Monday 30 January 2012

France 2012 - Anggun - Echo (You and I)

France continue their roll of quality and established performers singing well-produced and radio friendly tunes that are ultimately destined for mid-table anonymity.

This year we have the Indonesian-born Anggun, a woman of strong voice and exotic look, skilfully belting out a light-hearted danced-up tune that could quite easily have come from a recent Kosheen comeback - had Kosheen not been kak.

Unlike many of this year's hopefully it sounds like a song in its own right, rather than something specifically written for this funny old contest, be we fear that it just doesn't have the hooks to lure in the voting public.

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Sunday 29 January 2012

Estonia 2012 - Erasmus Rotterdamist - Kuu Pääle

Now here's a curious little oddity. Coming over every bit like a left-over track from and early 70s Who double disc collection, and crow-barring in practically every prog rock cliche you squeeze into three minutes, this song gropes about in search of a tune without ever really finding one, but is still pleasingly bonkers.

I can't imagine that it's going any place fast, but I'm really glad it's there!

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Saturday 28 January 2012

Moldova 2012 - Constantinova & Synops - Game

Who'd have thought it - the most up to date and forward thinking song of the year so far comes from Moldova. But how did this happen?

It starts off all floaty and ethereal, with a disembodied girl's voice drifting in and out over the top of some ambient electronica. It lulls you into a false sense of security, then bang, the insanity begins.

BOOM-WAK-WAK-WAK-WAK-TOOOOOOP-PRIOW-WAK-WAK-WAK - for the rest of the flippin' song! It's like Enya getting kicked in by the lords of dubstep, and it's quite, quite brilliant. I really want this one to make the televised stages at the very least - if only to see how the rank and file ESC fansites struggle to find the words to describe it!

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Friday 20 January 2012

Norway 2012 - Yaseen & Julie Maria - Sammen

When I first heard that there was going to be a song about last summer's tragic Utøya shootings in this year's MGP, I must admit I had my concerns – especially as it was reported to be performed as a rap by a couple of  fresh-faced teens. As a general rule, however well intentioned this kind of thing may be, they often end up sounding like a twee and over-sentimental sixth form project.

Thankfully my cynicism has proved unfounded, as Sammen (Together) turns out to be a pretty strong song, and to my jaded ear one of the best in a lacklustre set of Norwegian semis.

It's edgy rather than cloying, and builds to the kind of climax that will have the home crowds weeping into their herring. Whether that will translate to the wider continent should it make it through is another question, but I for one wouldn't complain if gets to Baku.

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Thursday 19 January 2012

Moldova 2012 - Sasha Bognibov - Against Discrimination

It's the moment that all wrong thinking Eurovision fans look forward to most of all - Sasha's back!

The every moment the Moldovan fans are drip fed onto the TVM website, the Bog-spotters among us go trawling through the list hunting for his latest, almost certainly ill-fated, attempts at getting a song to Eurovision.

The first of his two gems this year is a growling slow punk anthem railing against discrimination, with scarcely a mention of teenaged girls, his regular high falsetto underpinned with a joyfully monstrous gargle. Of course we know it's never going to get through to the televised bit in a month of Sunday, but we can surely hope that one day... one day…

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Wednesday 18 January 2012

Latvia 2012 - Paula Dukure - Celebration

There must be something strange in Riga's water supply at the moment. Either that or the creative director on Latvian telly has changed his medication. How else can you explain the barrage of sartorial lunacy that's coming out to their selection process this year.

The Mad Show Boys are clearly a (possibly slightly too) clever parody, while Maia must have had some earth mother reasoning behind her curious garb, but what's Ms Dukure's excuse?

She sits there in some giant Regency birthday cake, belting out her tune as if something big's going to happen. Will she step from the cake to reveal some spangly gold shorts? Is it going to explode? Will birds fly down from the trees and eat her alive? Sadly none of the above. The eventual pay off is amusing, if slightly lame, but you can guarantee that in a parallel universe, a dormful of teenage Daleks are working up an oily sweat…

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Tuesday 17 January 2012

Latvia 2012 - Maia - No Limits To Dream

Alongside hunting out the most interesting and fascinating songs from the national finals each year, we also like to keep an eye out for the most frightening outfits and ill-advised on stage concepts - and I think we've found an early contender!

Quite what Maia was thinking when she came up with this concept is probably a mystery to most, but you only sit through this meandering and underwhelming little song to see the sartorial money shot, half knowing that you'll end up disappointed, but still unable to wrench your eyes away. Do enjoy...

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Monday 16 January 2012

Iceland 2012 - Blár Opal – Stattu Upp

This fab little popster from Iceland is cutely engaging. Admittedly the stage presentation was just a little too twee, but look through that and simply listen, and there's a nice little song hiding in among the wholesomeness.

Actually, there's about three or four songs, all roughly stapled together, but we like the junglist breakdown in the middle best. Surely that bit was a freak musical accident.

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Sunday 15 January 2012

Latvia 2012 - Elizabete Zagorska - You Are A Star

There are many reasons to recommend a viewing of this insane little Latvian finalist. There's the ethno dance by numbers tune, for a start, and the stilted Vegas-cum-Riga dance routine with flames and leather and big men with huge moustaches. Even Elizabete's singing is entertainingly off key in the most important places. 

But the best bit comes at approximately 2:20, when one of the band members takes his life into his own hands for a one shot gag of such ludicrous magnitude that I spat a mouthful of sandwich out through my nose in surprise!

There's no way they'll be allowed to do that on a Eurovision stage, surely? Although Azerbaijan is the Land Of Fire, I suppose!

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Thursday 12 January 2012

Austria 2012 - Conchita Wurst - That's What I Am

We have to admit, we were waiting with baited breath to see if the song that Austria's most glamourous bearded lady was due to present for Eurovision (at a rather strange reveal event in a Viennese night club) would actually be any good or not.

So often, the acts with the best backstory let us down when it comes to the actual song element, but the girl has done us proud, with a good old fashioned cabaret anthem that'll have Euroclub pumping whether it qualifies or not.

So now we've got a dilemma. Austria have got two incredibly visual, fatastically watchable and ultimately polarising acts in their national final, and it's a damn shame that we'll have to lose one (or indeed both) of them. I'll bet they both scare off the nan vote and one of those dreary jazz bints wins instead!

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Tuesday 10 January 2012

Austria 2012 - Trackshittaz - Woki Mit Deim Popo

Those rural Austrian cheeky boys Trackshittaz are back with another gloriously chunky slice of farm-fed dance pop. And while it might not be as immediate and hook-laden as last year's near miss Oida Taunz!, it's still bouncy and daft enough to cause big trouble to the scorers during the Austrian final - oh, and the title sounds a bit rude to Western ears when barked out by the boys, so the nan's of Europe will be spitting out their cherrys in shocked surprise!

This pair have to get through one year - imagine the havoc they'd cause in some obscure European capital for a fortnight!

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