’t exactly striking. Which could obviously be an issue at Eurovision, if other people are hearing it like we are. Still, it’s been touted as the UK’s best shot at a Eurovision win in years, and rightfully so. It probably is.
Sanna Nielsen: Undo
The best song in this year’s contest, and by SOME distance too. You will all know this one by now. And if you’re anything like us, you still won’t be anywhere near bored of it yet. ‘Undo’ is a Mega Ballad, topped with a heavy layer of scrumptious cheese. And she WILL perform the actual fuck out of it. It’s gonna be amazing to watch.
Mei Finegold: Same Heart
A bi-lingual pop track that REALLY comes alive once the chorus makes itself known, and then again when the Hebrew sneaks in straight afterwards. This is VERY Eurovision. It’s even had a key change bestowed upon, and there aren’t many of those going around this year. The whole thing is almost theatrically dramatic. Which is probably why we like it so much.
Twin Twin: Moustache
At first we thought that this one just benefitted from following a barrage of dull ballads on the Eurovision Song Contest compilation album. However, it’s actually quite fantastic in its own right too. Like, really. It’s hugely quirky French music that mixes electro, rap, and genuinely current radio pop. France deserve to have their best result in years with this one. And if Greece’s song wasn’t in the competition this year too, that’d be guaranteed.
Tinkara Kovac: Round & Round
Dramatic Balkan Pop. The verse and chorus are equally as melodic as each other. This one deserves a big diva performance, complete with wind machine and plenty of frock fabric. Like Israel, it can be classed as pure Eurovision, and something which probably couldn’t exist with too much success outside of the contest. Although this is Slovenia we’re talking about, so ‘Round & Round’ probably won’t achieve too much success inside the contest either. But we hope that it manages to sneak into the final. The big night would be a worse old do without it.
Conchita Wurst: Rise Like A Phoenix
Film soundtrack ballad. So much so that we do wonder if the rising phoenix is as a result of some earlier ‘Skyfall’. Striking Conchita is equally as commandeering with her enormous vocal. And this old fashioned number has a lot of beauty to it. Austria don’t have a glowing history of doing well at Eurovision, and recently neither do men dressed as ladies. But Conchita Wurst and ‘Rise Like A Phoenix’ are contest high points for both camps.
Oh go on then, here are ten more also-rans that are almost as good, and that you should get your head around before next week too if you find the time….(links to listen/watch hidden in the titles)
Ruth Lorenzo: Dancing In The Rain
The first half of this song is extraordinarily dull. In fact, you could say the whole song is. However, the second half is rescued by some marvellous vocal hysterics from Miss Ruth Lorenzo, who has evidently realised halfway through that she really REALLY needs to pull something out of the bag to cover up this otherwise dire, beige melody that she’s been given to sing. It was quite the feat to make anything about this song stand out – so kudos to her for achieving that. And it’s as if the production of the song finally catches up at the end, becoming something that has at least has delusions of epic grandeur.
Not so much a poor man’s ‘Eurphoria’ as a tramp’s ‘Glorious’. And more ‘Pedestrian’ than ‘Amazing’. But still – it’s one of the few Eurodance beats we have in this year’s Eurovision, so we’re clinging onto it like that aforementioned tramp would cling to the last few swigs of methylated spirits.
Andras Kallay Saunders: Running
Half ballad/Half drum & bass hybrid. An odd concoction on paper, but the whole thing is merged together seamlessly by the singer’s lush vocal delivering a big pop melody. It’s a song that’s both atmospheric and rousing. And out of all of the songs, it’s probably the most intriguing in terms of wondering what the staging of it will throw up.
Carl Espen: Silent Storm
Another one that we really didn’t like on first listen. But that was less to do with the song’s merits, and more to do with the fact that it reminded us so much of the vastly superior ‘Long Live This Love’ by Isak Danielsson that came out in Sweden at the beginning of this year. As it turned out though, ‘Silent Storm’ is crazy beautiful in its own right. And 99.999999% of Europeans watching won’t know who Isak Danielsson is. So yes – this is probably going to do very well. The more we listen to this, the more we’re liking it. Although another gripe is that the chorus doesn’t quite live up to the promise of the verse. But no one else seems to be hearing that.
Donatan & Cleo: My Slowianie – We Are Slavic
A bizarre mix of Balkan pop, rap, and whatever the fuck else this can be described as. But it does have its charms. Somewhat.
Valentina Monetta: Maybe (Forse)
In a contest that is housing ‘Undo’ by Sanna Nielsen, it’s quite difficult for another typically Western Eurovision ballad to stand out so much. But this one makes a valiant attempt. And it’s so very gorgeous with it. Hits you on first listen too. Though it could really have done with unleashing the poppers halfway through like her entry from last year.
Basim: Cliché Love Song
Like it was impossible to talk about Anouk’s song ‘Birds’ for the Netherlands last year without mentioning Lana Del Rey, this year you can’t really listen to ‘Cliché Love Song’ without Bruno Mars being brought to mind. Regardless though, this is catchy as sin. And performing 23rd on the night – by which time no one will even remember who Bruno Mars is. Result.
Sergej Cetkovic: Moj Svijet
We do love ourselves a good Balkan ballad. And this is one of those. Gorgeously produced, strangely structured, and performed with passionate aplomb by an above average male vocal. Our favourite parts are the epic instrumental post-choruses. But Sergej delivers his bits wonderfully too. In any other year, there’d be plenty of this kind of song to choose from. But this year it stands out on its own. Which will obviously do it a lot of favours.
Can-Linn feat Kasey Smith: Heartbeat
A fairly unspectacular pop track. It’s got elements of dance music, and it’s got Celtic influences – which at least sets it aside from everything else. And the melody is quite good in both the verse and the chorus. But it falls short of ever becoming anything really great – fitting for the year it’s competing in.
Ok so that’s actually only 9 more. But we couldn’t shoehorn in anything else that we could hand-on-heart recommend that you listen to. So this is it.