Before the article, a disclaimer – the below editorial is tongue-in-cheek and written from the personal opinion of the author, and does not necessarily represent the views of ESC United as an outlet, its contributors or anyone associated with Eurovision.
As we wind down the calendar year and prepare for the release of ESC Radio’s ESC 250 list, I’ve been thinking a lot about what my personal 250 list would look like. Despite only being a fan for 5 years, I’ve listened to nearly all of the Eurovision entries at least once, currently work on a podcast where we review past contests and current happenings, and of course work for ESCUnited. All this to say, I’ve done a lot of my homework on the 1,500+ songs that make up the Eurovision playbook. Every few days I will release a new chunk on my list, leading up to the grand reveal of ESC Radio’s ESC 250 on December 31st, 2019.
So enough talking, let’s dive back in shall we?
#99 – Sweet Dreams – I’m Never Giving Up (United Kingdom, 1983)
Here’s the sad thing about 1983, I never remember that it happened. Most of the entries from this year were lukewarm at best, but this song was a big hit. So much so that I often played this during my job search that lasted for 8 months and was full of disappointments. It’s funny to think that this song was ahead of its time in terms of utilizing a full blown staging, but I’m not complaining!
#98 – Michael Schulte – You Let Me Walk Alone (Germany, 2018)
The most impactful song of the 2018 season with the best live staging, and the one that made my boss cry. This song is a masterpiece and was the best song Germany has sent since Lena’s “Taken By a Stranger” in 2011, and we all know when you are emotionally connected to a song you’re more likely to love it. I’m not fond of the lyrics LED display, but hey at least it wasn’t a sing-a-long!
#97 – Serhat – Say Na Na Na (San Marino, 2019)
Okay, so let me start off by saying the live performance of this song leaves a LOT to be desired, because Serhat just looks like a dad singing on stage at his child’s birthday party (read as: Awkward). That said, the studio version of this song is a major jam and worthy of some love. I do wonder why does San Marino appear to be stuck in the 80’s musically?
#96 – Laura Tesoro – What’s The Pressure (Belgium, 2016)
So I’ve been talking a lot about the great Belgian entries from the 2010’s for the last 3 articles, and this is THE best song they’ve sent in this decade. Like hands down, no contest. This song is a fresh and fun take on that funk vibe, and Laura took on the hardest part of the contest without fear: she opened the show. Honestly, this song is my pump-up jam.
#95 – Dilara Kazimova – Start A Fire (Azerbaijan, 2014)
Good lord, this song really topped the spectacle that was 2013. Dilara’s voice in this song is piercing and perfect for this track, and they really nailed it on the staging, dress, the whole package. It was the most simplistic song in the entire year and filled with beauty, but the impact just wasn’t felt among the juries and televoters for some bizarre reason. Shame on them for not recognizing true talent.
#94 – Jade Ewen – It’s My Time (United Kingdom, 2009)
There are a few weird things about this entry, from the staging, to Andrew Lloyd Weber, and the microphone bump midway through, but there are also redeeming qualities. This is a good song, and was one of the best attempts from the UK in the late 2000’s. While she didn’t win the contest, Jade would go one to have a successful career in West End, so I don’t think she minded that too much.
#93 – Sandra Kim – J’amie La Vie (Belgium, 1986)
Clearly, this song is not the best Belgian entry from this decade. However, this is the best Belgian entry of all time and that was shown by it’s win. Also if you haven’t heard Sandra perfrom this song 30 years later, then you need to go check it out. This entry was delightful, exciting, and has stood the test of time for both myself and Eurovision fans alike. And she will forever be the youngest winner of the contest!
#92 – Urban Symphony – Rändajad (Estonia, 2009)
My goodness, this is such a great entry. It has extreme drama with the track and orchestra, a catchy melody, and most importantly: it’s in Estonian. Sandra’s voice is also just like butter, she could sing anything and I’d listen to it a thousand times. It’s a much better song than the actual winner of 2009… (oops).
#91 – Michael Ball – One Step Out Of Time (United Kingdom, 1992)
One word for this song: WOW. While I always know that this song came from the 90’s of Eurovision, it’s a song that you can listen to at any moment and still smile or enjoy it. If I didn’t love “Why Me” so much this entry would be much higher on my list. This song was insanely modern compared to some of the other entries that year, and that’s why it’s practically immortal.
#90 – Nicole – Ein Bisschen Frieden (Germany, 1982)
A happy peaceful song to break up the monotonous pop songs lately. This song is so pure and beautiful, and sits as my favorite winning song from Germany. There’s something about Nicole’s voice in this song that is just so calming and relaxing, and I often put this on when I just need a moment to re-center myself.
#89 – Farid Mammadov – Hold Me (Azerbaijan, 2013)
This song was an epic stage show, and showed us something that we had never seen on stage before. The live performance kind of lacks the same sense of gravity (not to be confused with Zlata’s song of the same title) that the studio version carries with it. It’s such a miniscule different, but I think the studio mix is just more entertaining for me to listen to. That aside, it’s still an amazing song and deserves to be on the list.
#88 – Bobbysocks – La Det Swinge (Norway, 1995)
This song never gets old, and it’s a song that gets you moving. It’s also a song that most Eurovision fans know at least the chorus of, if not most of the verses. These girls really sold this song and while I’m not sure it’s my winner from 1985, I’m not mad at the result.
#87 – Anne-Marie David – Tu Te Reconnaîtras (Luxembourg, 1973)
If you can’t tell, the list is pushing into winner’s territory now. When I ran the ESCUnited Bracket Challenge this summer, this song made it extremely far in the game and rightfully so, it’s a great entry. Anne-Marie is also capable of selling this song completely, and every time I hear it I want to get my phone out and sway it back and forth.
#86 – Minus One – Alter Ego (Cyprus, 2016)
In the event that you also couldn’t tell, the 2016 contest is my favorite modern edition of the contest. Minus One is such a wonderful band, and them having this song contest is such a great blessing because it’s SO good. If you haven’t been listening to some of their other music, you’re truly missing out. What I love most about this track is that it’s a break from the Cypriot dance tracks. It was a much needed buffer, and honestly I don’t understand how this placed 21st. The voting was clearly anti-bands for that year.
#85 – Måns Zelmerlöw – Heroes (Sweden, 2015)
Oh boy, the winner that launched a thousand screen projection music-video like stagings! “Heroes” was a deserved winner for 2015 (among MANY songs) and it’s an even better radio hit. Honestly, it’s a catchy dance track, complete with Måns’ voice and a stellar track. This song greatly impacted the field for 2016, and I think that’s why it was such a strong year of pop/dance tracks.
Well that’s it for this installment of the Eurovision 250 list. Tune back in tomorrow as I reveal songs #70-84 on my list!
What do #YOU think of my picks? Is there something you disagree with? Let us know in the comments, social media, or our forum!