An offhand post we made to our Facebook made us realise that the world was crying out for a Popfools analysis of the best of Eurovision 2015. We appreciate Eurovision is not everyone’s cup of tea, but like it or loathe it, there’s no denying the impact of the biggest televised singing event in the world, and the somewhat romantic way in which it brings nations together.
Before we start, let’s just make a shout-out to the UK entry. We liked it in an ironic way, but like it we did. The staging of the song was much more inventive than we were expecting. Both Alex and Bianca were clearly suffering from massive nerves, and their vocals reflected this. However we do think the mere 5 points the UK received was not a fair reflection of the song. It was “better” than a good 50% of the dross put into the show.
Another point of contention. The Australian song was alright, if you’re into the Olly Murs sound, but it wasn’t great. The amount of votes they received was therefore disproportionate and clearly because of the novelty factor involved in countries being able to say “Good morning Australia” as part of Eurovision.
We’re not going to write much about this one because you all know about this already. Instead, we’re going to write about why we’ve only placed it at number 7. The animations, though innovative for Eurovision, weren’t a patch on Beyoncé’s unforgettable slay way back when in 2011. Mans, you can’t out dance, out sing, or out Beyoncé Beyoncé. Meanwhile, the song is talented in that it shamelessly steals from both Avicci’s ‘Hey Brother’ and the Mark Ronson/John Newman-esque sound. The fact is that the song just doesn’t stand up to repeated listens well. At all. Was it one of the better songs from this year’s Eurovision? For sure. Was it the best? Nowhere near. Europe, you were wrong. Thematically, it was Eurovision through-and-through.
Let’s put the politics aside. This was the best stirring ballad of the night, hands down. And as you should know, Eurovision is full of boring ballads. This wasn’t one of them. Pretty Polina sung her heart out, and the way the stadium erupted upon the climax of the song prove this. And for some balance, let’s put the politics back in. It was extremely cynical of Russia to send poor petite Polina out to win round Europe. Europe saw through your ploy. Polina, you are the truest winner of Eurovision 2015. If you had been singing for Sweden you would have won hands down.
The Netherlands didn’t make the final, and we genuinely think that is an international disgrace. We are biased, due to our Dutch heritage, but the RnB-lite style of ‘Walk Along’ would happily sit within many a commercial radio playlist if it did not come with “Eurovision” connotations. Perhaps if Trihntje were a few years younger and, bluntly, a little prettier, the song would have sailed through to the finals. Thematically, it’s a love song.
We first got attracted to Serbia’s entry for the obvious reasons: a big lady (“Mama”) with dodgy hair and a questionable dress on. The song seemed like typical Eurovision fare and nothing more. Little did we know, the strange dance move when Mama looks into her hand as though it was a mirror was not to be the highlight of this so far snooze-worthy song. The “poppers o clock” moment that occurred approximately 1 minute and 45 seconds into the song transformed our opinions of Serbia instantly. With the diva riffs that were about to escape from Mama’s mouth, the dance beat, and the Bucks Fizz costume moment to reveal… nothing in particular, we had literally no idea about the goodies that were in store for us. We genuinely thought Serbia might be actually officially win the contest, so it was to our complete utter distraught when Mama Serbia limped home in a measly 10th place. Thematically the song was bang on, it’s about embracing your body no matter how big it is (and coincidentally, no matter how big your lungs are and how long you can wail flatly for).
The song that inspired this post. We said on Facebook that Austria deserved to win this year’s Eurovision with the official “theme tune” to the song contest this year, ‘Building Bridges’. Can you get much more Eurovision than a flying Conchita in a sparkly purple dress with all the sequences that most drag queens would rush past each other to be able to wear? We love the theatre of our three hosts for the night also joining in with the song. The children’s choir, obviously involving some boy scouts, added a sentimental touch to proceedings. The rap from “Left Boy”, Austria’s answer to Macklemore, was gratuitous but by this point the joy of the song had overcome us. Plus the magic of Eurovision meant he disappeared in a puff of smoke, which was a pretty cool touch. If this had been Austria’s entry proper, it surely would have won. Thematically, 101% Eurovision, as it is all about ‘building bridges’, if only for one night.
The Norway entry was far too tender to win, with no grand triumph, no flourish, and a subdued middle 8 with no gimmicks (only a little walking) to keep viewers entertained. However we really rate this song’s gentle and caressing nature. By the time Debrah’s muffled vocals come in the magic has already been slightly tainted, but thankfully Morland comes back in to save the song. Thematically the song grips us when we are told Morland did something terrible in his youth, adding a delicious amount of tension to proceedings (‘I was just a little boy / I did not know), although it’s never made exactly clear what terrible thing Morland did. We love the fact that there could be an extremely dark explanation behind the song. The song’s about letting someone you love go. What is more pleasing than a simple love song?
There’s no denying Loic Nottet wins the award for effortlessly cool entry of the year. Likened to Lorde’s Royals, and composed by Loic himself, the tone of Loic’s voice is distinctly original. Having said this, he reminds us of a Belgian version of Aiden Grimshaw, which added to our admiration of Loic. The whole thing becomes all the more impressive when one considers Loic only turned 19 the month before the song contest. Then take into account that Belgium have struggled to qualify of late, with only 3 entries since 2010 making it through to Saturday’s final. To further impress us, Loic is a very capable dancer, which can be evidenced in this overlong and somewhat cheaply produced video. Not that it particularly matters, but the official video to Rhythm Inside is an extremely slick affair. We YouTubed Loic hoping to find some more original material, but unfortunately all we were able to find were cover versions. It’s safe to say he’s a fan of Sia and Rihanna, and this re-bellowing of the never subtle ‘Chandellier’ is well worth lending your ears to. Thematically, it’s an acceptance theme in disguise, concerned as it is with finding the rhythm inside yourself. Anyway, ‘Rhythm Inside’ wins our vote for Eurovision song of the year and it’s safe to say Loic has thrust himself into our attention span, at least for the time being, as one to watch. Popfoolish indeed.