The below editorial features the opinions of the quoted editor, and do not necessarily represent the views of ESC United as a whole. We are also aware that the opinions are based on demo versions of the potential entries and opinions may change following further releases.

With the final decision looming for Eden Alene’s three hopefuls for Eurovision 2021, it was time for our team to pass judgement on the nine candidate songs. Which of the demos did we like the most, and which songs would suit Eden Alene the most for the next stage of the national final?

Scroll down to see, in order of our overall ranking, what our assembled panel of Arnaud, David, James, Melanie and Sean thought of the nine candidate songs of HaShir HaBa L’Eurovizion!

9th – Flying – 24

Arnaud – 4 – “I don’t think it suits her style and voice, and feels flat compared to the other songs.”

Daniel – 5.5 – “This gives me a lot of gospel vibes but more akin to UK 2019 than Sweden 2019. That is to say that there is a beautiful composition but simply a standard pop song with gospel undertones. Also the lyrics are quite Christian Rock-y which is fine because we love diversity in music but it does not seem to match the edgier and cool factor that Eden brings.”

James – 6 – “Why is it taking four years for Europe to collectively get around to knock off Kesha’s “Praying”? Albania’s FiK 59 just had one, and now someone is going for the piano driven soul of “Praying” for Israel. Sure, the Dead Sea is as under sea level as the Salton Sea, where the video for “Praying” was filmed, but that’s probably where the fit of “Flying” ends for Eden and Israel. I suspect we’ll see a few redemption songs (whether for the artist or someone who wronged the artist) this year, so Israel, the champions of those who look for something different at Eurovision, may wish to steer clear of this generic nugget.”

Melanie – 6 – “This isn’t bad at all. It has a nice mellow feel about it and is very charming. I only think that this song wouldn’t bring out the potential Eden Alene has. It’s not the type of song that I would be dying to see her sing, because I think she stands out in a more up-tempo song. I’d rather see a singer like James Newman sing this kind of song than Eden, but it’s a nice song overall.”

Sean – 2.5 – “Eeeeeh… I can’t really imagine this being sung by Eden Alene at all. It’s really not my genre so it bores me to tears, but it’s got all of the right hallmarks for a gospel ballad I guess? There’s much more suited choices in this selection.

8th – Spilling Magic – 25

Arnaud – 5.5 – “The instrumental part is good, but the lyrics are very generic. It lacks some power as well…”

Daniel – 6.5 – “This is a slightly better version of “Flying” but still falls into that trap of being a gospel inspired song that seems more interesting on paper or even on a listen but when stacked against other entries, it will simply disappear in the background. To its benefit, this song has some of the crispest lyrics and an unlimited potential for staging. I see their vision here, but I just need a bit more.”

James – 4 – “This sounds like the opening song to a Lifetime TV romance movie about a coven of single mom witches who open an inn in a twee New England town. It’s supposed to be about female self-empowerment, but the “spilling” makes it seem accidental. Empowerment needs more deliberate actions like “kicking you in the face with my magic” or some such. The composition is forgettable and the lyrics are regrettable. Better options out there for Israel exist.”

Melanie – 6 – “This sounds like it was stolen from a Disney Movie and I’m not a big fan of this kind of song. Nevertheless, I think it’s the most promising song of the bunch. I can see Eden work this and bring it to the next level. They need to give it a bit more oomph and instrumentation to bring the song to life. It’s just not the kind of song that I would wish to see her compete with in Eurovision.”

Sean – 3 – “I hate to keep using the word ‘interesting’ but… come on! There’s no real spark or fire with this one and the three minutes just pass by without anything really ‘interesting’ happening. It just feels like a filler track on a Disney pop star’s debut album. This would be a real step down in tempo and excitement from Feker Libi so hopefully this won’t be one of the candidate songs…”

7th – Can’t Stop a Hurricane – 25

Arnaud – 4.5 – “Good song but to me it’s déjà-vu. Feels a bit flat as with “Flying””

Daniel – 6 – “This is a more traditional pop-ballad that has a lot of merit to it. I think that its strongest feature is how relatable and how nicely produced it is. Equally, I also find this to be its weakest feature, it is rather predictable down to the key change. While it is a nice song, it is missing the uniqueness factor that would push it over the fence.”

James – 5 – “For Eurovision, I have a thing about natural events that can’t possibly happen in a nation singing about it. An Israeli singing about hurricanes seems as ludicrous as someone from Brighouse, West Yorkshire complaining about a plethora of tiki bars setting up shop alongside the canal. Plus “Can’t Stop a Hurricane” sets you up for failure against a rival – if Serbia’s trio tops Israel on the night of the final, they’ll be like “yeah, Israel couldn’t stop this hurricane.” In current state, this track is just generic pop and nothing more.”

Melanie – 4 – “Finally, we got some meaningful lyrics! Feels like fresh air in this list of songs somehow. I have the feeling that this song is trying too hard to be that emotional ballad. Sadly, it doesn’t give me the goosebump vibe that they’re trying to create. It just feels a bit too forced, especially with that climax moment that she was running and searching for something that was here all the time. This just doesn’t work for me.”

Sean – 5.5 – “This is a decent, well produced mid-tempo ballad but it just doesn’t feel very Eden Alene (I know it is a demo). I think she should go for something more suited to her style and personality. The key change honestly feels too tacked on to and sticks out like a sore thumb.”

6th – Rise Up Today – 27.5

Arnaud – 6 – “Very cute song, with a nice vibe going on. But not the best in the selection for me.”

Daniel – 5 – “The musical composition is actually extremely interesting, and I love that we see the incorporation of Hebrew and Amharic. This song would be pretty high but it has a very unique feature that completely tanks it for me: the lyrics in English. I tend to not be very critical with lyrics, but the rhyme scheme was abhorrent, and the imagery was very wonky.”

James – 6 – “For all the language spotters, should this make it to Rotterdam, this will be the first official instance of Amharic at the contest (second if you count “Feker Libi” from last year’s terminated event). “Rise Up Today” has a pre-chorus and a chorus, though in its current state they don’t use it to escalate to much. And at the bridge, “Rise Up Today” fizzles out. The lyrics contain immediacy and action that the track itself doesn’t impart too well.”

Melanie – 5 – “This is quite beautiful, but it’s very linear. I’m missing something that really makes it a song that I will never forget. There are elements that are very nice, like the part in Amharic language after the chorus, but it feels very unfinished. The ending is very abrupt. This demo is a very great base, but really needs a lot of work to make it an unforgettable song.”

Sean – 5.5 – “I wish this was entirely in Amharic so I wasn’t exposed to the horribly cliché lyrics… the Amharic parts definitely intrigue me the most in this song but they are too few and far between and the English parts don’t offer anything interesting for me. Not for me!”

5th – Coming Out – 33

Arnaud – 6.5 – “Love the retro vibe in the instruments. Her voice is really good in this song, and there are some levels which make the song interesting.”

Daniel – 7.5 – “Here comes the funk and the disco with a bit of Diana Ross. The inspirations are palpable, and this song has a strong personality with a very interesting bass delivery. It is a fun party song on par with what we have come to love from other singers like Serhat and Senhit. I am a huge fan of the saxophone solo. Overall it is just a super fun song and has a chance for an explosion of color.”

James – 7 – “Lyrically, subtlety gets thrown out the window with this one. And that’s fine. This is the serviceable West Hollywood club banger that every Eurovision needs a few of every year. Whether Eden is the conveyor this song needs remains to be seen. And as fun as this demo is, is it idiosyncratic enough for Eden or even for Israel? At this stage, no. And as a rule, if you’re doing a WeHo club banger, don’t reference one of the O.G. gay club bangers of all time in Diana Ross’s masterpiece in your song title and then do little with the track beyond the reference.”

Melanie – 5 – “This just sounds like an average pop song that you would hear on the radio nowadays. Don’t get me wrong, there are good parts in the song – The slower “yeah, the music flowin’, you can’t control it” is very intriguing and love the saxophone in the end, maybe need to blend that more in the song – but it just doesn’t stand out in the mainstream charts. It’s just okay, and that isn’t enough to win Eurovision.”

Sean – 7 – “Ooh, very of the moment! This is a big sound in the UK right now so this would be quite a modern choice for Israel if Eden were to pick this as one of her three options. The chorus is probably a little too wishy-washy, and I’d be looking for something that packed more of a punch if we’re going for dance pop, but there’s plenty to work with here. Bonus points for the gratuitous sax solo.”

4th – Set Me Free – 33.5

Arnaud – 7.5 – “The transition between the verse and the chorus is really good, and it’s dynamic. But it lacks a tiny bit for me.”

Daniel – 9 – “Oh, those middle eastern strings with that base guitar, this is interesting from the get-go. There is a lot of promise for sex appeal but also beautiful notes. This is a bop with a huge sing-along quality. I think that has so many interesting elements cooperating with each other and could be extremely successful. It also feels the most natural in terms of what would be a fun-vibe delivery. I think there is big potential with this song!”

James – 6 – “Not sure I care for break-up lyrics in a mid-tempo dance track. Additionally, if she wants the antagonist to set her free, why is that entreaty followed by “feel my beating heart in perfect harmony”? However, a bonus point goes to the use of “khalas” in the lyrics, an Arabic word that became a meme of sorts thanks to a Jordanian fishmonger shouting it repeatedly at his American Instagram thirst trap girlfriend on 90 Day Fiance: The Other Way this year. The track in its current state is a nothing-burger and the lyrics are a mess.”

Melanie – 4.5 – “We’re going the funkier way with Set Me Free. This song has potential. The intro is really nice and really grabbed my attention. The only problem with the song is the lacklustre chorus. The “Oh oh oh” part is just not doing its thing and even feels very disappointing after the “don’t let me down.” There are good parts in the song, but they really need to fix that chorus.”

Sean – 6.5 – “This song does well to offer a seamless blend between the English and Hebrew, and I could see this becoming a decent pop hit with some work and Eden’s voice. The chorus has an interestingly sparse production which gives the song a bit of a 00s quality, but this is very in right now. Is it strong enough to make an impact at Eurovision though, or is it just a pleasant listen? I’m not so sure.”

3rd – La La Love – 35

Arnaud – 8.5 – “The instrumental part gives me “Toy” vibes, which I really like. The mix between modern and traditional Israeli instruments is well put together, and the song makes you want to dance.”

Daniel – 7 – “This song already starts with a slight difficulty because it will automatically be compared to Cyprus 2012. But that in itself would be a bit hard given how different those songs are. This one song has one of the most interesting drops but the build up is a bit underwhelming. The chorus is a total bop though. There is just a lot happening some really cool and innovative and some not, it is a mixed bag of tricks.”

James – 8 – “Lyrically, this cleverly references the many malaises of 2020 and is meant to convey the party spirit and the need to love as we emerge in 2021 on the other side. That’s pretty much where the cleverness ends, but you don’t need that in a harmless, fun party anthem with bass drops at the chorus that seem to be becoming an Israeli trademark at the contest.”

Melanie – 5.5 – “This song gives me an extreme Teen Girls Movie vibe. I can see Eden singing this song in her national final. The beat is great and I love the instrumental part after the chorus. They really need to tune that up and make it a real moment with good choreography. The biggest let-down of this song is the lyrics. They’re just a little bit cringy and superficial and I would love to see Eden sing a more meaningful song than this.”

Sean – 6 – “Calling any Eurovision entry “La La Love” is incredibly brave after Ivi Adamou’s frankly timeless bop, but hey, at least this is massively different in feel. I saw a comment saying this sounds like Netta’s “Bassa Sababa” and it is spot on. A pleasant pop song with summer vibes and some attitude for Eden to really make her own.”

2nd – Ue La La – 39.5

Arnaud – 9.5 – “As a dancer, this is the king of music I’m so in for! This genre is very rare in Eurovision, so it could do really well, or flop. But the song is original and a total banger.”

Daniel – 8.5 – “This is the party song that we might be in dire need for. This has night club written all over it and I am still unsure if that is what Eden needs to succeed. I know that she can perform this like a pro, but I am simply left wondering how this would be presented/ how it would perform with juries. I think this is overall an extremely proposal with a cornucopia of languages. It really piqued my interest.”

James – 9 – “I must be losing my marbles if my favorite song in this selection has French in it. I get the sense this one is the song KAN secretly hopes prevails, though. And if it is, and KAN is playing us for fools with the appearance of a public vote, then I’d say they got it right as “Ue La La” is in line with the high energy sex kitten identity Eden is trying to forge.”

Melanie – 5.5 – “This is the type of song that I would expect more from Hurricane (Serbia 2020). Can we maybe give this demo to them? This could be staged amazingly with a great choreography and has a very sensual vibe. I’m just not feeling this song in combination with Eden Alene. If we want her to bring her full potential to the Eurovision stage, she needs something more edgier than this.”

Sean – 7 – “The trilingual approach to this one is intriguing, and I love the vibe in this one. It’s slick RnB production combined with ethno influences and it feels like something Eden Alene can work with, which can’t be said for some of the tracks in this selection. It’s a bit on the short side, but that’s certainly something they can flesh out and with a killer performance this may even be the smartest option going!”

1st – Shoulders – 40.5

Arnaud – 10 – “Very powerful song. It has everything to do well at Eurovision: good message, nice layers of rhythm and dynamic, and her voice is amazing in this. And we know she can deliver live, so she could slay it with a good staging. My winner for Eden Alene!”

Daniel – 8 – “I love that back tune and those horns are an automatic way into my heart. This is certainly an interesting proposal. The lyrics are very timely, almost to the point they seem too timely where it seems slightly forced, but maybe that performance would make it more natural. At least there is a lot of room for imagery. The bridge was a needed break and interesting break and adds that unique factor that many of the other songs were missing. Overall a good impression.”

James – 8 – “The other Amharic language track in the selection, this one deploys Amharic more effectively in the bass and drum heavy chorus. Lyrically, it’s “Set Me Free” but this time the protagonist in a rut in her relationship wants to repair it. I would say this has the catchiest chorus as well, even if the use of “Na na na” will grind some fans’ gears. However, “Shoulders” is a bit of an antiseptic title. It suggests the opposite of what the lyrics are actually about (the “cold shoulder” vs “inject excitement into a flagging romance”).”

Melanie – 6.5 – “This song is a perfect example of how the lyrics can ruin a great song. “Binge on some pizza to our favorite shows”” Road tripping, phone ringing, oops, it’s on silent” It almost sounds like a child wrote these lyrics. Can we still change that? Because the beat of this song is amazing! The vibe of the beat is exactly what I expect from a song that Eden should sing. The African drum part is also amazing, but need to be blended a little bit better in the song. It now sounds a little bit random. If they can tweak it a little bit up and work on the lyrics, this can do well in her national final.”

Sean – 8 – “Now THIS feels like something Eden can work with! This could have a really dynamic performance and has a similar attitude and vibe to Feker Libi, so it’s no surprise to see this one is popular with the fans. Would love to hear this performed by Eden as it feels like a very natural progression from last year’s entry.”

After our reviews, our team’s points would leave our final three as La La Love, Ue La La and Shoulders. While there are rumours circulating on the internet as to what has been chosen, it remains to be seen which of the nine tracks Eden Alene will carry forward to be presented to the Israeli public!

Stay tuned to ESC United as we continue to bring you news, reviews and coverage of Eurovision 2021 as it happens!

Do #YOU agree with any of our thoughts on the Israeli candidates? Share your thoughts with us on our forum HERE or join the discussion below and on social media!

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