It’s that time of year again! Eurovision Song Contest 2018 is only a week away, and for all of you Euro-faithful, Kori and Dan have put together a preview week to review every song! Today is covering the second half of semi-final two, so settle in, enjoy some music, and let us know what you think in the comments below! Spoilers: Kori and Dan have wildly differing opinions this year.
Kori: What can I say? I’m a fan of Georgia pretty much doing their own thing every year and not giving AF on what the musical trends are. I still think the Shin and Mariko were high-key robbed in 2014, and I applaud Iriao for doing their own thing. Unfortunately, I don’t think the audience is going to share my sentiments, so don’t look for this to leave the semis.
Dan: I would enjoy Boyars 2 Men more if the lead singer didn’t sing like he was permanently mid-yawn. Which, incidentally, is where I find myself as I listen to this song. I get that they’re going for a sort of modern-day Gregorian chant feel but, damn guys, read the room.
Kori: I love me some EDM pop. Poland brought the EDM pop. Is it a tad subdued? Yes. But it’s still the best number of this half of semi-final two, so I’m going to take what I can get. Let’s hope they’ve improved their staging since the national finals, however, because that was all sorts of crowded amateur hour.
Dan: This is like the one male-driven piece of modern pop at Eurovision, and sadly it really pales when compared to the competition. The “DJ with singer” combo only really works when the singer is at all interesting or unique. Sadly, Lukas Meijer (who’s Swedish, rather than Polish) just doesn’t really have any sort of chops to rise above Gromee’s (who may be an escaped WoW gnome based on his name) repetitive electronica. This won’t get out of the semis.
Kori: Bar none, if this were a contest for best music video Malta would absolutely run away with the competition this year. I appreciate that Christabelle is using her platform to try and attack the stigma around mental illness, and I obviously think her music video is gorgeous. The song revamp has done wonders, but there still seems like there’s that little piece missing that brings everything together.
Dan: The award for “Best Character Development” has to go to Malta, who took a rather bland empowerment song with lame animal visuals (Look! A panther!) and turned it into some sort of steamy dystopian nightmare. If nothing else, the staging for this ought to be KILLER. That alone will carry it to the finals.
Kori: So. I absolutely loathe scream rock/metal with dirty vocals. It’s like nails on a chalkboard and I’m instantly turned off. Guess what this song is? Spoiler: It’s ranked absolute last on Kori’s list this year. At least AWS bring variety?
Dan: Yesterday, I mentioned that I may be disappointed in my desire for something really heavy at Eurovision. Turns out I was wrong. I actually really love this, but I can’t tell if that’s out of objective quality or my love for angry pop-punk. It is super cool to see a song with a sick break down at Eurovision, though. I really want this to do well, but I wonder if the stripped down look of AWS will hurt their stage performance. Probably a submission that will make its way through certain online circles, but unfortunately won’t get far.
Kori: Latvia’s had a music renaissance at Eurovision since Aminata came in and cleansed their national selection of any joke entries. “Funny Girl” follows the trend of showing off the Latvian song prowess, but for me, it falls into the same pitfall as Croatia this year. The song is wonderfully produced and sung, and I love the dark and moody vibe. However, it still feels like it’s spinning its wheels and never fully reaching its destination.
Dan: I think this song is a tad pretentious, but overall it’s really not a bad tune. I like the start-stop backbeat working in tandem with the vocals and the way Laura Rizzotto’s voice sort of tumbles over, interrupted only by sudden bursts of horn and strings. It’s a beautiful song that should have some cool staging to boot. Just please, Laura, ditch the weird tiny hat.
Kori: Michael Jackson called, he wants his early 90’s song catalog reject back. Look, I usually love Sweden’s entries. I love how much they love Eurovision, and how hard they go for it every year with Melodifestivalen. I’m just really not digging Swedish Zac Efron with the breathy, wannabe falsetto circa Zayn Malik’s “Pillowtalk.”
Dan: I don’t know if I like this that much. The bassline and beat fucking slap, but there’s something that just kind of unsettles me about Ingrosso’s voice and appearence. I guess he’s going for a low-rent Bruno Mars or a Mayo Michael Jackson, but he has less than half of their charisma and even less of their dancing ability. I don’t think this forgotten B-side from Daft Punk’s worst album will break out like Sweden might want. Man, it’s kind of a rough year for the Nordics.
Kori: This is a song where a revamp can work wonders. I thought Montenegro had lost their minds voting to send this to Lisbon, but the subtle yet masterful tweaks on the “Inje” revamp really add the depth the initial version lacked. Plus it’s nice to see a proper Balkan ballad representing. Whether this will be enough to get him through to the Grand Final, however, is still up in the air.
Dan: An epic orchestral piece let down by a kind of lackluster voice, the sheer sweeping epic-ness of “Inje” might win the judges and voters over for a little while. The movie soundtrack quality lends itself to a cool stage performance, but we’ll have to wait on that. Sadly, it lacks the uniqueness of other more classical submissions while being too slow to compete with the pop and electronica filling the rest of the field.
Kori: I’ve had a soft spot for Slovenia since they were robbed of a top 10 finish in 2011 with Maja Keuc’s “No One” and again in 2015 with Maraaya’s retro BOP “Here For You” (seriously, forever bitter.) But even I have to admit the last two years were not their greatest work. Luckily, Lea Sirk delivers a quirky modern number with plenty of memorable hooks. Maybe we’ll at least see them back in the Grand Final this year.
Dan: No lies, this is a bop. Its got good backing bass, a sick hook, and Lea Sirk’s rapid sing/rapping seems to have picked up all the flow that San Marino lost. Written by Lea herself, a veteran Eurovision performer and seemingly endlessly talented musician, the song mixes dance beats with the slower chorus where Lea shines. I think this is the best song in this batch.
Kori: When it comes to Ukraine’s Eurovision entries, there’s a saying. “When it comes to subtlety, there’s a ceiling to hit. Then there’s Ukraine, where subtlety goes to die.” Even with Jamala’s winning performance, subtle lyrics were nowhere in sight. From giant hamster wheels, Roman gladiator beefcakes, and more pyro than you can shake a stick at, Ukraine is the epitome of “go big or go home.” Thankfully, that trend continues this year, as MELOVIN jams on his piano on a giant platform, lit on fire. His stage presence is good, but hopefully they’ve worked on his singing a bit, as some of his pronunciation was pretty rough at the national final. Look for this to sail through.
Dan: Starring the lead villain from next year’s hottest YA novel, “Under the Ladder” is an extremely boring piece of electro-pop. It’s not really a song you can dance to, and as anthems go, there are better examples just this year. Might squeak by on presentation, assuming nobody tells the fire marshal.