Music Features

The Singles Bar: Eurovision 2014 Special (Part Five)

The last instalment is finally here! By now we know the full line-up for the main event, so there’s nothing left to do except run the gauntlet of the remaining six tracks. Oh, and there’s also the small matter of choosing the winning song too. If you want to relive the whole experience again, here are Parts One, Two, Three and Four for your delectation.

Denmark: BasimCliché Love Song

Is Basim attempting to circumvent the usual Eurovision tropes with this song title? Is it wise to me so sarcastic and presumptuous when representing the host nation? As soon as the music starts, Basim starts to move and the vocals begin, it’s clear that Basim is basically Denmark’s answer to Bruno Mars. Not only that, Cliché Love Song sounds quite a lot like a Bruno Mars track, except, you know, good. It’s got a modern R&B flavour, a lot of zing, and Basim is a truly engaging performer. Sure, the lyrics are a pile of nonsense but it’s a great fun record with the kind of melody that will stay in your subconscious at the expense of something far more worthwhile, like your blood type or something. It also reminds me slightly of *NSYNC which, in the context of the Eurovision Song Contest, is very much a good thing. 8/12

Germany: Elaiza – Is It Right

As much as I’d like to believe this is some sort of prequel song to Whitney Houston’s It’s Not Right But It’s Okay that’s probably unlikely to be the case. Intriguingly, Elaiza were actually a wildcard entry into the German Eurovision trials, winning their place via a YouTube competition. With its accordion and jaunty melody, Is It Right is strongly reminiscent of the oompah music that Germany is so often stereotyped for. In fact, this seems like a fairly strong, melodic song that has been badly produced just in order to shoehorn in the oompah, which isn’t something you often say about pop music in 2014. It also doesn’t quite have that memorable quality and you spend the entire track waiting for a jolt of energy that never quite arrives. 4/12

United Kingdom: Molly – Children Of The Universe

There’s been a lot of debate on poshness in UK pop over the last few years, and the following sentence is presented without comment: Molly’s full name is Molly Smitten-Downes and, as a child, attended Our Lady’s Convent School in Loughborough (which, for my own amusements, I’m going to try and convince non-Brits is pronounced “Loogabarooga”). The UK’s tactics for Eurovision are utterly baffling – we have arguably the most famous and well-recognised pop heritage in Europe, yet never send our biggest and most relevant stars. Just imagine if the UK decided Calvin Harris or Ellie Goulding should be this year’s representatives. Anyway, Children Of The Universe is an attempt at a unifying anthem with a mildly rousing chorus which comes across as a Florence + The Machine song with everything turned down to a normal volume. In summary: it’s really not very good. 3/12

France: Twin Twin – Moustache

With facial hair being sported by seemingly every man in their twenties these days (myself included) and articles springing up in the national press about having reached “peak beard”, it’s questionable as to whether this is the best time to be singing a song called Moustache. The Eurovision website described Twin Twin as “a perfect example of the YOLO generation” – a précis that makes me want to stab myself in the eye with a teaspoon. Despite Twin Twin looking like the kind of keraazy guys you’d go out of your way to avoid, Moustache is a fairly decent, upbeat dance-pop tune, and would probably fit nicely into the UK charts if we didn’t seem to have some inbuilt hostility to foreign languages (NB: for some reason, this reluctance doesn’t extend to crime dramas). Having said the UK should send Calvin Harris to Eurovision, it sounds as if French have sent the Gallic version. It’s a bit gimmicky and there are more than subtle nods to Major Lazer’s Pon De Floor but these things can be forgiven; Twin Twin’s haircuts, however, can not. 8/12

Spain: Ruth Lorenzo – Dancing In The Rain

UK X Factor aficionados, as well as needing to take a long, hard look at their priorities in life, will recognise Ruth Lorenzo as having finished fifth in the 2008 series of the show. Dancing In The Rain was co-written with Julian Emery – producer of McFly – and Jim Irvin, so hopes are high. Aaaaaaaaaaand… no! Not plinky-plonky piano nonsense! If I ever hear a piano ballad again, I swear it’ll be too soon. The chorus shows off the operatic qualities in Lorenzo’s voice and despite the dramatic strings and backing vocals, she doesn’t over-sell it, which is something of a boon. It’s a well put-together track, and certainly one of the better ballads in this year’s contest but we’re on song 36 now and, quite frankly, I’m exhausted. 6/12

Italy: Emma – La Mia Città (English: My City)

And so we come to the end, with this self-penned track by Italian singer/songwriter Emma Marrone. La Mia Città kicks off with squealing guitars and the whip-crack of a snare drum; it actually doesn’t sound too dissimilar to latter-day Primal Scream, especially when the synth line kicks in. An already pacey tune gathers even more momentum in the chorus, as Emma growls her way through her lyrics. Thanks to my knowledge of the Italian language being non-existent, I haven’t the foggiest what she’s on about, but she seems to be having good fun with it, especially during the bit of the video where she dances around with Mickey Mouse ears on. It’s more of a Eurodance song than Primal Scream actually, and sounds like something you’d imagine The Bravery might do were they to attempt an ill-advised comeback. Not a bad tune at all; there will certainly be far worse in Copenhagen. 7/12

That’s that! We’ve reached the end! A sadly low number of key changes in this year’s selection, but let’s get to the important bit, the scores from the independent republic of No Ripcord:

1 point: Sweden
2 points: Romania
3 points: Lithuania
4 points: Denmark
5 points: France
6 points: Georgia
7 points: Azerbaijan
8 points: The Netherlands
10 points: Ukraine
12 points: Iceland

Congratulations to Iceland for taking the crown in the second annual Eurovision Singles Bar! The Eurovision Song Contest grand final takes place on Saturday 10th May and hopefully this series of articles has provided the accompaniment you need. Until next time, Euro-fans!