Benjamin2015-03-19
Guide to the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest!

Armenia

Sounds like a Broadway Musical! Somehow I kept thinking about the Armenian Genocide, though, which is pretty disrespectful of me, and almost certainly not what they were going for. All those melancholy grey set pieces and black and white photos of relatives, I guess? I like this song, though!

Belguim

Benjamin: Belguim is also great. He's super wet, though.

Catherine: Yeah, there's always one video where the singer gets soaked for, like, no reason

I think Italy drowned or something two years ago in his video

Benjamin: Man, yeah... and last year the whole studio was flooding for.... for someone. I can't remember whom. [It was Romania]

Estonia

Estonia's greatest pop star, Elina Born, was cryogenically preserved in 1964, at the height of her powers. Now, when their need is greatest, the Estonian government has revived her to compete in Eurovision 2015!

Stig Rästa "didn't want to wake [her] up", but now he's doing his best to help her say "Goodbye to Yesterday".

Finland

Four developmentally disabled adult men singing hard rock and representing their entire county on the international stage is the most punk rock thing in the world.

Oh! I was wrong! Apparently the lyrics (all in Finnish, of course) are a critique of the health care system. IT JUST GOT EVEN MORE PUNK IN HERE!

Greece

Totally disappointing after 2013's Alcohol is Free. ): Generic ballad. Maybe it will grow on me?

Macedonia

I'm not sure this song is all that great, but the music video is super cute! Although I must say. The first and only time I went to see Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind was in mid-2002, and they did a sketch about how the one guy couldn't say the word "Fall" (as in "Autumn") because it reminded him of the people falling to their death's from the World Trade Center? and it's stuck in my mind as an example of the worst of the post-9/11 glurge... I guess this song reminded me of that or something? But Moldova wants my love now, and they are too interesting to waste any more time on Macedonia.

Moldova

It's a pretty catchy, slick dance number (if a little N'Sync generic) and I really like it. The music video, though, is about sexy kids killing cops during a high speed chase! Oh and then... yeah, they're having sex during the car chase. Even the surviving cops are impressed! OH DAMN THERE IS A TWIST ENDING! (That I... I don't actually understand? She was a ghost? A undercover cop? A ghost cop? Isn't that entrapment? Don't ghost cops legally have to tell you they're cops? I thought that was a law...)

The Netherlands

This is certainly a song, and an accompanying music video. Perhaps it will grow on me with repeated exposure? But right now... I don't even know how to remind myself about it for later! That one dude has, like, a novel tattooed on his chest, which is cool...

Albania

Woah! Albania is not singing in English!!! They are basically screwed, because Eurovision hates non-English songs. Italy can get away with it, maybe, and possibly France, although even then it's unlikely. It's too bad, because I'm really liking this song, even if it is just "Rise like a Phoenix" translated into Albanian. Oh, with a brief guitar solo tacked on.

Belarus

Pooring dirt on your violin, Belarus? Not a great start for me. Burying the violin in the back of the mix? Also not great. Why even use one, honestly? Man, I can almost hear the strings... if they were a little louder I might really like this...

OMG! ANOTHER ASTONISHING TWIST! Er, I don't get this twist ending either, but... the moral is never to save lady violinists trapped in hour glasses, I guess?

Denmark

Remember the early 60s? Denmark sure does! It's actually pretty great, and I wonder what Phil Spector would think of it. (I just read a biography about Phil Spector). Also, this group is called "Anti-Social Media", which is a name I love.

As I recall, in their stage performance they are all wearing suspenders, and are also super-cute.

Georgia

Oddly, this is the first of two songs called "Warrior", and I really like it. Powerful drums, slightly glitchy intro, and a frickin' badass music video!

Sweden

Oooh, I like the guitar, very Wild West. Oh! And Måns Zelmerlöw just made himself a little animated friend out of dust! I guess this video is about "dancing with the demons in our minds". Oh, crap, is this all live! I think he's doing this whole thing with projection! OH THAT IS SO COOL! Yeah, this is going to be one of the very best stage shows, for sure.

Hungary

Hungary is making the bold statement that "war is bad". I hate to be mean, but this song is just awful. Sorry, Hungary. You're not wrong, though, war is bad!

Romania

Another doomed non-English song. It's really catchy, I like it a lot, and I'm sad that it won't make it to the finals! (Here's hoping I'm wrong!) I'm premembering enjoying listening to this in Cat's car, as part of her eurovision mix. "It's Romania, Me-From-The-Future! I know you're saying, 'who is this, again?' and I'd shouting from the past, 'Romania!'"

Russia

Russia is a nice place full of lovely people! Most of them are white, but some are vaguely ethnic in a non-threatening way. And none of them are likely to invade other countries! Not at all! Or if they did, wouldn't it really just be the best thing? Old people! Pregnant ladies! Lots of very wholesome children! Russia is really very nice! SO NICE AND NOT THREATENING TO ANYONE!!!

Austria

Ok, so basically Austrian Billy Joel. I'm down with that. He's got a nice voice, it's a catchy song. Billy Joel has better lyrics by a mile, but he probably can't sing in Austrian, so there's that. OMG!!!!! Ok, I am not going to spoil this for you, you just need to watch until at least the 2:20 mark. Oh, man. Like, this is why Professor Xavier founded his institute, for cases just like this.

Serbia

Bojana Stamenov has a wonderful voice! There are strings! "Finally, I can say, I am different and it's ok, here I am" and *boom* dance party! Oh! This is the one I saw before, and last time I said it was my favorite, and I guess it still is!

Czech Republic

Ominous! Brooding! Epic! Surprisingly dull!

Ireland

"Playing with Numbers" immediately made me think of "Douze Points", which is the reason Ireland is no longer allowed to win. "Playing with Fire" is more like it!

Although, to be fair, this is nothing like "Douze Points". Say what you like about the giant turkey puppet dance party, it was neither generic nor boring.

Lithuania

Aww, it's really sweet. The chorus is bland, but the duets during the verses are great, and Linkytė and Baumila have some great chemistry. Aww! And a kiss! Stop Eurovision, it's time for Lithuanian makeouts! Ok, we can go again. Yeah, they are just adorable together.

Malta

And to my surprise, Malta (home of the Best Hipster Doctor Ever!) has the other "Warrior" song. And judging from this video, the lead singer is a powerful telekinetic. Unlike that Austrian Billy Joel, she seems to have decent control of her powers (a few vases notwithstanding) and possibly even has time powers. Even still, you know what? Those ladies from Georgia could take her in a heartbeat!

Montenegro

Oh, Montenegro, how did you find out that I love strings so much? That's maybe a little creepy, actually, but it's sweet. And I do like strings!

Norway

Ok, I'm intrigued. What did he do? And why is her voice so cool? And wait, are they killing themselves? And... and everyone else at the party? Hah, the old lady eating chicken is amazing. And Mørland is creepy and awesome.

Oh, hey, what? Fooooood! OMG! The old lady eating chicken is terrifying!!!

But yeah, still, what did he do in his youth? I am so curious now!!!

Portugal

This song has potential, but not as much potential as her feather epaulettes and that awesome 80s montage behind her. I've wanted feather epaulettes ever since I saw that Killers video!

Ah, well. I liked this song, but it never really went anywhere, you know?

San Marino

Something is happening here. The string section, at least, is very excited! But... I'm not sure why. I guess they're both pyrokinetic, although they have much better control than Austria does. It's not a bad song, but I think I'd maybe enjoy it more if English was not my first language. They get points for the strings section, and it's not a bad duet really. Inexplicably, this video features literally a minute and a half of credits at the end.

Azerbaijan

OMG AZERBAIJAN IT IS THE HOUR OF THE WOLF! Wait, when is the Hour of the Wolf? Are they nocturnal? He says he won't sleep tonight, but is that because the Hour is at night, or just because he'll be up all night waiting for it? Is this a reference to the Bergman film? Maybe Elnur Huseynov just finished watching it, and is too freaked out by the "little man who eats toes" to get any sleep.

Aw, shoot, and I've already forgotten everything about this song aside from the title. Sorry, Azerbaijan.

Cyprus

John Karayiannis, you are cute, but you're no Gianlucca. Well. This is certainly not a bad song, but it's really not terribly interesting to me. Also, Karayiannis, you really should have been there for me. "Almost" only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, not the Eurovision song contest. JUST ASK THE COMMON LINNETS, AMIRITE!?

Iceland

Is this a song about the Icelandic Winter? Or maybe just about moving out of Iceland because it's too damn dark there? Maybe I'm projecting--Chicago's winter seemed to go on forever this year. hmm... Actually, it sounds more like someone dropped her 10,000 Piece Giant Sized Jigsaw Puzzle after it was almost finished. One step at a time, she'll get the pieces and put them back together.

Israel

I like Guedj's voice quite a lot. Oh! Surprise R&B! That's lovely! I thought this whole thing would be a slow ballad about Jewish Mother stereotypes, but it's a Bollywood-style dance number. This is great! I can't see the shot of the rainbow flags without thinking about Joy's dissertation on pinkwashing, mind you, but I also can't see the shot of breakdancing without thinking that's it's pretty neat. Hah! "Three minutes--bye bye!" That's hilarious.

Latvia

Latvia, I am intrigued. Actually, this reminds me of Serbia in a lot of ways--strong female vocals with a glitchy, sparse backing, red dress... I much prefer Serbia, but this is quite nice, too. A little dubstep in the corners, there, very nice. Someone on Youtube compared it to FKA Twigs, which I think is not quite right, but also maybe not crazy. Certainly it's a new way for me to think about Latvia!

Poland

Oh, good, another ballad. I was getting tired of all those high-energy numbers. Also, that lady is grinning at me in a slightly unnerving manner. I mean, not as unnerving as the lady from Norway, but that goes without saying. Certainly if I were more of a Monika Kuszyńska fan I would like this video a lot more. But, as this is the first time I've seen her work, it's just kind of a generic pop ballad. I guess it's technically more interesting that Greece this year, but the credits to San Marino's entry were also more interesting that Greece.

Apparently Kuszyńska needs a wheelchair? That is clearly part of a well-known national story that I don't know about at all, at all.

Slovenia

Wow, Slovenia, what's happening here? I'm excited! The set looks like the Spaceship of Love, and that person is playing an invisible violin. Also the keyboardist is mad cute, and he winked at me! I'm assuming that the "violinist" is just miming along to the music, but what if they are using motion trackers are the suit and she's actually playing an electronic violin!?

More importantly, I like the song, although it's no Hunter of the Stars.

Switzerland

Ok, Switzerland, what you got? Lasers, fog machines, female vocals and strings, is it? While those are all things that I like, except for the guitar solo this is all pretty much par-for-the-course. I do like the guitar solo, though! And, to be fair, I like everything else--this is fine. But, like, Isreal threw in a total twist, and it was really exciting and neat. So did Serbia, and even if they hadn't, Bojana Stamenov's voice is better than everything else. Everyone else, I mean... no, everything. I'll stick with everything.

Australia

This is exciting. Australia has never competed in Eurovision before, and they only found out a month ago. They had to choose a new song (one recorded no earlier than September 2014) and a performer and they came up with this. Which is fine. I guess it's just that it's not especially Australian... or anything else, really. Just three minutes about how Guy Sebastian had fun last night and wants more of the same. An admirable goal, for sure, but it's hard to get too excited about it.

France

The title of this generic French pop ballad is "N'oubliez pas", which means "Don't Forget" and is presumably a desperate plea. Although, is that a Jawa sandcrawler at 2:29??

Germany

Ooh, Germany's got a beat going! And holy cow Ann Sophie does not have the voice I expected her to have. To be clear, it's great--I think Catherine bought one of her albums after hearing this? Also she's wearing pac-man earrings.

But yeah, that little piano riff, the drums, and her voice... they all work together really well. Especially in her breakdown at the end, there! Er, is that a "breakdown"? Maybe just a "note"? Whatever. It was great.

Italy

If you're going to do a big operatic number in your native language, it helps if that language is Italian. It also helps if it's epic as all hell, and has a Ghost reference thrown in. Huh... maybe Back to the Future, too, or am I just reading too much into this video? HAH! OMG, 2:30. No I am not reading too much into this. They are very solemnly and epically reenacting American pop movies to this soaring Italian aria. I know that none of this will be in their stage show in Vienna, but it's just frickin' great here. Well done, Italy, you guys have a great sense of humor.

Spain

Sexy man is running away from the tiger, but the spirit of Bloody Death will catch him! Oh! Not if he kills himself first, by jumping off this cliff! Oh, no, he's ok. Still running. "Thank goodness you're safe form that tiger now!" says the pretty lady. Uh, actually lady, the tiger's still out there in this field HOLY SHIT WHAT A TWIST!!! SHE WAS THE TIGER ALL ALONG! RUN SEXY GUY!

Bloody Death lives in the Mines of Moria, and is casting a seriously nasty fire spell. For reasons. And the sexy guy thinks he's safe from the tiger girl because he's got a falcon now. Dude, I don't think you understand how falcons work. Or tiger-girls.

United Kingdom

Oh, United Kingdom, I totally and completely forgive you for Bonnie Tyler last year. Electroswing? For me? You shouldn't have! And to have such charming and charismatic couple sing such witty-seeming lyrics? It's delightful! I still vote for Serbia in my heart, but this is the song that will break my heart when, inevitably, all of Europe hates it.

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