Tonight we will already be seeing the first semi-final of Eesti Laul. Back in December when the songs came out, the team wrote reviews on the songs. In this article we can read part 2 of our reviews of semi-final 1!

So who should go to the finals in Estonia? The panel for today will consist of Boris, DanielDavidJamesRoy and Zack and we will take a look at the second 6 songs in tonight’s semi-final.

Little Mess – Living without a reason

Boris – 6 – “Shall I just point out that their group name sounds like a Chinese bootleg of Little Mix? Whatever, Little Mix are good and this contraband version is faithful to the original, so sure, I like this :-)”

Daniel – 7 – “This is rather strong song with an outstanding appeal given the harmonies these three singers can make. The song also has a super modern feel despite being in its essence a rather derivative pop song. They are really cashing in the growing popularity of girl bands again and I think they so it in a super fun but not over-the-top way. I hope that their staging can only highlight how much of a musical blast this song can be.”

David – 2 – “Damn, “Living without a reason”? That sounds difficult, but at least then I don’t a reason to listen to this. The song itself is not that good, so I could easily pay a lot more attention to the song, and I mean… if you live without a reason, then why would you run back to someone, I mean, clearly there ain’t a reason for that, very confusing lyrics.”

James – 3 – “Wilson Phillips or O’G3NE on valium. The lyrics are canned bromides delivered in robotic harmonies by three performers who sound like they just don’t care.”

Roy – 3 – “I have never seen a more fitting name for a band considering this song is quite the mess to me. It is really uninteresting and it doesn’t really pull off what it is going for in my opinion. The production sounds very cheap and the harmonies don’t really work either here. Harmonizing is fun and all, but if the song is boring and doesn’t add much, then what’s the point?”

Zack – 5 – “Estonian O’G3NE. But again, I keep repeating this. Another song without any buildup.  It just clunks along and when there should be a big dramatic moment, it falls short.”

Total = 26 (avg. 4,3)

Rasmus Rändvee – Young

Boris – 6 – IT’S GOING DOWN, I’M YELLING TIMBER! YOU BETTER MOVE, YOU BETTER DAN- oh wait this is a different song? :checks title: oh…

Daniel – 8 – “This song screams Avicii vibes similar to Victor Crone. I do not say that as a negative, rather I feel this song is one with the strongest possible mainstream appeal. Rasmus has been one of the promising acts from Estonia and I really feel like he did not disappoint. Rather he is delivering a strong pop performance with imbedded country music elements. Overall a strong package that will depend if people felt that Victor did them justice at Tel Aviv.”

David – 6 – “Seems like there is some potential here, I feel the lyrics and the song is actually nice, but I don’t feel it hits some high point. I want the song to include some more instruments, a better build up and a moment that just grabs me.”

James – 3 – “Yeah, yeah Rasmus, you are young, so why are you singing a song so defensive about being young and your day that will come? Instead of protesting too much, why not craft a song that has a hook, that doesn’t sound bitter, that has that youthful spirit instead of the mumblings of a future grandad? Kind of like Joana Almeida’s entry for Portugal at Junior Eurovision 2019 where she proclaimed that she is young but she knows what to do. For all its faults, that was a statement of intent. Randvee’s “Young” sounds like a millenial’s suicide note.”

Roy – 7 – “This is THE song where I would love to be able to give half points. It is just a little less interesting than my group of seven’s, but it is better than the sixes. This is just a fine radio friendly song that doesn’t spark very much inside of me. If it were to be played at a party, I would not mind it either. I guess it is that kind of song that is great for background music, but that some other people really enjoy regardless. It shouldn’t have any issues qualifying from this weaker semi, so it will probably get a decent end-result too.”

Zack – 7 – “One of the better songs of the bunch. Giving me a bit of Avicii “hey brother” vibes, but without the goosebumps. Again, another song that just plods along”

Total = 37 (avg. 6,2)

Renate – Videomäng

Boris – 5 – “Renate’s gimmick is that she occasionally punctuates her low-tempo pop song with game boy sound effects. She exists and doesn’t offend”

Daniel – 5 – “This song has really cool beat to it with futuristic elements. To be honest though, other than that, the song does seem to be a very bare-bones feel good pop song. I really did hope that the beginning would lead into something more interesting which, while a good song, it does not scream winner to me. It still seems like it has a cute message and the video with its retro feel was among the cooler ideas.”

David – 4 – “Somehow, I think it would’ve been better if this one was sung in English, cause the song sounds very repetitive and I have no idea what the song is about. I wanna stay focused, but I’m struggling. Otherwise, not much to say, a song that is just there.”

James – 5 – “What video game is this song for? Grand Theft Ambien? And why the 8-bit sound effects that predate not just the kids in the video but the artist herself? If you’re going retro gamer but want something modern also, you got to bring something like Mitch Murder or Carpenter Brut or Perturbator would bring. Not this generic slow tempo cobblers that sounds like an old man complaining how kids in his day played baseball until his mom called him home for supper.”

Roy – 6 – “This is one of those songs where I think: “I am really glad that we have national selections like Eesti Laul”. I feel like this song shows off very well how beautiful the Estonian language can be. Renate’s voice is really pleasant to listen to as well. I am very happy that this is in the selection, but I also do not think that it should go out of its Estonian bubble. I think this would not do well once it would compete amongst other European songs.”

Zack – 8 – “I think the strength of this song is that it is not in English. The Estonian language is shown in full force here and it helps the song stand out.”

Total = 33 (avg. 5,5)

Revals – Kirjutan Roomani

Boris – 5 – “In 2010 the Mumford-&-Sons-esque sound was a novelty. In 2019 that same sound is now a retread of a retread of a retread of a retread of a…”

Daniel – 4 – “I will begin with the caveat that I do not like country music. While the chorus seems more folk music, the song is just not the genre of music I appreciate. Moreover, while it could use a traditional musical genre to innovate and create some interesting sounds for Eurovision (as Netherlands loves to do with country), this song still remains rather bland and pedestrian. I will say I have never heard a country song in Estonian so I can at least cross that off my list.”

David – 2 – “The local Estonian saloon called, I think they want their band back. That was all on my thoughts for those 3 minutes, it even had that slow and rather depressing sound in the beginning, but at least the mood did get better, just not fast enough.”

James – 8 – “Nashville makes its way to Estonia. Whatever novel Revals is writing, I want to read it. There’s a few cute touches here and there – the slide guitar, the “chick-a” whispers, the Memphis Belle bomber that ties the song to Tennessee – that take this country rock song over the edge. The Common Linnets proved that American country done well can make a mark at Eurovision, even if they trucked in the AM radio country of the late 1970s instead of Revals’s more contemporary sound. Last year’s Victor Crone had a Nashville education, so why not just go whole hog in 2020 with a band that lives and breathes the Nashville sound?”

Roy – 3 – “I like the variety that this brings to the mix. It just feels a bit too old in my eyes. I keep forgetting that this is in the selection actually. It just doesn’t stand out at all and I think it is unfortunately a good contender for last place in the semi..”

Zack – 6 – “Okay, I’m listening. Estonian language coupled with country influences.  And then the chorus hits and it becomes the typical Eurovision cheesefest.”

Total = 28 (avg. 4,7)

STEFAN – By My Side

Boris – 3 – “This song somehow manages to turn a reasonable attractive bloke such as Stefan Airapetjan into a mewling, woe-is-me “I’m A Boy With Emotions” type of reformed fukboi (ie: the world’s least appealing human archetype) and I have ZERO time for it. SKIP!”

Daniel – 9 – “Looks who is also back! Well Stefan definitely has a specific style of music: emotional with a strong beat to carry the song. I feel as though I prefer this song in comparison to his song from the previous year. My initial fear is how to make this song stand out on a stage but I mean Germany 2018 did a great job at it with a similar emotionally charged soft pop ballad. I do really like how the song carries itself, it gives off the vibe of being rather mature and organized, overall a very strong song.”

David – 1 – “Trust me, you’ll be better if I ain’t by your side at least. Great voice, and that’s it! A sad and depressing song, which is a ballad… buddy, you’ve lost me completely. We are out there, where all hope is lost. Hopefully others will lend more towards this song, cause this is where I’m done.”

James – 3 – “A dreadfully dull indie break up song. Contains the clichéd warbling and the cloying Sam Smith-esque “won’t you stay with me” lyrics and the tortured multi-syllabic broddlings of words like “lie” and “try.” ESC United’s very own Robert Skilleter warned us in March 2019 that Duncan Lawrence’s victory would bring out a horde of crap imitators, and Stefan’s “By my side” is Patient Zero.”

Roy – 7 – “You cannot help, but compare songs of a returning artists. This is a big flaw inside of us that we should all kind of try to neglect. On its own this song is really good. Stefan’s voice is lovely to listen to and you could make an argument that he has the best male voice of the selection. I would have loved this song to go somewhere though. This song starts, continues and ends kind of really the same. It is a really flat and uninteresting composition really. Stefan’s voice is definitely the saving grace in this song and it is overall one of the better ones in the competition.”

Zack – 7 – “One of the few artists from the bunch that I think could actually sell this song better live than via the studio version. The song is a bit of a slow-burn but the chorus is a bit of a let-down.”

Total = 30 (avg. 5)

Synne Valtri – Majakad

Boris – 8 – “Eesti Laul has taken a noisedive in becoming a bargain bin Melodi Grand-Prix (#GetTomiOut!!!!), which is precisely why unapologetic Slavic schlager anthems such as this one are SUCH a delight. We absolutely need fun folk to break through the myriad of overproduced monotony and “Majakad” does exactly that.”

Daniel – 2 – “This song does not scream 2020 to me. It is a perfectly good schlager-style song that seems out of place for what Estonia has been sending lately. Then his voice comes and I am like what just happened. The video does not really help with the messaging either so I feel like this song is as muddled as the dark waters that surround the light house. It also ended quite abruptly which leaves you wondering what did I listen to?”

David – 7 – “Upbeat, energetic, full of life and even in Estonian! What’s not to like about it? Great build up and it stays up there as well, which delights me very much, but there are certain moments where I feel something could’ve been done better, the ending was kinda underwhelming, but overall a great effort.”

James – 7 – “This sounds dated, but it is a fun mid-tempo number with some neat Estonian instrumental touches such as the percussion. Not sure the male vocals add anything to this, but they don’t detract either. This should do well with the older demographic at Eesti Laul, and to be fair, this should stand out amongst the millennial and Gen-Z navel gazing garbage polluting this national selection this year.”

Roy – 4 – “Last year Synne was one of my least liked entries last year. I think this song is a step-up from what she showed us last year. It still sounds really dated however and I definitely do not hope that this goes anywhere further than the semi’s. Saying that, it actually has a shot at qualifying in this ”weaker” semi. I will not be the person to put this song on, but it can exist.”

Zack – 7 – “A much-needed slap in the face among the snooze fest that is the songs I’ve been listening to for this review. This’ll never win Eesti Laul but this is how to do the corny – over-the-top and overdramatic.”

Total = 35 (avg. 5,8)

Let’s take a look at our final verdict for semi-final 1:

  1. Rasmus Rändvee – Young 37 (6,2)
  2. Synne Valtri – Majakad 35 (5,8)
  3. Renate – Videomäng 33 (5,5)
  4. INGA – Right Time 32 (5,3)
  5. Egert Milder – Georgia (on my mind) 30 (5)
  6. Anett x Frida – Write About You 30 (5)
  7. STEFAN – By My Side 30 (5)
  8. Laura Poldvere – Break me 28 (4,7)
  9. Kruuv – Leelo 28 (4,7)
  10. Revals – Kirjutan Roomani 28 (4,7)
  11. Little Mess – Living without a reason 26 (4,3)
  12. Jennifer Cohen – Ping Pong 25 (4,2)

As we know, 6 will qualify for the final from each semi-final. According to our team’s reviews we have a clear seperate top 4. Rasmus Rändvee would take the win ahead of Synne Valtri, Renate and INGA. Then we have a 3-way tie for 5th, 6th and 7th. The way I split the ties is by looking which song’s had the lowest spread in their reviews. STEFAN has a highest of 9 and a lowest of 1, where Egert Milder had a spread of 9/3 and Anett x Frida have a spread of 8/2. This means the latter 2 of the 3 would make the finals according to our scores.

What do #YOU think of the Estonian selection? Share your thoughts with us on our forum HERE or join the discussion below and on social media!

Like our content? Consider supporting us on Patreon HERE to help us continue our work to bring the contest to #YOU!

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