Baku Reviews: Part 1 (Albania-Bulgaria)

This week we hit the month-to-go mark on the countdown to Eurovision 2012, and I figured there was no better way to celebrate than by getting on with my annual entry reviews (it was very spur of the moment. I totally didn’t have them planned months in advance…). Now, I know what you’re thinking. “She wants to get on with them. Why doesn’t she just GET ON with them instead of wasting our precious time with an overly wordy intro?” Well, firstly, I’m very offended. Secondly, I just wanted to say that this is the first time I’ve reviewed the songs before the contest has taken place. Usually I do retrospective reviews which take into consideration the performances as well as the songs. But I’ve been reading a lot of reviews on other blogs (none of which are as good as this one, of course. Ha ha.) and enjoyed them so much I couldn’t wait to do my own. Plus, there’s not a whole lot of Eurovision to talk about during this period when all the artists are locked away in rehearsal rooms (or, as is likely in Valentina Monetta’s case, busy having cybersex with someone they met on a certain social networking site).

And so I present to you the first of my Baku Reviews, featuring Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Bulgaria. Please take a minute to comment down below, Tweet me, or tell me your thoughts on that Social Networking Site That Must Not Be Named. I’m really looking forward to hearing what you think of this year’s 42!

Without further ado…

 

Albania

Suus/ Rona Nishliu

Better than 2011: Yes…no…maybe?

The good stuff: Something very strange happened to me with this song. The first time I heard it, I hated it. It was shouty and nonsensical, and whilst it went somewhere, I couldn’t say exactly where (a mental asylum, perhaps?). The second time I listened, I still hated it. But then the preview video premiered, and I thought I’d check it out. Little did I know that three minutes later, Rona and Suus would have given me goosebumps. There was something about her standing there singing her lungs out whilst a bunch of other random stuff was happening (I’m just going to assume it was deep and meaningful stuff) that got to me, and now I’m kind of into this entry, particularly the chorus.

Everything else: It’s not an instant song, one that’s going to get in those people’s heads who are hearing the songs for the first time on the night. I can’t see this getting too many televotes. I’m also not sure that that the juries will go for it – could it be too strange for them?

Winner, loser or grower: Grower – 7 points.

 

Austria

Woki Mit Deim Popo/ Trackshittaz

Reminds me of: I hate to say this, but it’s got a whiff of Irelande Douze Point about it…

The good stuff: Trackshittaz are one of many acts to appear in a national final multiple times before finally making it to the ESC. Often those acts make it with a song that doesn’t measure up to their previous efforts, and whilst that could be said about these boys from Austria (Oida Taunz! was an NF favourite last year) I can’t help but shake my thing to what won them a ticket to Baku – which is appropriate since that’s what they spend the entire three minutes telling us to do. It’s catchy, it’s fun, it’s probably sexist and offensive but I don’t care because it’s catchy and fun.

Everything else: According to those lucky enough to attend Eurovision in Concert at the weekend (I hate you all) this song did not work well in the venue. There is, of course, a difference in performing in a club or a hall and performing in a humungous stadium, but this does worry me a little. I really want Austria to do well – by which I mean qualify – but I wouldn’t bet whatever small change falls out of my purse when I upend it on that actually happening.

Winner, loser or grower: Winner – 8 points.

 

Belarus

We Are The Heroes/ LiteSound

Best lyric: ‘As I stand beneath the staring sky, I just lose faith in gravity…’

The good stuff: Thank the Eurovision gods for dodgy national finals. Having originally chosen Alyona Lanskaya and her extremely depressing ballad All My Life, Belarus did a Ukraine and ended up disqualifying her, passing the torch to the original runner-ups and my favourites, LiteSound. Best decision ever! I’m not saying their song is a douze-pointer, but I have no desire to kill myself when I hear it, which is a big improvement. It’s a nice slice of rock-pop with a great sing-along chorus.

Everything else: Songs like this are often accompanied by very boring stage shows (think 3JS doing absolutely nothing for the Netherlands in 2011) so I hope this will be an exception. A quick strut down to high five the front-row flag wavers or a nifty light show is all I’m asking, guys.

Winner, loser or grower: Winner – 8 points.

 

Belgium

Would You?/ Iris

Top 10 material: No

The good stuff: Well…it’s…um. It’s not the worst song of the 42, I can say that at least. It isn’t outright dreadful. Iris is a nice singer, and pretty to look at. I just don’t know what else to say about this entry! It’s so vanilla. Why can’t Belgium send songs to the ESC like the ones they send to JESC, instead of three minutes of perpetual underwhelming-ness?

Everything else: In answer to your question Iris, no, I wouldn’t. If I had to stick around and listen to you sing this 24 hours a day I’d slip into a coma. Would You? just goes nowhere! It’s the ultimate tea-and-toilet break song (although I personally remain glued to my couch for every second of every ESC installment. And no, I do not go to the toilet there). The chorus is hardly distinguishable from the rest of the song. I’m so disappointed by it, because back when Iris was announced I listened to some of her back catalogue and thought “Well done, Belgium. You’ve gone with someone young and fresh who could be described as the European Taylor Swift. Hurrah!” Alas, when it came time to choose a song for Iris, Belgium presented her with two epically boring numbers, and picked the most boring one.

Winner, loser or grower: Loser – 3 points.

 

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Korake Ti Znam/ MayaSar

Better than 2011: No

The good stuff: Belarus did a Ukraine this year, and Bosnia decided to do an Iceland by picking one of their last entries’ backing singers to represent them. I think they chose well. MayaSar is a stunning vocalist, and that voice is perfect for the soaring piano ballad that is Korake Ti Znam. The song is not up there with my best of the best, but I appreciate it for what it is, and that’s a beautifully written and composed three minutes that the juries will probably go crazy for.

Everything else: It took me three or four listens before I could remember how this went, which I think was because its sections seem to blend together. Is that the chorus? No wait, I think that’s it. Or is it….who knows. Bosnia will get a lot of support from its fellow Former Yugoslavians, no doubt, but if that’s not enough to push Maya into the qualification zone, she may not be able to rely on votes from elsewhere.

Winner, loser or grower: Grower – 7 points.

 

Bulgaria

Love Unlimited/ Sofi Marinova

Reminds me of: Mr. Saxobeat by Alexandra Stan

The good stuff: EVERYTHING. Yes, I said it. My love for this song is definitely unlimited (groan) which I’m sure most of you will not understand. I think it’s a great hybrid of the familiar and exotic, and my giddy Aunt, it’s an ear worm! Some may say the multi-language aspect is a desperate attempt to curry favour with a bunch of countries, which may be true, but I think it’s been cleverly incorporated into the chorus. I love that, I love Sofi’s screechy voice, I love it all. For the first time in a while I’ll be waving a Bulgarian flag, and if you don’t like that…well, that’s fine. You’re entitled to your opinion.

Everything else: I’m going to confess – the first time I heard this song, I didn’t realise it was made up of just about every language ever invented (except Udmurt, which is reserved for Russian grannies only). My ears only registered Bulgarian, which they apparently aren’t too tuned to. Rookie mistake!

Winner, loser or grower: Winner – 10 points.

 

I hope you enjoyed the first lot of my reviews, because there’s a heck of a lot more to come! Next time I’ll be trashing and treasuring Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland and Georgia. I hope to see you here when I do. In a non-creepy way. Obviously I can’t see you, I just meant…never mind.

 

Jaz x

 

PS – If you were wondering why Azerbaijan with an “A” was missing, here’s why: I’ve decided to review the six finalists together. They’ll make up the final lot of the Baku Reviews.

 

About Jaz

I'm Jaz, I'm 26, and I'm 110% Eurovision-OBSESSED. The contest is one big party, and I like to keep it going 365 days a year - that's why I write about anything and everything ESC on my blog. Come join the fun, and I promise you'll never have a nul-point experience! www.eurovisionbyjaz.com/

Posted on April 27, 2012, in Eurovision 2012 and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. “That Social Networking Site That Must Not Be Named” Can I borrow that quote and make a graphic with it? xD I didn’t even realize you had skipped Azerbaijan…That shows my interest for that song I guess xD

    Well, you know what I think about most of these entries:
    Albania: no idea how you did it, but this doesn’t stand a chance to grow on me
    Austria: You might have noticed that I give way too much importance to lyrics, so of course an offensive and sexist song doesn’t work for me. Besides, I’m not really into rap, so the song annoys me.
    Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia: agree with you on these
    Bulgaria: yeah , it’s similar to Mr. Saxobeat..guess the fact that I don’t like that song doesn’t help either 😛
    PS: I like your wordy intros

    Like

    • Feel free to use the quote, although you may want to ask permission of JK Rowling since I stole it from her. Obviously replacing the words “He” and “Who” in the process.
      I admire you for taking notice of the lyrics!! I don’t think I do it enough to be honest. I’m too easily pleased by catchy stuff. Although the lyrics from Georgia and Greece etc etc are so bleeding awful I can’t ignore them.
      How dare you not be a Saxobeat fan???? Ahaha. Each to their own.

      Like

  2. hey(:
    oke:D haha. I was just laughing when i read your reviews:’D

    but for me Albania isn’t a grower. .-. when she screams Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaai I always think she wants a tea, because the serbian word for tea is čai. hm. don’t know why anyone should scream so loud for tea.
    and I don’t like Austria :& here I understand the lyrics and really don’t like it.
    Bosnia(: ❤ could never not like this. Balkan ftw!
    also Bulgaria is great this year. I still love Mr. Saxobeat.

    Like

    • Some people really like tea, I guess, and Rona is one of them!
      I can’t wait to see Maya on her own on stage. If she nails her vocal it will be amazing.
      FINALLY! Someone else who’s a fan of Sofi’s song. It is very much like “Mr. Saxobeat”, which I also love. It seems that whoever likes that likes “Love Unlimited”, and whoever doesn’t dislikes it – which makes sense, but is a shame =[ Go Sofi anyways!

      Like

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