In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s totally Christmas Eve (unless you don’t celebrate the holiday/are currently in a time zone in which it is not yet Christmas Eve) and I’ve got an early present for you. Don’t worry, you didn’t have to get me anything. Mainly because my gift is less than impressive. Anyway, if you’ve been shopping, or to the supermarket, or on a bus, or pretty much anywhere over the last few months you’ll no doubt be sick to death of hearing Christmas carols. But what is Christmas without music? (Just say ‘no Christmas at all, Jaz, no Christmas at all.’ Humour me). So I’ve put together a playlist of the most festive Eurovision songs I could find, to get you into the yuletide spirit without having to hear ‘…and a partridge in a pear treeeeeeee!’ for the gajillionth time. You’re welcome.
Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu by Domenico Modugno (Italy 1958)
Een Beetje by Teddy Scholten (Netherlands 1959)
Non Ho L’Eta by Gigliola Cinquetti (Italy 1964)
All Kinds of Everything by Dana (Ireland 1970)
Waterloo by ABBA (Sweden 1974)
Ein Bisschen Frieden by Nicole (Germany 1982)
La Det Swinge by Bobbysocks (Norway 1985)
Love Shine A Light by Katrina and the Waves (UK 1997)
Take Me To Your Heaven by Charlotte Nilsson (Sweden 1999)
Diamond of Night by Evelin Samuel & Camille (Estonia 1999)
Listen To Your Heartbeat by Friends (Sweden 2001)
Call Me by Feminnem (Bosnia & Herzegovina 2005)
Coisas De Nada by Nonstop (Portugal 2006)
Shine by The Toppers (Netherlands 2009)
Ik Ben Verliefd (Shalalie Shalala) by Sieneke (Netherlands 2010)
My Heart Is Yours by Didrik Solli-Tangen (Norway 2010)
Tid Att Andas by Simon Forsberg (Sweden NF 2011)
Mēness Suns by Amanda Bašmakova (Latvia JESC 2011)
I Din Himmel by Sonja Aldén (Sweden NF 2012)
Party For Everybody by Buranovskiye Babushki (Russia 2012)
My favourites are Take Me To Your Heaven and Mēness Suns, the most festive of them all. What are yours? Did I forget any particularly Christmassy tunes?
And now, for those three songs…
Albania: from Rona to rock
There’ll be no dreadlock beehives, no sharp plastic earpieces and probably no 5th place for Albania in May. On Saturday night, the Festivali I Kënges 51 final saw the middle-aged duo of Adrian Lulgjuraj and Bledar Sejko (who might want to consider a portmanteau for Eurovision) and their dramatic, ethnically-tinged rock number Identitet win the ticket to Malmö. Given the fact that this time last year I was busy detesting Rona Nishliu only to find myself adoring her a few months later, I don’t know how to feel about thinking this entry is just okay, if that makes sense. Will I learn to love it, end up hating it or remain indifferent? Which of those best describes your attitude towards Albania at the moment?
A little Something from Lithuania
Everyone’s said it already, but I’m going to say it again. Lithuania is sending their version of Killers frontman Brandon Flowers to Sweden, with a very Killers-eque song. To clarify, that’s Andrius Pojavis with Something. This entry did grow on me in between my first and second listens, but it doesn’t exactly float my boat. The lyrics are awkward, and the general air is kind of dull. The chorus is quite strong though, and Lithuania’s tendency to qualify against the odds in recent years could be a good sign for Andrius. Maybe not for the rest of us…
Ukraine’s Zlata gets her chance
After blowing us away with her vocal talents and amazing song in the 2011 Ukrainian final (and then getting caught up in all the Mika Newton controversy alongside Jamala) Zlata Ognevich has finally come out on top, winning yesterday’s NF with a very different entry called Gravity. It’s both very different to her last, The Kukushka, and very different to what Ukraine sent to Baku – i.e. a class-A booty-shaker. I didn’t draw any comparisons between Gravity and something from The Lion King soundtrack until other people started to, but I can see it. It’s definitely more ‘Rafiki lifting Simba to the heavens on Pride Rock’ than ‘super-saccharine, diabetes-inducing Disney ballad’ though, which is good. Plus, as aforementioned Zlata is an incredible singer who is more than capable of delivering a Pastora Soler moment in Malmö (especially if she sticks with the white dress). With a few tweaks here and there, the right lighting and background imagery, and the prompt firing of that iffy backup guy, this could do very well. For me, it’s the best pick of December.
Speaking of which, I think it’s time for a mini-ranking: my personal top 6. Don’t expect this to look the same in a month or so (with or without all the countries holding NFs over that period) because I am nothing if not fickle.
How does yours stack up?
So that’s about it for today. I’m sorry for all the questions, and if you happen to be a fan of hearing Christmas carols and I’ve offended you with my offer of an escape, I’m sorry for that too.
I hope you all have a Merry Xmas!