Today, marks the release of the official 2015 Eurovision Song Contest album. With reading that, I’m sure you’re already firing up Spotify, but wait!
You don’t need to listen to all 40 in the hopes of finding the diamonds in the rough; I’ve done the hard work for you. In what is likely the biggest demonstration of how much of a life I don’t have, I’ve already listened to all 40 official entries - they’ve been on YouTube and Spotify for months - and below are lightning reviews of all 40 entrants! You’re welcome.
Semi-Final 1 entries
I Want Your Love - Eduard Romanyuta - Moldova
Imagine Justin Timberlake and Usher had “collaborated” on a track. That’s what this sounds like. And to be honest, it’s a bit rubbish. Aside from that, the only other interesting thing about this entry is the artist - Eduard Romanyuta - who looks like one of the Hanson brothers, if the Hanson brothers were goths.
Face the Shadow - Genealogy - Armenia
If ever I’ve heard a song that was a reject from a Broadway production, this would be it. Apart from the fact that the song sounds off-key for about the first minute, it’s just dismal.
Rhythm Inside - Loic Nottet - Belgium
Stand back Lorde, because “we’ll never be royals”. No seriously, this entry is so similar to Lorde it hurts - but it’s not a bad thing, because Loic is excellent. If only the UK’s entry could be as bold and brave as Belgium’s. One to watch. And he was a product of The Voice in Belgium; hint, hint, BBC.
Walk Along - Trijntje Oosterhuis - Netherlands
Why-ay-ay does this sound like it’s stuck in the 1990s? Really. Why? This entry is clearly looking for a catchy riff and never quite finds one. Instead, I think it’s going for the record for the most “aye” sounds ever in a Eurovision song. (You laugh, but there is a record for “la”s in a song - Spain hold the title).
Aina mun pitää - Pertti Kurikan Nimipaïvät - Finland
If Lordi had demonic children, then this would be the musical result. Although, compared to Hard Rock Hallelujah, this is more Monotonous Rock Hell. Thankfully (and weirdly) it is only 1:30 in length! ‘Bizarre’ only begins to describe this out of body aural experience.
One Last Breath - Maria Elena Kryiakou - Greece
Move over Celine, Maria is in the house! This is how to do a Eurovision ballad; a classic formula, some brilliant instrumentation, and a great vocalist. But, it’s not a winning entry.
Goodbye to Yesterday - Elina Born & Stig Rästa - Estonia
One of many duets in this year’s contest, but it’s not doing anything particularly exciting with it. The harmonies are uninteresting, and the song is just… OK. It’s hardly going to set the arena on fire, but maybe that’s the intention.
Autumn Leaves - Daniel Kajmakosi - Macedonia
Instrumentally, this song is on point, mixing old and new with the finesse of an ageing dolphin. Melodically, it’s a bit wide of the mark and never really gets to the point of truly exciting your ears. In what is largely a pack of terrible entries though, it’s one of my favourites.
Beauty Never Lies - Bojana Stamenov - Serbia
What the hell just happened?! One minute I’m listening to manufactured Euro pop, then someone cranks the camp up to 11 and all of a sudden. WHAT?! I can’t even.
Wars for Nothing - Csemer Boglárka Boggie - Hungary
Someone put Yoko Ono back in her box? I’m not down with the pacifist vibe in this track at all.
Not that I’m a war-monger, but just this song would make me pick up arms in order to stop it being played!
Time - Uzari - Belarus
This is pure and simple, default Eurovision, electro-pop. Not an entirely uninteresting song, but very formulaic. There are a few moments of light and shade, and the violins change it up a little, but this is nothing to write home about.
A Million Voices - Polina Gagrina - Russia
The irony of the Russian entry singing about “peace and healing” and “love” of a million voices is not lost on me. Is this the Eurovision equivalent of pink-washing? However, putting the politics aside this is a pretty rounded entry from Russia.
The Way You Are - Anti Social Media - Denmark
This is glee-tastic. This perfectly pleasant entry feels like it’s been ripped straight out of the naughties, and no doubt the viewing audience will like it.
I’m Alive - Eihaida Dani - Albania
I really wanted to hate this entry, purely so I could make a pun about zombies or dead bodies. But I don’t hate it. I am merely indifferent to it. There’s no hook, and melodically it’s utterly inconsequential. That said, the vocals aren’t half bad in this.
All over again - Voltaj - Romania
The Romanian entry is a carbon copy of the classic modern pop ballad formula. There’s a kind of Backstreet Boys vibe to it, but without any of the class; which in itself is saying something!
Warrior - Nina Sublatti - Georgia
This song is fierce. It’s punchy right from the start. Unfortunately, it’s let down by a lack of differentiation between the verses and choruses. Without that light and shade, it just descends into feeling like it’s barked from start to finish.
Semi-Final 2 entries
This Time - Monika Linkute - Lithuania
It appears that, not unlike the 2014 Contest, Mumford and Sons are still influencing the entrants. This is fun track though!
I like it. You’ll like it. It has everything a good Eurotune should have - corny lyrics, a solid beat, a duo singing; but… NO KEY CHANGE?! So close to perfect. So close.
Playing with Numbers - Molly Sterling - Ireland
After several years of Ireland submitting, well, crap, this year’s entry from the Emerald Isle is back on winning form. Well, I say winning - that might be a stretch - but certainly this is a beautiful ballad from a clearly talented artist.
Chain of lights - Michelle Perniola & Anita Simonici - San Marino
This is all a bit psychedelic isn’t it? I mean, it belongs in a children’s TV show more than in Vienna.
It’s also a total rip off of the 2002 Israeli entry, Light a Candle; which was also shit.
Adio - Knez - Montenegro
The first 30 seconds of this song are purely instrumental, which originally felt a bit excessive when you only get 3:00 to make an impression. Unfortunately, the first 30 seconds are more interesting than the other 2:30 in its entirety. They try shoving a beat in near the end of the track, but honestly, it’s like trying to put lipstick on a pig in the dark blindfolded.
Warrior - Amber - Malta
This is the second of two songs in the line up with the same title; which is unhelpful, to say the least. However, compared to its namesake, this entry is arguably of a higher quality.
There’s more light and shade here, more intriguing instrumentation, and a better vocal. Of course, Malta always know how to bash out a good power ballad, and this is no different. But I am still left feeling a bit unsatisfied by it; I can’t really explain why.
A Monster Like Me - Mørland and Debrah Scarlett - Norway
Well this is dramatic, isn’t it? And who doesn’t love a good Euro ballad!
This is one of the more contemporary tracks, and will probably do quite well, but I do wish there was a greater momentum to it. The last 45 seconds are excellent; I just wish that it got that good about a minute earlier!
I’m at a loss to what this song is about though. Is this about Jekyll and Hyde? Is it just they’re both shits to each other in real life? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!
Há Um Mar Que Nos Separa - Leonor Andrade - Portugal
I can’t make head nor tail of this song; it’s all over the place. There’s no recognisable structure, the chorus that sounds like it doesn’t belong with the verse, and the wishy-washy instrumentation is utterly forgettable and erratic.
Is it a rock song? Is it a pop song? Is it an electro pop song? Fucked if I know.
But there is a key change! Though it happens almost by mistake and you can’t quite tell it happens until about 20 seconds after it has. It’s like a reality distortion field.
Hope Never Dies - Marta Jandová - Czech Republic
This song would fit perfectly in a Lloyd-Webber musical. And I’m not sure that’s a good thing. It’s simply not a good Eurovision song.
Golden Boy - Nadav Guedj - Israel
The title of this track is absolutely getting a bit ahead of itself; I’m not sure the track could even be considered a ‘Bronze Boy’. But at least the entry isn’t boring.
It does need to decide on a style and stick to it though; the first minute is a rip off of Ed Sheran, then suddenly it’s a dub step track before it transforms into a classic, traditionally influenced number. Make your mind up!
Love Injected - Aminata - Latvia
If there was ever a time to say it, now is it… “phrasing?!” But seriously, this is mistranslation as innuendo in the best possible way.
There are vibes of Florence + the Machine and La Roux here. I have no idea why the song skews into a weird ass breakdown part way through, but overall, a competent entry.
Hour of the Wolf - Elnur Huseynov - Azerbaijan
Now this is the way to build a good song from the get go. It starts as a reticent number; and builds to a good chorus and a strong key change!
That said, it never really goes anywhere after the first chorus. It’s like a disappointing orgasm; lots of good foreplay and a disappointing finish.
Unbroken - Maria Olafs - Iceland
This has hints of Myley Cyrus before she went all gritty and cool. And like most of Myley’s early music, it’s ultimately forgettable. There isn’t even a key change to mix it up! Boring!
Heroes - Måns Zelmerlöw - Sweden
If you’re the betting type, I’d put all your money on this to win. There’s an Avicii undertone to this song that is perfectly emulated, but that doesn’t detract from it in any way.
It’s not exactly the best entry Eurovision has produced in recent years, but from this crop of - frankly - plain entries, this is a stand out and blindingly obvious choice for douze points.
Time to Shine - Mélanie René - Switzerland
My immediate thought here was “pastiche Evanescence”. But in reality, this is an attempt at a power ballad without any of the passion or the power.
One Thing I Should Have Done - John Karayiannis - Cyprus
This is like James Blunt mixed with a shit Disney movie track that everyone chooses to forget ever happened from a sequel that never should have been commissioned. Someone shoot this love sick puppy! I actually couldn’t finish listening to it. Awful.
Here For You - Maraaya - Slovenia
There’s an interesting combination of obviously past-Eurovision influences here. “Here For You” is like the spiritual child of Lena and Alexandre Rybak.
It’s different enough to stand out, but I’m not sure it’s different enough to be better than some of the other contemporary entries. It just doesn’t really go anywhere; it’s quite flat in all the important musical dimensions. That said, it’s a pretty solid entry.
In the Name of Love - Monika Kuszyanka - Poland
Much like a disappointing U2 song (they’re all disappointing though, right?), this is dreadful. It has all the potential elements to make a good ballad, but they don’t hang together quite right. This song is too flat, with insufficient variation, and a poor hook.
Not all the entries above will make it to the grand final; but these ones get through automatically. Austria goes through because Conchita won last year, Australia goes through because they’re a special guest, and the other 5 go through because they are “the biggest economic contributors”; AKA, they pay the most. Capitalism, folks.
I Am Yours - The Makemakes - Austria
The Austrian entry sounds like a song that Robbie Williams would have made in the 90s but minus the cockiness, polish or gravity. It’s perfectly competent, but completely irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. Bring back Conchita!
Tonight Again - Guy Sebastian - Australia
Despite the fact that the Ozzies are sending us their equivalent of Will Young, this is actually a pretty good entry. You could imagine it being a recent entry in the UK Top 40 - though maybe in 2005, rather than 2015. The song sounds pretty familiar too, with the vocalist, Guy Sebastian, having a shade of John Legend in his voice.
N’oubliez pas - Lisa Angell - France
Are the French fundamentally incapable of producing any good entries in recent memory? The answer is, ‘yes’.
In all seriousness, their present track record swings wildly from the insane to the banal; from rap to ballad. This year, it’s a consistently moody French number, because clearly there is no happy medium.
This is three minutes I’m glad to forget living through. I was unable to recognise any pattern in any of this song. I’ve no idea when the chorus starts or stops. It just builds endlessly and never peaks.
Black Smoke - Ann Sophie - Germany
Putting the apparent controversy about this entry to one side, I freaking love this entry from the Germans. It feels in sync with the charts, its moody, its sexy; it basically has all the right things.
Best of all, it’s unique enough to not feel like a cover of a song you’ve heard before. All that being as it is, I’m not sure it’s a winner; but it’ll certainly be up there.
Grande Amore - Il Volo - Italy
I’m glad to see some classical music being executed in a way that won’t make the entry sound irrelevant or out of place in the Contest at large. It’s not exactly 3 Tenors standard, but I can see it going down well. It’s not a winner though, despite it ending in a wonderful crescendo.
Amanecer - Edurne - Spain
Spain, we need to have words. Why even bother entering this? It’s just so boring. You can throw in a beat half way through, but it’s still nothing special. But, you know, they’ve tried. And that’s nice.
The staging is the only way anyone is going to pay attention to this.
Still in Love With You - Electro Velvet - United Kingdom
This is quite simply an assault on my ears. You can tell what they were trying to do, and then it just… well. Maybe I’m missing the point; or maybe it’s just shit.
I actually can’t begin to articulate what’s wrong here; it’s out of era, the styling is all over the place, the weird audio tricks are so disjointed, the lyrics are utter bollocks. Just NO.