For the first time in a looooooooong time, here’s a post that doesn’t require an intro. The title pretty much says it all, don’t you think?
#1 / Dyshi by Serebro (Russia 2007)
This has got to be one of my favourite songs of all time, possibly because the lyrics make no mention of anyone tasting anyone else’s “cherry pie” but probably because it’s got a haunting quality that gives me goosebumps every time. One of the singles from Serebro’s debut album Opiumroz (one of the few albums I own on which no song needs to be skipped over) what makes it particularly memorable is the video, which is beautifully shot…but seriously random.
#2 / Mechtateli by Dima Bilan (Russia 2006/2008)
Here’s another Russian pop ballad that, I have to admit, could sound less like Dyshi. What can I say? I have a type. It’s the almost-title track from Dima’s most recent album, coincidentally (or not) another one that requires no skip button. For those of us who would argue that the guy is at his best when singing in Russian, it could also be Exhibit A in the case for.
#3 / Skorpion by Urban Symphony (Estonia 2009)
* The version below is shortened. Give the full one a listen if you haven’t before – you won’t regret it!
Italian may be regarded as the world’s most musical language, but I’ve got a soft spot for Estonian. When it’s sung by the amazingly/annoyingly talented Sandra Nurmsalu and backed by pretty much every string instrument ever created, the magic reaches a whole new level. Skorpion is the second single US released post-Moscow, and it’s the same blend of classic and contemporary that got them to 6th place back then.
#4 / Broken Angel by Arash (Azerbaijan 2009)
Arash swapped Aysel for Swedish singer Helena Josefsson on this track, which was more of a homage to his Iranian ethnicity than his more distant Azeri. For me this song is better than Always, though it would no doubt have done worse at Eurovision (mainly because it doesn’t scream ‘I need to be danced to by very flexible women in revealing Lycra!’). Side note: Arash calls Malmö home, so here’s hoping he crops up somewhere in the contest next year.
#5 / Hasta Que Me Ames by D’Nash (Spain 2007)
If you wanted to like Spain’s entry in Helsinki, but found it too shouty and/or too Spanish, I have two things to say to you. Firstly, what is wrong with you? That entry kicked butt. Secondly, this song may be more to your liking being by the same quartet of hot men, just with a more mainstream boyband sound. I imagine a music video would feature them wearing white and dancing energetically yet mournfully on majestic cliff tops.
#6 / Vysoko by Julia Savicheva (Russia 2004)
More proof of Russia’s talent for producing haunting ballads, coming right up! I never thought that much of Julia’s Eurovision entry, but once she’d stopped dancing with clumsy men who’d obviously fallen into a massive paint puddle, her musical stylings suited me better. This song would make a great backing track for a Russian tourism campaign.
#7 / Solo by Milan Stanković (Serbia 2010)
I was torn between including this, from Milan’s debut album of the same name, or the more recent Perje – a Balkan ballad in the Željko Joksimović mould – but ended up going for the upbeat one since there’s been so many ballads already (I have a weakness). Solo makes Milan out to be a bit of a ladies’ man, which is hard to believe given that haircut, but it also makes me want to shake my thing. Sometimes that’s all you need.
#8 / Moon of Dreams by Ruslana (Ukraine 2004)
I thought Ruslana, champion of Eurovision and human rights, could do no wrong. That was until she decided that teaming up with T-Pain was a good idea. Overly-autotuned rappers aside, it’s another cracker that doesn’t stray too far from her formula of ethno-R-and-B-pop. Nor does the video give any indication that she’s ever strayed from using Xena Warrior Princess as her style icon.
#9 / Baby It’s Over by Helena Paparizou (Greece 2001/2005)
Helena is arguably the second-most glamorous lady in ESC history (nobody out-glamours Dana International) as well as a supremely successful recording artist. This track comes from her epic Greatest Hits and More album, and if it’s the first you’ve heard of her since she won the contest, you may be surprised at the lack of Greek-ness involved. Unsurprising is the radio-friendliness.
#10 / Break of Dawn by Eric Saade (Sweden 2011)
Speaking of radio-friendly fodder, here’s something from Sweden’s favourite manboy before he was Popular. The song’s excellent, if you like this sort of thing (which I do) but the video is even better, because Eric does more ‘intense face’ in the few minutes of running time than anyone I’ve ever seen. You can’t say the guy’s not talented.
Got any favourite random songs from ESC artists? Let me know below…