Wednesday, 20 October 2010

I wish I was stronger,I wish there was someone else to blame

One of my biggest sucesses in recent years is getting my parents to watch Eurovision a bit more seriously,particularly my mum who before 2007 pretty much never watched it.Anyway this year my dad was especially impressed with Romania's song and now he has Ovi's album.It's called This Gig Almost Got Me Killed,and though it's a bit 90s in parts,it's actually a pretty good album.My favourite song from it (apart from Playing With Fire of course) is Reason,and I just found this lovely live version of it from an NRK TV show.

Soundtrack of eternity,unendliche Sinfonie

Ooh I am liking this...



Not sure how long it will stay on youtube given the situation these days,so enjoy it while you can.This is the title track from Polarkreis' fourth album which will be out on 19th November apparently.It's not radically different from The Colour of Snow album (always a good thing),and although it's not as immediately catchy as Allein Allein or as dreamy as some,well MOST, of the other tracks on the album,I like it very much and look forward to hearing what else they've been up to in the last 2 years.Also loving the retro style video.Sehr cool.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Livin la vida russkiy

World's Most Beautiful Man Aleksei Vorobyov has gone all Ricky Martin on us.In musical terms that is.



No idea what Bam Bam is about,but to be honest he could be singing about wicker conservatory furniture for all I care.It's just a nice catchy tune with a...charming video.Lyosha isn't the squeaky clean perfect Russian boy he was in New Russian Kalinka anymore.No,he's got chavvy friends,gets off with girls in nightclub toilets and he breaks things.He'd fit in so well in Gillingham,I want to organise a visa for him.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Potential ESC entrants for Liechtenstein Part 1: Rääs

Yesterday I wondered aloud on this blog about the existence of the Liechtenstein music industry.Well it turns out there is one after all,and rather interesting it is too from what I've seen so far.So welcome to the first in a (probably very short) series of Potential ESC entrants for Liechtenstein.

Meet Rääs.



(from their website www.mundart.li)

How very reminiscent of Revolverheld's latest album cover (released a year after the picture of Rääs was taken).Who's copying who I wonder? :)



Anyway,Rääs are interesting because not only do they sing in German,they sing in the Liechtenstein dialect of German,which has more umlaut a's than you can shake a stick at.This alone would make them great candidates for ESC next year- there's not nearly enough dialects in the contest.

This is Bis du sälb (something like Be Yourself),and from what I can glean from the lyrics it's just about being responsible for sorting out your own problems.It contains good drums.



I take it that video is where the picture I posted comes from.Unless they were two separate occasions and there's just a lot more paint-flinging done in the Germanic countries than I ever realised.

Rock of course never does well at Eurovision,unless you're Turkish,in which case any old tat you send does well.So we wouldn't want Rääs to send something like that and end up doing a San Marino and bombing in their debut year.

So how about a good old ballad?



It's the paint again! Good Lord... Anyway,I think that song is lovely.But ballads are divisive at Eurovision.Maybe we want something a bit more mad?



Now I understand most of the words to this one.Balzers is the village in Liechtenstein where Rääs come from,and they're saying that they've been all round the world,but there's only one place they want to be.That being Balzers of course.This has Eurovision written all over it surely? It's a bit Ovo je Balkan but without the weird subplot about kissing,it's a better tune than Mama Corsica (a song that was also in a dialect AND finished 4th in 1993),and it isn't bland ethnopop like Hohrehronie.Sadly though,it is 3 years old so they wouldn't be able to use it next year.Maybe they can quickly knock one up about how great a capital city Vaduz is though and cobble together a Zauvijek Volim Te type video with lots of gratuitous shots of castles and flags waving in the breeze.

Come on 1FLTV,let me be your Eurovision consultant!

Friday, 30 July 2010

My mind is always on your side

I'm going to Belgium next week.Ostend for a day anyway.Now I know there are a few good CD shops in Ostend,so I've been checking out the Belgian charts to get some ideas of what to buy over there.

Firstly I have to say how much I like Ultrapop.be, the chart website.There are Flemish and Walloon versions of course,and the chart helpfully points out which artists are Belgian (16 out of 50 ain't bad),and there are youtube links to every video.Good to see Jessy Matador and Tom Dice's Eurovision songs still doing well :) But at 17,one place above Me and My Guitar is Come Home by Amatorski.It's all slow and teams rather old-fashioned music with a very British indie vocal that wouldn't be out of place in one of those old annoying Orange adverts.Nothing annoying about this though,it's rather lovely in fact.It's in two sections,in the style of two letters- one written by the girl to (I presume) her soldier boyfriend,and one from him in reply.



Apparantly Come Home is part of a 4 track album,but there are a few other Amatorski songs on youtube.This one,Fading is my favourite.Its dreamy sound (with a slightly sinister undertone? I'm not sure yet) is like anything Sigur Rós or any number of Scandinavian indie artists would produce,which is perfectly fine by me :)



On the other end of the scale (and at number 26 in the charts) is She's Gone by a chap called Nelson who I know absolutely nothing about yet,other than that I love his voice.



P.S- Following the exciting news that Liechtenstein are likely to make their Eurovision debut next year,I think it's about time I had a look into their music industry.Early indications show that they don't actually have one,but that can't be so.If anyone has any tips for me,I'd be very grateful.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Promising news...

Rumours abound on esctoday.com erm,today that Mika might write the UK's 2011 Eurovision entry.I can't stand the man's music myself,but I'm pretty certain he'd do a fantastic job.No boring ballads or 80s Butlins pop anyway.In fact I think it could be rather Eurotastic.Will be interesting to see how it pans out.

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Diaries at the ready

Eurovision 2011 will be the week beginning 9th May according to esctoday.com.I'd heard the rumours but I cannot believe that they're letting Lena represent them again.Satellite was a worthy winner this year,of that there is no doubt,and I'm glad Lena's getting publicity across Europe,but having her sing for Germany again next year is a ridiculous idea.I guess they're doing it because they don't want to stage the contest 2 years in a row (maybe she should sing My Lovely Horse just to make sure of it),but seriously.Germany has a massive wealth of musical talent so to just make the snap decision to have a singer whose "charm" actually wore off pretty much as soon as she won in Oslo is a pointless move which I'd be quite annoyed about if I was a German singer looking for the chance to publicise myself on the world's biggest musical stage.But what do I know.

I try to write some pretty lines

Song of the Day:
Michel van Dyke- She Comes at the End of the Day

Michel is the brains behind Ruben Cossani (who,incidentally are working on a new album- very exciting,I'll need to go back to Germany to buy it) and the writer of Echt's wonderful Du Trägst Keine Liebe in Dir amongst other things.Turns out he's done stuff in English too.I'm loving this one.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Momentous Day!



OK so I'm a few minutes late now,the momentous day was yesterday.Not only did I do my last ever exam (a French speaking exam supposed to be about French energy policy but for some reason that I'm grateful for,my teacher brought up Eurovision),not only did I present the last Sounds of Europe for the foreseeable future,but...it's Work Your Magic's 3rd birthday!

I know I hardly post on here anymore,but I hope that will change now I've got literally nothing to do for...well,the rest of my life as yet.Somehow nearly 10,000 people came and had a look at this blog in the past 12 months despite not much going on,and it's still linked to on esctoday.com which is a great honour and means a lot to me.Thanks to all you 10,000(ish) people,and thanks to everyone who listened to Sounds of Europe too.We had a lot of fun doing it,and actually we're entering ourselves for the Student Radio Awards on the advice of people both at our station and a certain Kevin Hughes,Capital FM's showbiz reporter.To win an award,or even just be shortlisted,would be brilliant,and a great way to end what's been a fab 2 years.

Me and Keira are quite naturally feeling a little bit sad about the end of our show,but we've bought teacakes to cheer us up,and we're watching the videos of the lovely Harel Skaat,which are the perfect Europop pick-me-up.If Harel's beautiful eyes and smile fail to make you smile a little bit,then you probably have a heart of stone.Or you just don't like Harel Skaat...

Friday, 4 June 2010

Peter Nalitch: An Apology

Currently working on my Eurovision review,it should be here by the end of the weekend.

But before I publish that,I feel I should write an overdue apology to the wonderful Peter Nalitch.I wrote off Lost and Forgotten after the Russian National Finals without listening to it properly.Like most of western Europe I failed to get the joke or even realise that there was one.Which is a bit strange for someone who loves the Russian sense of humour as much as I do.In my defence I didn't listen to it all the way through before I wrote my post,and I didn't see the video either.Once I had actually seen and heard it properly at the semi final though,I loved it,and am glad it got into the final in a year where Eastern Europe was a bit too underrepresented for my liking.I was also a bit disappointed that Russia has such a great music scene that they chose not to take it too seriously this year.But actually that's something I like about Russia,they don't care what anyone else thinks,unlike certain other countries at Eurovison.(Naming no names,there's a particular Scandinavian country who faffs around every year trying to come up with something they think everyone in Europe will love,even going to the pretentious extent of using international juries at the national final resulting most years in an embarassing flop...)

Whether Russian humour is your thing or not though,the audience at the Telenor shouldn't have booed every time Russia got points.I know this isn't a new thing,and I don't think Peter really cared,but it annoys me that there's so much anti-Russian feeling at Eurovision.As the great philosopher Michael von der Heide once said- "it's not war,it's just the Eurovision Song Contest" :)

Anyway,here's the song that made Peter famous.The Bahamas line gets me every time.

Monday, 31 May 2010

Still I'll love you forever

Well done to Tom last night getting Flanders' best result ever at Eurovision.Must admit I didn't get the fuss during the semis,and I still think Me and My Guitar is quite forgettable,but by Christ he's adorable isn't he?! The way he waved and said bye at the end was like something off of the Father Ted Eurovision special.The song might grow on me yet.I really don't like the lyrics (some of them anyway),but the first half is rather Teitur-like.Anyway,I've just familiarised myself with his album,Teardrops.A few songs have stood out immediately as ones I don't think I'll ever like,but this one is the complete opposite.It's quite atmospheric and it's called Forbidden Love.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Happy Eurovision Day!



Happy Eurovision Day to all readers of Work Your Magic and Parlez-Vous Europop.Earlier on Twitter,@FannyPeculiar said the night before Eurovision is like Gay Christmas Eve.Although I'm a straight girl,I have to agree.This year is my 18th ESC,that I can remember anyway.I'm sure I watched it before I was 6,I just probably fell asleep halfway through or something.It was my dad who got me interested in the contest,and funnily enough it's now him who falls asleep halfway through.

Silly as it sounds,Eurovision is more of an event to me than Christmas,and probably my birthday too.It's probably quite similar actually,every year you get something you don't particularly want (*cough* Greece *cough*),and it's always a bit sad at the end when you have to wait another whole year for the next one.

I remember having a thing for this song from 1993,and having the chorus in my head for ages afterwards...



I remember going to school the weekend after Secret Garden won with Nocturne in 1995 and excitedly telling my teacher that I was really happy Norway won because that was mine and my dad's favourite.Of course,she didn't care in the slightest.And I remember Tanel winning in 2001 (that night was also the one and only time in my life I've ever been stung by a wasp),and getting a major 14-year-olds crush on him leading to lots of pictures of him on my walls,the recording of Estonia Dreams of Eurovision (I still have the video tape!) and texting an Estonian website to get Unistus as my ringtone.

They might not be your average childhood memories (then again,my first memory of life in general was seeing the Berlin Wall come down on the news...),but Eurovision has been a constant that's always there and has been a part of me for a long time.And long may it continue!

Friday, 28 May 2010

Who cares about Sweden?

I don't understand this media frenzy about Sweden not qualifiying.Sure this might be the first time in 30 odd years that they're not in the final,but that's what happens when you send crap.I'm no fan of schlager whatsoever so it's refreshing of the Swedes to try something different,but this something different was duller than ditchwater in the dullest ditch in Dullsland and so it was rightfully knocked out last night.The music and the lyrics didn't match (the words suggested it was an uplifting song,but non-English speakers would never have guessed this in a million years),Anna was annoying and the song just never went anywhere from the moment it started to the second it ended.

Sweden would do well to remember that though they may spend millions on the most pointless,drawn-out national final in Europe,nobody is guaranteed a place in the final*.If the European media should be commiserating anyone,it should be Femminem and Michael von der Heide,who put in two of the best performances of the night,vocally and visually,and both of whom deserve to be in the final so much more than certain other qualifiers whose names I won't mention.

While we're on the subject of last night,congratulations to Jon Lillygreen,whose qualification was one of yesterday's pleasant surprises and whose song is (to me at least) the best of the guitar-based pop this year.


* Unless you're Greece or Turkey of course.Then you can send whatever tat you want.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Delayed thoughts on Eurovision

(All video links in this post are to rehearsal videos,so if you want to remain in suspense until the big day,don't look!)

I'm still undecided on who I want to win,there are actually tons of songs that I like this year,with no one in particular standing out.Harel's song has really grown on me now I've seen the rehearsals- his voice is faultless,and it's such a simple performance that it deserves to do well.Also,you can't ignore the fact that,visually,he is perfection itself,and his backing singers aren't too far off either :) Still loving Denmark's song too,though the recorded version is much better than the live version.Feminnem are amazing for Croatia,watching the rehearsal gave me goosebumps the other day.Though they have got a bit of a stage performance going on,it doesn't detract from their brilliant voices and a song which is powerful and has great lyrics.Estonia are also wonderful (love Robin's Renars-esque dancing) and I can't wait to hear what Malcolm Lincoln's new album sounds like.And then there's these guys...



That's my new desktop picture,it never fails to make me smile.Inculto,bless them,have done so much work to promote themselves all over Europe (see their youtube channel for details) and their song is great in so many ways that it will be a shame if they don't qualify.Same for Switzerland,whose stage setup and backing singers are possibly the best in the competition.Michael's voice is very sexy indeed,which I think should always count for something in Eurovision :)

I hope an Azeri win isn't a foregone conclusion.Though I'm glad Safura has done away with the horrible nasal voice thing,the song is still dull,with an annoying,predictable chorus.And the whole steps thing is reminiscent of Dima's ladder from 08.It's pointless and just makes everything look awkward.Drip Drop probably is in the best 15 songs this year,and I normally support Azerbaijan,which I still do really- I'd love to see the contest taken to Central Asia in the near future.But just not this year.There are too many other,better songs in the competition.

As for the Big Four,I think this is the strongest set of songs they've had as a collective for a few years.Spain's performance is surely the cutest this year (I especially love the rag doll),and Daniel has a belter of a voice.Germany are of course still second favourites to win (wonder when the last time was that that happened?!)I still can't see it happening myself,but I love the song,and Lena is adorable.I wasn't sure how well the backing singers would work,but I've concluded they're very good.Poor old Jessy Matador seems to have had a bit of a hard time so far,what with all the negative criticism back in France where the consensus seemed to be that he wasn't right for Eurovision.Au contraire,I think he's just what Eurovision needs."Typically French" the song might not be,but after stuffy old Patricia Kaas last year,I think they made the right decision to lighten up a bit,but not be as quirky as previous years.I hope it does well,and I hope it follows say,Didrik or Harel in the running order,just for maximum effect.

Then of course there's us. We were supposed to do an interview with Josh for Sounds of Europe a few weeks ago,but due to his schedule changing blah blah blah,it didn't quite come about,and he just did a telephone interview with another show that his friend presents.This is probably just as well as we'd slagged off the song several times on the show before.I love Josh to bits,he seems like a really nice guy from all the interviews I've seen/heard,but the song is a bit pants.Especially the new version.But I was very impressed with the rehearsals,the Ani Lorak style white box things were a bit unexpected,but a million times better than what I was imagining.It won't set Europe on fire (that's Romania's job,hahahahahahahaha... :/) but I hope it won't do as badly as the bookies predict.Josh has got the granny vote safe already,surely?

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Teitur at the Purcell Room,Friday 26th March

Thank the Lord for Twitter.If it hadn't been for Twitter,I'd (probably) never have found out about Teitur's show at the Purcell Room at the Southbank Centre last night.Having seen him in Esbjerg,Denmark (a 3 and a half hour train trip from where I lived in Germany) just over a year ago,and neglecting to write about it,I couldn't pass up the chance to go and see him again at a venue I'm familiar with,half an hour away from where I live now.

This show was quite different to the one at Tobakken in Esbjerg.There,Teitur was accompanied by a band,whereas this time,he was all alone with his piano and guitar,apart from in a select few songs where he was joined by a string quartet).The first song was All My Mistakes from the second album Stay Under the Stars,which set the mood for the rest of the evening- lovely and chilled out.

The next few songs were from the forthcoming (as yet untitled) album,which will be released around September.Thanks to Twitter again,I already knew the lyrics to When I Had It All,and a few weeks ago on Sounds of Europe,I said I hoped he'd "cobble a tune together in time for the show".It was of course,much more than cobbled together,it was wonderful,though how it will sound on the CD is another matter.If this album is anything like The Singer,and there are lots of different instruments and sounds going on,it will sound completely different to the simple but effective piano-only version.To be honest though,Teitur's music for me has always (mostly) been all about the lyrics."It's hard to let go of what you thought you wanted,it's harder to hold on to dreams that are haunted" is my particular favourite line in that song.

Fly on the Wall,Feel Good,Waverly Place and Freight Train are also songs from the new album,my favourite being Freight Train.Teitur said that it always reminds him of his father,and it's all about taking chances and making the most of life.On a personal level,and at this stage of my own life,the lyrics felt very poignant,and I got...slightly emotional :) The fact that Freight Train was followed by an encore of I Was Just Thinking made it all the more emotional.I'm a single person,and have been for longer than I care to remember,so the words don't have any personal resonance for me anymore.But still,it's a special song for me,partly because it's the first Teitur song I heard,nearly 7 years ago.

There were lots of other songs from The Singer,including of course the title track,which is one of my favourites,not least because of the line "they just want to understand me,and I sing to be loved" and the end note,which gets me every time.This version was probably quite close to the one he played in Esbjerg,but wasn't as dramatic as my favourite version,this one from Danish TV show,the 11th hour.

Don't Let Me Fall in Love With You,We Still Drink the Same Water and Catherine the Waitress are other highlights from The Singer,and though I enjoyed them,they're definitely better when all the other instruments are involved.And arguably in the case of Water,when Olafur Arnalds and Ane Brun are involved :)

Great Balls of Fire was played quite early on,which I like much more than the original version.Played at a slower tempo,in a minor key,with a string quartet changes the feel of the song altogether.It's eerie,almost sinister,which are not feelings that usually come up in your average song...The string quartet were great in every song they played,and in particular made Josephine an unexpected highlight of the show,as it's never been a favourite of mine.

What has always been a favourite of mine however,is Louis Louis,so I was very happy when Teitur played it :)

The final song of the night was One and Only.A nice,mellow end to a nice,mellow evening,even though I could have stayed listened to him all night.

Though this show didn't quite have the magic of the one in Esbjerg two Octobers ago,Teitur is (to quote his own song Legendary Afterparty) "still my hero,if I ever had one."

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

ESC 2010 Review Part 3

Iceland: Hera Bjork- Je ne Sais Quoi

Hera’s song Someday from the Danish MGP last year was one of my favourite songs of the year for many reasons. This one is completely different, but I love it just as much, even though I do have the tendency to forget about it whenever anyone asks me what my favourite song of this year is :/ I adore Hera though, she’s completely fabulous and I would love to be able to belt out a tune like she does. IMHO Je ne Sais Quoi is approximately a million and three times better than last year’s Icelandic entry, which was only made bearable by the fact that Hera was doing backing vocals with good old Fridrik. Sadly it won’t do as well as Is It True, which is a travesty because this is exactly the sort of disco tune we all love. Probably.

Lyrics- “I am standing strong, I've overcome the sadness in my life” :)

Verdict- LOVE

***

FYROM : Gjoko Taneski ft Billy Zver and Pejcin- Jas ja imam Silata (I have the strength)

Just your typical Balkan rock song, which is good but in danger of being forgotten unless it has a good draw. That’s until the rapper appears and the massive guitar solo happens. The solo itself is massive I mean, not the guitar, although that could be quite a good gimmick. Anyway, I like these twists, and I hope the rest of Europe will too.

Lyrics- “It’s good to be free and alone” Amen to that

Verdict- LIKE VERY MUCH

***

Malta: Thea Garrett- My Dream


Sort it out Malta, ballads are all very well but Ira Losco was far more fun and interesting. Thea has a good voice, but as pop ballads go, this is more towards the Senhora do Mar end of the scale rather than the Il Faut du Temps end, ie- it’s boring. And the birdman is just terrifying.

Lyrics- “This is my dream, I want to make it really happen.” That is the generally the nature of dreams.

Verdict- DISLIKE VERY MUCH

***

Poland: Marcin Mroziński- Legenda

Someone on youtube says- “I LOVE the first 25 seconds, Then it's just a piece of crap”. I think I agree. Marcin clearly has an amazing voice that is capable of much better than this. After the massively dramatic intro, it just gets boring. And inserting bits that are in the same style as the intro at random intervals doesn’t let you get away with it. The backing singers sound a bit ropey and desperate, and the whole thing (for me anyway) just doesn’t work. With a different song, I think Marcin would be a force to be reckoned with, though that’s not to say I think Legenda will be a flop. I think it could be one of those that does surprisingly well without anyone understanding why. Ooh I’ve just heard the ending, it’s very abrupt. I quite like that.

Lyrics- “Lovely princess, I am here to save you, take your hand and tell me that you love me” Can’t you send Vorobyov to save me instead please?

Verdict- Great voice, wrong song. DISLIKE

Monday, 22 March 2010

Just imagine...

Cheeky old Belarus have gone and changed their song since I wrote about the last one.How naughty of them.Unlike the farcical Ukrainian selection issue that's still going on,this Belarussian change seems to have paid off.Butterflies may actually qualify for the final I think! It's a lovely ballad actually,OK it's a bit boring,but it's really pleasant,it's sort of like something from a Disney film,which are pretty universal,non? Major plus points of Butterflies include the Regina style drums throughout,the Drop and Surge into the final chorus,the guy (not the one who sings first) has a great voice. Major downside- I'm not convinced they're all great live singers.Other observations- The first guy who sings looks really good in a suit,the girl in the middle's dress is nice,the first line of the chorus sounds like a slowed down version of the first line in the chorus of Party for Love by Jari Sillanpää.



Verdict- LOVE :)

Miscellaneous Post #1

This is Peter Nalitch,Russia's Eurovision singer for this year,wearing a scarf.



I don't know if I've ever mentioned it,but I am a MASSIVE fan of Lost and Forgotten.Great song :)

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

ESC 2010 Review Part 3

Albania: Juliana Pasha- Nuk Mundem pa Ty (It’s All About You)

Not normally a fan of Albania, but this is pretty good. It’s catchy without being annoying. The chorus is repetitive but doesn’t get on my nerves, which is always a good sign. Juliana is a bit of a diva, and I do like her voice, but the whole thing is just a bit dated. I’d like it to get to the final but I don’t think it’s quite good enough. The Albanian lyrics don’t seem to be a million miles from the English version, and I don’t know which version she’ll perform on the night (a mixture, probably), but I think English is the way forward on this one.

Lyrics- “It’s all in the way you look at me, you’re driving me crazy”

Verdict- LIKE

***

Belarus: 3+2- Far Away

Insert “Far Away” based joke here. The Belarussian selection seemed to go on forever this year, limping towards this sorry result. No that’s not fair, listening to it for the second time now, it’s not as bad as I thought before. At least there’s a drop and surge, even if it isn’t followed by a key change. And one of the guys is quite cute. I think the main problem is something with the girls. The voices just don’t go together at all. It just feels like it should be a boyband song, like something Premier Minister would have done. But, the chorus IS very catchy.

Lyrics- “I’ll see a happy day, it’s far away but I will find it”

Verdict- LIKE? Not much, but maybe a bit

***

Belgium: Tom Dice- Me and My Guitar

Albania’s entry is called It’s All About You, this should really be called It’s All About Me. I don’t think Eurovision is the place for an autobiographical song, so I really don’t like the lyrics. They’re not even interesting autobiographical lyrics. But as far as the music is concerned, I’m loving it. It’s simple but effective, and although Eurovision purists wouldn’t agree, I love the idea of just a man with a guitar on stage. No gimmicks, no wind machine, no key change (!). Tom looks great too, he doesn’t look like a typical Eurovision singer, and I really like that. A whole contest of 42 singer/songwriters with a guitar or piano would be very tedious of course, but the odd entry like this is very refreshing, and I think it will work in Tom’s favour. I hope so anyway. The excellent Eurovision Windmachine doesn't agree though: [translation] "This dice has an extra side- one with a big fat zero on it". Harsh,but funny :)

Lyrics- “When darkness falls, then all of the stars will see just me and my guitar”

Verdict- LIKE. Would be Love if it wasn’t for the lyrics

***

Greece: Giorgios Alkeos and Friends- Opa


Ooh it’s like a big advert for Jamster. Seriously, how (and more importantly, why) do they make that ringtone sound? There are parts of this that I like, such as the singing, and the whole ethnic sound. At least it isn’t boring ethno-pop like Greece usually send, but still, I can’t say I’m a fan. Raquelita-Greek relations have been strained to the point of snapping in the past 6 months, so the less I say about Greek music, the better :)

Lyrics- Erm...”OPA!”

Verdict- MOSTLY DISLIKE

Monday, 15 March 2010

ESC 2010 Review Part 2

Moldova: Sunstroke Project and Olia Tira- Run Away

Once you get past the horrendous non-matching outfits, the saxophonist (!) and the spinning podium thingies, this is not a bad song at all. The voices are not all that great to say the least, but it’s not the type of song that requires brilliant singers. The backing, beepy...noise is frantic but it works, and actually, I love the saxophonist now I think about it. And the fact that the podiums are still spinning when the song ends.

Lyrics- “Let me breathe, let me leave, just run away from my mind”

Verdict- LIKE

***

Russia: Peter Nalitch Band- Lost and Forgotten

I’m just at a complete loss to describe or explain this one. Russia has one of the best pop scenes around, and even though most of the country’s top singers didn’t take part in the finals this year, they still had the fabulous Maya Showtime by Alexander Panayotov. I just...oh I don’t know. On the whole, songs from the ex-Soviet states this year are pretty poor. I don’t believe in political voting, but if this even qualifies from the semi, then alarm bells will ring. There are all sorts of odd noises in this song, some of which I’m not sure are intentional. As for the title, I was going to say it’s quite appropriate, but I’m pretty sure Peter’s efforts will certainly be remembered. If not for the reasons he’d like them to be.

Lyrics- “I’m looking at her photos, what should I do with them?” (Is it me or are there a lot of questions in ESC lyrics this year?)

Verdict- HATE. But above all, DISAPPOINTED

***

Serbia: Milan Stanković- Ovo je Balkan (This is the Balkans)

Milan appears to be the lovechild of September and either Dima Bikbaev or Sergey Zverev, which is a good start. It goes downhill from there though. Ovo je Balkan isn’t terrible, it’s just boring and forgettable. Saying that though, I do quite like the “hop hop hop, ovo je Balkan , come on” bits. And what’s with all the outfit changes? The national costumes made sense, they were fine. I don’t know anything about Milan, but I do like his voice, so would like to hear more from him, as long as it’s just normal pop songs, not tourist adverts for Belgrade.

Lyrics- “Hop, hop, hop, this is the Balkans, come on!”

Verdict- WHATEVER.

***

Slovakia: Kristina- Horehronie

It’s Ruslana-Lite. A child-friendly Ruslana with a lovely silky voice. I like this, it’s ethnic without being too...ethnic. The drums make it sound a bit more modern and contemporary, if ya know what I mean. It’s just generally very pleasant and I think it could do quite well. At least, I think it would have done in previous years, but there does seem to have been a shift in popular song style this year, it doesn’t quite fit in with the trend anymore. But we’ll see.

Lyrics- “I’m lying on the grass and dreaming, of what, I don’t even know”

Verdict- LIKE

Sunday, 14 March 2010

ESC 2010 Review Part 1

BiH: Vukašin Brajić- Munja i Grom (Thunder and Lightning)

ESCtoday.com describes this song as a “reflective, partly melancholic rock ballad with a meaningful message”. I’d go along with that. BiH were of course last year represented by the wonderful Regina, whose Bistra Voda won various awards after finishing in a respectful (and surprising) 9th place. Bistra Voda also happened to be my favourite song of last year’s contest, so for me, this year’s entrant had a lot to live up to. I don’t think he’s done it though. Munja i Grom is an OK song, but ultimately quite forgettable. I like the drama of it because it isn’t over the top. I like the backing singers- an apparently important criterion for me this year :) And I love the ending, which is so understated that it takes you by surprise. I’m not sure that it will get through to the final, but a good draw in the running order will definitely help.

Lyrics- “Rage remains and it doesn’t seem to me that we’re eachother’s better half anymore” (I love that line)

Verdict- LIKE

***

Estonia: Malcolm Lincoln- Siren

Malcolm, which is not actually his name, is very endearing, though I don’t quite know why. He’s definitely quite cute, but I think what I’m really liking is his Britpop voice, it’s all a bit Vaiko Eplik. Oh, whaddaya know, apparently his debut album is due to be released this spring by Vaiko Eplik’s record label. There’s a funny thing! Siren is a good song, very unconventional ESC but good all the same. The backing singing works very well, and the slow verses are complimented by the killer chorus. (The chorus is a dealbreaker in a good song for me). I also like the camera work, and the dancing, and the ending, and his scarf. Scarves are often also a dealbreaker for me :)

Lyrics- “I wasted years, I wasted time, trying to reach the stars”

Verdict- LOVE

***

Finland: Kuunkuiskajat- Työlki ellää (One can work for a living too)

It’s folky, it’s old-fashioned, I don’t like their voices, and there’s a massive accordion, but there’s something about this that I really like. I think it’s the handclaps and the backing singers. The multiple tempo changes are good too, an often overlooked feature. Oh, and the violin. I don’t know, there’s not really much else to say, it’s just an inexplicably good song. It isn’t as good as Waldo’s People from last year, but I don’t think it will suffer the same fate.

Lyrics- “What do I sing when I’m happy? What do I put on top of floating melodies?”

Verdict- LIKE

***

Latvia: Aisha- What For?

Oh dear, is this really the country that gave us Prata Vetra and Fomins & Kleins? (Look, I liked Fomins & Kleins,OK?) This is absolutely awful, although actually, the melody isn’t half bad. And as gimmicks go, I do like that dress. Since when has God been a Mr though? Surely he’d be a Sir at least.

Lyrics- “Why are the skies so blue and mountains high? What for is your love always passing by?”

Verdict- HATE

The WYM ESC 2010 Review

It's my favourite time of year, the build up to Eurovision.By Friday we'll know all the songs and the campaigns and promo tours will all be under way.Very exciting.Even more exciting is that Norway is being tipped as the winner already.I can't say I'd find this a complete tragedy.But anyway,I'll be reviewing all 39 songs here on Work Your Magic,which as you may have noticed hasn't seen much action in the past few months.I haven't given up completely,but due to too much work and not enough time,I think it will now become more of a "seasonal" thing,like rubbish Christmas jumpers,or Creme Eggs or fireworks.Only of course my season will be around February to May.Spring,I guess you could call it :)

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Your country needs a better song

Last night's recording of Your Country Needs You was good fun.Myself and Keira just went along to see Alexander Rybak really,who,incidentally was adorable.He seemed nothing like the arrogant little wotsit he sometimes comes across as.Oh,and his dancers were beautiful :) They played a bit of Eurovision music while they were setting up too,which included 3 repeats of Tornero! Eventually it was just me and Keira,and the two guys behind us singing along,which felt a bit odd.

The interim period between the pre-records and the live show was OK,we got given cartons of orange juice and KitKats.Of the 2 finger variety,not 4.

As for the live show,we were quite far back,near the stage entrance,so we didn't get to see much at all and had to watch it all on the screens above.But it was all good.Which can't really be said for the song.It's a shame,it has a lot of potential.The intro is great,I also love the ending,but it falls apart in the middle,which is kind of the important part :) We really wanted a key change,following a dramatic pause and quiet middle 8 (now known as a "drop and surge" in this house).We were hopeful too,but it just never happened,and I think that's the main problem.The song just doesn't go anywhere.And don't get me started on the lyrics...

I'm hoping it'll grow on me.I hated It's My Time last year,but came to love it.Well,that might be a bit of a strong word...I'm just not sure about this though.It has its electro-lite elements which seem to be a trend in this year's ESC,oh and a laser,but those are really its only redeeming features.As for Josh,well,whilst we were in the studio,he was the one I wanted to win.But listening back to all the performances last night (there was so much bass on Josh's version at the studio that it was a bit distorted and hard to judge),I think Alexis may have been robbed.But I do like Josh,he's really sweet,and the fact that he's a wooden dancer makes him all the more endearing to me,as I'm a wooden dancer too :)

It's been my biggest dream since I was about 14 to sing at Eurovision,so I'm really happy for him,it must be a great feeling.But sadly I just don't see us getting anywhere with this song,no matter who we chose to sing it.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

If you want it baby,push the button when you crave me

Look who's back with a new song...



And what a cool song it is too.Alarm is the first single from the yet-to-be-released (?) album Electric Touch,the name of which suggests to me at least that we're in for an album full of songs like this one.Which is no bad thing :)

Oh and look who else has got a new song...



I'm not so excited about this one.Or Dima's new lion hair come to that,but it's pleasant enough.The chorus is better than the verses,that's for sure,but the whole thing just seems to be a bit too chilled out for a single.Bit too chilled out for the Lady Gaga style video too.But we're not complaining,anything from Dima is always a welcome treat :)

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Don't you want me to do those things to you?

Oh Aleksei,you're so provocative *blushes*.

Quite excited about this new song from Mr Vorobyov...



Actually there's lots of musical things I'm excited about at the minute,mostly Eurovision based.If only I could find the time to write about them...Although while we're on the subject,how fab is this Eurovision attempt from Alexander Panayotov?



Russia's final is next Sunday,though I can't say I'll be watching this time around.No BiS,no Dima B,no Dima K,no Aleksei...Doesn't really seem worth it to me :)

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Ugh

Keep of Kalessin through to the second round of MGP.Really? NRK's stream is absolutely terrible for me tonight,so I wish they'd just get on with it instead of dragging it out and doing the talky bit and making them sing again.How many go through to the second round anyway? I'm starting to get a bit worried now.Of the three qualifiers so far,I only like Didrik,and even then I don't want him to win.Although he is rather dreamy,it must be said...

Sunday, 17 January 2010

I know I'm overreacting a bit,but....

I'm getting nervous about Norway's MGP now- there are lots of good songs in it,which puts more pressure on a1 next week.Of course I'd love to see them at Eurovision probably more than any of the others,but it is a very good competition this year.Venke got through to Siste Sjansen last night,and I think her song is definitely a grower.She's so cute,I think I love her a bit.

Thursday, 14 January 2010

I know you'll make it somehow

I mentioned Brandur Enni briefly yesterday in my little thing about the Danish MGP.I've got a bit of a Faroese thing going on at the minute- my plan was to go there this summer but now that isn't happening,but I do intend on applying to Tórshavn University to do their Summer Institute thing next year.Anyway,that's not the point at all.Basically,Brandur had a new song out last year which I missed,and I think there may be an album too...But the first single is called Sometimes Truth Needs a Lie,and I really like it.Though it is essentially a modern pop song,there are still elements (the strings,mostly) which are so typically Nordic.It's lovely and warming :) And I like the video too,I find desolate buildings interesting somehow.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Dansk Melodi Grand Prix

Oh how annoying it is when your Russian revision is interrupted by the announcement that Denmark's MGP contestants have been announced :) They are:

Bryan Rice - Breathing (wildcard)
Joakim Tranberg - All about a girl
MariaMatilde Band - Panik!
Simone - How will I know
Jens Marni - Gloria
Chanée & N'evergreen - In a moment like this
Kaya Brüel - Only tonight (wildcard)
Thomas Barsøe - Just like rain
Sukkerchok - Kæmper for kærlighed (wildcard)
Silas & Kat - Come come run away


Bryan Rice has a pleasant enough voice,and the songs that I've heard of his so far are pretty good.Especially No Promises,which was also covered by Shayne Ward apparantly.He's a bit easy-listening,radio-friendly though I think,so Breathing will have to be a bit special to get into ESC.

I don't really know anything about Joakim Tranberg,and there isn't much trace of him on youtube,apart from this.I'm not too fussed about that.But good old Ronan Keating is writing his MGP song,so I don't think it will sound anything like that.

MariaMatilde Band are quite new.They're very pretty and their music seems to be the sort of electronic stuff that's inexplicably popular over here nowadays.Though it's all in Danish,so it's a bit more interesting.I quite like them I think,they'd be quite refreshing at ESC.

Simone Egeriis is an X Factor-type winner and she's very 90s.Normally I would say that's a very good thing,but I'm not sure in this case.She's been around for 5 years now,and she's only 18,so a lot of her music is a bit...well,you can decide.This is That's When You Know,which is 90s pop with the odd hint of schlager in it.

Jens Marni is from the Faroe Islands,which is very exciting.Hopefully he'll do better than Brandur,the other Faroese singer who entered Melodifestivalen a few years ago.I'm definitely liking his music so far from what I've heard,but it isn't very Eurovision.His song is written by the guy from Johnny Deluxe (who sang Sindssyg in last year's MGP),so I can't wait to hear what it sounds like.Hopefully it'll have a nice big chorus like I Don't Wanna Wait No More.

More about the others later,but I really have to do some work now :)

Monday, 11 January 2010

Summer nights, forgotten dreams

It's taken me 3 listens to decide,but I'm definitely liking Switzerland's ESC entry.After the weather-induced depression of the last few weeks,there's no better tonic than the start of a new Eurovision season.Sadly I can't see this one reaching the final,but it is a good tune,and I love the idea of "it's raining gold".Anything but more snow.