Eurovision 2016: The 13 Songs You Really Need To Listen To



The final takes place on Saturday 14th, with semi-finals one and two happening on the 10th and 12th respectively. And it’s all going on in the spiritual home of the three minute pop song – Sweden.

Aside from the five Nordic entries which we’ve followed since their national finals, we took our first listen to the other thirty seven of this year’s Eurovision songs a few weeks back. There were some which we’ve listened to a lot since, others which have turned out to be big growers in the time since then, and of course quite a few that we never want to hear again. Ever. So we’d say that’s a pretty standard Eurovision year really.

Whether you’ve yet to delve into all 42, or whether you now know them all word for word – we’ve put together what we think are the absolute best songs of this year’s contest. The ones that everyone needs to listen to. Which this year, equates to 13.

The 13 songs of the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 that you need to hear;

Samra – Miracle
(Amir Aly, Jakke “T.I Jakke” Erixson, Henrik Wikström)
Azerbaijan have (once again) looked to the Scandi lands for songwriting and production talent in getting their entry ready. This time though, they’ve turned in a song that’s arguably better than any of the Nordic entries it’s competing with. A dramatic and OTT ballad that commands attention and leaves a very big impression.

Poli Genova – If Love Was A Crime
(Borislav Milanov, S. Arman, J. Persson, Poli Genova)
Bulgaria arrive to the 2016 contest with their best entry to date. And while it’s only languishing down at 9th in the pre-contest odds (a sensible each-way bet if you’re looking for one this year), it’s revealed itself to be the big fan favourite amongst Eurovision followers. Admittedly not the best omen as history has proven, but this rousing pop banger could steal the whole show if it gets placed into the right slot on the evening.

Dami Im – Sound of Silence
(David Musumeci, Anthony Egizii)
X Factor winner Dami Im was an inspired choice to front the Australian entry this year. As she proved on the show, there are few styles of song that she can’t completely knock-out-of-the-park (to use a TV talent show term, topically). With ‘Sound of Silence’ she’s been given a massive ballad to deliver though, and does it brilliantly. More current than the other big ballad of the year (Azerbaijan), ‘Sound of Silence’ draws comparisons with the compositions of Dami’s fellow Aussie Sia.

Amir – J’ai Cherché
(Nazim Khaled, Amir Haddad, Johan Errami)
It’s been a while since the French came to the contest as one of the favourites. But this year they’re currently second favourite to go and win the whole thing. That’s thanks to the utterly loveable man you can see at the top of this page, Amir. And his song which is a super catchy folkpop inspired toe-tapper that’s bound to resonate with about 99% of people watching on May 14th.

ZOË – Loin D’ici
(Christof Straub, Zoe Straub)
Easily the most charming of the songs this year, in that it’s a super sweet and quaintly kitsch pop song, backed with a banging production. It’s been drawing understandable comparisons with Alizee. And sounds like the brightest dark horse that the contest has ever had.

Francesca Michielin – No Degree of Separation
(Francesca Michielin, Federica Abbate, Norma Jean Martine, Fabio Gargiulo)
A timeless ballad performed beautifully by Francesca. More romantic and simplistic than the dramatic ballads offered up by Australia and Azerbaijan, which might just end up giving it a slight edge over those two competitors. This is another big fan favourite.

Joe & Jake – You’re Not Alone
(Matt Schwartz, Justin J Benson, S. Kanes)
The UK deserve a lot of praise for the entry they’ve chosen. Ok, so they’ve been slower than any other country in the contest when it comes to realising that nowadays you need to be sending songs that sound like hit singles, rather than songs that sound like they might have won back in 1996. But they’ve finally grasped it. And taking the lead from last year’s winner, they’ve sent a song that sounds like something you would hear on the radio anywhere in Europe right now. We’re not saying that the UK will win with ‘You’re Not Alone’. But for the first time in….well…..quite a while, they’ve sent a song that would be a very worthy and deserved winner.

ManuElla – Blue & Red
(Manuella Brechko, Marjan Hvala, Leon Oblak)
Merging country-folk with Scandipop, Slovenia come to the 2016 contest with a hugely instant entry. This song doesn’t even need the full three minutes to hit home – it manages that after only one chorus. It also squashes the whole contest’s cheese quota into to those three minutes. Which we fully endorse, naturally.

Sergey Lazarev – You Are The Only One
(Dimitris Kontopoulos, Philip Kirkorov, John Ballard, Ralph Charlie)
The almighty Russia are a competitive force to be reckoned with at the best of times in this contest – but when they truly come with all guns blazing, you know about it. And this is one of those years. Sergey has been one of the country’s biggest and most well known music personalities of this century. And his participation in Eurovision was always a question of when, rather than if. He arrives with a catchy dancepop banger, that will easily be one of the most memorable songs on the night. And as such, he’s the clear favourite to win. The only thing that may hold him back though, is the undeniable fact that his song is quite dated. Last year’s Eurovision winner sounded like it could be a global chart and radio hit. Whereas this, while being a fantastic pop song, would have struggled to come off as current even ten years ago.

Ira Losco – Walk On Water
(Lisa Desmond, Tim Larsson, Tobias Lundgren, Molly Pettersson-Hammar, Ira Losco)
Another nation who have looked to Sweden to help them deliver a surefire hit. And they’ve gotten it. It’s a big soul number with flavours of trip-hop, and a massive helping of the big P.O.P. The chorus is slightly disappointing in the context of everything else that’s going on in these three minutes, but that same ‘everything else’ more than makes up for it.

Barei – Say Yay
(Barei, Ruben Villanueva, Victor Pua)
This is BIG! Drawing lots of parallels with Malta in that it’s an up-tempo soul number, though it replaces their trip-hop influences with some piano house instead. The most concerning parallel it draws with Malta however, is its low-key chorus – or in this case, no chorus? The energy showcased in the rest of the song makes up for it though, and causes it to stand out as one of the most ear-catching songs of this year’s contest. And Spain’s best up-tempo Eurovision entry in over a decade. Since the glory days of Beth!

Kaliopi – Dona
(Romeo Grill, Kaliopi)
Not a front runner by any means, but we had to include this majestic Balkan ballad as we can’t help but find it so enjoyable.

Frans – If I Were Sorry
(Frans Jeppsson Wall, Fredrik Andersson, Michael Saxell, Oscar Fogelström)
The reigning Eurovision champs aren’t giving up their title without a fight. And that fight comes in the form of this absolute smash. We’ve already mentioned a need for a song to be current and relevant so far here, and ‘If I Were Sorry’ by Frans is by far and away the song that lives up to that the most this year. It’s the one song above all 42 that sounds like it could be a hit anywhere in Europe right now. And that’s best showcased by the fact that MTV in the UK have already playlisted the video on their channels pre-contest. Something which has been unheard of for the past two decades, even where UK entries are concerned. It’s not the favourite to win, but we reckon it probably will. Which it would totally deserve to.

Want more? Here’s another thirteen that are well worth a listen or two;

Czech Republic

We’ve put together a Spotify playlist featuring all of these twenty six songs right here. And if you want to brave the full 42, check out the official Eurovision website.

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