All of this year’s songs have been selected, which means it’s time to start the countdown (cue Final Countdown) for the 2014 edition of our beloved Contest. I’ve only heard a couple of songs before writing this (p)review as I wanted to simulate the sensation of the regular viewer. Curious to see how thàt will turn out? Me too…
The Song: Let’s get the sulking out of the way first – where’s that beautiful haunting piano gone from that enchanting live version?! I’ve played that version so much it’s in my iTunes top 25 by now – imagine my disappointment when I hear this subdued one. But okay, I must keep a clear head (he said, nipping on his third gin-tonic). I like the way this new version bursts open towards the end, and I can already tell it will come across a lot better on stage than in this rather badly produced version. Pity they kept the electric guitar solo though, I know the ’90s are making a comeback but that’s one thing that can be stuck in the pit of eternal nothingness as far as I’m concerned. But as far as structure and build-up goes, this one thinks outside the classic Eurovision box and I àm a sucker for the odd ones out. Pity they went for English by the way, the melody comes across stronger in Albanian. Though you wouldn’t be able to tell at first hearing as her English is about as good as my Albanian…
The Voice: I didn’t even notice when I watched the Albanian version, but in English Hersi’s voice sounds A LOT like Shakira’s. Not too overly keen, I have to admit, but if the Latina can make it work… And of course she HAS to bring the backings she had in the national final which totally RULED.
The Performance: I sure hope it won’t run along the lines of the video because that is one freaky pile of crazy shit. I don’t think Albania has ever let me down when it comes to the live performance (vocally at least, I’m still trying to figure out what 2009 was all about) so I’m not too concerned. (I’ve jinxed it now, haven’t I?)
Daring? In terms of sound: quite. Does it break boundaries? Not quite.
Intriguing? To me it is (he said sulking, replaying the live version).
Modern? I wouldn’t go that far, but it doesn’t sound like it belongs in the past anyhow (bar the electric guitar solo, obvi).
International? I’m afraid this might sound too…Albanian for its own good.
In one line: Please bring back the piano, tack.
LES POINTS DU JURY DIMIVISION: 72%
PREDICTION: This will have a hard time getting out of the first semi…
The Song: Ow. (Checks to makes sure this really is the Armenian entry) This really is the Armenian entry? Things sure have changed since the days of apricot stones and boomboomshakalaka! I love the way it shifts gear midway as it really fits the mood of the lyrics (that are sadly a tad too repetitive to really completely sweep me off my feet). On top of that I am VERY happy with the way the music comes across – those brass players and strings are to die for. I don’t hear any dubstep in it though, as many fanboys claim. But it might just be me (#uhu). I am pleasantly surprised anyway.
The Voice: Didn’t hear a live version as of yet, but if Aram manages to convey the emotions as well as they come across in the studio version we’re in for a treat.
The Performance: If the video is anything to go by I’m already getting excited. Aram seems to know how to sell this song. The last image of the video is nothing short of breathtaking and hopefully a spinetingling writing on the wall.
Daring? In Eurovision circles? I’d say so.
Intriguing? Despite the somewhat repetitive lyrics: very much so.
Modern? Contemporary rather, sets a whole different tone and I like it.
In one line: I wouldn’t change anything but his stage name (MP3? Really?)
LES POINTS DU JURY DIMIVISION: 83%
PREDICTION: This might turn out to be the surprise of 2014.
- Armenia 83
- Albania 72