VIENNESE VERDICTS | The EBJ Jury Reviews (Part 7)
Bonjour! You’re reading eurovisionbyjaz.com – yep, the ‘.wordpress’ is finally a thing of the past, in case you missed me plastering that all over my social media on the weekend – and this is Part 7 of the Viennese Verdicts. There’s just one set of songs left to review after today, and I’ll leave it up to you to decide if that’s worth a ‘hooray!’ or a ‘hell no!’. Though if you’re not up for checking out the EBJ Jury’s catty critiques (with the occasional compliment thrown in to prove we’re not unfeeling cyborgs) you’d have clicked away by now. Right?
Those of you sticking around may have trouble believing this, but rehearsals in Vienna are already underway. Where the fu…er, I mean, feather boa, did the last twelve months go?
I don’t know the answer to that question, but I do know that it is physically paining me to not be tapping away at my laptop keyboard in the swanky Austrian press centre. I desperately wish I was on site, regularly caressing my official lanyard and socialising with other peeps who love Eurovision and write stuff *makes über-ugly cry face*. So I’m using this post, and all posts yet to come pre-ESC as a distraction from that pain. Just so you know, in case they come across all angsty.
So let the distraction commence! Facing the music (HA HA) today will be Finland, San Marino, Denmark, Estonia and Greece. Their fate is in the hands of one familiar face, one not-so-familiar face, and me. You have to feel sorry for these countries…
TODAY’S EBJ JURY
Nick Provenghi: “Like one esteemed (and infamous) Valentina Monetta, I’m back! Sadly, though, I won’t make it through to the final, as I can’t come back a third time *sad face*. Nevertheless, I’m more than eager to sink my teeth into another batch of songs! But before that, it’s worth noting that ESC 2011 in Düsseldorf (loved having the umlaut, BTW) was the first contest I followed. And in this batch of songs, I actually have the country that sent my winner from 2011! Hopefully they’ve delivered something on par with their four-year-old entry (spoiler: they haven’t…no one in 2015 has).”
Visit Nick’s Eurovision blog here.
James Sayer: “Hello! I’m James, a 19-year-old Creative Writing student at Edge Hill University…which is near Liverpool (nobody has ever heard of it, I’m aware. It’s lovely though, promise.) In Eurovision circles, you may know of me from ESC Views, which I set up and co-ran with Rory [a fellow member of the EBJ Jury] for most of last year (and then uni happened, and I had to leave. Sad times. Rory keeps it going now though, and he does a fabulous job, if I do say so myself!). My favourite Eurovision entry ever is Horehronie. Gravity. Shady Lady. Olou Tou Kosmou I Elpida. THIS QUESTION IS TOO DIFFICULT. I’ve never been to see Eurovision live, although this is literally my number one life goal. Until then, I fill my time by writing poems (I’m not THAT pretentious, I swear) and hosting awesome flat parties, which may or may not be an elaborate excuse to subliminally shove obscure European music down my unsuspecting friends’ throats without them realising *mwahahahahaaa*. Also, it’s rumoured that my hair has magical powers. I cannot confirm or refute this statement.”
Jasmin Bear: “I loved the umlaut too, and for the record, I DO believe that James’ hair has magical powers.”
This round of VVs is all about groups and duos – plus a Céline Dion impersonator – by pure chance (I literally pulled these out of a hat). Read on to find out how Nick, James and I rate PKN, Michele & Anita, Anti Social Media, Elina & Stig and Maria Elena’s respective three minutes.
Aina Mun Pitää by Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät
Nick: Punk and Eurovision – who would’ve thought it? Well, technically, I wished for a kind of punk to win Finland’s NF last year, but that’s the past. Anyway, when PKN won UMK, I wasn’t as enthusiastic as I am now. Initially, I was furious that my favourites, Satin Circus and Järjestyshäiriö, lost out to what sounded like pure noise. But with time, I was able to accept the losses and actually listen to Aina Mun Pitää in a fair context. And for what it is, it isn’t half bad! It’s got a strong punk sensibility and the lyrics are probably the most unique and “heartfelt” of the year. Sure, it still annoys me after about a minute, but that’s pretty much the whole song, so whatever. In the end, I’ve come around to support PKN, even more so after the (hilarious) outrage over their “every other song is crap” comment. I’m even able to support my pet country now! I don’t support the song, but having said that, a high finish from Finland could see more rock entries in the contest, and that’d be just amazing. 5 points.
James: I am still not over this. Finland should have sent Satin Circus, Solju, Opera Skaala…hell, just about ANYTHING from UMK would have been better than Aina Mun Pitää. Ignoring the elephant in the room with this one is just impossible. Yes, these guys are handicapped. Why, may I ask, does that excuse the fact that their song is a pile of steaming horse shite? Just listen to the bloody thing (if your ears can bear it). I’ve smashed plates that made a more pleasing noise than that. It’s honestly as though the four band members are all playing different songs and just happen to be doing so in close proximity to the others. They can’t keep in time with each other! I feel like I should insert a politically correct line here like ‘I appreciate the difficulties they’ve overcome, and I’m glad to see them enjoying themselves’…but in all honesty I don’t, and I’m not. The Finnish entry makes me angry because they beat some amazing songs on a SYMPATHY vote, and will probably do ridiculously well in Vienna on the same basis. This is not the X-Factor, where sob stories are part and parcel of the whole shebang. Eurovision is a SONG contest, and this mess is just not good enough. I’m sorry, but I can’t give this any more than 0 points.
Jaz: Back when PKN won UMK, my reaction was, fittingly, OMG – WTF?!? Finland may have impressed me by embracing all genres for the purposes of their 2015 NF (opera, folk, alt-rock, the ultimately triumphant punk…everything was accounted for) but they horrified me by choosing Aina Mun Pitää. I’m telling you, I spent an entire hour attempting to pick my jaw up off the floor that evening. I am not a punk fan at the best of times, and tend to avoid it like a very loud plague. So naturally, I couldn’t believe that a minute-and-a-half of migraine-inducing noise had been voluntarily selected by a country to represent them at Eurovision (over the fun and freshness that we all agree is Crossroads by Satin Circus, mind you). As I said at the time, I have nothing against PKN themselves, and I hope they have a blast in Vienna. I also think it’s great that they’re using music as an outlet for their frustrations, helping those of us who do not have to live with disabilities better understand what it’s like (there’s that PC statement James stylishly sidestepped). The problem is, I’m not 100% sure that what Finland have here IS music. I have mellowed since that fateful final, having reached the point where one must accept that a certain song is competing and that’s that. I.e. there’s no point in swearing like a profanity buzzer personified on Twitter about it. But the bottom line is that punk is not my cup of tea. Finland is not my #40 song of the year at the moment, as I actually appreciate how memorable it is, and how it couldn’t be any less cheesy even though it’s a message song of sorts. But there’s no hook here, no real tune, and no spectacular vocals to admire/distract us from the terrible song (more on Greece later). If people vote based on song, and jury members do the same, this shouldn’t qualify. If they opt for sympathy votes instead, Aina Mun Pitää may be through, and from there, anything could happen. That’s precisely what worries me, because there’s no way this deserves to outdo Something Better. It most definitely isn’t something better. 3 points.
EBJ Jury Score: 2.67
Chain of Lights by Michele Perniola & Anita Simoncini
Nick: Oh, look who’s back – the only person who’s been a more frequent participant than Valentina Monetta for lovely little San Marino, songwriter Ralph Siegel. What’s different now is that he’s recruited JESC veterans Michele and Anita to do his dirty work this year. And he’s managed to out-musty Maybe as the most 80s-tastic schlager-esque revival song ever. Michele and Anita are both capable vocalists, and it’s unfortunate that their talents are wasted on this dirge. At least we’ll get to see them two more times when they come back next year and when they finally qualify in ESC 2017. 3 points.
James: I still haven’t listened to this all the way through once. I just can’t. Siegel is bankrolling the entire country, apparently, and I’m desperately sad for Michele and Anita. They’re young, talented singers, and because of unfortunate financial restrictions, they’re stuck singing this dreary monstrosity, which is basically Switzerland 2006 and ValMon 3.0 shoved into a particularly temperamental blender and regurgitated as a particularly sickly blancmange. I found an interview with them, can’t remember where, but they specifically said they wanted to sing something modern and uptempo. This is neither, and I feel like it’s going to be the cringiest, most uncomfortable thing that we’ll have to sit through in Vienna. At least we’ll only have to do so once, in their semi. 1 point, purely because it’s marginally better than Finland.
Jaz: The reign of Valentina may have ended *sighs with relief* but that (apparently) doesn’t mean that Ralph Siegel has given up on Eurovision. Presumably because San Marino made the final last year with one of his compositions – which I still believe was an ‘Oh, for heaven’s sake…just give them what they want!’ vote – they figure Siegel is their third-time-lucky charm. Well, if the mess that is Chain of Lights is any indication, they are very, very wrong. I had such high hopes for Anita and Michele. They’re both talented, camera-ready, and, thanks to their Junior Eurovision experiences in 2013 and 2014 respectively, well-equipped to handle the hullabaloo (that word does not get used enough) of the adult Eurovision weeks, despite their young age. All they needed was an age-appropriate song that was remotely contemporary, and they would have been well on their way to not being humiliated in front of millions of people. What they have instead is a megamix of three different entries from Eurovision 1982, none of them good ones. This song leaves me with so many questions. Why do I know it’s a mish-mash disaster, yet at the same time I have trouble remembering how it goes? Why does the chorus remind me so much of Lionel Richie’s Hello, a song I actually like? And why is Siegel still under the impression that he can succeed at Eurovision when he hasn’t since the 1990s? I may never get the answers to these questions, but one I can answer myself is ‘will San Marino qualify this year?’. No, they will not. And that really blows for two teens who could have put the Tolmachevy Sisters to shame with a better song up their sleeves. 3 points.
EBJ Jury Score: 2.33
The Way You Are by Anti Social Media
Nick: Ooh, controversy! Just like Finland’s, Denmark’s selection generated huge amounts of rage when fellow JESC veteran and Eurofan favourite Anne Gaadegard’s Suitcase lost out to this. And having totally forgotten both the winner and runner-up since my first listens (my fave was Julie Bjerre’s adorable Tæt På Mine Drømme), I came to the unpopular agreement with the Danish jurors. Anti Social Media’s song has a lot of pop simplicity that I appreciate, and since it technically falls into the genre of pop-rock, I have an automatic bias for it. The chorus is immediate and very catchy, and the groove is a fun one, a rarity for 2015! That being said, the live performance is shaky, and I’m not a huge fan of the lead singer’s voice. And after a while, it really did get on my nerves, but I’m coming around to it again. Considering that the last Danish entrant to do that was one Miss de Forest, that could bode well (or badly, if you’re DR) for Denmark. 6 points.
James: Luck of the draw has saddled me with a load of entries which will make you guys think I am a complete bitch. I do apologise, and I promise you there ARE songs I love this year…but Denmark’s ain’t one of ‘em. This infuriatingly faux-happy THING offends me, and I don’t even know why – it’s just the way it is (see what I did there? Jaz will be proud). It just makes me frown a lot, and want to skip it every time I hear that intro. Denmark do this quite often. I hated Cliché Love Song, I hated Should’ve Known Better, I hated New Tomorrow…need I go on? Stop with all this fake happiness!! I mean, come on – this is a country where the music industry is full of fabulously moody electro divas like Medina. WHY CAN’T WE HAVE ONE OF THEM FOR THE ESC?!?!? Ugh. If it’s any consolation, my friend Izzy really likes this one. And it’s probably gonna qualify and do annoyingly well. There, I said something positive. 2 points, purely because it’s marginally better than San Marino. There’s a pattern emerging here…
Jaz: Ah, Denmark…another country that had me swearing on social media once their national final had concluded. There’s got to be irony in that somewhere, considering the winning act was Anti Social Media. I was almost as outraged by their DMGP win as I was by PKN’s victory, as The Way You Are was my least favourite contender to represent last year’s hosts. I didn’t think it was dreadful – like, San Marino-level dreadful – but it was musical wallpaper to me. Hence why I may have had an over-dramatic reaction to it beating Anne Gadegaard’s Suitcase by a miniscule margin. But over time, I’ve stopped sobbing and screaming ‘IF ONLY!’ into my pillow, and come to accept that this song does have its place in the 2015 field. It is peppy, after all, and reasonably energetic, and god knows we need an injection of peppiness and energy in Vienna. It’s also cool by default because it’s retro: 1960s-esque, so still set apart from the 1920s-esque UK entry. However, I still have a problem with The Way You Are, which is a problem I often have with Danish entries (Cliché Love Song not included, because that was the bomb dot com). They’re competent, they’re catchy, and they’re well-performed…but they don’t excite me. I can’t connect with them on a level that in the past, would make me cheer for them, and this year, will make me vote for them. Anti Social Media are personable boys/men, and their song is good, but it’s not great by my standards. Still, I’m not a harsh judge, so they get 6 points from me.
EBJ Jury Score: 4.67
Goodbye To Yesterday by Elina Born & Stig Rästa
Nick: My Danish love story was repeated on a grander scale with the Estonian entry, as I downloaded it in January and called it something to the effect of a “beacon of light.” Nowadays, it’s fighting a losing battle to stay in the good graces of my scoreboard. The problem hasn’t necessarily been overplaying, it’s been that the song is starting to show its weaknesses. Lyrically, it’s a bit of a mess, repeating the same words over and over but maintaining a façade of depth. The music is probably its strongest asset, and I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for the opening, but after that, it doesn’t really do anything for me. Finally, the worst part has to be the live vocals, which have sounded ropey from both parties from what I’ve heard. All that means that Estonia’s falling onto the wrong side of six points. 5 points.
James: Didn’t like this at first. Didn’t get it AT ALL…until I got the CD and started actually listening to it, that is. Because yeah, okay, I must admit it’s pretty fantastic. I still don’t understand the ‘OMG IT’S GONNA WIN’ hype, but I’m really enjoying the song now, so I’ll roll with it. I’ve known about Elina Born for a while, and I still think she can do better than this, and sonically, that ‘breathing in a deep sleep pace’ line still makes me cringe every time…I don’t even know why, Stig just spits it out and it’s horrible. And it doesn’t even really make sense. But enough of that, I’m nitpicking. Probably trying to justify why I didn’t like it at first. It’s such a grower, it really is. It’s got nothing on the absolute magic of Calm After The Storm and the comparisons are unavoidable, but it’s a nice entry nonetheless. 6 points.
Jaz: Stig and Elina won their way to Eurovision in a landslide victory that would have been comparable to Andreas Kümmert’s, had he accepted his win. They wiped the floor with the competition in their own country, and they’re a formidable force coming into the next, most important stage of battle. Of course, much of that status is being attributed to their Common Linnets resemblance, which as far as I can see extends to Stig being a man á la Waylon, and Elina being a woman á la Ilse DeLange. Calm After The Storm and Goodbye To Yesterday are different creatures, and with a totally different dynamic between the pairs performing them. I didn’t see The Netherlands as the dark horse they turned out to be last year, as I liked but didn’t love their song (though I felt the same way about Anouk’s Birds, so perhaps I should have seen it coming) but Estonia 2015, I see. I’m not convinced we’ll be headed to Tallinn next May, but all in all I am very impressed with what the strangely attractive Stig and the not-so-strangely attractive Elina are bringing to Vienna. Goodbye To Yesterday is another retro-tinged track (although it’s far more subtly so than the Danish/UK entries) and it’s blended with a guitar pop sound that is super on-trend outside of the ESC sphere. It’s moody and melancholy without being depressing, and it’s lyrically rather clever – it tells a tale while repeatedly reinforcing the central idea via the choruses. That dynamic I mentioned earlier is intriguing. Stig and Elina are having a musical conversation with each other, but they’re letting us in on it too as they each reveal their side of the story. ‘I didn’t want to wake you up/why didn’t you wake me up?’ just works. I can’t help but be hooked on this, folks. There are songs I like more, but the bleakness and uniqueness of GTY is mesmerising to the ears – and that so-close-but-so-distant NF presentation is mesmerising to the eyes. This is a strong package that should be feared by most, if not all, of the 2015 participants. 10 points.
EBJ Jury Score: 7.00
One Last Breath by Maria Elena Kyriakou
Nick: Where’d it all go wrong, Greece? The refreshed NF format born in 2013 has thrown up some gems, but this year it just flopped completely. This ballad was the only non-ethno touched song of the five, and I initially gave it pity points for that. But then it had to stand on its own and it nearly fell down the stairs. It’s the definition of a lame lady ballad (stealing that term from you, Jaz!), with its sappy lyrics and ridiculous score. That’d kinda be okay if Maria Elena could save the song, but judging that performance from the NF, she can’t. Maybe that’ll change in Vienna, but for now, this is a basement dweller for me. And, if nothing improves, it should keep Greece in the semis for the first time ever. Poor thing. 1 point.
James: Oh, Greece? I genuinely forgot this song was even in the competition. It came up on shuffle the other day, and it was at about 2 minutes 30 seconds before I finally remembered which one I was listening to, having mentally crossed off a whole host of more memorable lady ballads from this year first. That can’t be a good sign. I mean, once I get over the fact that I forgot it existed, One Last Breath isn’t too bad as a song, I guess. But at the same time, it’s one of those LLBs that does absolutely bugger-all for 90% of the song and then gets all dramatic and angsty in the last chorus, and leaves you feeling a bit like ‘um…okay, calm down love, what was all that for?’ Nah, sorry Greece. You’ve lost the plot. 4 points (wow, I’m being nice…).
Jaz: In this year of ballads, it’s great that we have a country like Greece – a country that can be relied upon to liven things up with some big, fun, ethno-pop number. The last thing we needed from them was an aspiring Céline Dion in an evening gown, peddling a mournful love ballad that would suck the life out of us all. So it really is wonderf-what? What’s that you’re saying? That IS what Greece has given us? Oh yeah, I forgot. On PURPOSE. I get that last year’s rap/dance fusion feat. trampoline didn’t fare so well (which is a complete mystery to me, by the way) but is that justification to head off in the total opposite direction? I mean, there are like, zero trampolines involved in Maria Elena’s entry. One Last Breath – a final intake of air that is not the result of too much trampolining – is a power ballad in the vein of Anna Vissi’s Everything, which worked on home ground in 2006 because a) it was way more powerful, b) it was way more memorable, and c) it was 2006. Even though Maria Elena is as beautiful as her voice, her song is passé, which is even more evident when it’s placed beside more relevant ballads like Norway’s and Italy’s. This is Greece we’re talking about, so no doubt they’ll qualify to the final. But I cannot foresee One Last Breath making much of a splash once it gets there. Then again, I thought Rise Up was a top 10 cert, and look how wrong I was about that. Athens 2016, anyone? 4 points.
EBJ Jury Score: 3.00
Well, that was…unimpressive. The quality of the songs in this round, that is – not what we said about them (we were hilarious). Here’s proof of the mediocre scoring we couldn’t avoid doling out:
- Estonia (7.00)
- Denmark (4.67)
- Greece (3.00)
- Finland (2.67)
- San Marino (2.33)
So Elina and Stig win the day, albeit with one of the lowest winning average scores to date.
Estonia hasn’t scored highly enough with the EBJ Jury to squeeze into our collective top 10. How far up have they been ranked? And is poor San Marino sitting at #40? You’ll have to drop by for the final installment of the Viennese Verdicts to find out. If you want to know exactly when that post goes live and you’re not already subscribed to EBJ/stalking my social media, you can subscribe or follow me on Twitter/like my Facebook page (all links are over in the sidebar). I would appreciate it like Dima Bilan appreciates nobody bringing up Mulletgate ’06!
All will be revealed then…but not before James returns to judge, alongside Fraser from escTMi and moi (duh), Portugal, Australia, Latvia, Macedonia and Belarus. Whether you need a break from reading rehearsal gossip by then or not, please come and check it out. ‘Tis the season to be all over all things Eurovision, ‘tis it not?
On that note, I want to know how you’d rank today’s reviewed entries, so spill in the comments.
Until next time…
PS – I must quickly mention the results of the 2015 OGAE poll, which started and finished in a flash. As you’re probably aware, Italy took the prize (meaning I am doing a very stylish victory dance as I type this) which may signify that they’re going to follow suit on May 23rd, or that they’ll have to settle for bronze like last year’s OGAE winner Sweden. Of course, it could also signify nothing of the sort. But I have to celebrate the implications of my entire top 3 ending up in the poll’s top 5 – Italy first, Sweden second, and Norway fourth. My fingers are crossed that these results bode well for Eurovision success of some sort. Let me know below how your favourites scored with the OGAE clubs!
22 Responses to “VIENNESE VERDICTS | The EBJ Jury Reviews (Part 7)”
[…] it, I’m aware. It’s lovely though, I promise). You might remember me from the EBJ Jury in May, when Jaz gave me Finland…need I say any more? I’m aiming to be a kinder judge this time! The first Junior contest in […]
Apologies, peeps. That last entry was somewhat disjointed because I accidentally pressed post prematurely (as Albania said to the EBU).
To round out my points:
Denmark – a shaky 10
Greece – a smokey 6
Finland – a syncopated 3
SM – a Siegel-sunk 2.
AliNellaHoudistan would give votes in this batch to Estonia (10) and Denmark (4).
I’ll round out my PKN/AMP views further once I’ve gotten some (not premature) sleep, but in short they are undoubtedly skilled musos, and given their genre, the degree of upset their song has caused may be a measure of their success.
Good night all!
Children, are we all playing nicely over here??
OK, I’ll give my V.V. 7 from top to bottom this time.
I’m hooked on the hypnotic, moody aura of this, but curious as to how Elina is going to perform ‘lying here naked and staring at the phone’. I’m sure they’ll work something out. Lots of dry ice?
Monsieur Mawnck has rightly pointed out the issue with the latter part of the bridge, and I agree it is “not good enough”, especially given ESC is supposed to be about Building Bridges this year, and presumably not shonky, Maccabee-Games style ones.
John Cage once said “If your feelings are critical, reply with a work of your own.” So I’m curious as could to how Denmark could fix its bridge?
PKN/AMP to the heroes (villains) of the hour rant:
As regards PKN/AMP,
Merci Monsieur Mawnck, for once again giving us the benefit of your excellent technical insights.
You’ve previously helped me delve into the complex artistry of AMP in an exchange of comments in response to Robin Gallagher’s WiWibloggs post about AMP cover versions. In reply to my head-scratching about what I called the ‘very tricky time signature’ of the original AMP-‘chorus’ (arguably it is actually the verse) you said it was ‘just a reversion to the tonic (I) chord on the off-beat, earlier than one would ordinarily expect – a very in-your-face (dare I even say “punk”) flourish’.
I doubt that there’s any truth to the rumour that PKN are releasing a new version of AMP, with revised lyrics along the following lines:
“I always have to put up with being told the way I am is a gimmick.
I always have to point out we won UMK (ESC) fair and square.
I always have to explain that we are just reverting to the tonic (I) chord on the off-beat earlier than expected.”
Bizarrely, I found myself comparing the AMP chorus/verse (especially its chords, and the unsettling beat/rhythm) to the opening piece from Philip Glass’s ‘Einstein on the Beach’, which has one of the most elegant chord progressions I can think of (and yes, I appreciate they’re not exactly the same relative chord relationships as in AMP – well, as far as I can tell). So perhaps a Glass-esque cover of AMP is required.
Other AMP covers I’d like to see:
– an Electric Velvet version;
– a Boggie version;
– a Twin Twin version;
– a Patricia Kaas version; and
– an Udo Jürgens version.
“John Cage once said “If your feelings are critical, reply with a work of your own.” So I’m curious as could to how Denmark could fix its bridge?”
I’ve been trying to find a few spare minutes to drag out the keyboard (no small task at present) and do just that. The last chord of the bridge is easy – it should be a V7 (dominant) – but that other one’s going to take some work. Unfortunately my brain has now heard the wrong chords enough times that it’s resistant to providing me with better ones without instrumental assistance. Life is conspiring to make this harder, not easier, so it might be sometime in June by the time I get to it, but trust me, I’ll get to it. I’m way too musically OCD to let this, ahem, rest.
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Update – Just now saw a video of Anti Social Media performing their song at the Nordic Party, without the track. And they played the same chords. So right or wrong, it appears those were the chords they wanted. They were not the result of a production mistake. Weird.
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[…] ← VIENNESE VERDICTS | The EBJ Jury Reviews (Part 7) […]
Ah, PKN is certain to go down in Eurovision lore. First off, the Finnish NF was the most lacklustre of the four I gorged on that weekend. Last year I didn’t like Softengine. This year Satin Circus struck the same feeble chord with me. When AMK came on it was the most interesting song of the evening for me. It was full twenty-four hours later when I heard the back story of PKN and merely shrugged. I do enjoy the occasional punk rock song, while the runner in me latched onto the cadence (not a bad pace for tempo runs). I am grateful that the lyrics are in Finnish instead of English. In short, I’d rather listen to this for 1:41 than the likes of Serbia or Hungary. 4 points
The exploitation of youth and inexperience. You should be ashamed of what you’ve done to these promising teens Ralph Siegel. Anywho, after grinding my way through a few listens the only conclusion I’ve reached is that I underestimated the voice of Michele and overestimated Anita’s from their respective JESC entries. Must I go on? One point each for Michele and Anita.
It’s the cliche old fashioned song that seemingly pops up every few years. It’s a pleasant background song as long as it’s not played ad nauseum. To borrow the phrase from Jaz, there is no excitement about it for me either. 5 points
Goodbye to Yesterday frustrates me. I can’t decide how much I do or don’t like it, nothing against Stig or Elina. After all, they are probably the second best duo at Eurovision this year. Amazing, from 2014, grew on me tremendously with repeated listens. I think GTY will have the same fate, but I’m just not there yet. 6 points
What I’d love to do is take Maria Elena, Lisa, Polina, Monika, Edurne, Leonor (stretching here), throw them in the unofficial ring of Wailstroms, and let them belt it out at each other with the victor triumphantly scaling the heap of her vanquished foes, heels and all. John and Elnur are welcome too as it is all inclusive. For me it’ll come down to who delivers the best performance on stage to sort this storm out. I hear by commence with using this same review for the others mentioned. Everybody gets 2 points to start. Now impress me ladies and gentlemen.
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I can imagine ‘Aina Mun Pitää’ making a great running track, now that you mention it. Not that I’ll be using it for such purposes, as I haven’t run since 2003. I think I might be with you on choosing it over Serbia and/or Hungary though, which shocks me.
Michele is the stronger link in the Anita/Michele duo vocally, for sure. They both deserve better, though. If they were representing Italy, things would have been so different. For starters, Italy’s far too sensible to employ the services of Siegel.
So Denmark has gone for a cliché old-fashioned song this year, following on from their cliché love song last year? Wink wink. I think I’ve finally identified what bothers me about the Danish entries. They’re all so in the box, so safe. Good, but not great (apart from the aforementioned ‘Cliché Love Song’ which is the first Danish entry I’ve loved in a long time…though it was still reasonably safe). There’s hardly even anything outside of the box in DMGP as a whole. It’s not like Denmark is lacking in cool, cutting-edge music. I wish they’d pull a Norway and include stuff like Jenny Langlo’s and Karin Park’s (and Mørland & Debrah’s) songs in DMGP just once.
I do NOT want to be around to witness the Battle of the Wailstroms you’ve devised. I much prefer handling each one individually!
What a line-up (and comment explosion!) this time!!!
Firstly, I’m quite in sync with the EBJ jurists this time, apart from the fact that I would rank San Marino 4th and Finland 5th.
Here is what I would like to say about these 5 entries from part 7 of the Viennese verdicts:
1. Estonia – douze points: I desperately would love to see this song winning, but I have a feeling about it, it won’t. I guess it will end up 3rd or 4th on final night. I also see that there are some similarities to the ‘Common Linnets’ performance from last year, but the song reminds me more of that Sinatra/Hazlewood sound of the 60’s, which I like about this song. Elina & Stig are such a wonderful combination of artists that it MUST qualify. I cannot think of anything other possible! So Jaz, please vote for it, cause I can’t in semi 1! I will do some extra calls from Germany for Australia on final night instead. Deal?
2. Denmark – 4 points: when I first listened to this song I liked it. But in the meantime, after quite a few listens, it has changed to ‘meh’! It’s a song you get bored by if you listen to it more often. And as it is already on my local radio all day, I already had too much of it. I think they should qualify on Tuesday night, but I am not quite sure they will. Maybe in 9th or 10th place, I don’t see a better result for Denmark this year.
3. Greece – 3 points: well, this song is sooo ‘über-blown’, exaggerated and theatrical that it could be the final ballad in a dramatic musical. To me it’s just one of the lamest of the LLB’s this year, and unfortunately it has nothing of the ethnicity this year I normally like about the Greek entries. I hardly see this qualifying, although I still would like to have the Greek in the contest on Saturday. Maybe Maria Elena’s beautiful dress and the wind-machine can do any good to her performance, we will see?!
4. San Marino – 1 point: poor Anita and Michele, they really deserve a better song! But I think Ralph’s overestimation of his song writing abilities will tell us that there will only be ONE ‘chain of light’ in the contest, and that’s on Thursday night. This will NOT qualify! No no never!
5. Finland – 0 points: Thank you, James, for your excellent review to this. This pretty much says it all and it’s exactly how I think about the Finnish entry, too. The thing that annoys me most about this entry is that there is NO other story of this year’s contest in the German press and media than the Finnish band. And they never write or talk about their song, but just about the band and their handicaps, which gives the normal average ESC viewer/reader the impression that there is just one entry this year that is worth writing about. And it also leads to the impression that the song is absolutely of no importance here. I would call this ‘unfair’ compared to all the other contestants who do a good job, too. Musically, I am absolutely with Jaz here, as I don’t like punk rock (no matter from what band!), too, and the song is also not my cup of tea. But since the Eurovision is a show of tolerance and diversity I don’t mind seeing them on Saturday night, I just don’t wish this to happen because of MUCH better songs! It is my only nul-pointer this year, and that’s because of the ‘song’ (or should I say ‘noise’?) and not the band.
And James, I am also still not over ‘Satin Circus’ not representing Finland this year; I think the Finns missed the opportunity to send their best Eurovision song this year, if not of all-time.
Great pleasure again to read your all reviews and I almost agree to your results on the scoreboard!
Until next time and enjoy the Eurovision much …
Hmm…votes for Estonia in exchange for Aussie votes via Germany? You have yourself a deal! But I suspect Stig & Elina won’t need my votes to sail into Saturday night. Still, if everyone said that, they might be in trouble. I have to agree with you – I don’t think Tallinn 2016 is on the cards. But who knows. As a duet and as a song, the entry is different enough to the Netherlands last year to not suffer from ‘Well, we’ve seen/heard this before, so let’s give a boost to something different’ syndrome. It would make a pretty cool winner.
I agree on Denmark too. I don’t think they’re 100% guaranteed a final place (although I do plan to predict them to go through). If/when they arrive there, I don’t expect them to touch the top 10. They’ll likely give their country a nice, safe 12th-17th kind of result. I’m sure DR won’t mind – they won’t want to host again quite so soon!
I love how ‘LLB’ is catching on XD I am really warming to this Eurovision Dictionary idea. You have to co-write it with me. It’ll be a best-seller.
Greece sure does fall into that category. But by all accounts, Maria Elena’s rehearsals have been flawless (though they’ve paled in comparison to fellow blonde bombshell Polina’s). I still can’t foresee Greece missing a final, both on that basis and on the basis that it is Greece we’re talking about. Shall we bet on it? Loser has to listen to ‘One Last Breath’ on a loop for 24 straight hours!
Poor Anita and Michele indeed. I wonder if they see it coming? Maybe Ralph has hypnotised them into thinking he’s on the cutting-edge of modern music.
It’s a shame the media are focusing so much on PKN’s ‘gimmick’ (I hate to call it that, but their disabilities kind of function that way whether we like it or not, particularly in the press) rather than their song, but they’re always after the stories. And I think we’ve all been guilty of not being able to separate the story and the song of Finland at some point. They do come together to form a package, like with any entry – ‘Rise Like A Phoenix’ came with Conchita and her beard, ‘Peace Will Come’ came with Diana Gurtskaya’s blindness, etc. I think we all know, despite the name, that Eurovision isn’t just a SONG contest.
I’m glad you’re enjoying the reviews (even when you’re not in them!). Seven down, one to go…
I go for the bet on Greece, and I say DNQ, while hoping you will win this one, because I like to have the Greek in on Saturday night. I can’t imagine listening to ‘One last breeeaaath’ on a loop for 24 hours, and hope you will call the doctor if I collapse or faint, or drown in the sea of this “depressing ballad” :)!
Ooooneeee laaaast breeeaaath …
Don’t let Maria Elena beat you!! The LLBs must not win!!
TBH, I don’t mind losing this bet. But Greece being Greece…they’ll be there on Saturday. Although we used to say that about Turkey until 2011 happened.
Jaz, next year you need to have these reviews about a week or so earlier – I am coping with this AND reviewing each day’s rehearsals! I suppose that’s my problem to solve lol
Finland – I am old enough to remember the rise of punk and new wave music in 1976 and I loved it! PKN are a great band but this is not a great song. They have the attitude and the energy but the song itself would barely make it onto an album, let alone be a major hit. From what I have read, the guys don’t think this is one of their best – that says everything. It will break up the SF nicely and I would love it if they sung this twice to fill up the 3 minutes but I have a feeling this will not make it to the Final.
San Marino – they both sing excellently but this should be in the middle of a Disney love story (Pocahontas / Little Mermaid / Mulan / Beauty and The Beast, delete as appropriate). It is cheese of the highest order and I do not expect it to get to the Final but I do expect Michele and Anita to be at Eurovision again, maybe when Ralph has retired!
Denmark – I like this as it is different to everything else this year and has a feel-good 1960s feel to it. It does sound like “That Thing You Do” from the film of the same name and I could imagine Anti-Social Media playing the Danish version! It’s not a world beater but it will get out of the SF…
Estonia – superb NF performance, totally set up for Eurovision. One of the best Official videos, totally told the story. A favourite to win for ages but it’s just going off the boil for me now that there are better songs around now. It will still qualify, it will still be a definite top 10 and probable top 5, it just doesn’t say ‘winner’ anymore. Elina is still one of this year’s hotties though…
Greece – by far and away the best song in their NF, in fact it was the only entry that nailed the vocals and performance. It is one of the more memorable female solo ballads and I saw the NF and the first rehearsal – Maria-Elena nails it every time and this is DEFINITELY qualifying! You can’t have too many attractive blondes in a Eurovision Final!
Pre -Vienna, Estonia would have got my 4 points overall. Looking forward to the last five – one of those mentioned will get a BIG thumbs up from me, can you guess which one? 🙂
I’m so sorry Martin! I actually do want to start them earlier in 2016, but keep in mind that you may be on the EBJ Jury (if you’re up for it) so you’ll still have your work cut out for you! I’m giving you a year’s notice to help you figure out how to balance that…
I agree with you for the most part on Finland, though you put things more diplomatically than I was able to. I definitely second your motion that PKN have the right stuff (as far as I know) to be a highly-regarded punk act. Punk is just a genre I don’t find enjoyment in, so even if they’d swapped Aina Mun Pitää for a different track that’s more representative of their best work, I probably wouldn’t have liked it. Length-wise, this entry is really going to go by in the blink of an eye, isn’t it! I would think that’s going to be a hindrance rather than a help with regards to qualification, although it makes the song stand out even more. Plus, when it comes to the recap, all the songs have mere seconds to make an impression – it just happens that the Finnish snippet will be like, a third of the song!
Anita and Michele should shake off Siegel and make a more successful Eurovision comeback ASAP. I’d actually prefer it if Chain of Lights more closely resembled a Disney song…I reckon you’re doing Disney songs a bit of a disservice by comparing them to this mess! Having said that, I’d rather listen to this entry on a loop for a month straight than hear Let It Go one more time.
I’m taking note of your prediction for Estonia, as you’re not the first person to say GTY has faded a little in terms of possessing that winning vibrancy. I can’t imagine the credits rolling over it, which is usually a semi-reliable test of a song’s chances of victory. But if we do wend up heading to Tallinn nest year, I take back saying any of this.
You’re right – there’s no doubt Greece is through to the evening they never, ever miss. Every time it seems like they’ve lost the plot, they come through in the end. But I will continue to hope that Maria Elena, beautiful and talented as she is, doesn’t beat the (dismal) result of Freaky Fortune. It’s been twelve months and that still mystifies me (even when I remove the rose-coloured glasses I automatically slip on when talking about Rise Up).
I have an inkling which of the final five will get your seal of approval. It’s more than an inkling, actually. If I could, I’d put a bet on!
Rant ahead. Apologies in advance, but I’m pretty teed off so it might not be very … temperate.
I get that a lot of fans don’t like PKN, and I understand it. If you’re the sort who would enjoy “Heroes” or “Grande Amore”, then there would be something terribly wrong if PKN **didn’t** piss you off, because that’s what punk in its purest form is designed to do.
But I think two of the reviews above REALLY crossed the line, especially James. The disrespect and **hatred** being heaped on those guys is disgusting, and shows not just prejudice against the mentally disabled and against punk rock, but a fundamental ignorance of music composition and performance itself. James’s and Jaz’s reviews contain statements that are **objectively** false.
There’s exactly one song in the entire contest this year that is written, arranged, and performed entirely by the act itself. It’s PKN’s. No session musicians, no ringer backup singers, no autotune, no using a computer to figure out exactly how many measures they need to get a running time of 3:00.000, and no damn G:Son. A lot of the performers in the contest – especially the LLBs, God bless ’em – couldn’t construct a coherent song if they wanted to. They’re just cogs in the machine.
So we get things like this: “the four band members are all playing different songs and just happen to be doing so in close proximity to the others.” The chord progression of “Aina Mun Pitää” is complex. Most of the cover versions online get it wrong, and it’s obviously, in some cases, because it was too complicated for them to figure out. PKN are all definitely playing the same song, and doing an impressive job of it – with not a sequencer in sight.
“But there’s no hook here” Yes there is. Every line of the verses begins with the words “Aina mun pitää” (eighth-eighth-quarter-eighth-quarter) followed by three or four syllables in syncopation. Then as a contrast, all the lyrics of the bridge are on the beat – straight 4:4. It’s the rhythm of those lyrics that’s your hook. It’s a genuine hook that comes from the topic of the song. If it helps any, think of it as a very fast rap song with a really growly rapper. At any rate, they had no need to resort to a forced hook like “why yi yi yi why yi yi yi” or some other such nonsense. It’s a very well-constructed song by any standards, better than a lot of the other entries this year.
“no real tune,” The guitars are playing it. You’re not paying attention.
But what reeeeally infuriates me about all this is the talk about whether or not PKN “deserves” the result they get, as though their song, being punk rock, is automatically inferior to manufactured Euro-pop.
By definition, if they get more points, then they DO deserve their result. That’s how contests work. Your tastes in music, or even the voters’ reasons for voting the way they do, don’t dictate who deserves what. The scoreboard does.
But more importantly, you have no business theorizing that it was “sympathy votes” without any evidence other than your own personal musical prejudices. UMK is a perfect example: Your theory as to how they won that contest is that the voters in Finland went for a sympathy candidate rather than, you know, the one that they’d like to see represent them in the Contest? Does that theory even make sense? You think Finland rose up as one to send a song to Eurovision that they didn’t like? (UK, you’re projecting here.)
Personally, I thought Satin Circus was terrible live, and Opera Skaala was too much of a pander to Eurovision camp-lovers to have a chance with the mainstream voters (except, perhaps, UK’s). To me, PKN was the obvious choice, for no other reason than it was the only good option Finland had.
I don’t know if PKN is going to qualify or not – I hope they do – but if they do I’ll probably have to stay off the internet for a few days to avoid an aneurism. I shudder to imagine the Eurovision fans – the same one who were cheering last year’s result as a victory for inclusiveness – howling with rage that some overproduced styro-ballad was “denied” its “right” to come in 25th place in the final because of some imaginary “sympathy” vote for those icky punk rockers.
If you want to hear genuine musical ineptitude, fire up Denmark’s song and go to 1:40. In a spectacular example of too-many-cooks syndrome, the second half of their bridge has the accompaniment from one version of the song, with a melody line from a completely different version. For 15 stunning seconds, the melody and chords don’t match AT ALL. AFAIK this happens in every version of the song that has appeared in public. During those 15 seconds, they literally ARE performing two different songs. And no one involved – not the group, not the production team, and apparently not our “playing different songs” expert James either – has noticed.
I bet PKN would have noticed. They’re actual musicians.
Thanks, Nick, for giving PKN a fair assessment. I’m not asking anyone to like the song, just to have some respect for it, and the guys that created it.
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Well, firstly, thanks for your honesty. Everyone is entitled to have their say (to a point) and, though I’m not going to speak for both James and myself here, I believe we both articulated our own opinions honestly, and I in no way think I crossed a line. I stand by everything that I said, if you’ll allow me to get all serious on you, in spite of the fact that this blog isn’t supposed to be gospel. EBJ is not meant to be a balanced, objective take on Eurovision á la eurovision.tv – I (or in this case, we) say things as we see/hear them.
I didn’t intend to offend anyone with my remarks about Finland, or any other country sending a song that I dislike and haven’t reviewed favourably (Serbia, for instance). I am the sort of person who enjoys Heroes and Grande Amore, and Aina Mun Pitää does not meet my musical tastes. But I wouldn’t say it pisses me off. Its presence in Eurovision 2015 doesn’t outrage me; I don’t feel like it doesn’t belong (the idea that something in particular isn’t suited to being a “Eurovision song” irritates me immensely); and I don’t feel like it automatically doesn’t deserve any success it might have on the scoreboard because it’s a genre that I do not enjoy listening to. Would I have preferred Satin Circus, or any other number of UMK acts to represent Finland instead? Yes. Am I going to pretend that I wouldn’t? No. But I accept that PKN are Finland’s choice, and I’m sure Finland is proud to be represented by an act that is contributing to a more musically diverse Eurovision. They absolutely should be.
You say ‘the disrespect and **hatred** being heaped on those guys is disgusting, and shows not just prejudice against the mentally disabled and against punk rock, but a fundamental ignorance of music composition and performance itself.’ I have been against this kind of attitude from the moment PKN won UMK, and I have endeavored to judge this entry based on the song alone, and I reserve the right to do so. I don’t care who’s written and performed a song – if I dislike it, I will say so, and I’m sorry if that came across harshly in this instance. I appreciate the time and effort and skill that PKN poured into creating AMP, but when the band itself publicly declares that it isn’t up there with their best work, I feel I’m at liberty to publicly declare why I agree. You don’t have to like it (which clearly, you do not) but that won’t stop me from doing it. I do not believe myself to be prejudiced towards the mentally disabled, which is exactly why I’m not going to patronize PKN by giving them a virtual pat on the back and saying ‘You did a good job in light of your handicaps’ or something like that. Perhaps my remark wishing them well in Vienna, or commending their failure to let their disabilities stand in the way of making music, came across that way, but that was not the intention. Even when you are judging AMP, it’s hard to ignore the story behind it – because it does have one. PKN’s mental disabilities are, to a degree, a Eurovision gimmick in the vein of Conchita’s beard, whether we like it or not. It may not be as obvious to the casual viewer, but it is there nonetheless, and I know PKN can’t just shave off their disabilities whenever they feel like it…but my point is, it’s difficult not to make mention of them when discussing Finland’s song and act this year – and yes, to wonder if “sympathy” or act-rather-than-song votes, had something to do with their victory, and if the same could occur in Eurovision. It’s simply a musing, not an assumption. I would never assume that Finland chose PKN because they felt sorry for them. I just hope that the majority of votes they go on to receive next week will be from punk fans, from anyone who does find enjoyment in the song that I do not. Not from people who know their story and do fall into that reality-TV trap of voting on personal stuff. Having said that, I would be naïve to say that Conchita won Eurovision based purely on her song and staging, and not the concept of her (with beard). But if PKN succeed based on little to do with their song (not that we would ever know for sure) that would piss me off.
In terms of being ignorant of musical composition and performance, well…no, I am not a musical expert, nor do I claim to be. I used to know how to read music, but that’s about as far as things go. I know what I like and what I don’t like, and in MY opinion, there is not a hook or a tune to be found in AMP. My definition of a ‘hook’ is a riff or lyric or bit of melody that can be latched on to and remembered in a positive way, and I do not hear anything of that sort when I listen to the song. I also fail to hear a pleasant tune in place of monotony when I listen to it. If you believe that’s because I’m not paying attention to the song, then fair enough. Perhaps I’m not paying as close attention to it as I would a different genre that I enjoy. But you have to respect my right to not find a hook or tune in AMP in the same way I have to respect your right to feel the opposite. I don’t know a whole lot about punk (aside from the fact that I dislike it) and if it wasn’t for PKN’s remarks about their song being less than their best, I might consider it a stellar example of the genre – but I’d still dislike it.
I know I said I wouldn’t speak for James, but his comment ‘the four band members are all playing different songs and just happen to be doing so in close proximity to the others’ got you offside. I read that as a light-hearted comment based on the impression James gets when he listens to AMP. It’s supposed to be funny, not offensive, and not the be-all, end-all, definitive opinion on what the song is. James never claimed to be a musical expert either. He did say ‘it’s honestly as though’ that’s what the song sounds like, which is his opinion.
I do appreciate you letting us know that the song is more complex than those of us with untrained-to-punk ears might understand – not that I assumed it was made up of a simplistic chord progression because PKN couldn’t possibly have put together anything more.
Like I said, I in no way think that PKN don’t deserve a high result. It’s just that, in MY opinion, I would have trouble understanding it if they did. It worries me that AMP might fare better than my favourite songs, because I’m selfish and always want my favourites to do better than all of the others – which they rarely do. If PKN won Eurovision, I wouldn’t take to the streets with a bazooka and demand the EBU strip them of their victory because they’re purveyors of punk, not manufactured, G:son-helmed Europop (which I am unashamed to say I far prefer as a genre). I mentioned in my review that ‘if people vote based on song, and jury members do the same, this shouldn’t qualify. If they opt for sympathy votes instead, Aina Mun Pitää may be through, and from there, anything could happen.’ That was my opinion. It may have come across as an unfair assumption, but it’s what I think has the potential to happen, because I know that many Eurovision fans who will be tuning in to the semi final are like me – unaccustomed to the punk sound, and attracted to other songs in Finland’s semi to a far greater extent. Sure, maybe we should school ourselves on the punk genre; hear what else it has to offer and try to understand its merits. But let’s face it, we probably won’t. If you don’t like broccoli, you’re not going to sit at the dinner table time and time again, trying to force it down thinking to yourself ‘maybe this time I’ll like it because it was cooked a different way.’ As far as I can see it, AMP could qualify based on people wanting to support PKN but not necessarily loving their song. Tell me that there’s no way that could possibly happen, and I’ll think about retracting my statement.
I disagree that PKN were the only good choice Finland had. But I accept that AMP has its place in this year’s contest just as Crossroads would have had its place, had Satin Circus won UMK. If punk making its first appearance in the contest means just one person outside of the ESC bubble reconsiders their archaic view of Eurovision as a fluffy, novelty pop fest, then I’m all for it. But I’m happier to sing along to fluffy pop at the end of the day. I don’t want all 40 songs to be cookie-cutter pop songs written by Swedes – I will just get my kicks out of the likes of Sweden and Italy in Vienna, rather than Finland. I love that Eurovision always has something for everyone, and I would never want that to change.
If PKN do qualify, than nobody can say that they didn’t deserve it. Of course they would. Whoever makes the final makes the final according to the rules of the competition, and so be it. And the final would have more variety for their presence in it.
In conclusion to this word vomit that I’m spewing right now, I just want to say that I do have respect for Aina Mun Pitää, and for PKN, and I am sorry if that did not come across in my review. They have as much right to take to the Eurovision stage as anybody else, and I’m sure, to a more punk-oriented ear such as yours, there is musicianship and merit in the song that I have trouble hearing. But I stand by all my comments, as you will yours.
Let’s not take Eurovision judgments too seriously. In the end, I’ll have my say, but I’ll let the people who appreciate Finland’s 2015 entry on a level that I do not vote for it so long as they let me vote for Heroes in peace.
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“But I wouldn’t say it pisses me off.”
James did. “The Finnish entry makes me angry” – direct quote.
“Why, may I ask, does that excuse the fact that their song is a pile of steaming horse shite? Just listen to the bloody thing (if your ears can bear it). I’ve smashed plates that made a more pleasing noise than that.”
If that’s not hate, I’m not sure what is. (Your comments are not as bad as James’s.) Speaking as someone who has done some enthusiastic and heartfelt bashing of some Eurovision acts in my time (in particular Electro Velvet), I just think there’s a big difference between expressing one’s dislike of a song and flat out declaring the perps to be incompetent as musicians. The latter requires VERY strong evidence, regardless of who the musicians are. (Example: the wrong chords in Denmark’s bridge – which I suspect were a technical screwup that they had to go with for whatever reason, not an indication that the group can’t decipher chords.)
“If PKN do qualify, than nobody can say that they didn’t deserve it. … It’s simply a musing, not an assumption. I would never assume that Finland chose PKN because they felt sorry for them.”
Not according to James, who said …
“The Finnish entry makes me angry because they beat some amazing songs on a SYMPATHY vote, and will probably do ridiculously well in Vienna on the same basis…. Eurovision is a SONG contest, and this mess is just not good enough.”
“Just not good enough.” In other words, didn’t deserve it. In light of his other false comments about the band’s musical competence (“They can’t keep in time with each other!”), this goes way beyond criticism of the song. You don’t see James or anyone else claiming Ralph Siegel doesn’t understand how songs are written, regardless of how much they despise San Marino’s entry.
Needless to say, it wasn’t just this article that has me so upset about the whole thing … if only! It seems like it’s half the internet. And I plead guilty to lumping your remarks in with James’s, although reading over the preceding rant, I still stand by the specific points. You do not have to be a musical expert to hear that they *are* playing the same song, they *are* in time with each other, and there *is* a hook – the one I identified, which matches your definition perfectly: “Aina mun pitää dah-dah-dah”.
I’m perfectly satisfied if the song doesn’t qualify. Some songs are wonderful while still being totally wrong for the Eurovision voting audience (remember “Mižerja”?), and I’m not even accusing AMP of being wonderful. As a punk song, it’s decent, not stellar. Though they certainly have the ‘tude, and the length, right.
What I’m saying is, hate the song and the genre all you want, but stop falsely accusing PKN of being inept musicians. Whether it’s caused by prejudice against the mentally disabled, or against punk rock itself, it’s still prejudice. No other widely unpopular Eurovision act I’m aware of has had to put up with these unique – and uniquely false – attacks on their musicianship. Not Rambo Amadeus, not The Shin & Mariko, not anyone.
As I said, I’m not going to speak for James! He can justify his opinions if he sees fit. I can certainly understand where you are coming from here, and I’m sorry that I’ve in some way contributed to the negativity surrounding PKN that is all over the web.
I definitely don’t see PKN as inept musicans. If I came across that way (not sure which of us you are referring to here) it was not intentional. I mean, I can’t even play ‘Chopsticks’ on the piano, so I’m in no position to judge. As someone who isn’t a punk fan, I’m assuming they are good at what they do, despite the fact that I don’t enjoy listening to what they do. There is merit in every genre of music, even if it’s harder for one to see when one isn’t a fan of the type in question.
Re: Siegel, I’m not sure he understands how ‘good’ songs are written anymore…’Chain of Lights’ wouldn’t meet my standards of a good pop song even in the context of 1982. Again, I’m in no position to state this as if it’s a fact.
The hook you refer to is certainly a hook technically speaking – and it would fit my defintion for a lot of other listeners, I’m sure – but it doesn’t hook me in. I don’t really latch on to it, and it doesn’t stick in my brain. That’s all I mean by ‘no hook’ – no hook for ME.
I absolutely agree with you that we should do away with prejudice (Iceland ’14 had the right idea, yeah?). Perhaps I am prejudiced towards punk. I have an idea in my mind of what punk music is, and I don’t feel the will to investigate further based on that. I guess that’s narrow-minded. I don’t feel like you should be forced to expand your horizons in this context, but I guess you should just refrain from judging things too harshly that you’re not adequately schooled on.
I hope EBJ doesn’t have a strike against it now for you. I am to entertain, not offend. It works 99% of the time!
No strikes. And I don’t think it’s narrow-minded to avoid certain kinds of music, once you’ve already established you don’t care for it.
Agreed about Siegel … My point there was just that he is obviously *technically* capable of writing songs. Whether they are good or not is another issue that is subject to opinion. It’s the difference between “He writes poorly” vs. “He has no fundamental understanding of music”. Same with “PKN’s song is godawful noise” vs. “PKN cant keep in time with each other”. The first is a valid opinion. The second is just a lie.
I’m sure Siegel himself is of the opinion that he’s still writing good songs! He has, of course, in the past. Then again, that’s also a matter of opinion. One person’s ‘A Little Peace’ could be another’s ‘Chain of Lights’. Though until someone actually comes up to me and says that to my face…
I agree with that last point, and I understand it. But I think it’s sometimes too easy for the line between opinion and assumption/whatever you want to call it to become blurry when you feel particularly passionately about something – love or hate-wise. Not an excuse…just a theory.
For whatever it’s worth … After extensive analysis, obsessive viewing of rehearsal videos, and seeing that Netherlands has found a more sensible outfit, I no longer think PKN is likely to qualify, for one simple reason: The countries that would be most likely to throw them a whole bunch of points (specifically Germany & UK) are voting in SF2.
Trijntje’s change of dress is a relief to us all, I think! Assuming the more demure, less tacky version 2.0 is the one she’s going to opt for during the broadcast.
I’m on the fence with regards to Finland’s qualification. I still feel like it could go either way – but if they do, I see them being in the 8th-10th range. Based on their reaction to winning UMK, I would love to see them qualify to see how they’d react to that!