Evelina Sašenko, “C’est ma vie”
Sadly for Lithuania, there’s already a Bon Jovi song called “It’s My Life,” and it rocks hard. This is sort of a downtempo ballad, like something a Disney princess would sing as her animal friends looked on. Or maybe I’m just saying that because of the dress.
Great is the sorrow
But just look straight for tomorrow
When sun will shine at your face
Don’t close your eyes
Glen Vella, “One Life”
Is it just me, or are there lots of Eurovision songs with the word “life” in the title?
I can’t help rooting for the underdog, so I find myself wanting to see Malta in the finals. This tiny island nation has a population of 400,000. The singer has tried to qualify for Eurovision four times before, and this is the first year he’s gone the distance. And he did it with a “be yourself!” anthem for the ages.
Sadly, Times of Malta is reporting that rehearsals aren’t going well, with the CEO of Malta’s public television talking some smack about the Eurovision organizers:
“We are not happy at all with the visuals. We expected much better from the broadcaster’s production team here,” he said. He expressed hope that the demanded adjustments will be delivered.
On the bright side, even in a year that features a transsexual (Israel), Malta may have the gay vote tied up with a rainbow bow.
Life is strange and heavenly a sweet surrender
Love begins within ourselves
Makes up our lives
Hold on to what life brings you
Just be who you are
You can do it too
It’s all up to you
Stella Mwangi, “Haba Haba”
Okay, here we go! Bring on all the Nordic blonds! Wait, what the hell?
A lot of countries try to encapsulate the whole nation (or at least its stereotypes) in two minutes of pop music. In 2009, Israel sent a Palestinian singer and an Israeli singer, with a duet entitled “There Must Be Another Way” which alternated between Hebrew and Arabic. It was the “Ebony and Ivory” of Eurovision. But Norway is going a different way, with a song about growing up in… Kenya. The chorus and title are in Swahili. But the singer is actually half-Norwegian, and has lived in Norway since she was five. Personally, I love this song. I love that it’s based on something her grandmother actually told her, I love that the people of Norway voted for it, and I love that, according to Wikipedia, the single knocked Bruno Mars’ “Grenade” out of the number one spot on the Norwegian pop chart. Give ’em hell, Stella.
When as a little girl my grandma told me
That it’s the little things in life that’s gonna make me happy
She said that: Little by little, fills up the measure
Don’t ever give up, keep on moving
Magdalena Tul, “Jestem”
Judging from the video, this is either the Pussycat Dolls of Poland, or a touring company of Chicago. Not that I’m complaining, either way. By the way, it’s kind of nice to actually see somebody sing in a language they speak.
SAMPLE LYRIC (translated):
I’m your inspiration
The consolation for your tears
(your world is spinning around me)
You’re like my shadow
Whenever I call you
(you appear right next to me)
(You would jump into the fire if I wanted)
Homens Da Luta, “Luta é Alegria”
So this one’s a little different, right? I was hoping there was a story behind it, and I was not disappointed. Are you ready for this?
This song overthrew the government of Portugal.
I am not kidding.
You need to read the entire story here. A sample:
Over the next several weeks the song became an anthem of the street protests that engulfed Lisbon. As Prime Minister Jose Socrates attempted to push his austerity package through parliament the protesters sang louder. Lawmakers ultimately rejected the bill, and the Prime Minister resigned on March 23. The media attributed his failure to the demonstrations — and the music that fueled them.
The official rules of Eurovision state that it’s a non-political event, and ban songs with a political message. How this entry slipped through the cracks remains a mystery.
I didn’t believe it either, until I saw this video of Homens Da Luta singing the song at a massive rally:
So wow. But in any case, I don’t see this song getting any votes from outside of Portugal. And since the Portuguese are not allowed to vote for their own entry, they won’t receive any votes at all. But hey, you brought down the government; that’s not too shabby.
SAMPLE LYRIC (translated):
There are plenty who’ll warn you take care
There are plenty who want to shut you up
There are plenty who will leave you resentful
There are plenty who’ll sell you the air itself
Alexej Vorobjov, “Get You”
You can’t argue with the guy’s pop song pedigree; “Get You” was written by RedOne, the gentlemen behind “Poker Face” and “Bad Romance.” Alexej is looking pretty strong up there, which raises an interesting philosophical question. Controversially, the Russian network Channel One decided to just pick the country’s Eurovision representative by itself, instead of through a voting process. If Alexej does well, is that just going to hasten the nation’s slide away from democracy, and back towards the iron fist of the Politburo? Can we risk it?
Also, I don’t know if it’s on purpose, but this singer seems to have the accent of the guy from “Don’t You Want Me Baby,” as well as the narcissistic message.
And you look so good
On the floor
Put my mind in a dirty zone
If they watch
let them watch
Not losing you tonight
Senit, “Stand By”
I know nothing about San Marino, but judging from the music video, it is a cold place full of castles, in which the ladies wear tinsel in their hair.
Waves of eternity, waves of serenity
As I stare through them all around me just dies
Tonight I will pretend there’s no more time?
Let’s lock our doors and leave this endless world outside
Either Serbia is going for a retro 70s vibe, or the 70s is just reaching Serbia for the first time. It’s possible; Slobodan Milošević was a bad dude. Anyway, Nina appears to have stolen the set from Laugh-In and the backup singers from The Shirelles. But the song is actually really cool. By “cool,” I don’t mean “a song that people will like and vote for.” I mean, “an interesting song that I’m glad exists.” And it’s a shame this song isn’t in English, because the lyrics turn out to be really sweet.
And at the same moment I’m a thousand women worth
because, to him, I’m beautiful and strong as a rock
and when he holds me, I know everything is alright
the man is magical
Anna Rossinelli, “In Love For a While”
This is maybe my favorite song of the competition, if only because it combines ukulele, banjo, and upright bass. It’s not epic enough to win, but it’s catchy as hell and cuter than a sack of kittens.
No one tell Jason Mraz about it, okay?
I love everything about you, I couldn’t do without you
Whenever you’re near me all my days are on the bright side
But when I’m not around you I have to find the way to
Be with you each night and every day
Yüksek Sadakat, “Live It Up”
If you have a fever and the only cure is more cowbell, Turkey will deliver. I also quite like the “old stodgy orchestra audience is brought to life by the power of Rock” music video. Sadly, the song isn’t that interesting. It’s got no arc; the chorus is basically the same as the verse. Yüksek Sadakat may have a string section and a beefy lead singer, but they lack the operatic heights of Meatloaf, which is a shame.
Fun fact: the comments for this YouTube video are largely about the Armenian genocide.
Here’s your favourite song on the radio
shake your head to the beat- it’s rock n roll
if you’re feeling the world has kicked you down
all you need is just to have a little fun
Is anyone still reading? Anyone? Bueller? Well, if you’re still here, than maybe I’ve made a believer out of you. And if you want to help me cover Eurovision, watch the playlist for the remaining acts and let me know your thoughts on any of them in the comment section below. I’ll quote you in my preview for Semi-Final #2, coming on Wednesday morning.
In the meantime, I’m going out in the world to save our planet.