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 :)