MY STOCKHOLM SUGGESTION BOX | Years & Years for the UK

Are any of you currently wearing a watch? Do you know what time it is? No? Well then, it’s my duty to inform you that it’s time to pull another slip of paper out of my Stockholm Suggestion Box! And, of course, time for me to overload you with info on the artist/s scrawled on said slip. I hope you’re mentally, physically and emotionally prepared for this.

So far this season, I’ve suggested that Darin (my favourite popstar on the planet) should put his name down for Melodifestivalen 2016, and in the past I’ve singled out Robin Packalen and The Saturdays as artists I’d choose to represent Finland and the United Kingdom respectively. For my second suggestion in the lead-up to Eurovision #61, I’m aiming for the UK yet again (sorry). I couldn’t help myself – not once it occurred to me just how perfect my favourite act of the moment are for the contest, in more ways that Sanna Nielsen has Melfest entries.

Now, I’m aware that, according to recent news, the BBC will be using an X Factor-style talent search to select their entrant for Stockholm rather than an internal selection (as per the past five years). This may sound like a good plan to someone who’s forgotten (or had treatment to erase from their memory) the disastrous cringefest of an outcome that prompted that switch to internal selections in the first place. Someone at the BBC – more than one someone, incredibly – thought that ‘That Sounds Good To Me’ lived up to its title back in 2010. Surely they can’t be trusted to mastermind something resembling a national final so soon? Then again, it was an NF that teamed Jade Ewen up with Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, with the pair eventually finishing fifth in Moscow in 2009.

Basically, the UK’s next ESC experience could be one heck of a ‘Come Back’…or they could end up ‘Rock Bottom’.

With this NF news in mind, I know that any act I name as my ideal UK rep is now even less likely to end up being that rep. But that won’t stop me naming! So please, indulge my fantasy as I request the services of some musos I’ve been obsessed with for the majority of 2015.

Can I please have…

 

ynyuk

 

WHO? WHERE? WHAT?

To cut a long story short, Years & Years = Olly Alexander, Mikey Goldsworthy and Emre Türkmen: a.k.a. two Britons and an Australian (that’d be Mikey) who make insanely cool music together, and have done since 2013.

To NOT cut a long story short…here’s the long story.

Once upon a time, in a mystical land known as London, a brilliant-band-to-be was born.

Years & Years first formed as a five-piece in 2010. Mikey, having recently migrated to the UK, met Emre online, and it wasn’t long before they both cottoned on to Olly’s vocal talents (thanks to his habit of singing in the shower, which you can hardly blame him for. The acoustics in there are second to none). That set Mikey’s mind-wheels into motion, and he and Emre were quick to get Olly in on their music-making scheme. Joined by two other likeminded musos, and with Olly as frontman, bassist Mikey and synth player Emre released their first single ‘I Wish I Knew’ in July 2012. It didn’t exactly set the charts on fire, but good things come to those who wait – and/or those who spend a little more time honing their craft.

Five became three in 2013 (it was like Ginger leaving the Spice Girls all over again…I imagine), prior to the band signing with French label Kitsuné Records and releasing second single ‘Traps’, plus an accompanying EP. ‘Real’, the next single, was released in 2014, and became Years & Years’ first to chart in their homeland (albeit at #158. Everybody’s got to start somewhere).

A switch of label to Polydor the same year signaled the start of better luck and bigger success for the boys. Their third EP – Take Shelter, featuring the phenom single of the same name – topped the iTunes Electronic Chart in the UK. In December 2014, fifth single ‘Desire’ dropped, climbing to #22 on the UK Singles Chart, which was a giant leap for mankind improvement on the performance of all their previous material. The band made guest appearances on the singles of several other acts last year too, featuring on ‘Illuminate’ by Tourist (known as a Grammy-winning co-writer of Sam Smith’s ‘Stay With Me’), and on ‘Sunlight’ by Belgian DJ and producer The Magician.

January 2015 arrived, and Years & Years found themselves winners of the prestigious BBC Sound Of… award, given to the most promising new music talent of the year, and previously handed to the likes of Adele, Ellie Goulding, Jessie J and Sam Smith. They were also nominated for the Critics Choice Award at the Brits, held earlier this year.

As if that wasn’t enough, then IT HAPPENED. ‘It’ being Years & Years’ sixth single, ‘King’, released in March. The song not only went straight to the top of the UK charts, but became a worldwide hit too. reaching #1 in Bulgaria, Slovakia and Croatia and the top ten in Australia, Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland.

Years-And-Years-King-Late-Night-With-Seth-Meyers-Desire-2015-performance

Y & Y giving the US a taste of ‘King’ on Late Night With Seth Meyers, April 2015.

The success of ‘King’ was followed by the band’s first album, Communion, released in July. Penned entirely by Olly, Mikey and Emre (with help from a few established songwriters), it entered the UK and Irish album charts in the top spot, also flying high in Australia, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland (BROAD APPEAL ALERT!), before topping the US Dance/Electronic Album Charts (AMERICAN BREAKTHROUGH ALERT!).

As of October 2015, the boys are waiting to find out if they’ll be named Best UK & Ireland Act at the MTV EMA Awards taking place later this month. Previous winners of such regional EMA awards include Helena Paparizou, Lena, Loreen, Manga, Marco Mengoni, Sakis Rouvas, Voltaj and Who See (there’s a common thread there, but I just can’t figure out what it is). Whether Y & Y take that prize home or not (it’s unlikely, given that One Direction is also nominated and have won it the past three years running), and whether they ever make an appearance at Eurovision or not (also unlikely, but remember – this is a post full of wishful thinking), I’m hooked on their musical stylings. Communion is the best album I’ve heard all year – possibly ever, in fact (and no, I’m not being paid to say that). I can’t wait to hear what else they can do.

 

SOUNDS LIKE…

Speaking of hearing stuff…if you’re not familiar with the Y & Y archives, what can you expect to hear when you do get jiggy with it?

For the most part, synth-based electropop, with an 80s tinge that somehow doesn’t sound 80s at all (so it’s not quite an example of the ‘Eighties Coming Back’ that Ruffus had in mind). What I mean is, while the synths smack of a different decade, the electropop that’s often combined with R & B and/or house elements is ultra contemporary. It’s so cutting edge, actually, that you might want to wear protective clothing while you’re listening.

Communion is 110% hip (I’m down with the kids, y’all), boasting the kind of lush, layered production heard in Margaret Berger’s ‘I Feed You My Love’. And that production is present on both club-ready tracks like ‘King’, and non-soppy ballads such as ‘Eyes Shut’. All in all, it’s the kind of album that’s all killer and no filler.

It’s hard to come up with a Eurovision sound-alike for Y & Y, as we’ve never really heard anything similar on the contest stage before. However, if you were a fan of Estonia or Greece in 2014, and Belgium, Latvia or Slovenia in 2015, you might find something to fangirl/fanboy about here.

 

DISCOGRAPHY

  • Traps EP (2013) feat. ‘Traps’ and ‘You & I’
  • Real EP (2014) feat. ‘Real’
  • Take Shelter EP (2014) feat. ‘Take Shelter’ and ‘Breathe’
  • Y & Y EP (2015) feat. ‘Desire’ and ‘Memo’
  • Communion (2015) feat. ‘King’, ‘Take Shelter’, ‘Desire’, ‘Shine’ and ‘Eyes Shut’

ynyd

 

THE HIT LIST

‘King’ It may not be the song that started it all, but it is the song that made Y & Y famous. I’ll give you a Euro if you don’t get that chorus stuck in your head (and I don’t even have a Euro. That’s how confident I am. Confident and purely in possession of Australian money).

 

‘Shine’ More laid-back than ‘King’ but just as infectious. You could totally slow dance in a club to this track, at that point in the a.m. when energy levels have waned and the crowd is mostly made up of drunk people leaning on each other so they don’t fall to the floor.

 

‘Eyes Shut’ Why subject yourself to a lame lady ballad or man moaner when you have ballads like this at your disposal? There’s no eye-rolling required here, folks.

 

‘Worship’ Dance-worthy, but without the doof-doof beat that gives you a migraine, this is one of my definite highlights from an album with no lowlights.

 

‘Sunlight’ Chances are you’ve heard this before (especially if you’re Down Under and a regular blaster of mainstream radio, á la moi) but you may not have known who was behind it. Now you do. If you did already, then that’s fine too. Whatever.

 

 

WHY EUROVISION?

I don’t have the necessary math skills to tally up the reasons Years & Years should get their butts on a plane to Stockholm (or wherever we end up for Eurovision 2017, given that pesky UK selection announcement). So here are my top three:

  • Their sound Swooping in on the success of “atypical” entries like ‘Rhythm Inside’ and ‘Love Injected’ could be hugely beneficial for the struggling UK, and Y & Y’s trademark electropop fits that slightly misshapen mould. Plus, anything that isn’t a preachy peace-and-love ballad would be welcome, yes?
  • Their stage experience Having performed at music festivals like Glastonbury, on countless tour dates and on TV, these guys can deal with both crowds and cameras. Frontman Olly is the star of the show during live performances, and he’s got no shortage of energy to get audiences going – but he can also eyeball a lens like Loïc Nottet. At Eurovision, their performance would make use of background and lighting rather than props (think Softengine and Sanna Nielsen), making it simple but effective. After witnessing the UK throw everything, including the BBC’s office Christmas light collection, at Electro Velvet’s performance, some minimalism would be a relief.
  • Their credibility Although the UK didn’t make it to the left-hand side of the scoreboard in Copenhagen, I think they did themselves a big favour sending Molly and ‘Children of the Universe’ to the contest. Cool, contemporary and totally respectable, the entry was a step in the right direction. Anything Y & Y could contribute, IMO, would pick up where Molly left off – i.e. even if they crashed and burned, they’d be representatives the UK could be proud of.
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Did I mention that Olly looks great in glitter? Here he is rocking mahusive chunks of it at Glastonbury Festival.

Well, I’ve convinced myself…but then again, I wasn’t in need of convincing. The important question is, how do you rate Years & Years as prospective (by which I mean ‘as if, but humour me, won’t you?’) flag-flyers for the United Kingdom, now that I’ve plied you with information about them?

 

BUT WAIT…THERE’S MORE!

If you need a daily Y & Y fix like I apparently do now (how did I survive twenty-three years without them?) there’s no shortage of places you can visit to get it – and to pester them re: Eurovij. Peer pressure may be frowned upon, but it is effective!

Official SiteYouTube | FacebookTwitter |Instagram

 

With that, I’ve said all I wanted to say for today (I think) so until next time, I’ll leave you to ponder this: if you had the power to pick the next UK representative, who would you choose – and why?

 

2015sig

 

 

About Jaz

I'm Jaz, I'm 25, 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 October 3, 2015, in Eurovision 2016 and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. The problem: Every one of those clips you’ve posted has autotune out the wazoo. I have serious doubts that these kids can sing live.

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    • And the UK would NEVER send an act that couldn’t cut it live… ;P

      I see where you’re coming from (and this was just a fantastical speculation) but I will endeavour to find a clip that proves you wrong when I get a chance. If I can’t, there’s always the Ryan Dolan School of Refining Your Crappy Vocals For Eurovision Purposes.

      Like

    • Not YOUR crappy vocals. The crappy vocals of potential ESC reps.

      Like

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Jaz, for another great SSB post, and I’m glad you chose the UK again. I think the BBC could use any advice possible! 😉

    When you’re deep down in the cellar, the only way is up. So next year things can only get better compared to this year’s entry. I actually thought that their entry this year was the worst song of them all in the grand final, the lyrics were cheesy and childish, and the performance (OMG!!!) reminded me on the “Jungle Book” presentation, like Baloo and Mowgli doing the “bare necessities”, which was embarrassingly funny to watch, but not worth any point, IMO! And if you look at where those 5 points they got came from (1 point each from Malta & Ireland, and 3 points from the San Marino jury?!), then it’s absolutely clear that they didn’t get any point for Eurovision excellence on stage, but a few points for being “The UK” (from nice neighbors or former colonies)!

    I really got the impression that Lisa, The Makemakes and Ann-Sophie were all much better in the final with both their songs and their performances on stage. So my last place would have gone deservingly to the UK this year. That was absolutely nothing at all!

    But that does not mean I don’t like UK entries at the Eurovision! Over all contests they are my third favourite nation of them all, and they have sent quite a lot of awesome songs to the Eurovision, but in the last ten years they only convinced me once (with Blue in 2011), which is sad because the UK has the most amazing artists in the world. But what they send to the Eurovision mostly is ‘third class quality’ and forgettable. ;-(

    Your choice for the UK in Stockholm 2016, with Years & Years, is a very good one. I’d also like to see those artists on Eurovision stage who are responsible for my personal summer earworm of the year, which is “King”! Wherever I went this summer, I at least had this song three times a day, and it’s still stuck in my head. 😉
    Now it seems to be replaced by “Shine” which is also on the radio every hour.
    And I agree with you that “Communion” is a great album, while “Eyes shut” is my favourite song from it. So, yes, the guys would be a pretty good choice for taking the UK back to the left side of the scoreboard.

    Well, to choose an artist for the UK and the Eurovision is both, easy and difficult at the same time: easy, cause the UK has a large amount of great artists to choose from, and difficult because it is almost impossible to just name ONE artist / group from so many amazing artists.

    So, here is my ‘little’ UK wish list for Stockholm 2016, starting off again with reaching for the stars:

    1) KATE BUSH – well, Kate would be the most amazing choice the UK could ever have for Eurovision! Ever since 1978 I have always been intrigued by most of her incredible songs, she has a “one-in-a-million” voice which is like a trademark of quality, and her contemporary dance style is purely beautiful, IMO! That’s why she is my NO. 1 FEMALE ARTIST OF ALL TIME, and there is no other artist on this planet I would want more to perform at the Eurovision than Kate. I bet you already guessed which of her albums is my favourite album of all time: yes, you’re right, it is: “THE HOUNDS OF LOVE”!

    So, be prepared now: “It’s in the trees! It’s coming!”:

    I adore Kate for everything she is and represents as an artist, and I loved what she did in “Breathing”, “Experiment IV” or “Army dreamers”. And this is one of my favourite songs ever from her that gets a “Wow” from me:

    And if you need to be convinced some more, nobody EVER danced through the burning woods in a more beautiful way; this is so delightful, sweet and sexy at the same time, that I only can love Kate’s “sensual world” (Hmmmmm, yeeeesssss):

    Okay, I know I know, this won’t happen next May, but I would love to have this extraordinary woman on stage at the Eurovision. I am sure she would stage a fairytale of a special kind that would leave all mouths wide open ;-)! And I don’t think we need a proof that this British lady can sing live, she already showed it numerous times, but if you need to see more, then there’s an excellent BBC documentary from 2014 of her back catalogue:

    I guess I said enough, not?! Listening to Kate’s songs always are great “Moments of pleasure” to me. My one and only true love in music!

    Ahem, so now I am heading towards more realistic choices for next year’s Eurovision entry for the UK!

    2) WILL YOUNG – from my no. 1 female artist of all time on to my no. 1 male artist at the moment! We all know that Will almost won the first season of British “Pop Idol” in 2002, only beaten by Gareth Gates (Who does still know Gareth Gates???), and still remember some of his awesome live performances there. He has an amazing voice, and with his 4th album “Let it go” I became a fan of him. His 5th album “Echoes” was my favourite one from 2011 with only good songs on it. And he has got a new album out this year, which is also amazing. My favourite track from it is always “taking me home” (from work) at the moment:

    You need some more proof that this man can sing live? No problem, then listen to what he did with one of my favorite 80’s tracks from the Womack’s:

    So, Kate and Will would be THE artists I would love to meet, well, … one day! Assuming this probably will never happen, but some dreaming on it should be allowed!

    3) JODIE MARIE – well, if you are on a concert and you get lost in a song, then that’s a little sign that the artist who was responsible for this, did something right. This exactly happened to me in October 2011, when I saw her as the supporting act in a very small location, and this was her song:

    Why not taking a ‘blank page’ artist (or should I say a “single blank canvas”) from Pembrokeshire/Wales for the Eurovision? She is a young and very talented singer/songwriter who writes her own authentic songs:

    Jodie would be my number-one-choice for the UK’s silent moment on stage, and vocal-wise she could blow us all away.
    Funny enough, I just noticed that I share my birthday with her, while you, well, share her year of birth. A funny coincidence!!!

    4) MIKA – now the Eurovision is also THE event of the year where it’s all about a great performance on stage that knows to surprise the viewer. This could happen with Mika on stage for the UK (at least I would love to see a dance performance like this on stage):

    http://www.universal-music.de/mika/videos/detail/video:368346/good-guys

    But he also has some amazing songs in the luggage that could convince the Eurovision audience, maybe the UK could probably win again with an artist like him:

    http://www.universal-music.de/mika/videos/detail/video:286923/underwater

    Any similarities to Can Bonomo are pure coincidence!

    5) LUCIE SILVAS – to have a great live artist on stage that would nail it, would always be the best choice for any country. In this case I would take Lucie Silvas for the UK – she is not only a great songwriter, but also a brilliant singer! And her songs always have that ‘something special’ that it needs to get points at the Eurovision! This was her first song I got in contact with and I still love it:

    http://www.myvideo.de/musik/lucie-silvas/breathe-in-directors-cut-video-m-5007766

    And this lady can sing live! You don’t believe it, then take a listen to what she
    did here with the TROS Radio Orchestra on one of my favourite songs from her.
    That is sooo beautiful:

    The good thing is, she has got a brand new album out now, called “Letters to ghosts” and I would love to see and hear this title track on Eurovision stage (one of my favourite songs at the moment):

    6) THE SHIRES – well, Chrissie comes from Bedfordshire, while Ben’s from Hertfordshire – two neighboring UK counties – so they call themselves “The Shires”. Makes sense! As a new and promising act they have released their first album “Brave” this year which made it to no. 1 on the UK country charts. This is one of their songs I like from their album, called “Tonight”:

    And there is also some proof that this British duo can sing live on stage. By the way, any similarities with Ilse & Waylon are pure coincidence! This one is also for Amy, and I hope she likes it:

    And then, last but not least:

    7) RIXTON – this boyband sounds like a mixture of “Blue” and “BoyzIIMen” and they are responsible for my no. 1 holiday earworm earlier this year. Wherever I went in the U.S., this song followed me around all the time:

    Now if you think that this song sounds exactly like “Lonely no more” by Rob Thomas, then you are absolutely right, because Rob Thomas is also the songwriter of “Me and my broken heart”. When I came back home, I immediately had to buy their album “Let the road” which is a great album, at least … pour moi!

    So, that’s it for now! I’m done, oh well! I guess I would have another 100 possible artists that would be just right for the next UK entry at the Eurovision. So my hopes are always high that the BBC comes up with something ‘mind-blowing’! Hopefully next year in Stockholm, I am already excited, what / who it will be?! So bring’ em, BBC!

    Great post, I loved it and until next time …

    Wolfgang 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for taking the time to compile such a well-thought out list!! I think between you, me and Ali, we could definitely nab a win for the UK in Stockholm…in the imaginary land where any of these artists would actually agree to go to Eurovision.

      I’d be particularly keen on backing Kate Bush (‘Wuthering Heights’ is one of my all-time favourite songs,and she’s totally still got ‘it’) and Mika (what a showman…and one of the artists who possibly maybe might potentially end up in the ESC one day), but Rixton wouldn’t go astray either, as you know how partial I am to a boy band. So I guess what I’m saying is, I wouldn’t mind one of your wishes coming true if mine can’t. Ya hear that, BBC??

      Liked by 2 people

      • I suggest that we, the three of us, form the UK’s-next-ESC-entry-for-winning-song jury and select THE ten songs and artists that compete in a big preselection TV show on BBC 1.
        And because we only choose songs that have the potential to win the contest, we, of course, let the UK audience decide by televoting which song they like to represent their country in Stockholm ;)! I am absolutely convinced that we would do a much better job than the BBC did in recent years.

        So you like “Wuthering Heights”! JAA JAA JAAAA! Sorry for freaking out, but that always happens automatically when somebody mentions Kate Bush or one of her fantastic songs ;)! I welcome you to my first UNOFFICIAL AUSTRALIAN/GERMAN KB FAN CLUB where you now get a lifetime membership card (totally for free!) for ;-).
        You actually get my second MS card, as the first one already went to Ali; but I’m so happy to see you both in there! 🙂
        And may I have your all-time favourite list of songs on my iPod, please? That can only be awesome.

        Well, my ‘Rixton’ suggestion was especially for you, and I am glad you picked them. I had a feeling about that you possibly might like that song, too! And they are also great live performers!

        I keep my fingers crossed that there might be a chance of having “Years & Years” to perform the next UK entry at the Eurovision, although I fear that their record company won’t let them, because they are so highly successful all around the globe(n) at the moment. Nevertheless, they would be the best choice the BBC had for a very long time!

        Happy (Junior) Eurovisionary weeks and until next time …

        Wolfgang 😉

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  3. Yes, I know I’m three posts behind the game, but hey – ‘slow and steady wins the race’!

    A fascinating post, Jazwyn. Many thanks!

    And, as with your previous SSB entry (Darin for Sverige), you mount a very compelling case.

    There’s certainly something about Years & Years that I think would do much to enliven the ESCscape, and indeed take it to the next level.

    Unfortunately, I am definitely not the best person to be contributing in a substantial way to the
    ‘Who-should-represent-the-UK-in-2016’ debate.

    When I’m not rehashing old CDs (including of various ESCs), my ‘fix’ of day-to-day music would usually come from ABC Classic FM (i.e. generally not very contemporary, and most of the composers are already dead … and I’m not just talking figuratively, like Trakshittaz. Even that master of sorrowful songs, Henryk Górecki, is no longer with us, though he may have struggled with the three-minute rule anyway? As would Gavin Bryars, although at least he’s still alive … yes, Jaz – à la Twiins!)

    “But I learn, Mr Fawlty!”.

    For example, I was totes smitten by the winner of ETSC3, ‘Laura’ by Bat for Lashes:

    Now, that’s the sort of subtlety and layered-ness I’d love to see in Stockholm, especially from the UK. They haven’t done something like that since … ever??

    And, wow, what a multi-faceted reply from you, Wolfi! You’ve really put in some hard yards there. Thanks!

    I thought the Shires were lovely and mellow. Some of my English family roots are in Bedfordshire, so maybe I’m a distant cousin of Chrissy’s? I noticed we have similar earlobes.

    I am certainly with you, Wolfi, on the Divine Ms Bush, whose artistry is just sublime.

    Here’s one of hers I’ve fallen heavily for (and I’m guessing you would have, too). I think I could play it on a loop for a whole afternoon and not get tired of it:

    Speaking of UK ‘heroes’ of an ‘earlier generation’s time’, Melbourne recently hosted a very entertaining, and comprehensive, David Bowie exhibition. It left me wondering whether ESC might be the sort of feather David would like to put in his ironically camp cap?

    Arguably, the closest to Bowie-esqueness that has (almost) graced the ESC stage may be ‘the one that got away’ — Leon’s Blauer Planet, DNQ, 1996. All that was missing was a Major Tom. (Very sorry for mentioning that ’96 injustice again, Wolf, although I would not have wanted Leon to have gone through at the expense of the eventual last-placed entry, Jasmine from Finland, whose ‘Niin kaunis on taivas’ really does deserve the title of ‘classic’. Instead, I would have given Germany special dispensation for one year — “The Big One”, so to speak — and made it a 24-entry final.)

    But here I must also mention Tilia Herold, who presented the Austrian results for many a year. In 1995, she delivered the Viennese votes in a totally deadpan, expressionless, androgynous manner. Very Bowie, and I must say – very chic (in quite a chic year)!

    See her effort at around the 11:20-minute mark:

    There really should be a website devoted to the vote presenters/spokespersons.

    OK, now I’m rambling a bit, so …

    Ciao for niao!

    Ali

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Ali. Glad you liked my colourful exposé on my ESC UK wishlist for 2016, although it was just a very small extract from what they could send to Eurovision, IMO!

      Pretty good choice of you yourself with ‘Laura’ by Bat for Lashes. I like that one too, and it would’ve been a great entry for this year’s contest to show the European audience what the UK has to offer. Even if it does not sound like a winning song because it’s much too special for the mainstream, it would have made the UK audience proud and put them on the left side of the scoreboard again, points-wise!

      So happy you also like Kate, and yes, EX.ACT.LY, your guess couldn’t have been more right: I love her song “Eat the music”, too, although it’s one from her weaker albums, but that’s complaining on a very high level! It’s still a good one. 🙂

      But my heart belongs to “Hounds of Love”, which is the most amazing album I’ve ever heard. The way Kate describes the stages of a relationship by using the elements and symbols of nature metaphorically is so impressive, I hardly can find words for it. And I sometimes “dream of sheep”, too. That’s why I love it so much ;)!

      I still remember, even after all these years, her first TV appearance on German television at ‘Bio’s Bahnhof’ in February 1978, which was my very first ‘Kate experience’:

      And thank you for bringing up the painful subject – ESC 1996 – again ;-)! Would you really consider Leon as Bowie-esque (haha)?!
      Or did you mean: “Vööölig losgelöööst von der Eeeerdeee …”? :-0

      I’m sorry I can’t say anything about Finland 1996 or most of the other entries from that year, because I simply never watched it and don’t plan to do. I highly doubt that any of those songs will ever become a ‘classic’ for me from a German perspective, although I like the UK’s Gina G., which was the only song of Eurovision 1996 that was released in Germany. Not even the winning song by Eimar Quinn was released as a single or CD that year, although German record companies usually published the Top 5 or Top 10 songs from any contest. So I still have the (German) impression that Eurovision 1996 never happened, due to the fact that there was no internet at that time!

      I think Leon would have been a very contemporary entry at that time with a mix of trance and Euro Dance pop and I still can’t say which one was the more painful: the DNQ with a really good song in 1996 or losing against Ralph’s lamest lady ballad in 1997. THAT DID HURT, not only for Leon! The latter led to the fact that the German audience called massively for Guildo Horn in the German preselection show in 1998, although there were better songs in the line-up, to express: “we never want a Siegel song for Germany again”! There was such a big hype about Guildo!

      Side note: in the beginning I wasn’t a ‘Guildo’ fan in 1998, I wanted Anna and Peter a.k.a. Rosenstolz with “Herzensschöner” to win who sadly came second in the preselection show:

      It was heavy irony then that Siegel managed to get the ticket to Jerusalem in 1999 through the ‘back door’ again, only because the song by Corinna May had been disqualified due to an earlier release of it by another artist.

      In German I would say: erst hatte Leon kein Glück, und dann kam auch noch Pech dazu! Poor Leon, really!!! That has cost him his career in Germany.

      Viele Grüße aus Deutschland und bis bald,

      Wolfgang 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  4. So, you’re saying “Hounds of Love” “gets the hound outside”, in your book? 🙂

    My first KB exposure goes back to her appearance on Countdown with Wuthering Heights, circa too-scarily-long-ago-to-mention.

    You’re right, Leon wasn’t particularly Bowie-esque (although remember that Bowie made ‘Hallo Spaceboy’ with the Pet Shop Boys in about ’96) – but Peter Schilling wasn’t really Bowie-esque either, except “thematically”. (BTW, I wonder if Major Tom, sitting in his tincan/Raumschiff, would have looked up to Hubert Kah’s Sternenhimmel? There’s another bit of “himmlische” Neue Welle nostalgia for you!). So, who does get the ESC’s-Bowiest prize? Plastic Bertrand??

    It does sound like poor Leon had both a lack of luck, and a pack of Pech!

    I agree Leon’s ’97 effort is a lot of fun. I have a bit of a phobia about – more like a strong allergy to – the word “shine” in Eurovision songs. But — Moment mal! – “Schein” is not the same word – so I’m ok with that.

    I don’t feel too bad about Bianca getting through in ’97, though. Apart from the fact that she and I have the same birthday (though not quite the same year!), she went up a long way in my estimation when I heard the legend about her practising her song in the rehearsals using a word other than “Zeit” – one that rhymes with “Schweiß”. I’m not sure if she was intentionally giving Ralph some indirect “honest (accurate!) feedback” there?

    I wasn’t aware of the “backdoor” route taken by Ralph’s 1999 effort, though I must say it is one I do have a soft spot for (the song, not the backdoor!). My ESC passion was fully revived that year, after a bit of a hibernation, and Reise nach Jerusalem was possibly my equal favourite ’99 entry, together with Like the Wind (Belgium). You know, I can almost see Leon doing a cover of RNJ, with some of his slightly gangly dance moves! (An opportunity missed … ??)

    Rosenstolz’s ’98 lyrics seem quite moody and dark, which is fine by me – but would they have climbed up the scenery in Birmingham? I somehow doubt it. So, for me, Guildo comes out (literally!) on top, sorry! Wir haben ihn lieb!!

    Thanks for another illuminating foray into the ESC trivia of last millennium, Wolf!

    Tchüß!!

    Ali

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Now, Ali, I would say „Hounds of Love“ not only “gets the hound outside”, it’s far more than that! That album is a revelation … to me! And “Running up that hill” and also “Wuthering heights” are THE masterpieces of her career. The latter is also my favourite novel in the history of literature.
    I recently saw it as a stage drama in a nearby theatre, and now I see what Mr. Timberlake meant with “Cry me a river”; I guess I had to wipe the floors afterwards! 😉

    When I read about your “Bowie-esqueness”, I immediately thought of Plastic Bertrand as the most Bowie-esque entry I could remember. You must have read my mind! 🙂 Absolute agreement!

    But the “Hallo Spaceboy” sounded more of a PSB-esque song than a real Bowie one, didn’t it? It seemed to me that David needed another hit since his last one was already some time ago in 1996, and the Pet Shop Boys are always a 100% guarantee for such a hit. Although I was not too impressed by that version of the song, I normally like what the Pet shop Boys did for other artists or themselves.
    And this is my favourite remake/production from them for another artist:

    Is that probably a Bowie-esque one, too? I will always remember hearing this song in the movie with the same name for the very first time, which was kind of overwhelming to me. I love this song … until forever! 😉

    UNBELIEVABLE, you mentioned Hubert Kah (I AM THRILLED!), who is my favourite German singer from the 80’s! How did you know that?! Where do you know him from?! That was a big surprise to me! I think his NDW classics “Rosemarie” and “Sternenhimmel” were great and big fun (I still remember my dear Grandma falling out of her armchair when “Sternenhimmel” won the ‘ZDF Hitparade’ in 1982; a great moment in German TV history!), but what he did then in collaboration with Michael Cretu, who later was hugely successful with Sandra and Enigma, was awesome. His German album “Goldene Zeiten” is probably one of the best in German language EVER, it contains “Wenn der Mond die Sonne berührt”, one of his songs that I love much.

    If you like Hubert as much as I do, I have got a little something for you, just for you … without any further explanation! Bitte schön:

    Did you know that he also wrote a song for Peter Schilling, which sounds “so 80’s”, but that’s a “different story”:

    I also share your ‘strong allergy’ to the word ‘shine’ in Eurovision songs ;-), especially when that word comes from RUSSIA! And I would add “twins” and “animals” on Eurovision stage to that list! And if that all comes together, for example the penguin twins à la Luxembourgeoise 1980, then the horror is completed … pour moi! Help!
    But with Leon in 1997 it was just a little torchlight to shine on stage, that was O.K. and cute!
    😉

    And concerning Bianca: don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Bianca as an artist! She’s a good and experienced singer and has a nice voice, and there must be some reason why they took her as a vocal coach for German “Pop Idol”. I was just annoyed about her Siegel song in 1997, which already sounded dated, boring and forgettable. And I agree by 100 % with Bianca’s ‘honest feedback’ on this song:
    “Zeit” = “Scheiß” (if that was the word you were looking for (haha)!? :)))!

    I am really biased about “Reise nach Jerusalem” and obviously cannot agree here.
    What I liked about this entry was that the Turkish minority in Germany was represented by a group on ESC stage for the first time and that ‘Sürpriz’ sang the song in 4 languages, which I liked much. I am always in favour of multi-language versions in the contest.
    BUT the song sounded like a candy children’s rhyme to me, just perfect for the Junior Eurovision (if there had been a Junior contest at that time!), but not THE Eurovision!
    And those lyrics were cheesy and chumming, IMO! I mean: “We walk hand in hand to a peaceful land”!!! Hello! In Jerusalem!!! The opposite was the case outside the hall in Jerusalem. Not that I don’t like “fairytales” on Eurovision stage, but that was a bit too much and exaggerated, in my Eurovision universe!
    But that 3rd place, which was also highly overrated in my opinion, in the final showed that it’s absolutely of no importance what Germans think about their own song. This is a classic example that a song can make a very good impression on stage to most of the other participating countries, even if it’s not supported in its own country.

    Finally: I think Leon better should do a cover of “Major Tom” than “Reise nach Jerusalem”, since his voice sounds similar to Peter’s. And he can also perfect his gangly dance moves with that song, not?

    It seems to me that we have quite more in common than I actually thought after your VERY diverse Swedish ESC Top 10 ;), and I am glad to see that!

    Wünsche dir eine gute Woche und bis zum nächsten Mal,

    Wolf 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks Wolfi, old bean – I’ll get back to you about Hubert Kah (usw.) in the near future, I promise …

    Like

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