If you’re a Eurofan (which would explain why you’re here reading this right now) then I’m sure you’ve already done/are planning to do what I’m about to do. ICYMI by skipping over the title of this post, what I’m about to do is present a drawn-out countdown of my top 40 Eurovision songs of the 2010s. Say yay yay yay!
Spain’s 2016 entry didn’t make the list, BTW…but thanks, Barei, for the wordplay.
Anyway, as this decade draws to a close and we prepare to say bonjour to 2020, it feels very fitting to look back through all the ESCs we’ve experienced this past ten years and highlight our personal bests. Everyone’s lists will be different, so read through mine with respect and when you share yours in the comments (hint hint) I’ll do the same. Well, I’ll keep all of my outraged opinions to myself, at least. I think I have the willpower.
Here’s a taste of what’s to come as I say ‘ta-da!’ and show you my favourite 40:
- Most popular years 2015 (7), 2019 (6), 2016 (5)
- Most popular countries Sweden (6), Italy (4), Norway (4), Hungary (3)
- Winners/DNQs 3/3
- Entries from my own country 1
I’m sure the suspense is killing you by now (#delusional) so let’s get into it. Check out my list below (I had to drop so many amazing songs to get it down to 40, and it still hurts); scroll all the way through for a full playlist, minus a few songs that haven’t yet graced Spotify with their presence; and yes, share your top Eurovision songs of the decade in the comments. Don’t leave me hanging with nothing to disagree with.
In the wise words of PeR (who also don’t appear on this list), here we go!
#40 | Silent Storm, Carl Espen (Norway 2014)
Last is definitely not least on this list. My bottom-best of the decade is this heartbreakingly beautiful, v. relatable ballad by Carl. Silent Storm is a song that gives me all the feels (á la Renaida) and hits me in my feelings (á la Drake). Basically, it turns me into an emotional wreck every time, and I consider that a musical superpower. Pass the Kleenex, please.
#36 | Rhythm Inside, Loïc Nottet (Belgium 2015)
The Belgian renaissance of the mid-2010s began with this edgy track by baby-faced Loïc. Though Belgium’s standard of ESC entries was sky-high in the few years following, they never topped the quality you can hear in Rhythm Inside and see in the performance masterminded by the then-teenager. It’s aged and will keep on ageing like a damn fine wine.
#32 | She Got Me, Luca Hänni (Switzerland 2019)
Some call this cheap and tacky man-Fuego…I call it the best decision Switzerland has ever made (and I hope it wasn’t a one-off). Their recipe for success wasn’t rocket science: just take one established artist (it helps if they’re smoking hot), pair them with three minutes of ethno-pop perfection, and make sure the visuals measure up to the rest. THIS SLAPS.
#28 | I Can’t Go On, Robin Bengtsson (Sweden 2017)
They say one Eurofan’s trash is another’s treasure – so while this track has its haters, it also has a loyal legion of supporters. Obviously, I’m one of them. Co-written by Robin Stjernberg in his trademark funk-fusion style, I Can’t Go On is slick Swedish pop at its most stereotypical…and I adore it. It deserved to win Melfest, and it deserved that 5th in Kyiv.
#24 | No Degree of Separation, Francesca Michielin (Italy 2016)
Italy is one of my favourite Eurovision countries, having never failed to deliver the goods since their 2011 contest comeback. To Stockholm they sent a combo of classy (of course) and cute that melts my cold, cynical heart whenever I listen to/watch Francesca perform it. Wearing sparkly dungarees and cradling root vegetables = a surefire way to win me over.
#20 | Love In Rewind, Dino Merlin (Bosnia & Herzegovina 2011)
As a longtime fan of Dino’s first entry Putnici, I was extra excited when he decided to give Eurovision another go. Thankfully, his second song was just as unique and even more endearing than his first – and certainly unlike anything else in the competition that year. Love In Rewind is heartfelt and humble but rousing and anthemic at the same time, and that earns it a clap-clap-clap (not to be confused with a Soldi double clap). Come back, B & H!
#15 | Life Looks Better In Spring, Jon Lilygreen and The Islanders (Cyprus 2010)
I may have professed my love for this in a recent post, but I’m happy to do it again. Spoiler alert: it’s my highest-ranked Cypriot entry and my no. 1 song from Cyprus this decade. Yes, it’s well above Fuego IMO (let me live!). I’ve always been head over heels for LLBIS because it’s honest, meaningful, romantic and pretty bloody catchy too. And for me it has stood the test of ten years’ time. I just wish it would get with the times and pop up on Spotify already.
#10 | Grab The Moment, JOWST feat. Aleksander Walmann (Norway 2017)
Welcome to top 10 territory, guys and gals! Back in 2017 I handed this Norwegian bop my EBJ Eurovision Excellence Award for Best Lyrics, and that’s not all that’s inventive and ear-catching about it. JOWST has a way with words, but he also has a knack for writing insanely infectious pop songs (not bad for someone who behaves very strangely on Twitter at times). Grab The Moment is Exhibit A, and Aleksander’s above-average vocals are the cherry on top.
#9 | Adio, Knez (Montenegro 2015)
Like you (assuming you have taste) I love a good Balkan ballad, and they don’t get better than any Željko Joksimović comes out with. The one he wrote for Knez is, in a word, spellbinding. In more than a word, it is mystical, magical and more dramatic than Silvia Night after her DNQ in Athens. I love the entry Željko wrote and performed this decade, don’t get me wrong. But I love Adio more, and it should have been Montenegro’s top 10 moment.
#8 | Sebi, Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl (Slovenia 2019)
You never know when a country’s going to surprise you. Slovenia knocked my socks off this year with a dreamy, otherworldly masterpiece that speaks to my soul (don’t ask me to elaborate on that…I’m trying to convey how strongly I feel about this song rather than make sense). I was hooked on Sebi from the second it became an ESC entry, which is funny since it totally bypassed me beforehand. Forgive me, Zalagasper, for I have sinned big time!
#7 | Beautiful Mess, Kristian Kostov (Bulgaria 2017)
I think we all wondered how Bulgaria could possibly level up from Poli Genova 2.0. That was until 17-year-old Kristian Kostov stepped straight out of a K-pop video set and onto the Eurovision stage in 2017. He wasn’t alone: BNT had armed him with a haunting, precision-produced, cutting-edge ballad that was all beautiful and no mess. I cannot get enough of this song, and truth be told I would have preferred it to win over Amar Pelos Dois.
#6 | Dance You Off, Benjamin Ingrosso (Sweden 2018)
I know it, you know it, the whole world knows it – I’m a Sweden stan. I’m also a major Benjamin Ingrosso fangirl, and he became my Spotify Artist of the Decade (this post isn’t sponsored by Spotify, BTW) mostly thanks to me blasting Dance You Off 24/7 since last March. What can I say? I love 90s R&B and contemporary dance-pop, and Benjamin mixes the two genres like a boss. Screw those 21 televoting points. This is the SHIZ.
#5 | Soldi, Mahmood (Italy 2019)
2019 really turned it on, with two Tel Aviv tracks among my top 10 songs of the decade. This one is so good and so well-regarded, there’s no chance recency bias is responsible for its placement. Soldi is iconic, inventive, substantial, storytelling…it’s everything. Including a Mah-mood. It could be the coolest song to ever make it to Eurovision, and to think we have the Sanremo JURORS to thank for that. What a worthy ESC winner it would have been. Sigh.
#4 | J’ai Cherché, Amir (France 2016)
From one OGAE Poll winner to another, here’s France’s Amir and his effervescent folk-pop stunner J’ai Cherché. It might just have missed out on making my top three of the 2010s (and missed out on winning Eurovision by a long shot) but I have an endless amount of amour for it anyway. There’s an uplifting energy to this that makes me instantly happy, and side note: it’s one of many awesome songs on Amir’s sophomore album Au Cœur de Moi.
#3 | Origo, Joci Pápai (Hungary 2017)
It takes a lot to work your way into anybody’s top three songs from an entire decade – but Joci sailed into mine with his first Eurovision entry. A complex musical portrait of pain and clashing cultures, expressed through emotive vocals and aggressive rap, Origo brought something brand new to the contest. It’s a piece of art as far as I’m concerned, and it makes me sorry to see the back of Hungary at Eurovision for the foreseeable future.
#2 | 1944, Jamala (Ukraine 2016)
I kicked off this list with a song that makes me cry, and the same goes for my penultimate pick – the winner of Eurovision 2016, 1944. There are many words that describe this biographical, genre-bending entry, and when they’re coming out of my mouth they’re 100% complimentary. It’s powerful, emotional, substantial, soulful and so much more. I think this is what Salvador meant when he said ‘Music that really means something.’ Phenomenal.
So, what’s about to top that and be named my favourite ESC entry of the 2010s? You’ll have to come back next week to find out.
JUST KIDDING! Scroll down a little further and see for yourself.
#1 | Undo, Sanna Nielsen (Sweden 2014)
Whether you like it or not, this is my favourite song from the last ten years. Sweden reached peak power ballad status in Copenhagen, when the statuesque Sanna Nielsen FINALLY made it to Eurovision on her 7th try. What a song to do it with! If Empty Room had done it in 2008, we never would have seen her belt out Undo in her cage of lights and classic LBD (with a touch of sparkle because duh). That would have been beyond a great loss. I bow down to you and Undo, Queen Sanna, and long may you reign.
And that’s the end of my not-so-little journey through recent (ish) Eurovision history. If you spotted some quality in my reel of highlights, why not go on and listen to it? It’s what your ears deserve.
NEXT TIME The last days of the decade are dwindling, and to ring in the new year I’m prepping another playlist for you: an NYE party playlist! To help you break up the ESC 250 when it gets low-energy, I’ve found the biggest dancefloor fillers from Eurovision 2010 through 2019 (plus a few sneaky national finalists too) and put them all in one place, just for you. I can’t wait to press play – and trust me, you won’t be able to either.
While you’re waiting, you know I’m curious…what are YOUR favourite songs from this past decade of Eurovision Song Contests? Do we have any in common, or will we have to agree to disagree? Let me know below.