Eurovision once again is soon to grace our screens and this year, the Eurovision Song Contest is being held in Kyiv, the capital city of Ukraine after the victory of Jamala with the song ‘1944’ last year in Stockholm, Sweden. This year, 42 countries will be taking to the stage in Kyiv and as with last year, I’ve listened to all 42 songs and will be writing my reviews of them. I have been following the season since January when the first songs were released and these reviews have been written just before the first rehearsals.
In this first edition, I’m going to talk about the 5 songs which were, at one point, in my top 10. The standard of the songs this year is very high and I found myself switching my top 10 so frequently. Check out the songs in my 10th – 6th place and my top 5!
15. Romania – Ilinca ft Alex Florea, Yodel It!, Score: 9/10
Romania’s return to the competition features a combination rap, rock, pop and also just a sprinkle of yodelling and it shouldn’t work yet it just does. It’s so crazy and so Eurovision that I think a lot of people will love it for this reason but as a song, it’s catchy and very memorable. This was 9th in my top 10 and fell out due to getting tired of the song on repeat listens but suddenly my enjoyment of this song was reinvigorated with the release of the music video.
14. Iceland – Svala, Paper, Score: 9/10
Svala brings another electronic song to the contest, fusing together a brief rap section, strong vocals with an even stronger metaphor. The music video shows that Svala is edgy and powerful and I still cannot believe that Svala is 40! This reached as high as 5th place at one point in the season but dropped due to my one complaint about this which is that while Svala has her own performance style, how she performed at the national final didn’t do the song justice whatsoever and I expected that Svala wouldn’t win. It all felt too dark and mysterious and the outfit was too much. This shouldn’t be hard to fix when the semi-final rolls around.
13. Macedonia – Jana Burčeska, Dance Alone, Score: 9/10
This is leagues ahead of what Macedonia has sent in recent years, especially when you consider that last year, everyone thought that Kaliopi was singing about doughnuts! The first lines of the chorus are so catchy and they were stuck in my head for days after my first listen. Jana’s uptempo dance song is one of the best produced in this year’s 42; it’s slick and it also contains a very strong message and story (when you actually listen to it and aren’t dancing alone) and the music video is one of the best this year. This was 8th in my top 10 until the pre-party performances which were pretty lacklustre to be honest. Hopefully this will get Macedonia back into the final.
12. Malta – Claudia Faniello, Breathlessly, Score: 9.1/10
I love the classic strong and stirring ballad that Malta has delivered this year. Claudia absolutely nails the live vocal and delivers emotion that give me chills every time I watch her national final performance. The pace of the first half of the song is slow and the simple melody allows Claudia to be the main focus. After the first chorus, the pace lifts as does the atmosphere and I hope a powerful atmosphere is created on stage. Breathlessly really does take my breath away.
11. Italy – Francesco Gabbani, Occidentali’s Karma, Score: 9.3/10
Italy is the bookies’ favourite to win Eurovision this year and I see why; the music video has reached 100 million views and the song is pretty catchy and memorable helped by the dancing gorilla ‘gimmick’. The song mocks how Westerners have taken Eastern concepts and made them their own. This strong message, which will be distant to most Eurovision viewers, is combined with a modern sound and it’s easy to sing along with the “Namaste, ale” sections. Everyone in the arena will be dancing along with Francesco and while this isn’t my personal winner, I’d be very happy to see this win. This dropped just out of my top 10 due to how the longer version of this song was cut down.
Have you had a listen to these 5 songs? What do you think of them? Are you going to yodel it like Ilinca and Alex Florea, put down the papers and listen to Svala or dance along to Jana, does Claudia leave you breathless and do you think Italy could win Eurovision? Let me know!
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