Jens 'n' Frens
Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

"A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures."
  -- Daniel Webster

Tuesday, May 06, 2014 :::

The first semifinal of the Eurovision Song Contest starts in a matter of hours, with the second semifinal on Thursday and the final on Saturday. I listened to the contestents, some of them so you don't have to. These are roughly in order from my favorites to my least favorite, with a brief reaction to each song and a link to the youtube video. A lot of these could easily be switched around, but the Icelandic entry is by far the worst.

  • Malta – Malta likes Mumford and Sons. So do I. This might be my favorite.
  • Armenia – The oddsmakers' favorite. A well-constructed ballad.
  • Sweden – I didn't care for the bent notes – or whatever the vocal music term is – but this is still a pretty song.
  • Spain – Very nice ballad.
  • Switzerland – Like last year, the Swiss have produced a simple, catchy, quirky, enjoyable tune that probably won't make the final despite being better than songs that will.
  • Slovenia – Moving into soft rock territory. The video is slightly strange, but I like the song.
  • Georgia – Reminds me of late-70's Jethro Tull or early-70's Yes. I actually liked this song, but I can fully understand someone's hating it. It's hard to place in the rankings because it's quirky. I don't think folk music fares well at Eurovision.
  • Ukraine – The Ukrainians could have tried not to call attention to their geopolitical situation, but instead they entered a song called "Tick-Tock." It may have carried less of a "time is running out on our independence" connotation at the time the choice was made. It's fast-paced and not regrettable and the singer is pretty, which doesn't hurt.
  • Finland – It's like emo music except that I like it. Actually, the opening reminds me of Peanuts, but telling you that before you listen to it probably just poisoned your listen. Anyway, give it a shot.
  • Albania – This is different and not bad. Reminds me of something I listened to in college in the mid 90s, though I can't think of a name. Not my favorite, but give it a shot.
  • Belarus – Fun, though Marc Anthony's version was better (someone in the comments says, not unreasonably, "Robin Thicke," but I think Marc Anthony is closer). Maybe a little bit of a Maroon 5 sound.
  • Latvia – Sort of similar to the Swiss entry, but quirkier and simpler. My wife likes it as a kid's song.
  • Italy – I think this is a harder rock sound than anyone else in the contest, which still only puts it with the likes of Roxette or No Doubt – it won't draw any comparisons to Loordi (except, I suppose, the one I just made).
  • Germany – Not terribly creative. This is both a strength and a weakness.
  • Romania – Kind of a power ballad. It seems like it's missing something.
  • Netherlands – Think Lady Antebellum, or that sort of pop song that you hear on country radio stations these days. I wouldn't avoid this song, but I wouldn't seek it out, either.
  • Montenegro – A pretty good ballad. Not among my top few choices, but probably above the median.
  • San Marino – This could play over the end credits to a James Bond movie. It probably wouldn't keep me in the theater. To be fair, the movie probably wouldn't, either.
  • Austria – This makes me think of James Bond (as San Marino did). I haven't decided what I think about the concept of a drag queen with facial hair.
  • Ireland – Decent Europop. I can't think of anything else to say.
  • Russia – Apparently, Russian alchemists have distilled the essense of the decent but unmemorable, middle-of-the-pack Eurovision song.
  • Portugal – See Russia, but replace the word "decent" with "mediocre."
  • Moldova – Kind of interesting in places, but not very many of them.
  • Denmark – The ESL lyrics perpetuate a long-standing Eurovision tradition. Among the oddsmakers' favorites, but not among mine.
  • Hungary – You can always count on Eurovision to produce light, entertaining pop songs, unlike this one about child abuse. It isn't a bad song, but it seems more out of place than, say, the French and Polish entries.
  • Israel – More ESL lyrics, though not as good an example as the Danish entry. I don't really listen to Pink, but I think this is what she sounds like; if you're a fan of hers, maybe you'll like this more than I did.
  • Macedonia – More on the rock end of the spectrum. Pretty forgettable.
  • Belgium – Yes, he's definitely a tenor.
  • Azerbaijan – I kept waiting for it to really get going. I'm still waiting.
  • UK – Pointless. Pretty high in the odds I saw, probably because those odds were from English bookees.
  • Norway – A minimalist ballad. If I were in a different mood when I heard it, maybe I would have found it pretty, but it just bored me.
  • Lithuania – This feels more like the second draft of a Europop song than like a finished and tested Eurovision entry.
  • France – What the heck was that?
  • Estonia – No
  • Greece – Greece used to reliably produce good candidates, but for the last few years, they have instead produced candidates like this one.
  • Poland – I've never heard a Polish joke about entering a nationalistic song in an international competition, but maybe I will. I'm not sure whether the video is supposed to be sexy or whether its over-the-top sexiness is supposed to be comically ludicrous, but I don't think it works on either level. Repetitive and hostile to the concept of melody. To be clear, when I describe a song as "hostile to the concept of melody," I rarely mean it as a compliment.
  • Iceland – It's okay to write a song with a message - even a banal message - but you should try to follow two rules that this Icelandic entry missed: first, deliver the message with some subtlety and, second, make the song not be utter crap.


::: posted by Steven at 2:37 PM

Comments: Post a Comment

Comment Policy

Dollars and Jens
Steven's web-site

Kitchen Cabinet
Colby Cosh
The Volokh Conspiracy
The Corner
The Bleat from James Lileks
Tim Blair
Daily Ablution
Mickey Kaus
Dave Barry
How Appealing
Virginia Postrel
Reason's "Hit and Run"
Captain's Quarters
Roger L. Simon
Power Line
IWF's InkWell
Blogs for Bush
Chetly Zarko
Signifying Nothing
Cosmo Macero
Hub Blog
Ex Parte from Harvard Law's Federalists
Harvard CR blog
Priorities & Frivolities
Daley News
Emil Levitin
Politica Obscura
Wave Maker
Town Watch
Worcester County Repubs

Election '08
Don't Vote
Dave Barry
John McCain

Other Sites of Note
Townhall columnists Cambridge Republican City Committee
Cambridge Chronicle
Robert Winters
Boston Herald
Boston Globe
Boston Metro
Channel 5
Commonwealth Mag
Fox News
Massachusetts Republican Assembly
Robert Benchley Society

U.S. Constitution
9/11 commission report [7 Meg PDF]
Iraq Survey Group report
Fahrenheight 9/11 deceits


Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

Powered by Blogger