I 100% agree on #92 to #90 Love your notes and gifs too
-Hersi was underrated, her voice is an acquired taste, but that's what makes it so good (Albanians and their out-of-this-world vocalists always astound me). I loved the song, even though the revamp fell short of the original version: lots of interesting elements to notice there, it's true the structure seems to be very bizarre, but it somehow works
-"Sebi" is "Sebi" so no comment from me
-Iriao ranked last by the juries was like Conan this year to me: unbelievable coming from people who should be more knowledgeable about music than any Tom, Dick or Harry. 'Tis a difficult piece to get into, but that's why I have so much respect for Georgia. They went a different route in recent years, and that's great to hear some Georgian finally.
Hersi i mean, she's hopeless. "One last night's" anger is too quirky and weird and non-conformist to ever do well in Eurovision, but bless that it exists.
ZALAGASPER ETHEREAL PRINCE AND PRINCESS OF MY HEART. Finally a romance I can INVEST in ps: "It's boring questions like this that makes us want to go home " is the best answer anyone has given at an ESC press conference and deserves a rise by about ~90 spots by itself.
The most notable thing about Iriao is that the lead guy looks like a mii.
- i do prefer albania now that they have decided to tell the juries to eat it and gag and have done away with wild revamps and translations. hersi gradually shed away everything that made her initial FiK win great, from original to revamp and from the lowkey hilarious music video to the stage, and by eurovision she was but a ill-tattooed husk of herself, sadly.
- her voice really is one of the very few times i actually paid attention to someone's voice in a "actually this sounds interesting irrespective of the song" way, though. i wish she would win FiK again. new, confident albania would treat her right.
- sebi could be like 17 minutes long and i'd be immersed in it the entire way through. i live for zala and gasper just being there for each other and nobody else. one of my favourite performances of the entire decade. my raiven mourning lasted like 7 minutes maybe, and i think kaos is BRILLIANT.
- the only thing that they changed for the worse in the staging was gasper's shirt. that damn oversized white shirt is good for a night of a sleep, not a night of eurovision. that's the kind of thing the barbara dex award used to exist for before it was hijacked by people who only know how to point and laugh like a toddler. he's too good looking for that. if i were zala, i would have never allowed it.
- also we need to talk about their insta? zala kralj is living my dream life https://www.instagram.com/p/By3Co3OAx1J/
- omg someone who actually likes ethno jazz band iriao more than i do!!!!!!
- i would actually like for you (ain't nobody got time for "sheni gulistvis", that's too many consonants for my lusophone brain) a lot more as an eurovision entry if it had, like... staging? in any capacity? they were just there and eurovision is an audiovisual experience and so my ethno jazz band iriao fandom was stunted. i still like the song quite a bit though. i think it's darling.
- also, i always refer to them as ethno jazz band iriao in full, out of RESPECT. and yes, it stops feeling like a real sentence quick, but i don't care.
- don't be ashamed of sucking at videogames!! most people do, and sometimes it's the whole point. for you does feel like it would be buried as the theme of some mid-game city of an early-mid 00s final fantasy game.
#89: Azerbaijan 2014 - Dilara Kazimova - Start a Fire
I HATE what the beginning of this decade offered from Azerbaijan.[SUP]1[/SUP] I just find so much of the stuff they presented to the world to be dull as dishwater, amplified by how they could walk out there with a fucking musical diaper[SUP]2[/SUP] and Europe would be like, “Azerbaijannnnn, your song is BEAUTIFUL.” So the first time I heard “Start a Fire,” I went in a little bit skeptical. And it’s not like the start of the song did much to change my mind when I first heard it.
But I distinctly remember the moment when “Start a Fire” won me over. It’s when the balaban comes in. I shiver every time I hear it and was shocked that Azerbaijan were delivering something so distinct, so heavy, so complex. As it grows throughout the song, I ultimately find myself very much drawn to the entry’s composition and how it unfolds. It finds the perfect moments to inject a little bit of drama into what could otherwise have been a very safe-sounding composition.
It’s quite a disappointment that the final performance is a mini-trainwreck. Because in the semi, Dilara (and/especially the cameraman) delivered magic. The song’s best moments were further emphasized - that balaban bit is even more impactful with the live sound mix, and Dilara’s vocal is incredibly fragile. The diction is among this entry’s most frequent complaints, but when put in the right context, like the semi performance, it comes off very sincere to me. I may not fully know what she’s singing about unless I listen really carefully,[SUP]3[/SUP] but I can tell that she feels and means it very deeply. I also do really love how they staged it; the shots of the trapeze artist circling Dilara are QUITE beautiful.
Absolutely staggering camerawork here.
I choose "camerawork" very carefully.[SUP]4[/SUP]
While I would’ve put the song quite a bit higher than it ended up, it was missing the sleekness which kept Azerbaijan at the very top of the board for the first half of the decade. But that’s what draws me to the song so much. It showed me that Azerbaijan have quite a bit of potential when they aren’t afraid to open up a bit.
[SUP]1[/SUP] With one exception, and when “Start a Fire” came around, I wasn’t a fan of Sabina, either. Her song’s been a serious years-later grower.
[SUP]3[/SUP] Hold your cracks about how she might not either.
[SUP]4[/SUP] I had to cringe through my senior prom photos to find that drag for you all on Facebook. I hope you appreciate it.
So what on earth am I to do with an entry like this?
Well, it’s been four long years since I said that, and I’ve made my mind up, and I’ve made my mind up in the direction of “Suus is unbelievable.” I choose that word very carefully because the hardest thing to explain about “Suus” for me is that it actually happened. Who would’ve thought that anyone could come up with everything “Suus” is?
I won’t go into too much detail about what “Suus” is because what is the point. Rona came, she opened herself in a way and to an extent rarely seen on the Eurovision stage, she opened her vocal chords in a way and to an extent rarely seen on the Eurovision stage, and she went, her impact on the Eurovisions which followed or relation to the Eurovisions which preceded almost null.[SUP]5[/SUP]
So unsettling. So personal. So not a state I feel like I should be allowed to see someone in. So Rona.
The oddest thing about “Suus” might just be that there’s a fairly conventional structure and only a few small changes from a fairly conventional melody lying beneath it all. Maybe this is why it was allowed to happen and get to the Eurovision stage, and maybe it’s why the song actually rocketed its way up the leaderboard despite being…well, despite being “Suus.”
I’d also like to spend some of this time talking about [MENTION=9441]RainyWoods[/MENTION], whose passion for this entry is incredibly contagious and persuasive. Seriously, get him going on this song sometime. It is the kind of sight to behold that will warm you to it, and Rona has him to thank in part for giving me a reason to make the effort. He more than anything is how “Suus” truly revealed its magic to me. It is certainly not the most listened-to entry I have on this countdown or the easiest to sit through, but it is one of the most daring and one whose pathos I wholeheartedly embrace.
[SUP]5[/SUP] The forum’s brief “1944 the next Suus” meme making me look like an absolute CLOWN, but it took so long for any impact to reveal itself that I stand by what I said.
#87: Albania 2015 - Elhaida Dani - I'm Alive
I am going to get this disclaimer out of the way right now before we get going: this is the worst-performed song on the list and possibly of the decade.[SUP]6[/SUP] Everything which makes this song magic in studio either disappeared or revealed itself as a glaring flaw when the live performance happened. It would be ~40th on my list with a better performance. Let’s talk about why.
When you clearly didn't think "jazz hands" as an idea through.
“I’m Alive” starts out pleasant. The melody just sounds really nice, and Elhaida’s heavy vocal which seems to linger on every note for just that little bit too long draws me in even further. I was a BIG fan of Elhaida herself in 2015,[SUP]7[/SUP] and in studio, the depth of her vocal showcases why I was drawn to her in the first place. I’m particularly fond of how she manages to turn “glass” into a \geq3 syllable word (although it is maybe worth noting that this is one of the many things which translated incredibly poorly to the live performance).
Once we get to the final chorus, though, “I’m Alive” is absolutely unstoppable. Elhaida completely abandons any sense of restraint, and in studio, she pulls it off incredibly well. Studio Elhaida pours every bit of herself in every note, and she’s matched at every turn by a driving rhythm that I find simply irresistible. The climactic vocal run lives up to every bit of the hype the previous 2 minutes-ish creates and, unlike a “glory note” can sometimes, very much justifies its place within the song. The buildup to that segment may not necessarily be innovative, but it also feels incredibly motivated. Every second of “I’m Alive” is better than what came before it. She rewards me for sticking with it; you’ll find “rewarded patience” is a bit of a theme on the list overall.
Also, while we’re on the topic of Albania’s 2015 foibles, LOL at how much I enjoyed “Diell” at the time and at me being slightly wistful it got tossed aside. Where is your dignity, 2015 Calvin?
[SUP]6[/SUP] Although, funny story: I was in the arena and left it thinking she’d slayed. I remember just going absolutely nuts when she “hit” the big note near the end and only ascertained how bad it was when I watched the video on YouTube afterward.
[SUP]7[/SUP] See end of review for why this was maybe ill-advised.
"Start A Fire" is amazing, but it's a pity that the staging wasn't batter. I don't really mind the trapeze artist but I definitely think they could've staged it other ways! :?
And did you notice that during rehearsals, Dilara's dress was lighted up and it looked beautiful but then they cut it for the semi-performance? I never understood why they did it. Also I wasn't really fond of her hair during the semi- or final performance, looked much better in the rehearsals imo
It looked much better here! The hair, the dress, the colours of the crystals and I'd much more prefer the backdrop for the last 30 seconds than the backdrop they went for in the semi and final. I think this was the entry that got me "hooked" on Eurovison
Justice for "Start A Fire", I totally agree with Calvin's comment. Indeed Dilara didn't really sing that well in the grand final. Also, she was unlucky to perform so early - which is tricky for a slow song - and everyone forgot about her eventually. Nonetheless, it remains one of my favourite Azerbaijani entries: the composition was exquisite and the presentation was tasteful. I wish they went for less manufactured efforts more often (and while we're at it: where Azerbaijani language at? ).
"Suus" and Rona gave me life back in 2012 and the chills are still intact. I suppose Rainy and I share the same fascination and respect for this improbable act that made history for Albania. Easily one of my favourite Eurovision entries ever (with Telemóveis, Nocturne, Net Als Toen and a few others): so raw, emotional and gripping.
Regarding "I'm Alive", the tea was served hot. Elhaida vocally messed up every single performance she did in the contest imo, we know she can sing (I mean she wouldn't have been able to cover "Suus" otherwise), so I assume stress and fatigue got the best of her at the wrong time. Her voice sounded quite strained, shaky and unreliable during both the semi final and the final. Back in 2015, I discovered the song live and I didn't get why people were raving about that messy ass effort... Then I listened to the studio version and literally believed it was a different song 'tis the moment when I saw the beauty of the composition as it should have been experienced. To sum up, I liked "I'm Alive" a lot, but the live performances were not good at all to me, it was like night and day. I'm surprised Elhaida did so well with the televoters with that vocal delivery actually, the juries murdered her and sadly I think it was kind of deserved based on that.
I'm alive is fine I guess but I disagree with Realest; Elhaida sounded kind of bad to me (though mostly in the semifinal). The song itself is an academic vocal exercise though, which is a subcategory of Avant Garde I don't care much about at all.
"Start a fire" and "Suus" are both dire. "Start a fire" is miserable and lifeless and was really bad live (good lord Dilara's diction was SO poor for a song this lyric-heavy) and worst of all, it fucking QUALIFIED, murdering sweet Boris' Angels Suzy and Aarzemnieki which is UNACCEPTABLE!!
As for "Suus"... there are several things about it which are *obnoxiously* complacent and grind my gears (starting with the pretentious Latinized title, the revolting aesthetic, the fake sobbing) and this comes entirely independently from Craterface's voice which I absolutely HATE. She FAILED both high notes in the grand final, harrassing our eardrums with the sound you hear when forget put your water kettle off the heat.
However, over the years I've evolved from mostly hating "Suus" to mostly hating the "Suus" fanboys (which doesn't include you because you don't have it THAT high on your list) who claim it's a moving piece of 'art' when in reallity it's just really jarring and smug, and only did well because 2012 is a barren wasteland with very little options. I'm usually ALL FOR avant garde in ESC, but "Suus" ain't one for me.
-- dilara isn't one and start a fire would be better if she was. they surgically removed all personality she clearly had pre-show from her, and then gave her a song that was equally devoid of personality. one unique instrument does not a song make for me, and start a fire is as empty as when the music dies, but at least not downright scarily performed as that one. god, sabina is nightmare fuel to me. azerbaijan only sits with me again starting in 2015.
-- i would never open facebook for write-up material though, so i appreciate your effort.
-- suus, on the other hand, i completely understand why it is beloved and it deserves all the praise it gets. it IS unique, it IS well performed, she DID spill out all of her insides like some sort of sea cucumber (is that why she looked like that on stage?), and that deserves a bunch of fans. but shit activates my fight or flight response so i absolutely cannot, tough luck, rona. =(
-- i must say the comparison rainy made between suus and proud this season made me think about trying to quash that visceral reaction someday because i do love proud.
-- ELHAIDA i am alive is great and i will now start some controversy and say i don't even understand why people say it's so terribly performed? it doesn't sound that terrible to me, not in the semifinal and not in the final. i have functioning ears, i promise.
-- either way she was absolutely shanked by the juries in the final because they vote on the jury final performance which we didn't see. she deserved better. you can't change my mind!!
-- also, she did one of my favourite things in the entire eurovision world, which is to look distinctly different in both performances. even if it's mostly just her hair, i live for some evidence that i am not watching the same thing all over again without it being because of a mistake. ebu should allow people who change their outfits for the final if they want, tbh. it improves our experience!