The Eurovision Song Contest’s 2016 album, featuring all the acts entering the contest this year, was released yesterday. With the exception of the UK entry, I’ve deliberately avoided listening to this year’s line up until today.
In 140 characters or fewer, here are my first impressions of each of the 43 entries.
Fairytale by Eneda Tarifa
Way to waste a moody opening! The verses aren’t very catchy and the chorus is just whiny. I don’t hate it, but can’t say anything positive.
LoveWave by Iveta Mukuchyan
Sound of Silence by Dami Im
When you’ve only 3 minutes, you need to build momentum more quickly than this song. I can’t tell if this a power ballad or a club anthem.
Loin d’ici by ZOË
Austria must’ve just gotten last year’s bill. That’s the only reason I can think of for a song with no discernible hook and a 90s vibe.
Miracle by Samra
This reminds me of Arianna Grande. Anthemic, good hook, and good contrast between verse and chorus. This would be at home in the UK Top 40.
Help You Fly by IVAN
I can imagine this could have been a better song with a better singer. That said, excellent use of electric guitar and synth.
What’s The Pressure by Laura Tesoro
10 seconds in, my only comment is this: hell yes.
This is 70s disco mixed with Mark Ronson and Fleur East. Superb effort, Belgium.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ljubav Je by Dalal & Deen
A terribly unexciting duet. I’d have expected a track this dull in the early 2000’s. The rap came from nowhere and fails to impress.
If Love Was A Crime by Poli Genova
Three words: Bloody. Good. Tune.
Lighthouse by Nina Kraljić
This could have been a superb ballad; the instrumentation is intriguing, and there’s a key change. But you can’t excuse the weak vocals.
Alter Ego by Minus One
After 2015’s Cypriot snooze fest, this is pretty refreshing and fun! I’m not cool enough to have an opinion about this energised rock song.
I Stand by Gabriela Gunčíkov
There’s clearly a competent singer here, but the song is just uninspiring ballad that never quite pulls your heartstrings.
Soldiers of Love by Lighthouse X
If Boyzone met One Direction and had gaybies, this would be the result. Unoriginal, but definitely catchy. Disappointing lack of key change.
Play by Jüri Pootsmann
Did Estonia kidnap Jamie Cullum?
This pop-jazz fusion is pretty interesting but I’m not sure it’s strong enough to place well though.
Dona by Kaliopi
I’ve got to sit through this at least once, possibly twice; and that doesn’t make me happy.
Sing It Away by Sandhja
This is going to be a great opening number that’ll pump some energy into the stadium. It’s a safe, strong pop affair; and I like it!
J’ai cherché by Amir
It’s unusual to hear English lyrics in the French entry, but it’s another conservative choice for France. At least it’s not another ballad.
Midnight Gold by Nika Kocharov and Young Georgian Lolitaz
This starts as a polished rock number reminiscent of the Arctic Monkeys, and then completely loses its shit, like Muse on acid. Bonkers.
Ghost by Jamie-Lee
This had all the elements it needed to work, but it just doesn’t. What could’ve been a solid competitor ends up as a squandered opportunity.
Utopian Land by Argo
Greece, we need to have words. What happened? Did you go in too heavy on the ouzo when you picked this? Nil points.
Pioneer by Freddie
There’s so much gravel in this guy’s throat, I want to give him a throat lozenge. It’s a strong vocal for a strong song.
Hear Them Calling by Greta Salóme
Everything’s so nicey-nicey, boring-snoring, and then… boom the crazy is let loose. Well played Iceland. Well played.
Sunlight by Nicky Byrne
Ireland’s firmly in late-90s boyband territory here; late-90s singer, late-90s song, late-90s cheese. It’s more Bryan Adams than Westlife.
Made Of Stars by Hovi Star
If Hovi is a Star, he’s a fading star that’s imploding into irrelevance.
No Degree Of Separation by Francesa Michielin
This is a total let down after mini Il Divo last year. It’s gratuitous instrumentation is uninspiring at best; an ear-assault at worst.
Heartbeat by Justs
This sounds like the musical love child of Bastille and Boy George. It’s all pretty psychedelic; in a good way.
I’ve Been Waiting for This Night by Donny Montell
Amongst a pack of slightly-dancey-drum-heavy ballads, this is just meh. It builds fairly well, but the ending is too abrupt.
Walk On Water by Ira Losco
If you ever bought an Ibiza remix CD when they were a thing, you know what this is like. Good vocals, rhythm and pacing. Solid track.
Falling Stars by Lidia Isac
This feels like a dated STEPS number. Which should be fun - because we can all do some line dancing in the arena.
The Real Thing by Highway
Whilst the instrumentation is solid, the lead vocals sound like drunk dads doing karaoke at a wedding. They just drone on, and on, and on…
Icebreaker by Agnete
The verses and the chorus in this sound like two completely different songs; both independently brilliant, but terrible together.
Color Of Your Life by Michał Szpak
I’m not sure what metaphor Michał is going for, but regardless, this is a pretty dull. I suspect this will be knocked out in the semi-final.
Moment of Silence by Ovidiu Anton
Someone sign this guy up for a Broadway musical. I’m sure the theatrics with this will be a joy to watch. Bravo.
You Are The Only One by Sergey Lazarev
A decent key change, and some false endings make this a pretty full on dance number. A fairly weak male vocal though.
I Didn’t Know by Serhat
San Marino has run out of talent. It was inevitable with a population of 32,000.
Let’s hope this Shaft rip off falls at the first hurdle.
Goodbye (Shelter) by Sanja Vučić ZAA
The vocalist in this song is superb; and she knows how to pull off a good key change. It’ll never win but it might get through to the final.
Blue and Red by ManuElla
This is one of the least imaginative sets of lyrics in a Eurovision song for a while. Which would be fine, but the song is also uninspiring.
Say Yay! by Barei
Yes, Spain! This is everything I want from Euro-pop: catchy, full of bass and camp as Christmas.
If I Were Sorry by Frans
Sweden just has a knack of producing pop songs that are on point; and this is another. This sounds like it’s from Coldplay’s latest album.
The Last Of Our Kind by Rykka
I have very little to say about this. I enjoyed the nap I had whilst it was on.
Slow Down by
This is like a Beatles-country revival. I’d be happy for this to “speed up brother”, just so it was over. Not a fan.
1944 by Jamala
This is as morbid as a dead duck floating upside down in a pond. The duck was probably killed by the hideous screaming at the end.
You’re Not Alone by Joe and Jake
I maintain this is a weak choice compared with others the UK could’ve picked; but it’s not awful, and it’ll probably get the 1D-tween vote.