Saturday, January 31, 2009

It's my time tonight, it's my time, it's my time, my moment, I'm not gonna let go of it, my time, it's my time, and I'll stand proud

Yes! Well done, Finland.

I've endorsed "Lose Control" by Waldo's People before, and have been strongly behind this whole comeback of theirs since the first time I heard "Back Again"--it's as if they've taken my favorite of their old songs, "1000 Ways," as the jumping off point for their new and even poppier material. If Alcazar were Eurodance with guitar riffs, "1000 Ways" is what I always thought they'd sound like, and the reincarnated Waldo's People is living up to that. "Lose Control" is great dance-pop, like the '90's style but with the production values of today.

It wasn't Finland's national final I chose to watch, though (well, I couldn't--the video web stream only worked for people in Finland)--that was Denmark's final, which was generally a pretty enjoyable show. When did Denmark's final become such a...disco? The winning song, Brinck's "Believe Again," was co-written by Ronan Keating and sounds like it, but the number of up-tempo schlager, '80's pop, and electronic pop songs was so refreshing. Most of the talk will be about Hera Björk's "Someday," a classy schlager song well-written by some true Eurovision fans and well sung by Hera; it came close to winning, making it through all the various rounds until the final one, where "Believe Again" forced it into second place. If I'm being picky, the ballad opening of the song lasts a bit long for my personal taste, but it's a real shame "Someday" didn't win--a great schlager song like that would've been very welcome at Eurovision, at least for me. Still, second is a great achievement, something she and the writers should be proud of. Watch out for the "sorrow! There has been sorrow!" bit and the key change, complete with (of course!) pyrotechnics. If you're a schlager lover, just try not to go into meltdown.

I wonder if I'm alone, though, in feeling that girl group Sukkerchok's song "Det' Det" impressed me a lot more live than I was expecting it to. In its studio version, a lot of its light '80's melodic loveliness is lost, but on stage the song came alive musically in a way I never expected it to (I think the guitars must have been further back in the live mix, allowing the synths and vocal melody to stand out more, but that's not the only reason). It starts off like it's going to be "Hot N Cold" part two, but then completely changes up for the chorus. I was glad to see them make it through to the second stage of the competition (where they faced off against "Someday" and lost)--it was one of those experiences where you can feel yourself falling in total love with the song and the group as they go, and even the ill-advised hip-hop styling of one member couldn't stop that.

Trine Jepsen's schlager "I'll Never Fall In Love Again" was great, too, but something about the staging felt underwhelming. The song will still get play from me, though. In fact, for almost all of the Danish songs, there was something positive I felt I took away from the experience.

I chose to watch the Denmark final over Norway's second semifinal, so I still haven't caught up on that yet (I would have if the stream over at NRK wasn't mysteriously missing audio when I try to play the archived show).

Romania chose a harmless catchy danceable pop track, Elena Gheorge's "Balkan Girls," as its entry. There's not much more to say about it at this point in time--it could be disposable with time or its catchiness could give it a bit more enduring power (right now I'm definitely leaning towards the former). I've never thought of Romania as part of the Balkans, though.

Meanwhile, while three countries were choosing tracks that at least have some redeeming value to them, the UK was presented with this...

...with "this" being Andrew Lloyd Webber and Diane Warren making what sounds like the worst Idol winner's song ever. Granted, Eurovision songs aren't known for lyrical complexity and love some repetition, but put that (lack of) melody and those words together and the first half of that chorus is just intolerable. You all can keep Jade, that's fine, but is it really too late to swap out the song?


Nikki said...

haha. am watching three acts butchering that horrid British song(which isn't even completely British 'coz isn't Diane Warren American?).. It does seem like a really, really pathetic Idol's winner song.

John said...

That UK track is HORRENDOUS! How often do I get to use a word like that? I'll tell you, though...Waldo's People owe Real McCoy one or two royalty payments!

Anonymous said...

The backing track of that Sukkerchok song always reminded me of a weaker version of Katy Perry 'Hot & Cold'.
Not to long now till Melodifestivalen 2009 :D, i do feel a bit excited already.

In the mean time i really like the new Enrique Iglesias song 'Takin Back My Love' with Sarah Connor.
I wasnt sure why i never thought much of it before but i heard it again yesterday with her and ive been playing it a lot since.
Also this Aussie singer i thought 'Jade MacRae' is rather good in a Jordin Sparks kind of way.
'I Wanna Be In Love' is very similar to Tattoo.
'In The Basement' is rather great 80s sounding electro pop.
Im not sure whether to get the album though as i can imagine it being more average sounding.

Anonymous said...

Also the new Calvin Harris single is all kinds of amazing in full hq.

Paul said...

oh England. Once again the whole competition of Eurovision is given a hokey jokey feel and once again we won't do well because of it. What this country needs is someone really high profile to enter the competition and give us a great pop song that's universal whether it's eurovision or not - would it be so bad to have Take That enter something like Greatest Day, or The Saturdays with Up or even Leona Lewis with something as epic as Bleeding Love? I mean it just requires that gravitas really and we'd be right back on track. Course that will probably never happen because it is still seen as the last resort for popstars seeking a comeback at all costs. I shudder that next year it will probably be same difference for all the wrong reasons. End of rant!

Len W said...

Denmark's MGP was a lovely show, wasn't it? It was one of the very few with a great interval act, the schlager/ESC medley by the hosts. Brinck was good, but not very distinctive, though I did love the moment in the second performance when the wind machine went rogue and pelted him in the face with his scarf.

Waldo's People definitely will keep Eurofans' spirits up regarding this year's entries, though it is undeniably reminiscent of Nik Kershaw's "Wouldn't It Be Good?"

Rick said...

Everyone has been really down on the UK song, but it's a perfect entry considering the utter shit we've sent in the last few years. The English lyrics are very simple and a bit cliched, which is perfect for this competition, the chorus kicks in straight away, it also speeds up part of the chorus which will at least keep people awake, and Jade was the best of an absolutely horrible bunch of amateurs that competed to go to Moscow.

We won't come last, but as far as winning - I don't think so. It's a huge improvement from previous years.

Poster Girl said...

That's exactly what it sounds like to me, Nikki :-/ I haven't caught up on the other acts' performances of it yet.

Any modern group which owes royalty payments to Real McCoy is going to be a group I love!

Conor, I still haven't heard the version with Sarah yet; I do love the version with Ciara, though. What on Earth the label was thinking not making it the lead single from this greatest hits campaign, I have no idea. "In The Basement" is a song I should've written about already--it's so great! I, um, "have" the album but haven't listened to it beyond those two tracks yet. You've heard Calvin in HQ? All I've got so far is a decent radio rip! I'll have to go searching...

I do feel like you all put more effort into choosing this year. Those options of already famous popstars you list off would, in a dream world, be fantastic.

It was, Len! It was such a nice surprise. I don't hate or even dislike the Brinck track at all--it doesn't thrill me as much as other songs in the final did, but it's absolutely an OK song. That wind machine seemed like it was turned up to the highest possible setting! It just wasn't Brinck's night--the missed start, the scarf in the face--until, well, until it was.

Rick, sadly, I do expect this to do better for the UK. It's just a song that does nothing for me whatsoever. I wonder if I'd like it more if I didn't understand English, or if it really is the sound of the words and the sound of the music together that puts me off.

Jamie said...

Every one is slamming the UK song. Yes it does sound a bit like an X-Factor winner but for once I can feel patriotic again. The last time I was happy with our entry was back in 2002, now that's a long wait!

Schlager Queen said...

I agree with you, Loved the Danish selection such a high standard this year with a wonderful choice of songs Hera and Sukkerchok were fab and Brinck should do well in Moscow!

Poster Girl said...

Jamie, you and Rick can form a support group. And rub it in my/our faces when/if it does well. I just can't imagine the following scenario ever taking place:

Random person: I'm in the mood to listen to music. What should I play? about 'It's My Time'?"

If it works for you, though, it works for you!

Great job to the organizers in Denmark, really! Now if only NRK would sort out the lack of audio on Norway's stream for this past semifinal...