We saved the Wurst for last.* By which I mean the best. This is by far my favorite song of Eurovision 2014, both in terms of music and presentation. It’s also a bit controversial, for reasons that should be obvious once you hit “play.” Ladies and gentlemen, I give you “Rise Like a Phoenix” by Conchita Wurst from Austria:
Watch the original music video here.
*This is the last of our Eurovision 2014 review videos. We didn’t cover all of the countries, but we did cover the ones that were most interesting to us. Watch the rest of our videos on our YouTube channel, and get ready for the Eurovision Finals on Saturday, May 9!
Yes! When I watched the video, I went “Bond opening theme!” Glad I wasn’t the only one.
1. Ukraine 2. Austria 3. Poland 4. Latvia 5. France 6. Belarus 7. Armenia 8. Russia
It might indeed be a very good Bond theme… but when was the last time you heard a *memorable* Bond theme?
I don’t really see longevity really being a concern for a Eurovision song.
You guys called it! Conchita Best!
Let me know if you want live reports from Eurovision 2015 next year in Vienna.
Wow, congratulations to Ms. Wurst’s win!
I know I’m late to the party, but revisiting your analysis made me realize another possible pop culture connection:
Another male musician who used a female-male hybrid persona that was considered offensive by some is Marilyn Manson, especially during the Antichrist Superstar / Mechanical Animals phase. If you take your analysis of ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’ (destructive criticism used as fuel to transform oneself), the song ‘Kinderfeld’ from the Antichrist Superstar album comes to mind.
However, where Conchita Wurst wrote a very elegant song and rises as something beautiful like a phoenix, Manson’s song sounds nasty and describes how he was corrupted by external hate – but he still transforms into a superior form (‘Because your lies have watered me / I have become the strongest weed’).
In comparing both personae and what they stand for, it seems like Ms. Wurst becomes stronger by confronting hate with compassion, while Manson uses the strategy of turning hate into fear on the hater’s part. To use another pop culture example, Conchita Wurst is Professor Xavier to Marilyn Manson’s Magneto.
I like to think that both artists would be okay with this comparison. It would be exciting to have both of them sit around the same table and discuss their views. (If Manson still has his house in Berlin it would be a relatively short train ride, and Vienna has lovely coffee houses)
Furthermore, I would even venture that the pop culture world needed somebody like Manson in the last 15 years to be able to accept other unusual performances — Lordi’s Eurovision win in 2006 certainly did not occur in a vacuum.
Thus, Conchita Wurst’s victory, and the important cultural discussion that will follow now, stands on the proud, zombified/blood-spattered shoulders of Lordi, Marilyn Manson, and by extension, Alice Cooper, David Bowie and Gwar.
Again, congratulations and I’m looking forward to hearing more music by Ms. Wurst.
don’t be one of those people who uses “non-traditional” as a synonym for “non-heterosexual”. homosexuality is as old as life. you don’t get more “traditional” than that.
that bothered me. otherwise I loved your review and your opinions on austria’s entry, and I’m very pleased it actually won. very proud moment for europe :)