First listens of every Eurovision 2016 entry

The Eurovision Song Contest’s 2016 album, featuring all the acts entering the contest this year, was released yesterday. I’ve deliberately avoided listening to this year’s line up until today1.

In 140 characters or fewer, here are my first impressions of each of the 43 entries.

The entries

Toggle entries

Albania 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.

Armenia LoveWave by Iveta Mukuchyan

I’ve no idea what’s going on with the faux-phone call, but its not the first act to badly copy a best-selling artist.

Australia 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.

Austria 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.

Azerbaijan 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.

Belarus 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.

Belgium 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.

Bulgaria If Love Was A Crime by Poli Genova

Three words: Bloody. Good. Tune.

This is a song to put an arena in a party mood. It reminds me of Beyoncé and Galantis.

Croatia 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.

Cyprus 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.

Czech Republic 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.

Denmark 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.

Estonia 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.

F.Y.R. Macedonia Dona by Kaliopi

I’ve got to sit through this at least once, possibly twice; and that doesn’t make me happy.

Finland 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!

France 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.

Georgia 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.

Germany 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.

Greece 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.

Hungary 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.

Iceland 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.

Ireland 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.

Israel Made Of Stars by Hovi Star

If Hovi is a Star, he’s a fading star that’s imploding into irrelevance.

Italy 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.

Latvia Heartbeat by Justs

This sounds like the musical love child of Bastille and Boy George. It’s all pretty psychedelic; in a good way.

Lithuania 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.

Malta 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.

Moldova 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.

Montenegro 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…

Norway Icebreaker by Agnete

The verses and the chorus in this sound like two completely different songs; both independently brilliant, but terrible together.

Poland 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.

Romania 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.

Russia 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.

San Marino 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.

Serbia 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.

Slovenia 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.

Spain Say Yay! by Barei

Yes, Spain! This is everything I want from Euro-pop: catchy, full of bass and camp as Christmas.

Sweden 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.

Switzerland 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.

The Netherlands 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.

Ukraine 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.

United Kingdom 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.

  1. I have heard the UK’s entry, because I watched the BBC selection, but I’ve not heard the rest.