Wanna bleed-o with Greedo? Check out this rhyming remix in honour of Han Solo

(impact via IMP Awards)

 

In honour of the release this week of Solo: A Star Wars Story, I present to you, with poetic cadence in hand and a knack for spotting a catchy beat from less than 12 parsecs away, this gloriously good remix from Eclectic Method.

Drawing from Star Wars films new and old, the Han Solo Gang is an absolute blast that any Wookie and human is bound to love and perhaps sing along too as well.

While it’s highly unlikely it’s going to be part of the movie’s soundtrack – a movie which, by the way, has seen more than its fair share of grief during production – it’s an inherently toe-tappable homage to everyone’s favourite bounty hunter.

C’mon! C’mon! You know you wanna dance …

(source: Laughing Squid)

 

Weekend pop art: What’s on the other side of famous album cover photos?

(image (c) Igor Lipchanskiy_

 

SNAPSHOT
“In between dismantling of an AK-47 assault rifle and training of the home bear, I like to listen to music and when I peer into the cover of the album I find a place for myself there. I have decided to make a small selection of interesting covers and show what might be off-screen if I were there.” (Laughing Squid)

Album covers are mystically-wonderful things.

Well they were to a boy growing up in the ’70s who loved the big expansive covers to the music I loved and who always loved the idea that there might be more lurking around the other side of the LP sleeve.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one wondering what lay beyond with Russian man Igor Lipchanskiy having a great deal of fun conjuring what might be hidden just over the LP cover.

The results are astoundingly good, proof that all that musing I did back in the day is shared by someone else, ‘lo all these many years later.

Now if he’d only see what lies beyond the album The Visitors

 

#KendrickLamar #Kendrick_Lamar #DAMN. #Avengers #InfinityWar #Infinity_War

A post shared by Igor Lipchanskiy (@igor.lipchanskiy) on

 

#MichaelJackson #Michael_Jackson #OffTheWall #Off_The_Wall

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#TheDoors #The_Doors #TheBestOfTheDoors #The_Best_Of_The_Doors

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#JohnLennon #John_Lennon #YokoOno #Yoko_Ono #DoubleFantasy #Double_Fantasy

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‘Schlager’, Scandi-pop and sparkles: your guide to the musical styles of #Eurovision (curated article)

Netta (Israel) was a deservingly quirky, fun and message-positive winner of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest (Image courtesy Eurovision.tv)

 

  • The Eurovision Song Contest may be over for another year but its music lives on. This is a great, accessible guide to the music of Eurovision so you’re all prepared for next year! Oh hey, why not download a lot of this music now and get your pan-European vibe on every day of the year … 

Jess Carniel, University of Southern Queensland

In his acceptance speech for the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest, Portuguese winner Salvador Sobral issued a controversial call to arms to “bring music back” to a place of meaning and feeling:

We live in a world of disposable music; fast-food music without any content. I think this could be a victory for music with people who make music that actually means something. Music is not fireworks; music is feeling.

It was a bold statement to make at a contest known – and loved – for its trashy Europop as much as it is for its heartfelt ethno-folk ballads or its diva swan songs. Eurovision music is diverse, encompassing both fast food and feelings. Over the years, it has developed its own sound and even its own genres.

The classics

The late Lys Assia’s Refrain, the winning song of the inaugural Eurovision in 1956, best encapsulates the chanson style that dominated the contest for its first decade. Literally French for “song”, the term is used to describe any lyric-driven French song, but a song being in French does not immediately make it a chanson.

 

 

This year’s entrant from Madame Monsieur, Mercy, is contemporary electro pop that shares more with the pop music that superseded chanson after the 1960s. Many today would describe the chanson as old-fashioned, although others suggest it is a timeless genre. Although sung in Portuguese, Sobral’s Amar Pelos Dois from 2017 recalls this style.

 

 

The canzone is the Italian iteration of the chanson, exemplified by the iconic Nel blu dipinto di blu by Domenico Modugno in 1958. Many would better know this song as Volare as covered by Dean Martin.

The hits

If the chanson dominated the 1950s and 1960s, schlager was undoubtedly the driving force from the 1970s until the early 2000s, when it integrated with Eurodisco and Eurodance. Although the term may not be familiar unless slurring your beer order, the style itself is perhaps the most recognisable to even the most casual Eurovision viewer.

 

 

The origins of schlager are German, but forms of it can be found around Europe and are even recognisable in some American pop music. Meaning a “musical hit”, schlager refers to light pop music featuring catchy instrumentals and sentimental, usually non-political lyrics.

Nicole won the prize for Germany in 1982 with Ein bißchen Frieden, while Germany’s last winner in 2010, Lena’s effervescent Satellite, is a quirky take on the schlager tradition.

 

 

Schlager itself is arguably less prominent at the contest in recent years, but we can see elements of it, fused with dance and folk elements, in DoReDos’ 2018 entry My Lucky Day for Moldova.

 

The traditional

The fusion of different musical styles, especially traditional elements with contemporary trends, is one of the most appealing aspects of Eurovision as it presents international viewers with something different to the pop standard.

Ethno-folk fusions rose in popularity in the 1990s, arguably when “world music” caught on as a global trend from the late 1980s. From Celtic-inspired ballads to bellydancing beats, every year is replete with examples of this.

 

 

Sanja Ilić and Balkanika, representing Serbia in 2018 with Nova Deca, have made it their mission to both preserve and modernise Balkan musical traditions. The song combines the Torlakian dialect of southeastern Serbia with standard Serbian, fusing traditional vocals and flute with contemporary singing and a dance beat.

Everyone’s favourite folk entry of recent years is undoubtedly the Russian grannies of 2012.

 

The niche

As an event aimed at a family gathered around the modern hearth of the television, music with a more general appeal has been the standard for much of the contest’s history. Until, of course, Finnish heavy metal demon rockers Lordi surprised us all with their victory in 2006, Hard Rock Hallelujah.

 

 

Traditionally, rock does not fare well at Eurovision, so best of luck to Hungary’s AWS with Viszlát Nyár this year, which might draw in a few different punters with its reminiscence of Linkin Park’s oeuvre.

 

The mega-pop

On the other end of the spectrum is Scandi-pop. Just as most of your favourite hits over the past 20 years have been written by one Swedish mastermind writer/producer (Max Martin, who has written everything from Britney Spear’s One More Time to Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood), Swedish songwriters dominate Eurovision, spruiking their wares across the continent.

For example, this year’s Maltese entry, Taboo, sung by Christabelle, was written by none other than Thomas G:son, who penned everyone’s (well, OK, my) favourite winner from the past ten years, Euphoria by Loreen.

 

 

The one to watch this year, however, is Finland’s more congenial answer to Lady Gaga, Saara Aalto. (Although she won’t be singing it in the contest, her 34-language version of her entry Monsters is worth a listen.)

 

Time for a toilet break?

Our final category can cross all musical genres: the ballad. Broadly defined as a slow-tempo song (known by some as the toilet-break songs), the ballad can dampen the party mood pretty quickly, so it is the song type that everyone loves to hate (but also secretly love).

According to number-crunching fan site ESC Daily, ballads usually account for about 40% of entries each year. Time your toilet breaks well, for there are fewer this year than last year and those that remain each offer something a little different.

 

 

Iceland’s Ari Ólafsson and Germany’s Michael Schulte provide more traditional ballads, but Portugal’s Cláudia Pascoal and Isaura and Latvia’s Laura Rizzotto provide unique contemporary styling on the slow-tempo song. Also, don’t miss Elina Nechayeva’s operatic La Forza.

 

 

The diversity of musical styles this year is great – a veritable food court of choices from fast food to fine dining. Sadly, however, there is no rap yodelling on the menu …

Jess Carniel, Senior Lecturer in Humanities, University of Southern Queensland

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

All Aboard! Eurovision 2018 – who won, who lost and who’s sweeping up the glitter?

(artwork courtesy Eurovision.tv)

 

Hard to believe after all the build-up, the song reviews, the minute breakdown of national selection results, and the general buzz of excitement but the Eurovision Song Contest is over for another year.

But is it really ever over?

We’ll be listening to the songs from this year’s contest for months to come, especially the winner, the #metoo movement-inspired “Toy” by Israel’s Netta Barzilai which came complete with an engagingly and bright and vivacious performance that only improved between semi-final 1 and the grand final four days later.

The song, in common with pretty much every winner of Eurovision has come in for more than its fair share of criticism, with everything from charges of “cultural appropriation” to being a gimmicky “freak show” song leveled at it, but at the end of the day, the people of Europe placed it in the top position after the jury votes had it sitting in third place. (The voting reveal, which was agonisingly stretched out for maximum impact, was tenser than usual this year with Israel only leaping to first place when it was down to them and Cyprus and the second-to-last votes were handed to Eleni Foureira’s “Fuego” handing Israel the win).

That’s not much of a difference in placing there, and while I will leave the minute dissection of voting stats to the maths nerds who do it so much better, suffice to say, this narrow difference between jury and popular vote adds a lot of legitimacy to the result.

As articles in both The Guardian and Metro were at pains to point out, politics no longer lays a substantial role in who gets the nod, and while many people have expressed their disappointment at the result, this is a yearly dynamic that happens regardless of who wins.

 

 

So what were the highlights (beside Netta’s exhuberantly-happy win)?

There were quite a number and you can watch a quick summary of them below, but the five that really struck me were:

    • The UK’s entrant SuRie, who made quite an impression with her song “Storm” had her performance temporarily interrupted by a protester who rushed onto the stage and grabbed her mike before being taken off by security. Terrifying as it must have been for her, she kept her composure, and finished the song like a trouper, the adrenaline fueling a fiery end to her already-impassioned delivery. (ABC Online)
    • Estonia’s Elina Nechayeva struck a dramatic pose in her enormous gown which added some very pretty, strikingly-colourful visuals to her dramatically operative song “Forza” (which makes me want swirly ice cream) …

 

 

    • Ukraine kicked off the semi-final in fine form with MELOVIN, he of the singular, disconcertingly intense contact lense, arising from a piano coffin which later burst into dramatic flames. Attention-grabbing? TICK!

 

 

    • The 1500th Eurovision song was performed during semi final 2 when Norway’s Alexander Rybak, who previously won, and won convincingly in 2009, lit up the stage with “That’s How You Write a Song” …

 

 

    • Moldova might have been labeled “The Wiggles on acid” but frankly I loved the song – fun, upbeat, with a clever stage presentation to match. This video gives you a fantastic look behind-the-scenes at one of the most inventive performance …

 

** For a full list of the notable moments from Eurovision 2018, see RadioTimes
So ladies and gentlemen, that is the Eurovision Song Contest for another year!
Until next time, remember to be open and adventurous with your song choices, don’t listen to the haters, and bathe yourself in glitter at every available opportunity!
See you in 2019 in Israel!

Final vote tally (Image courtesy Eurovision.tv)

Awakening a sleeping moose: Deadpool takes on the musical might of Eurovision

(image courtesy Ryan Reynolds Twitter account)

 

There are a number of great abiding loves in my life – my gorgeous partner Steve, Christmas, my birthday, caramel cheesecakes, and the Eurovision Song Contest, for which I stage a big, fun party with friends every year.

We are in the thick of all things Eurovision right now with the grand final, at which 26 countries will sing to win (and contribute to European peace, love and shared humanity, of course), barely 48 hours away and you can have to wonder if life could get any better than this.

Well, courtesy of Deadpool and Ryan Reynolds, it just has, with the inordinately cheeky shit-stirrer extraordinaire doubling down via this playful promo video, on the august singing contest for neglecting to invite Canada to its yearly gala.

The tone is mostly tongue-in-cheek, Australia comes in for some hilarious teasing – “barely on the planet”? Yeah, pretty much the case – and some fairly potent traffic-based threats are made.

You’ve been warned Europe.

 

 

Oh yeah, and Deadpool 2, the most-awaited sequel, is due for release any moment moment too!

  • In entirely unrelated Eurovision 2018 news, but hey when has dubious tangentality ever stopped me before, Twitter user, “illustrator and professional goof” @thiefoworld has gifted us this adorable poster of all the Eurovision 2018 contestants in cartoon mode.

 

Now this is music #106: Jesse St John, Kero Kero Bonito, bülow, MGMT, Sasha Sloan

(image via CanStockPhoto (c) Lee Campbell)

 

Life is a daunting undertaking.

No news there, of course, but often times we struggle, despite sensing a great many things, with articulating exactly what we’re feeling and thus, finding a way to confront it and deal with it, at least in part.

That’s why artists like the five featured here are so important – they give voice for feelings without description, thoughts without clear delineation and in so doing, making the business of life that little bit more understandable, and possibly enjoyable.

If nothing else, and it’s doubtful it ends there with artists as thoughtful and authentic as these, we get to listen to some sweet, beautiful, meaningful music, and that is never a bad thing …

 

“Move” by Jesse Saint John

 

Jesse Saint John (image courtesy official Jesse Saint John Facebook page)

 

“Move” may be the debut single for L.A.-based singer/songwriter Jesse Saint John, but his history in the music industry goes back a long way, with the distinctive-looking and sounding artist having worked with likes of Britney Spears (“Love Me Down”) and Charli XCX (“Cloud Aura” feat. Brooke Candy), and Sia.

As part of stepping out of the background and into the limelight, the artist has crafted an incredibly infectious, upbeat that Interview Magazine has winningly described this way:

“Saint John’s debut single ‘Move’, released recently, is an adrenaline rush of a song with shades of The Ting Tings, Uffie, and The All-American Rejects. It’s bombastic, hedonistic, whimsical and totally sure of itself, a blast of flavorful pop-rock ear candy that makes me wish I was of legal age in 2005, so I could’ve experienced these sounds on the dance floor with a can of Sparks in my hand.”

That’s quite an accolade for a song that came with some pretty cool, decade-specific inspiration.

“When I was approaching writing for myself, I found myself inspired by a lot of ’90s cinema, quirky, dangerous, wild films — like Go and Doom Generation. It felt energetically driven and somewhat icy and desolate, but still so fun.” (Billboard)

It’s all that and more, an driving piece of engaging pop redolent with all kinds of emotions and insight that is the perfect introductory calling for this pleasingly one-of-a-kind artist.

 

 

“Only Acting” by Kero Kero Bonito

 

Kero Kero Bonito (image courtesy official Kero Kero Bonito Facebook page)

 

The thing that you notice most about London trio Kero Kero Bonito (vocalist Sarah Midori Perry, producer Gus Lobban, and producer Jamie Bulled) is how much passion they put into their music.

In the case of “Only Acting” which tells the story of an aspirational actor who goes through all the stages you’d expect someone pursuing their dream to go through, suffused with what SPIN calls “[a] quintessentially earnest and positive KKB story”.

In amongst all the edgy guitarwork, drums and bass, and some artfully-creative distortion midway through – no, your download is not corrupted; it’s supposed to sound that way and in the wider context of the song makes a lot of narrative sense – we’re treated to Perry’s breathily child-like voice that adds some lovely humanity and truthfulness.

“Only Acting” is a fun, quirky piece of pop with a meaningful message that stamps Kero Kero Bonito once again as a pop band with brains and heart, and a visual aesthetic to match.

 

 

“Not a Love Song” by bülow

 

bülow (image courtesy official bülow Facebook page)

 

Love is a complicated beasty.

We all know that but artists like The Netherlands-born, Canada-resident bülow aka Megan Bülow have a knack, packaged within catchy af songs like “This is not a Love Song” of articulating what we know but can’t exactly put into words.

In this case, she’s breaking it to a far more ardent suitor that her feelings don’t match theirs: she’s not cold and cruel about it either, with this amazingly talented nascent artist wishing desperately that she felt the same but alas does not.

Let’s hear it for honesty in this beat-heavy, emotionally-redolent slice of light & dark pop that perfectly marries a heavy message about love with some trippy, fun upbeat music that will have you skipping along even as someone’s heart breaks …

 

 

“Me and Michael” by MGMT

 

MGMT (image courtesy official MGMT Facebook page)

 

MGMT (Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser), kicking around since 2002 after their formation in Middletown, Connecticut might be up to album four, Little Dark Age, but they show no sign of suffering from creative exhaustion.

“Michael” is a joy to listen to and to watch, with its clip telling a brilliantly-imaginative tale of musical plagiarism and ill-gotten gains:

“… the truth behind the shimmering Europop ballad is finally brought to light in the bizarrely meta Joey Frank and Randy Lee Maitland-directed clip, which documents the rise and fall of MGMT after it’s revealed that they stole ‘Me and Michael’ from a Filipino band called Truefaith.” (We Are The Guard)

It’s a clever way to publicise a song that MGMT most definitely did write, a song that Consequence of Sound perfectly describe as “a dusky summer jam, a shimmering ode to friendship and a reminder that even the closest bonds can break.”

 

 

“Normal” by Sasha Sloan

Sasha Sloan (image courtesy Sasha Sloan Facebook page)

 

Like Jesse Saint John, L.A.-based Sasha Sloan is stepping out from behind artists like Charlie XCX and Camilla Cabello for whom she has written chart-topping tunes, and people such as Kygo (“This Town”) and Odesza (“Falls”) for whom she has sung, to show the world that she can give voice to her songs in a style very much her own.

“Normal” is a departure from the EDM-sound of her none-too-distant past – she is only 22-years-old after all – examining something we’ve all struggled with, which is wanting to escape the burdens and existential exhaustions of life, if only for a little while:

“I wrote ‘Normal’ at a time when I was partying a lot. I don’t think I realized it at the time, but I was avoiding all the real problems in my life by going out and pretending to be someone else. I did this a lot in high school too — most of my life I’ve felt like an outsider so I would go to parties to feel like I fit in. There isn’t a single lyric in this song that isn’t true. I’ve definitely sang along to songs I hated and made out with guys I wasn’t really into just to seem cool. Normal is about wanting to blend into the crowd for a night and I hope someone out there can relate. (Billboard)

I think we can relate to feeling like we’re the only weird one in the world and everyone is happily sane and together in ways we are not; we know that’s simply not the case in a rational sense but tell that to our psyche which seems to repeat the message on a loop.

“Normal” is the soundtrack for the lost and the uncertain, a richly-anthemic piece of upbeat pop that is refreshingly, winningly honest and real in a way that will have your heart just as engaged as your ears.

 

 


NOW THIS IS MUSIC EXTRA EXTRA!

 

Unless you have been living under a soundproofed Swedish music-resistant rock of late, you couldn’t help but have heard that ABBA, who haven’t been in the studio together since 1982, are going to release two new songs.

The brand new material – “I Still Have Faith in You” and “Don’t Shut Me Down” – were recorded in the service of the Swedish foursome’s ABBAtar tour in 2019 which will use sophisticated holograms of ABBA at their touring height in 1979 to perform concerts around the world.

Could the news get any better. It could! The Sun newspaper in an interview with the group’s songwriters Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson reveals that ABBA is open to recording yet more sparkling new songs, great news for many devoted fans including yours truly.

 

 

My love of quirky, interesting artists with their own distinctive message and sense of self knows no bounds which is why when I first heard New Yorker Regina Spektor via 2006’s Begin to Hope, I fell in love, heart and soul and mind.

Spektor makes incredibly clever, beautifully melodic pop that thinks deeply about life so it makes perfect sense that, as part of the annual Poetry & the Creative Mind event at Lincoln Center hosted by The Academy of American Poets, she would deliver the poem “The Everyday Enchantment of Music” by much-love poet Mark Strand with such power, truth and conviction. (Brain Pickings)

 

Road to Eurovision 2018: Week 7 (the Big Six) – France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, UK

(artwork courtesy Eurovision,tv)

 

What is the Eurovision Song Contest?
Started way back in 1956 as a way of drawing a fractured Europe back together with the healing power of music, the Eurovision Song Contest, or Concours Eurovision de la Chanson – the contest is telecast in both English and French – is open to all active members of the European Broadcasting Union, which oversees the competition.

Each country is permitted to submit one song to the contest – a song which is selected by a variety of means, usually a winner-takes-all competition such as Sweden’s renowned Melodifestivalen – which they perform in one of two semi-finals in the hopes of making it to the glittering grand final.

Only six countries have direct entry into the grand final:
* The Big Four who fund most of the contest – UK, Germany, France and Spain
* The host country (which is the winner of the previous year’s contest)
* Italy, who didn’t take part for many years and was re-admitted in 2011 after a 14 year absence (it was one of seven countries that competed in the first event), making the Big Four the Big Five.

The winner is chosen by a 50/50 mix of viewer votes (you cannot vote for your own country) and a jury of music industry professionals in each country, a method which was chosen to counter the alleged skewing of votes based on political and/or cultural lines when voting was purely the preserve of viewers at home.

Past winners include, of course, ABBA in 1974 with “Waterloo” and Celine Dion who won for Switzerland in 1988 with “Ne partez pas sans moi”.

Above all though, the Eurovision Song Contest is bright, over the top and deliciously camp, a celebration of music, inclusiveness and togetherness that draws annual viewing figures in the hundreds of millions.

This year’s contest will be held in Lisbon, Portugal.

 

FRANCE: “Mercy” by Madame Monsieur

 

Road to Eurovision The Big Six France flag

 

THE ARTIST
Lots of good things happen in bars – escape from the weeks’ troubles, laughter and friendship, a friendly game of billiards … and the formation of a winning-pop duo, Madame Monsieur by, luckily enough, a woman and a man – vocalist Émilie Satt and producer Jean-Karl Lucas – 10 fateful years ago.

While the band itself didn’t coalesce into a beautiful maker of music until 2013 (though they worked together in a folk band before that), and the debut album, Tandem took a further three years to arrive, the mix of Émilie’s love of chanson and hallowed French singers such Barbara and Nino Ferrer and Jean-Karl’s pop stylings, informed, much like Annie Lennox, by a formal musical education, in his case, in the alto section of the Conservatory of Amiens.

Their making of beautiful music together also found expression in the composition of the song “Smile” for the French rapper Youssoupha, and their involvement on iconic TV music show Taratata, and most recently on second album Vu d’ici.

But now they are facing one of the most visible expressions of their artistry but given the band’s bio-referred to “alchemy” and their penchant for combining vivid visual expression and alluring, catchy pop with a message, surely an appearance in the Altice Arena should be a walk in the proverbial?

 

Madame Monsieur (image courtesy Eurovision.tv)

 

THE SONG
Given the fact that their bio gushes about how “Emilie’s voice flows majestically over Jean-Karl’s nuanced tones and grooves, inspired by the world around him” and “Jean-Karl and Emilie’s fortuitous meeting with producer Guillaume Silvestri came at the end of a cycle of doubt, as if the planets had aligned and delivered them the way forward”, how could it not right?

Pretty hyperbole aside, “Mercy” (written by the duo), inspired like so much of their music by a profound social conscience – the song tells the story of a refugee baby born on an SOS ship after her mother was rescued from the Mediterranean – is an enormously catchy song that kicks off with Emilie’s breathy vocals, a slow-percolating beat that builds and builds through the verse before breaking into an atmospherically-rich piece of mid-tempo swirling pop that captivates from start to finish.

It’s an astonishingly captivating song, lyrically and musically that matched with an engaging stage performance, which is well within Madame Monsieur’s remit, should see them do quite nicely come grand final time.

 

 

GERMANY: “You Let Me Walk Alone” by Michael Schulte

 

Road to Eurovision The Big Six Germany flag

 

THE ARTIST
Though the more artistically-snobbish among the music-loving public make scoff at finding fame through online platforms – a ridiculous notion given how online platforms and social media have democratised access to willing, listening ears – Michael Schulte is not among them.

Kicking off in 2007 playing cover songs on YouTube, Germany’s entrant has so far notched 50 million views and 200,000 subscribers which in a crowded modern musical marketplace is an impressive achievement.

But that, like so many routes to fame in the digital age was not in and in 2011, Schulte was discovered by Irish singer-songwriter Rea Garvey who not brought the artist on stage with him at the Kieler Woche Festival on the Baltic Coast, but co-wrote the song “Carry Me Home”, which entered the German charts at #8 in 2012.

A debut album, Wide Awake, followed the same year, leading to sold-out tours, a second album, festival appearances, and parades staged and statues erected in large cities in his honour.

OK that last part might be a tad untrue but goddamn it, Schulte was popular so it makes perfect sense that he’d be selected the fly the German flag at Eurovision – but will this be the culmination of the artist’s 11-year-old online dream?

 

Michael Schulte (image courtesy Eurovision.tv)

 

THE SONG
“You Let Me Walk Alone”, which sounds like a brave statement of confidence in someone’s self-reliance or an act of anti-social neglect, is a beautiful song co-written by the artist with Thomas Stengaard, Katharina Müller and Nisse Ingwersen that seems to be a curious mix of both narrative intents.

A heartfelt, piano-driven ballad , propelled by heart-on-your-sleeve lyrics and Schulte’s pre-eminently emotionally-resonant vocals, the song is bound to be a showstopper on grand final night.

It’s a gorgeous slice of storytelling pop that should benefit from an evocative onstage setting; although equally given Schulte’s presence and innate power and impact of the song, should see a stripped-back, simple presentation work equally well.

Either way, look for this song to make a real impression – its beautiful, says something meaningful and while a little generic, has enough distinctive personality of its own to turn heads and hopefully attract votes Germany’s way.

 

 


ITALY: “Non Mi Avete Fatto Niente” by Ermal Meta e Fabrizio Moro

 

Road to Eurovision The Big Six Italy flag

 

THE ARTIST
Gold is the colour of immensely-successful music artists Ermal Meta and Fabrizio Moro.

Well, not of the men themselves because that would make them look like C-3PO mannequin lookalikes, a trait that’s only useful if you want to make an appearance in one of Star Wars films, but of their careers which collectively are an never-ending cavalcade of gold (and platinum) albums, sold-out tours up and down the length and breadth of Italy and multiple awards, including, rather crucially if you want to do represent Italy at Eurovision, the Sanremo Festival.

Both Meta and Moro have not just successfully contributed to their own shiny careers but have found themselves in great demand as songwriters for other artists (Moro) and a judge on popular talent show Amici (Meta).

When you are as successful as these two men who can’t move for all the awards, accolades and gold & platinum albums building up around them, do you really have time for Eurovision, important though it may be, and of course, has your songwriting talent, Midas-ian as it enduringly seems to be, stayed close at hand when you need it most?

 

Ermal Meta e Fabrizio Moro (image courtesy Eurovision.tv)

 

THE SONG
Most assuredly yes.

Singing in Italian, which Italy always does (like France which sticks to its native tongue without exception), Meta and Moro have come up with a startling appealing song in “Non Mi Avete Fatto Niente” which manages to sound both quintessentially, classically Italy with a lovely operatic feel to it, and decidedly modern and upbeat.

It’s almost joyously uplifting musically, which acts as an encouraging accompaniment to lyrics that celebrate optimism and belief in the power of life to be greater than the realities of world might suggest it can be:

“You haven’t done anything to me
You’ve taken nothing from me
This is my life, and it keeps going
Beyond everything, beyond people
You haven’t done anything to me
You haven’t won anything
Because there’s more than your pointless wars.” 

It’s sublimely-beautiful, meaningful and amazingly singable-along-to, an arresting piece of music that is of the moment and timeless all at once, and which should see Italy, and by extension Meta and Moro (like there was ever any doubt there .. I mean c’mon people look and listen to them!) do quite nicely at Eurovision this year.

 

 


PORTUGAL: “O Jardim” by Cláudia Pascoal

 

 

THE ARTIST
You only have to look at Cláudia Pascoal’s bio to readily understand that music is a huge, unassailable part of her life.

Starting off as a busker who picked up the guitar at age 15 (possibly ancient when you look at how some of the entrants started playing instruments), she has participated in a slew of TV talent shows like Ídolos in 2010 and 2015, Factor X in 2014 and The Voice Portugal in 2017.

She even tried her hand at becoming a talk show host in 2014, auditioning for Curto Circuito and coming in third; the biggest contest of all though was Festival da Canção which, SPOILER ALERT! (not really), she won!

In-between laying her undeniable talent repeatedly on the line, she’s released a single with Pedro Gonçalves and sings lead for the band MORHUA.

Musical credentials well and truly established I’d say! Will it that be enough come the grand final on the 12th May when she represents the contest’s home country? (No pressure, Cláudia, nope, none at all.)

 

Cláudia Pascoal (image courtesy Eurovision.tv)

 

THE SONG
Composed by Isaura, who’s been releasing music since 2014, kicking off with the single “Useless”, “O Jardim” has an earnestly epic quality to it, anchored by Cláudia’s heartfelt vocals which sound less like she’s singing the song as living every last lyric.

Not surprising when you take a look at the lyrics, which look at the grief-stricken aftermath of losing someone very dear and special:

“Now that you’re gone
I’ll take care of your garden”

The song is the perfect marriage of word sand music, drawing on the same emotionally-resonant that Salvador Sobral drew on so winningly last year.

Looks for this pop gem to do very nicely indeed; you’d have to be a monster with a concrete heart not to be moved by this gorgeous song.

 

 

 

SPAIN: “Tu Canción” by Amaia y Alfred

 

Road to Eurovision The Big Six Spain flag

 

THE ARTIST
Love is grand isn’t it? Doesn’t matter if its fictional or real; there’s something about falling in love that completely transfixes and cheers up the soul.

Amaia y Alfred can speak to the truth of this, thanks to being a real life couple who together won the most recent edition of TV talent show Operación Triunfo, captivating, so their lovestruck bio assures us, “viewers with their distinctive musical qualities, honed in music schools.

And indeed, one look at their respective achievements to date, and you realise just how much honing of the musical variety, took place with Alfred, a talented songwriter, combining music studies in with a degree in Audiovisual Communication at the International University of Catalonia, and Amaia, a pianist who loves The Beatles and Rosalia, starting studies in her chosen instrument at the tender age of 6 (when most of us are perfecting colouring between the lines) at Pablo Sarasate’s Music Conservatory.

Theirs is a love story that has entranced Spain, making them darlings of social media in Spain; but will it transfix the population of greater Europe as well?

 

Amaia y Alfred (image courtesy Eurovision.tv)

 

THE SONG
All together now – ‘ AWWWWWWWW!”

The song, “Tu Canción”, written by Raul Gomez Garcia and Sylvia Ruth Santoro Lopez, is a dreamy love song tailor-made for the adorable couple.

Frankly with the kind of musical and life chemistry they share, they could sing the phone book and people would sit in dreamy rapt attention; but this sweet, substantial piece of pop balladry amps that up a thousand-fold with lyrics like this to delight you and make you swoon:

“I feel like dancing for the first time
You are the art that sweetens my skin
From my traveling mind that follows your feet
I feel like dancing for the first time by your side.”

They manage to take a reasonably cookie-cutter song, that wouldn’t be out of place in any one of a thousand Disney films, and make it their own, their harmonies elevating the song beyond it’s already impressive roots.

This is music to fall in love to and if Europe isn’t seduced, then you have to wonder if they have ever really loved at all.

 

 

UK: “Storm” by SuRie

 

Road to Eurovision The Big Six UK flag

 

THE ARTIST
Jumping on the artistic mono-moniker bandwagon so well-travelled on by the likes of Madonna and P!NK, SuRie aka Susanna Marie to her mum and dad, had made quite a name for herself.

Classically-trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London and recently elected as an Associate of her alma mater for her “significant contribution to the music profession”, SuRie has turned an early love of reading and writing into songwriting that embodies the storytelling style so beloved of Tori Amos, Regina Spektor and Billy Joel and combined with the cinematic narrative work of people like Emiliana Torrini and Imogen Heap to winning effect.

A globetrotter who’s first album, Something Beginning With …, had its genesis in countries as diverse as Australia, Sweden and the U.S., SuRie has a long history with Eurovision, performing back-up vocals for Belgium’s Loïc Nottet in 2015, and acting as musical director for Blanche in 2017.

But what will it be like when she’s up on the stage all by herself? Will she eclipse the achievements of those she once supported?

 

SuRie (image courtesy Eurovision.tv)

 

THE SONG
If you’d asked me when I first heard the song, lo these few months back, I’d have said “No way; pack up and go home now and don’t let the treble clef on the way out!’; “Storm”, an affirming song by Nicole Blair, Gil Lewis and Sean Hargreaves, just sounded so connect-the-dots, been-there-got-the-Tshirt-in-three-colours-because-you never-know”.

But repeated listens, perhaps the result of musical Stockholm Syndrome, or my love of pink bubblegum, fairy floss hair colours – it’s hard to say which is more of an influence – have convinced have legs of more durability and likeability that I first thought.

It’s still shamelessly generic, sounding like a thousand songs you’ve heard many times before, but SuRie makes it come alive, as does a killer chorus that romps and stomps and epically surges its way to a bouyant end.

This is the kind of song that should, quite literally, sing on the stage at Eurovision, and so long as SuRie doesn’t stand like a wooden deer in headlights while performing it, which is unlikely given her training, should mean the UK places quite nicely in the standings this year.

 

 

EUROVISION EXTRA EXTRA!

Estonia’s Elina Nechayeva has a dress! A BIG dress! And now, thanks to multiple sponsorship deals which will cover the 65,000 Euros cost of transporting it to Portugal, it’s coming to Lisbon! Watch and be impressed by its fabulous bigness, very much in keeping with Eurovision’s tradition of OTT staging (Metro)

 

 

If you recall, Ireland’s video for its song “Together” gave a beautiful, though ultimately romantically tragic tale, of two handsome young men falling in love. A tribute to Ireland’s vote to legalise same sex marriage a while back, it will be recreated on stage in Lisbon, to the delight of people with open hearts and minds everywhere and the dismay of bigots and homophobes no doubt (Metro)

 

 

Lighting rather than LED screens will be the order of the day on stage at Eurovision this year, eschewing the recent trend to big visuals and a return to the kind of intimacy and focus on the artist that marked ‪Malmö‬’s stint as host (Metro

 

(image courtesy Eurovision.tv)

 

Bonus videos! Do we have bonus videos? We do! Well, many of the entrants do more accurately and you can find them here at Metro.

  • Oh, and if you’re planning to take a ladder or shopping trolley to Eurovision, because why the hell wouldn’t you, you’re out of luck as SBS Eurovision goes through the Contest’s list of banned items.

 

Star Wars: A New Hope *is* the bright fun musical you’ve been looking for

(image courtesy IMP Awards)

 

It’s not a moon!

Never were true words spoken – well okay they have been but admitting that severely lessens the dramatic impact of that opening statement thank you – but what were the musical moments woven in around those kinds of admissions? What were Leia and Grand Moff Tarkin really singing to each other, and were they singing at all?

Why yes, yes they were – what? You never noticed that before? – singing of goat bladders and puppets, roast beef and tribbles (wait … what?), roundness and power, children of the night and bunions on feet.

Bad Lip Reading‘s It’s Not a Moon is everything you never knew Star Wars was and could be, a joyous festival of musical theatre a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

It also serves as a warning against the dangers of eating cheese … around Darth Vader anyway.

Sing-a-long, save the galaxy and remember – quails and their rubber beaks are beautifully unique. Words to live by right?

(source: io9 Gizmodo)

 

Mamma Mia here we go again! ABBA set to release two new songs

(image via ABBApics)

 

Ever wonder as an older adult, and yes that is where I find myself these days, wondering if it is ever possible to recapture the thrill and excitement of youth?

Well, it is possible I have recently discovered, very recently in fact with news that ABBA have recorded and plan to release two new songs as part of their new virtual world tour where ABBAtars – yep, it’s a groan-worthy dad joke but I’m willing to let it pass – will recreate the Swedish supergroup in their heyday.

The two new numbers,  a ballad “I Still Have Faith in You” and a more uptempo number “Shut Me Down”, which the hope-springs-eternal among us are hoping presages an entire album of brand spanking new material, something that might happen given how positive the experience of being in the studio for the first time since 1982 was for the group:

“It was wonderful. It was magical. It was a very warm, relaxed, happy atmosphere, no hard feelings, no stress… it was like 35 years hadn’t passed. Like back in the old days. It was very emotional.” (Görel Hanser, long-time ABBA business partner and confidante, The Sydney Morning Herald)

And from ABBA’s official announcement on Instagram:

“It was like time had stood still and that we had only been away on a short holiday. An extremely joyous experience!”

 

❤ #abbaofficial #abba

A post shared by @ abbaofficial on

 

The exciting thing that these are two songs written specifically for the ABBAtar project (not, I trust, its real name) and not revived, dust-covered songs that never made the grade back in the day.

Görel Hanser, in an exclusive interview with Australia’s Fairfax media – a deal driven no doubt the band’s long association with and love for Australia; “‘Australia is a dear, dear country to ABBA, absolutely,’ Hanser said – talked about the songs and the writing process that gave rise to them:

“The first song is more of a ballad, the second song is more of an up-tempo song … I think you do it the same way as you have always done it – the best you possibly can. They have always done it their own way. They did it today the way they always did. The way Benny writes music. And the lyrics are more mature… the way they are today … You will recognise ABBA, no problem – but it is ABBA 2018.”

Other groups such as Duran Duran and the Pet Shop Boys have managed to keep their trademark sound and yet sound indisputably of the moment with their recent albums, all of which are excellent, so there’s every reason to expect that consummate pop songwriters like Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, and gorgeously harmonous singers like Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Agnetha Fältskog can do the same.

 

 

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, there will be a bit of a gap between this announcement and actually hearing the songs:

“The band has recorded two new songs: ‘I Still Have Faith In You’, which the world will hear for the first time when the avatar show is revealed in a TV special in December, and another song, ‘Don’t Shut Me Down’, that is likely to follow as a single release when it premieres on the avatar tour.”

But honestly that’s fine (well, mostly).

It will make for one hell of a Christmas present and if ABBA’s last unreleased track from their heyday, “I Am the City”, which came out on More ABBA Gold in 1992, is any indication, it will be more than worth the wait.

 

 

Road to Eurovision 2018: Week 6 – San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, The Netherlands, Ukraine

(artwork courtesy Eurovision,tv)

 

What is the Eurovision Song Contest?
Started way back in 1956 as a way of drawing a fractured Europe back together with the healing power of music, the Eurovision Song Contest, or Concours Eurovision de la Chanson – the contest is telecast in both English and French – is open to all active members of the European Broadcasting Union, which oversees the competition.

Each country is permitted to submit one song to the contest – a song which is selected by a variety of means, usually a winner-takes-all competition such as Sweden’s renowned Melodifestivalen – which they perform in one of two semi-finals in the hopes of making it to the glittering grand final.

Only six countries have direct entry into the grand final:
* The Big Four who fund most of the contest – UK, Germany, France and Spain
* The host country (which is the winner of the previous year’s contest)
* Italy, who didn’t take part for many years and was re-admitted in 2011 after a 14 year absence (it was one of seven countries that competed in the first event), making the Big Four the Big Five.

The winner is chosen by a 50/50 mix of viewer votes (you cannot vote for your own country) and a jury of music industry professionals in each country, a method which was chosen to counter the alleged skewing of votes based on political and/or cultural lines when voting was purely the preserve of viewers at home.

Past winners include, of course, ABBA in 1974 with “Waterloo” and Celine Dion who won for Switzerland in 1988 with “Ne partez pas sans moi”.

Above all though, the Eurovision Song Contest is bright, over the top and deliciously camp, a celebration of music, inclusiveness and togetherness that draws annual viewing figures in the hundreds of millions.

This year’s contest will be held in Lisbon, Portugal.

 

SAN MARINO: “Who We Are” by Jessika featuring Jenifer Brening

 

Road to Eurovision 2016 week 3 San Marino flag

 

THE ARTIST
If at first you don’t succeed, try and try and try again … and change countries!

Jessika Muscat, a singer/songwriter and actress who hails from Malta, is tenacity personified – after leaping into the consciousness of the Maltese public in 2008 via the Malta Song for Europe Festival and a debut single “Tangled”, she threw her hat into the Eurovision ring, making it to the finals of national selection process in 2011 with a self-penned song “Down Down Down” (somewhat prophetic as it turns out).

Undeterred, she returned in 2013 with “Ultraviolet”, placing fourth, and in 2014 with the song “Fandango”, in-between writing songs for other contestants (rather selfless of her) and again in 2016 where her song “The Flame” helped her placed seventh.

Clearly possessed of the firm belief that Eurovision glory awaits her, and why not, manifest destiny is a powerfully seductive idea, she has now teamed up with German singer Jenifer Brening who, like many Eurovision entrants kicked off her musical career at an inspiringly young age, to sing for San Marino who conducted a worldwide national selection contest online to find their entrant for 2018.

It’s obvious that based on sheer willpower alone, Jessika should be handed the crystal microphone and be done with it, but clearly the contest demands a little more than that; so is “Who We Are” up the task of winning musicality with vaulting ambition?

 

Jessika featuring Jenifer Brening (image courtesy Eurovision.tv)

 

THE SONG
If light and frothy generic pop was the sole arbiter of contest victory, then yes most definitely.

Alas, it is not with the days of identikit, jigsaw-puzzle pop largely, though not entirely, behind Eurovision; so while “Who We Are” is a pleasant enough, and admirably earnest, and has enough momentum to get through the requisite three-minutes, it leaves next to no impression.

It is, in other words, eminently forgettable, failing to spark with much individuality, a pity since Jessika Muscat has clearly got the vocal chops to do justice to compelling dancefloor bangers (on the other hand Jenifer Brening, while attitude-rich, is as cookie-cutter as they come).

Unfortunately, “Who We Are” is not that song and I’d wave goodbye to San Marino now to save time during semi-final 2.

 

 

SERBIA: “Nova Deca” by Sanja Ilić & Balkanika

 

Road to Eurovision Week 6 Serbia flag

 

THE ARTIST
Aleksandar Sanja Ilić is a regular Serbian renaissance man.

Not content with being an author and a composer, the man responsible for steering the band Sanja Ilić & Balkanika to growing popularity, so we are told, through the Balkans and across the globe, is also the band leader, helping to blend modern pop-rock with traditional Balkanika music.

To do that, and let’s face it with that much on his plate, copious amounts of coffee have to be involved somewhere, Aleksandar employ musicians skilled at playing old instruments, male and female vocalists, and some electronic flourishes to achieve the desired sound.

A sound which is clearly popular with fans as far afield as Russia, the United States and South Korea … but will it appeal to the good song-loving voters of Eurovision?

 

Sanja Ilić & Balkanika (image courtesy Eurovision.tv)

 

THE SONG
There is a certain otherworldiness to “Nova Deca” which feels like the love child of Balkan ethno-pop and The Lord of the Rings soundtracks.

Musically and vocally the song is rich and inviting and mystically appealing but for all those engaging qualities, and they are there in great abundance, the song never really comes alive, caught in breathy etherealness and never breaking free.

As a representative of the rich musical history of Serbia meets its dazzling electronica present, it’s a douze points winner but as a take-all-challengers entrant for the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest, it falls short.

Look for this to possibly squeak into the grand final on the back of pan-Balkan sentiment and a blisteringly good live performance which I have every confidence they can manage but left entirely to song memorability? Nil points, I’m afraid.

 

 

SLOVENIA: “Hvala, ne!” by Lea Sirk

 

Road to Eurovision Week 6 Slovenia flag

 

THE ARTIST
The pink hair and sunny smile alone have me sold on Lea Sirk.

But throw in the fact that she completed high school while studying the concert flute, and competed in a plethora of national and international competitions in the early Noughties, and performances with orchestras across Europe, all while studying at the Conservatory of Music in Geneva, and you have one seriously talented person on your hands.

Sirk is also a consummate singer, to go with the musical talent, winning most promising young singer at the International Music Competition Cologne in 2005, singing at a slew of festivals, participating in national selection for Eurovision in 2009 and 2010, and even impersonating famous world performers for the show Znan obraz ima svoj glas (Your Face Sounds Familiar).

Musical talent in abundance? TICK! Singing prowess and a burgeoning solo career? Also TICK! Can she add Eurovision winner to that pretty impressive list, I hear you ask with breathless anticipation (or am I just projecting?)

 

Lea Sirk (image courtesy Eurovision.tv)

 

THE SONG
On sheer performance bravura alone, she should do rather nicely.

“Hvala, ne”, which she co-wrote with prominent Slovenian DJ Tomy Declerque, is brilliantly minimalist, melodic electronica at its best, a standout in a field of 2018 songs that has many middle-field contestants but few really, truly memorable breakouts.

Sirk’s vocals more than rise to the challenge, investing power, emotional presence and character into the song which percolates with catchy, beat-heavy jauntiness and a willingness to be both in your face and delightfully pulled back to a cut-down, slowed-down sensibility.

It’s an entirely unique, very clever song that should do well because Sirk has the chops as a live performer and because it’s so different to many of its competitor songs; it likely won’t win Serbia the contest but it will get them to the grand final and should ensure that the country makes quite an impression for daring to push that musical envelope just a little bit more.

 

 


SWEDEN: “Dance You Off” by Benjamin Ingrosso

 

Road to Eurovision The Big Six Sweden flag

 

THE ARTIST
By any measure, Benjamin Ingrosso, a Swede of Italian descent, is a popular guy.

With over 25 million Spotify streams and counting, platinum and gold status on his singles, popular and critical acclaim for his music – which he began writing as a kid; his first gold-certified hit was at age nine making the Mozart of the current Eurovision field – and near-omnipresence on Swedish TV, everyone loves the talented singer and self-trained pianist/guitarist.

Could it be his embrace of “polished pop tunes”? Or his “soulful performance bravado? Or is it simply that a face that beautiful sings so divinely?

All that and more quite possibly; but that may matter for nought, in the rarefied world of Eurovision, if he doesn’t deliver the goods when it really matters.

So the million dollar question is, are the goods, whatever they may be, well and truly in his possession?

 

Benjamin Ingrosso (image courtesy Eurovision.tv)

 

THE SONG
If you’re thinking “the goods” is a grasp of catchy, of-the-moment radio-ready pop with all the bells-and-whistles, a gift for alluring performance and a sweetly-emotive voice, then, yes, he has them and is going all out to make the most of them.

“Dance You Off” is blissfully sublime upbeat pop that slides across your ears, much like one of his musical heroes Michael Jackson, all velvety smoothness and seductive embrace.

It’s nothing out of the box – a musical envelope-pusher it is not – but Ingrosso takes a well-used, much-exercised sound and gives it a freshness and vibrancy, especially on repeated listens (the first few listens left me strangely cold), that many other pop chart-toppers would give their insipid bridge for.

The song will propel Sweden into its accustomed place in the grand final and should ensure a top 10 finish, especially if Ingrosso is at his soulful best.

 

 

THE NETHERLANDS: “Outlaw In ‘Em” by Waylon

 

Road to Eurovision week 3 The Netherlands flag

 

THE ARTIST
Willem Bijkerk aka Waylon has a way of getting himself noticed.

While his Eurovision bio is mum on exactly why he got the call, in 1998 when The Netherlands was just 18, country superstar Waylon Jennings asked him to come to Nashville and work with him.

Dream come true! Alas Jennings passed away in 2001, but that hasn’t stopped Waylon, who naturally enough adopted his hero’s first name as his artistic moniker, from getting noticed again, this time by the people of The Netherlands via a performance on Holland’s Got Talent in 2008.

From there, it’s been up-and-up with successful albums, being voted Best Vocalist in 2011 by 3FM, a coach on Voice of Holland and a jury member on It Takes Two.

Oh and if he looks familiar to those in Eurovision-land? He was a member of The Common Linnets who represented The Netherlands in 2014 …

 

Waylon (image courtesy Eurovision.tv)

 

THE SONG
Lord god but his return to the Eurovision stage is a powerful one.

“Outlaw in ‘Em” oozes bluesy angst, driving guitars and a voice that is so emotive, you completely believe every damn thing this masterful singer and performer says in song.

You don’t really need to love or listen to country rock to completely throw yourself headlong into this amazing song which is another distinctive entry in a year of reasonably safe choices.

For that reason alone, and Waylon and his tuneful confirmation that everyone’s got a little outlaw in ’em, as accurate a statement on the human condition as you’re likely to get at Eurovision, should do well; having said that country music doesn’t tend to do well at the contest so everything will come down to Waylon converting the naysayers to his righteous cause.

Something tells he’s got every chance in the world of doing that.

 

 

UKRAINE: “Under the Ladder” by MELOVIN

 

Road to Eurovision Week 6 Ukraine flag

 

THE ARTIST
Freaky eyes aside, and to be fair, it could just be a poor choice of contact lenses, MELOVIN – the name is derived from a mix of Halloween (that would explain the unnervingly direct, Werewolf-ian piercing looks) and the final name of fashion designer Alexander McQueen – is one of the most unique artists appearing in this year’s contest.

A perennial entrant in reality talent shows such as Ukraine’s Got Talent and The X Factor (he finally won X Factor in 2015), the artist known as Kostyantyn Mykolayovych Bocharov to his parents (but only when they’re really annoyed with him), lists music, perfume and chemistry as his passions.

That same persistence and tenacity that got through the hard slog of reality TV stardom and success has served him well with his Eurovision aspirations with a third placing in Ukraine’s national selection in 2017 being bested this year with selection as his country’s anointed act.

But can this theatre school graduate, who failed to finish his stint at a music school, make good on the payoff for all his hard work? And, perhaps just as importantly, will he smell good doing it?

 

MELOVIN (image courtesy Eurovision.tv)

 

THE SONG
Theatrically, this will not surprise you, he has it all sewn up, bringing some vampiric stage presence to the performance of his song “Under the Ladder”.

Vocally though he’s a little on the ground, and while his delivery is not a trainwreck by any estimation, and he has undeniable presence, the song doesn’t really bring it home as you might initially think, lacking anything beyond a generic presence.

It’s undeniably catchy in some ways and with the right live performance, and copious votes from teenage girls and gay men with a penchant for goth twinks, might just make it across the line to the grand final.

But as memorability goes, it’s just that little bit shy of really make its presence felt meaning, and idealistic hashtag #BraveLoveFreedom notwithstanding, it’ll be a pleasant enough way to spend some time but not the winning ace in the hole MELOVIN is no doubt aiming for.

 

 

EUROVISION EXTRA EXTRA!

Back on the 10 April a host of 2018 Eurovision entrants including Australia’s Jessica Mauboy, Mikolas Josef from Czech Republic, Sennek from Belgium, Madame Monsieur from France and Zibbz from Switzerland. gathered in beautiful Tel Aviv for Israel Calling where the host country’s Netta made quite the splash with her frontrunner song “Toy”.

On the red carpet, many of the acts were asked to sing the beginning of “Toy” which is a “fowl” bit of fun; the results are hilarious but if you’re not game to join them, you can now dance like Netta, mastering the moves ready for the second week of May when the Eurovision Song Contest takes the stage in Lisbon, Portugal.

 

 

MY SEMI FINAL 2 TOP 10

So drum roll if you please maestro!

Which ten songs do I foolishly predict (with a usual 50% accuracy, proving I do not know the mind of Europe or my home country Australia) will garner themselves a coveted grand final spot? (These are not, by the way, in any particular order.)

AUSTRALIA: “We Got Love” by Jessica Mauboy
DENMARK: “Higher Ground” by Rasmussen
MALTA: “Taboo” by Christabelle
MOLDOVA: “My Lucky Day” by DoReDos
NORWAY: “That’s How You Write A Song” by Alexander Rybak
POLAND: “Light Me Up” by Gromee feat. Lukas Meijer‬

SERBIA: “Nova Deca” by Sanja Ilić & Balkanika
SLOVENIA: “Hvala, ne!” by Lea Sirk
SWEDEN: “Dance You Off” by Benjamin Ingrosso
THE NETHERLANDS: “Outlaw In ‘Em” by Waylon