ESC 2014: Final – The Songs
In a few weeks, the Eurovision Song Contest 2014 (which will be held this year in Copenhagen, Denmark) is going to start with the 1st Semi-Final on Tuesday, 6th May 2014. After the semis, the last ones to be given an opinion are the Finalists (like last year, the running order will be determined by the producers. Before that, an allocation draw is going to be done during the press conference of the semis and, before that, the finalists press conferences during the rehearsals, etc… in order to determine which half (1st or 2nd) they are going to sing in the final)
First stop is France and, like in these last few years, they’re taking the risk once more by going again into a different mainstream level, a bit in the lines of contemporary artists and writers of the dance music scene such as David Guetta or Stromae. Singing the entry “Moustache”, here’s a trio that started their carrer in 2009, but hadn’t a hit as far as now: Twin Twin (Lorent Idir (who also co-wrote the lyrics), François Djemel, Patrick Biyik). This is one of those songs whose melody does get into your ears and never leaves (by the way, a curiosity: at one time, this was accused of plagiarism due to its musical similiarites with Stromae‘s “Papaoutai”): really catchy with lots of fun, especially in its satrical lyrics about wanting to have a moustache. Their chances of winning aren’t really much, but they could do pretty well with a great performance. Will France get a top-10 position again since 2009?
Another trio for ESC 2014 and a corky music style: it’s newcoming band Elaiza (vocalist and pianist Elżbieta Steinmetz (also the author of the song together with two other people), accordionist Yvonne Grünwald and contrabassist Natalie Plöger)‘s turn and they’ll do it so with “Is it right?”. It’s really exquiste, but not instantly catchy – then again, that’s probably the main charm of the entry: it might not touch you at first, but when it does, you can’t help liking it very much. Great lyrics, by the way, telling the story of a questionable relationship. It’s known that it’s doing less well with the ESC fan polls than France, but maybe the corkyness of the song can get them far. Will they suprise the televote and jury alike and get a good placing?
For the first time since their return in 2011, Italy has done a 100% Sanremo-free internal selection. One of the highest selling italian female artists from the last few years, Emma Marrone started to sing for several bands as far as since 1993, but her solo carrer only became a reality come true after winning the italian talent show “Amici di Maria de Filippi” in 2010 – since then, she had several hit singles and even won a Sanremo Festival edition back in 2012 with the power rock entry “Non è l’inferno”. Now hoping for a international career, she is going to rock the ESC 2014 stage with the entry she thinks she’ll get a great international exposure: “La mia città” (translated as “My city”). Maybe the ultimate rock entry of ESC 2014: everything in it screams out “fierce” – the artist, the music, the arrangements, the lyrics (wandering into a philosophical matter between a difficult couple)… professionally well done. Since their return, they have always got a top-10 placing… will they keep that personal record intact or will this be the first time Italy doesn’t get a top-10 placing since 1993?
From X-Factor UK to getting the right to go to ESC for Spain, that was Ruth Lorenzo‘s journey from 2008 until now… something that will continue when she steps on the ESC 2014 stage and sings the power pop ballad “Dancing in the rain” (a song she co-wrote together with two british people and which will be sung in both spanish and english). Consistently powerful and quite touching, with a grand vocal range to die for and a set of hopefull lyrics as the romantic couple dances in the rain for their endless love. The last time Spain got a top-10 was with a ballad (2012) and, knowing the singer is usually a very good live singer, they might have a great chance to do it again.
XX: UNITED KINGDOM
The past glories are out of the equation: from the depths of the BBC Introducing music brand (in which undiscovered and unsigned artists have their place to introduce their music to the british people. That’s where Florence & The Machine was first known, as well as Marina & The Diamonds, Panjabi MC and Two Door Cinema Club), Molly (Smitten-Downes) was discovered (eventhough she actually had been in the music industry since 2008 and had one British Single Charts top-10 hit as a featuring artist for a DJ Sash! track, as well as winning a few music award prizes) and is representing UK with a song she co-wrote with a swedish songwriter: the indie electro-pop track “Children of the universe”. I’d say that’s indie electro-pop at its very best – it just ticks all my buttons (that graspy voice, those multi-layered arrangements, the “power to the people” hook, among other things…). Kudos to the social-triggering peace lyrics, one of the best in ESC 2014 (together with a few others like Norway). A favourite in both ESC fans polls and betting odds, the entry has apparently the important ingredients to make the british people proud this year – but will it live up to the expectations?
And finally the only finalist song that knows in which postion will be singing thus far is, of course, the host country…
It all started in the danish version of “X-Factor”: Basim was 15 years old when he first came to the public eye. After being voted out of the quarterfinals, he released a sucessfull debut album, from which two singles charted reasonably well. Now at age of 21, Basim is about to step on the ESC 2014 stage for his own country with a song he co-wrote with 3 other people: “Cliché love song”. Very much in the lines of a current Bruno Mars track: commercial and easy breezy in every aspect of its production. The lyrics might be quite childish, but the story of a guy trying to impress the different girl he loves does have a good hook that could connect the song’s age target (teenagers and young adults). Like in all ESC editions, the host country of the current edition does have a extra pressure in making their own audience proud by reaching a good placing, at least between 10th and… who knows, 1st. Some have done it pretty well, others… not so much: will this year’s host country’s entry be on the positive side list or on the negative side list after all the votes have been counted?
And that’s all concerning ESC 2014‘s songs, folks… I now wish good luck to all the participating countries and may the best song win this year’s Eurovision Song Contest edition