My all-time ESC 50: The Countdown (Part 1)
Good morning/afternoon/evening etc, and welcome to a post that was supposed to be up days ago! I’ve had some stuff going on lately (you know, stuff) so please excuse the lack of regularity, those of you who have spent the last few days crying into your laptop keyboards because you were so heartbroken to discover I hadn’t written anything new. Ha. Ha.
ANYWAY, I’m back and I’m excited, because today I’m starting a major countdown. The one every contest fan has a love-hate relationship with. The one that is fun to do, but makes you second-guess your own opinion a million times and makes you want to tear your own hair out.
Yes, it’s the countdown of my top fifty Eurovision songs of all time!
With well over a thousand entries to choose from, a top hundred would be hard enough, but because I wanted to go into some detail about why I love each one, my list had to be cut in half if I didn’t want you guys to be subjected to a Twilight-esque saga of epic, yawn-inducing proportions. I’m satisfied with the list, but I’m not expecting you to be, so feel free to gasp in disbelief and then write me a loooooong comment about how terrible my taste is. But remember, we all have the right to our own taste…
With that, and without any further rambling ado, here is the first installment of my all-time fifty.
#50 – Follow My Heart by Ich Troje (Poland 2006)
Kicking off the list today is the sometimes green-haired, always gravel-voiced Michał and his minions from Ich Troje, who narrowly missed out on qualifying in Athens with this tre awesome song. Real McCoy’s rapping is the most enjoyable I’ve ever seen at Eurovision (sure, there hasn’t been a heap of competition, but I mean it) and not even the image of that strange onstage ending makes me love the rest of the song less.
#49 – Solo by Alsou (Russia 2000)
I grew up listening to music like this (only it had Britney Spears’ name all over it) so it’s natural that I’d be drawn to it. Alsou wasn’t the best live vocalist, but she sold the song like a champ – although some would argue too sexily for a then sixteen-year-old.
#48 – Il Faut Du Temps by Sandrine François (France 2002)
For the second year in a row, France sent Celine Dion in disguise to Eurovision, and it paid off. I’ve never been too fussed with Natasha St-Pier’s entry, but Sandrine’s checks all my boxes. Soft start? Check. Mystical background music? Check. Epic, shouty chorus that I can sing along to even though I have no idea what she’s on about? Check and mate.
#47 – Nur Ein Lied by Thomas Forstner (Austria 1989)
Two years before he joined the Nul Points Club (as well as the Association for Mullet Enthusiasts, and Puffy Sleeves Anonymous) Thomas Forstner brought this German-language gem to Eurovision for Austria, and for that I say danke. It’s wonderfully Eighties in every way, just as Mary Poppins was practically perfect in every way, although I prefer Nur Ein Lied over A Spoonful of Sugar.
#46 – Euphoria by Loreen (Sweden 2012)
This year’s winner cashed in on the dance craze dominating the global music scene at the moment, but it had something special (and I don’t just mean Loreen’s ahem, unusual dance moves) that catapulted it up the scoreboard. The atmosphere, the banging chorus and the general freaking catchiness are why I heart it.
#45 – Lako Je Sve by Feminnem (Croatia 2010)
I’m not fond of talking about this song, because every time I do I’m reminded that it didn’t qualify. But there’s no way I could have left it off my list, not when it was the first entry of 2010 that set off my ‘Winner!’ alarm. And not when I love it just as much now as I did back then, mainly for the same reasons listed under #48.
#44 – Dansevise by Grethe & Jørgen Ingmann (Denmark 1963)
This is the oldest song on my list, as well as one of my favourite winners. I find it such a departure from the stuffy and serious songs that typify the ESC’s early years (no offence intended – they just aren’t for me) and it’s so hypnotic and mysterious it wouldn’t have been out of place playing over the credits of a Bond movie.
#43 – Forogj Világ by Nox
I pretty much laid all my cards on the table in relation to this song in my last post, but I will reiterate: everything about it is amazing! Even without the striking stage show, it stands alone as top-notch ethno-pop, and one of Hungary’s best ever ESC forays. If only it’d gone a little further and made the top 10.
#42 – Never Ever Let You Go by Rollo & King (Denmark 2001)
Go and grab a dictionary and look up ‘toe-tapper’. You won’t find this song in the definition, because I’m pretty sure ‘toe-tapper’ isn’t even in the dictionary, which makes that instruction pretty stupid. My point is, if it were this song would definitely be referenced as a prime example. I’m not normally a fan of countrified, bluegrassy stuff, but I love this, and I think it would have been a deserving winner on home soil.
#41 – My Star by Brainstorm (Latvia 2000)
I don’t think Latvia has or will ever top their debut entry (please don’t mention Marie N). Despite Renars Kaupers’ disturbingly zany rendition of it on stage (all hail the Master of the Crazy Face) My Star was as charming then as it is now, and that’s EXTREMELY. It’s one of the most favoured songs in my playlist of pick-me-ups.
Well, that’s the end of that chapter. But don’t worry, there’s plenty more to come (‘plenty’ of course meaning four – do the math). Stay tuned for those, as well as some Olympic-themed posts to celebrate what I like to call ‘Eurovision: Sport Edition’.