May 24, 2012 by Rhi
Ah, dear friends. Crack open the Bailey’s Irish Cream, and get the vats of red wine at the ready. This Saturday sees the final of the 57th Eurovision Song Contest, live from the city of Baku in Azerbaijan. The tzaziki is in the fridge, the frites are ready to go in the oven, and the currywurst will be consumed by the bucketload here at Bint Towers, as we do like ourselves a bit of inter-continental musical competition.
However, for those of you who don’t follow the contest with the same zest as I, you may have missed the joy that is the Semi-Finals. First introduced in 2004, it cuts the number of entrants down to 26 in the Final, from 42 countries. Now, I’m grateful that it means the Eurovision Song Contest doesn’t last for 7 hours, but it does mean that some great songs that have been entered don’t get to see the light of day (and no, Auntie Beeb. I don’t consider an airing on BBC3 for the Semi Finals as an airing). So as a special public service, I’ve listened to crap stuff so you don’t have to. Here’s the ones that got away in the first semi-final this year. Some I’m happy to consign to the bargain bin of Euro history. But there’s a couple in there who could have given the top seeds a run for their money, and which definitely stand up to more than one listen.
Austria: Trackshittaz – Woki Mit Deim Popo
This song only comes top thanks to the alphabet. It’s hard to know what to say. The name of the band is no accident, I don’t think. And their song lyrics suggest that Nuts culture has made it to Austria intact. The translation on the Eurovision site tells me that I’m being asked to “Shake my booty”. These boys have got cool beers, and pole dancers. Apparently in the club “the ladies are wearing fine jewels; But in places where you wouldn’t expect it at first”. Fascinating. He then goes on to explain that booties have opinions, and feelings as well. Evidently, they can also write song lyrics, because someone shat this stuff out, fo’ shizz.
Belgium: Iris – Would You?
Before anyone chooses to answer that question in the time-honoured fashion, I would like to point out that Iris is only 17 years old. She’s certainly got a set of pipes, and I suspect she’d go well enough in “Britain’s Got the Talent of an X Celebrity” (other talent shows are available). The sad fact is that these shows are now so ubiquitous that the idea of a young girl with a great voice is passe. Bring on the dancing dog, they said.
Finland: Pernilla – När Jag Blundar
It’s not often that we hear a Eurovision Song now in a native language. When the song starts, it’s almost hard to work out if she’s just singing in English with a very strong accent. But this lilting melody starts up, and even if you can’t understand a word she’s singing, you appreciate the effort being made. Instruments and voices apparently don’t win votes in Eurovision anymore, and that makes me quite sad.
Israel: Izabo – Time
This is the one that got away for me this year, so far. Traditional melody and instruments, yet still managing to sound fresher than one of the latest “guitar” bands churned out by record labels. It’s bizarre – Dexy’s Midnight Runners meets… I dunno… Franz Ferdinand? I love it. Bouncy, happy, and a man with curly hair (and a lady playing a synth). This is why I like Eurovision. You wouldn’t hear this anywhere else.
Latvia: Anmary – Beautiful Song
There’s not much to say about this one. It tries to get the vote by referencing Johnny Logan (more about him in my next post, Eurosonglings!) and how much she wants to win so she can quit her jobs. Sadly, I want doesn’t get. She lost my vote in the first couple of lines when she references being born in “distant 1980”. Quite frankly, love, 1980 was JUST LAST WEEK, practically.
Montenegro: Rambo Amadeus – Euro Neuro
Montenegrin rap. With monks. And he manages to get the words “hermetic, pathetic, analfabetic” in within the first three lines. I’m not sure what it is that he’s saying, but he’s saying it earnestly. I suspect that Goldie Lookin’ Chain have somehow successfully exported their style to Montenegro, and this is the result. Perhaps it was just to hot for the big guns to handle?
San Marino: Valentia Monetta – The Social Network Song.
Batshit crazy Pigeon English with liberal use of autotune. Talks about cybersex. Didn’t go down well apparently. Thankfully. It’s no real surprise that the other videos suggested by youtube alongside this one include Rebecca Black. I wouldn’t be surprised if they used the same lyricist. San Mario, there’s kitsch, and then there’s just plain awful. Better luck next year.
Switzerland: Sinplus – Unbreakable
Jedward made it through to the final, and yet this didn’t. And yet again I wonder what the sodding point of this entire sodding contest is, when someone who sings in their first language is left standing by these two chaps from Switzerland who evidently have listened to a A LOT of U2 and Kaiser Chiefs.
So that was the first semi final. Incidentally, you can see the songs that did make it through to the final here (although don’t get your hopes up, unless you’re into Eurotrash autotuned pop/techno sung by girls who look like lingerie models). Tomorrow we do it all again, but with slightly different Eastern European countries, and some more Scandinavia people too. Katie Boyle would be in her element.
And on Friday, I’ll have a run down of the Top 10 Eurovision Songs of all time. I’m not going to spoil the surprise, but I can promise that Jedward will not be on the list.
And in case you’d missed the epic news, the UK entry (we’re spared the indignity of the semi finals thanks to the fact that we help bankroll the whole shebang) is the mighty Englebert Humperdink. With Tom Jones back on primetime in The Voice, it’s all gone a little bit 1960s for me. Here’s our entry – it’s not bad, but it’s not particularly brilliant either. Here’s hoping the star attraction means we get a few more votes than usual.
What do you think? Does the UK have any hope? And what about the rest of Europe – who’s your tip for Euro Glory this Saturday?