Eurovision 2015: The 10 Songs You Need to Hear!


It’s May, it’s Eurovision month, it’s (sing it with us) the most wonderful time of the year.

40 countries have sent a song to the biggest and brightest musical event of the year. And you don’t have to wait until May 23rd (or May 19th and 21st, if you’re a fan of a juicy semi) to totally immerse yourself in the frights and delights of this year’s entries – you can listen to all 40 songs here.

OR you could save yourself a lot of time, effort and endurance, by heading straight for our picks of the crop. We’ve sat through all 40 in one sitting. Twice. And we certainly won’t be doing that again. But what we have done is collected and compiled our Top 10 songs. The highlights. The best bits.

The 10 songs from this year’s Eurovision Song Contest that you need to listen to;

Polina Gagarina: A Million Voices
(Gabriel Alares, Joakim Björnberg, Katrina Noorbergen, Leonid Gutkin, Vladimir Matetsky)

Ok, so first things first. Russia obviously need to take a fucking SEAT when it comes to sending lyrics like this to the Eurovision Song Contest. They’re fooling precisely no one with this anthem of peace, love, and unity on a global scale. But if you leave the political context at the door, and take the song on its own merits, it’s an absolute triumph of bombastic balladry. An epic, soaring, and then climactic track that even manages to be hair-stand-on-edge inducing – if you’re in the right mood, or if you’re us. Russia hired a team of Swedes (which goes some way towards explaining why we love it so much…) to compose an anthemic power ballad that’s dripping with cheese – and Christ did those Swedes deliver. By the time the middle eight rolls around, the song gets so CAMP that we’d half expect it to be marched off in hand-cuffs for showcasing the very kind of propaganda that Russia seems to detest so much. ‘A Million Voices’ is an absolute belter. “SING IT OUT, SING IT OUT”. Oh Polina – we will. Just at the very moment we do our big gay air-grab and fist-clench.

Måns Zelmerlöw – Heroes
(Linnea Deb, Joy Deb, Anton Hård af Segerstad)

Sweden. Who once again find themselves entering Eurovision as the clear favourites to win. This year it’s with ‘Heroes’ by one of Swedish pop music’s biggest names, Måns Zelmerlöw. And the reasons as to why it’s so favoured aren’t particularly difficult to interpret once you hear it. In short, it’s a song which actually succeeds in sounding like the sort of music that is appearing on the charts, in the clubs, and on the radio stations all over Europe right now. An up-tempo pop track that taps into the trend of pairing the dance music genre with the country music scene (something the Swedes started themselves, with Avicii’s Wake Me Up). It’s very current, and totally relevant to the pop music scene in 2015. And with (at the time of writing) 13 million streams on Swedish Spotify, plus a mammoth 40 days at number 1 on the Swedish iTunes chart, it’s clear that the Swedes have chosen to represent themselves with a song that they genuinely love. And it’s their insistence on song quality above all else, that will result in them almost certainly earning themselves their fourth Top 3 finish at Eurovision in the space of only five years. Europe is going to fall in LOVE with THIS song, THE man, and THAT staging.

Il Volo – Grande Amore
(Ciro Esposito, Francesco Boccia)

This song is so quintessentially Italian, you’ll wonder why they haven’t sent it to Eurovision before now. It sounds precisely how an Italian Eurovision should sound every year quite frankly. Imagine Il Divo. Then make it a bit more poptastic and bombastic. Even more camp. And finish it off with the word ‘Grande’ in the title (though this is more of a ‘Venti’, we’d say). Perfect. Of course similar songs have made it to Eurovision before, and not even dented the Top 5 – France 2011, Latvia 2007. But with Italy doing this type of song, it just feels right. It feels natural. And perhaps more so than any song that you’ll hear on the night – Italy’s is the most instant. You’ll be loving this before the first chorus even bellows out.

María Ólafs – Unbroken
(Ásgeir Orri Ásgeirsson, Pálmi Ragnar Ásgeirsson, Sæþór Kristjánsson, María Ólafsdóttir)

When the most famous song across the world over the past two years has been a Disney ballad, you can’t really blame a nation for wanting in on a bit of the action at Eurovision. And when the film that the Disney ballad came from was Frozen, you really REALLY can’t begrudge one particular nation for cashing in on the craze. Iceland. It makes perfect sense. Enter María Ólafs – a young, angelic, fair haired girl who will represent her country at Eurovision with a sweet ballad in which she trills about how she’s letting go. It’s not cheeky, and they have every right to. In fact we hope that they go ALL OUT and shamelessly decorate the stage with Frozen-esque props. Really ham it up. It’s Eurovision!

Nadav Guedj – Golden Boy
(Doron Medalie)

We have a theory on this one. If it had been competing in say 2009 or 2012, it may well have passed us by somewhat. But there’s just no denying that in 2015 we are downright THIRSTY for some up-tempo, hot Middle Eastern beats. And so we’re clinging onto this song for dear life. For warmth. For familiarity. And for comfort. It holds all of those things in spades. Ok, so it also holds a few things at another end of the spectrum in spades too – basic, derivative, and unoriginal. But to not give it the benefit of the doubt would be unfair. And actually, its almost novelty tone, melody and production are probably what make it so damn enjoyable. ‘Golden Boy’ is SO much fun. And if you watch all three nights of Eurovision later this month, you’ll quickly realise that fun is what the contest is missing more than anything else this year. ‘Golden Boy’ can stay. For the LOLs. We like him.

Mørland & Debrah Scarlett: A Monster Like Me
(Kjetil Mørland)

It’s fair to say that as always, there’ll be a lot of people watching the Eurovision final this year with the pre-conceived assumption that all of the songs are going to be shit. That’s just the way it is. It’s the way many people think. We look down on them, of course. But we can’t change their minds. And we never will. Or will we?…….. If any song in Eurovision 2015 is going to go flip that archaic notion on its head, it’s the Norwegian entry. It’s arguably the best song of the 40, perhaps tying in that position with Sweden. But whereas Sweden might fall victim to a certain demographic of music fan never being able to praise something so unashamedly pop, Norway has a song whose quality is honestly undeniable to anyone who listens to it. It’s brilliant. It really is. And while it could have potentially suffered in a year full of so many ballads had it been even a little bit less amazing, there’s just no way that this song will fail to stand out on the night. Whatever happens on May 23rd, Norway can hold their heads high that they submitted the best song they could, to a song competition. Along with Sweden, they’re truly showing Europe just how this contest should be done.

Maaraya – Here For You
(Raay, Marjetka Vovk, Charlie Mason)

Oh Slovenia. From the mid-nineties and the beginning of all of the Balkan, Baltic, and Eastern European nations entering Eurovision, it’s Slovenia which has been the most consistent in song quality and yet the least successful in the results table. Nine times out of ten they will send a very good song to Eurovision. And nine times out of ten they won’t do well at all. And unlike their neighbours, they’ve never really benefited from any sort of neighbourly voting. Bless ‘em. Bless their hearts. But most of all, bless their songwriters. In 2015 Slovenia have once again sent one of the best songs of the year, so hooray for that. ‘Here For You’ is melodically striking (very instant), musically charming (the strings, THE STRINGS), and lyrically heart-warming (cos I know know baby, all the hurt you never show). Watch every fucker in Europe ignore it later this month. Don’t be one of them. Get on board now.

Trijntje Oosterhuis – Walk Along
(Tobias Karlsson, Anouk Teeuwe)

On our first listen to all 40 songs last month, this one sort of passed us by as being just good, but not amazing. And the same applied on the second listen. Which admittedly doesn’t bode well for a contest like Eurovision. But when it finally did stand out, it was its simplicity that won us over. It’s a beautifully crafted, well composed song. And what DOES bode well is that the person responsible for that very crafting and composing of the song – Dutch singer Anouk – is the same person responsible for drastically reversing the Netherlands’ fortunes at the Eurovision Song Contest. When she represented her country at Eurovision in 2013 with the song ‘Birds’, she took them to the final for the first time in nine years. The following year they came second. And while they’re unlikely to improve on that position one year later, we do hope that they make the final with ‘Walk Along’. It’d be one of the better songs on the night.

Elina Born & Stig Rästa – Goodbye To Yesterday
(Stig Rästa)

This one has turned out to be a big fan favourite, we’ve noticed. And it’s not difficult to hear why. A hugely charming, retro inspired number that is very catchy and definitely as instant as it needs to be in a setting like this. Watch out for catching yourself singing “WHY DIDN’T YOU WAKE ME UP?….” a few days after your first, second and third listens (and there will be second and third listens). It’s a simple, old fashioned pop song. And therein lies its appeal, and chances of doing so well. If any dark horse creeps up and upsets the expected Nordic stronghold of the Top 2 on the night, it’ll be this one.

Aminata – Love Injected
(Aminata Savadogo)

A bit odd in the beginning, to say the least. ‘Alternative’ even. But oh yes, then it comes. That great big fuck-off chorus. And we’re back in the room. ‘Love Injected’ draws certain parallels with Albania’s Eurovision entry in 2012, ‘Suus’. But it’s SOOOOO much better. And considering how well that tripe did three years ago, one would hope that Latvia will find themselves equally high up in the leader board of this year’s final. The drama is big, the struggle is real, and the refrain is forever etched in our memory. Those verses could have done with a bit of that injection of love though.

Ok, at a push here are some more highlights. Spain‘s ethnic ballad is worth a listen or five, and if you love a Balkan balld (we do – we LOVE a Balkan ballad) then certainly check out Montenegro’s offering. Australia’s first entry (and don’t even get us started on that) is annoyingly catchy and very radio friendly, while Lithuania have turned in THE song more so than any other that actually succeeds in sounding like what you would hear if turned on the radio right now. Germany’s Motown inspired number is pretty good too. And the Moldovan entry is cheap and dated – so we’re all over it like a nasty rash.

Happy Eurovision month readers! Let us know your own favourites in the comments section below. AND if there are any more songs from the 40 that you reckon deserve more attention.

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