Forgive me in advance, because this posting will be very animated. Maybe it is because I had a rough week at work. Maybe it is because I ran a marathon last week and have all this pent up energy just waiting to be release. Or maybe it’s just because that’s just how I roll. Either way, if you ever thought you would see an article that puts twerking, bad 70s musicals, and your parents into one article, well here’s my attempt.
This spring, I found myself addicted to one Eurovision song in particular. I loved absolutely everything about it. It was catchy. It had a fun video that I could watch over and over and over. And it made me want to dance like I was that 18 year old gay boy again dancing shirtless at the club with questionable morals (i.e., twerking. By the way, for the record, I still prefer it being called booty shaking because that what it was called when I used to do it).
This wonderful song, which was without a doubt my top song for Eurovision 2014, was Donatan and Cleo’s “My Slowianie.”
My parents, both Eurovision novices, were in town to visit this May and they joined my group of friends to watch the 2014 Finals live show. As the introduction for Poland appeared, I clapped in glee and announced to everyone that this was my favorite song this year. And of course, we all know what happened. Boobies! My friends howled in laughter. And my parents spent the rest of the show reattaching their jaws to their mouths from the initial shock. Not even Conchita could throw them off guard, but a butter churner could!
Even after the show, and over the next few months, I played the hell out of “My Slowianie.” I thought it was so fantastic. Like something from a parallel universe where the Black Eyed Peas were from Eastern Europe actually releasing good music! In July, at a pool party in Columbus, Ohio, USA, I blasted it to my friends’ dismay as I once again went to work jamming to the beat with my knees begging for mercy after how many times I “dropped it low” (and my liver asking for a break from what I was drinking). “My Slowianie” was my bliss.
But last month, something happened. “My Slowianie” came up on my Spotify playlist, and suddenly, the song just made me mad. I found it annoying, contrived, and a big old mess of shouting. I wondered if all the times that my friends said that the song was horrible was finally sinking into that messed-up brain of mine. So here is where I currently stand. “My Slowianie,” the song that was my #1 song for Eurovision 2014 is now a song that I just cannot stomach anymore.
And then something else happened: the exact opposite of what happened to “My Slowianie.” A song that I hated all these years suddenly became a song I really like. I heard this song so many times and thought everything about it, especially the performance at the 2008 final, was tacky. Yet, when showing a friend without a clue about Eurovision the 2008 show (mostly because I had recently rewatched 2009-2014), I heard Sebastien Tellier “Divine,” and fell in love with it instantly. I particularly blame the back-up singers and their tight-knit cacophony of “doo-wops.” I showed this song to my dad (and I have a valid reason as to why I did) and he had the same thoughts, also noting that he found it quite a coincidence that the female back-up singers were foreshadowing the rise of Conchita Wurst with their beards. The song is on my Spotify playlist and a current favorite.
Sebastien Tellier – Divine
So now as I write this article, I ponder how can I possibly have a sudden change of heart for these songs. For “My Slowianie,” I first considered the news going around the Eurovision world regarding Donatan’s homophobic (or maybe in his eyes, pro-heterosexual comments). But this dislike for this song occurred well before that news broke. Or maybe it was the fact that I found a better replacement with their follow-up “Slavica.” A more “urban” version of “My Slowianie,” I find “Slavica” to be a far superior song that makes me excited about their album coming out.
Donatan & Cleo – Slavica
For “Divine,” I found myself humming it nonstop. And then my like for the song increased when doing some research. Sebastien Tellier was partially inspired by the Juicy Fruits from the movie “Phantom of the Paradise,” a cult classic that is more known as the other movie that played in the double feature with the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I know about “Phantom of the Paradise” because growing up, my dad used to make us watch musicals and other movies that he loved. And for all the great films he showed us, such as the film adaptation of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” he also showed us some clunkers like “Bugsy Malone” and “Phantom of the Paradise.” Despite this, I remember the intro song in the film, “Goodbye, Eddie, Goodbye,” which was sung by a doo-wop group called the Juicy Fruits. I can still hear my dad singing this song around the house as I was a kid. Of course, I sent my dad the clip of “Divine” and he instantly saw the connection.
Juicy Fruits – Goodbye, Eddie, Goodbye
When I listen to “Divine,” it reminds me of a part of my time growing up, where my dad tried to introduce me to an eclectic mix of music from Cat Stevens to ABBA to Bonnie Tyler. So perhaps this song’s connection to my past increased its appeal. For “My Slowianie,” perhaps its initial appeal was that it was so catchy and danceable (and by dancing, I mean booty shaking/twerking). But as my knees got more and more tired from marathon training (and the “dropping it low” got harder and harder to do), I realized there may have not been much to the song that was to my liking but its twerkability.
We all know that there are many great Eurovision songs that people will unanimously like. And there are other Eurovision songs that people will unanimously despise. But it is that middle group of songs that are the fun ones to talk about, where opinion varies among individuals and even within one person over time. And this is where Eurovision fandom is at its best. Where strangers can instantly bond over their love or hate for certain songs that they feel everyone else has the opposite reaction towards. Where friends can tease one another for loving a certain bad song, but know it’s all in good jest. This is the true power of Eurovision.
At the same time, my shifting taste in Eurovision songs allows me to see my progression as a Eurovision fan. And I hope I am not alone with this, for it adds a new dimension to the ongoing dialogue with other fans. Austria’s slogan for Eurovision 2015 is “Building Bridges.” With that, I encourage all fans to be proud and open about their ever-shifting taste in music and use it as a platform to connect with the many other fans around the world!
Let’s keep the discussion going. What are the Eurovision songs that you once loved that you nowhate? What songs did you used to hate but now enjoy? Why do you think your opinion on these songs changed?
The views expressed in this editorial are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of ESC United, its editorial board, its readers, or any other person, entity, or organization.