Eurovision National Final season is upon us! Let’s start our Listening Outside for 2017 with a look at the 25 songs that Georgia have to choose a Eurovision song from. GPB are having a one-off national final on January 20th – here’s my previews of all the songs, my favourites and the one I think has enough memorability to get the win. Also, Georgia might be the new Estonia in terms of entertaining national selection processes.
- Giorgi Chikovani– Make it Right
And we are kicking off with a powerful but low tempo selection from the ‘Lighters out, phones aloft’ genre of rock ballad, of which we’ll hear more later. This one is a bit more Bon Jovi than Pearl Jam. Cheesily enjoyable. Would potentially appeal to the Michal Spak fans?
- Brandon Stone & Eteri Beriashvili – Heyo Song
This takes far too long to get to a chorus that delivers high on the ‘heyo’ part and low on the ‘song’ part. There are exciting glimpses of a Gunther-esque vocalist who doesn’t get enough time to shine. This is probably the real start of the show. Buckle in, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.
- Rati Durglishvili – Why
It sounds like the kind of song that would get scheduled for the memory hole slot after something really exciting, so it’s unclear why it’s on after the Heyo song. Competently executed but ultimately there’s nothing there to vote for unless yer man is very cute or something.
- Andria Gvelesiani – Revolutionise
Lighters out. Phones aloft. Without the whizzy production touches this could be any other big ballad from the period in the 90s where your blockbuster movie needed a big rock ballad. It features some interesting panning effects just before a dance beat kicks in for the last 45 seconds. That was too late when Valentina did it for San Marino and it’s too late for Andria now too.
- Alisa Danelia – We Are Eternity
Already my patience is wearing thin for an inoffensive ballad about the human spirit. It’s all very nice and competent, but it is definitely by the numbers. It would not qualify and I would be annoyed if it won..
- Nutsa Buzaladze – White Horses Run
At this early point in the proceedings I may have reached ballad saturation. It’s fine but no-one will be able to remember if they liked this song or the one before it.
- Maliibu – We Live Once
From the way it starts, with a spoken word section over a Faithless-sounding choral pad, I was expecting some much needed hard-hitting rave action from my Georgian pals. Sadly this is another empassioned ballad about the fleetingness of existence. She’s got a cracking diva voice though, and I expect that if we really wanted to have the rave version we could cut something pretty special together.
- Group EOS – Urban Signs
Another pensive rock ballad. Blasts apart a gently arpeggiated verse with an intense metal chorus. Needs a huge kick up the arse in the tempo department.
- Dima Kobeshavidze – Scream
Tedious manpain in pop ballad form. Comes dangerously close to a fun dubstep drop moment but reverses out at the last minute. Which is a shame. It needed that extra bit of energy.
- Trio Mandili – “Me da Shen” (You and Me)
Joy and artistry compressed into three minutes of unstoppably bouncy Georgian trad. My knees are performing an involuntary jig as I write. This is exactly the kind of thing I would love to see more at Eurovision but I have to watch Turkvision and hunt around Youtube and soundcloud for. I love it. Please let it win.
- Tako Gachechiladze – Keep the Faith
Overwrought melodramatic ballad with a repetitive chorus and a crushing sense of inevitability. Would have done very well at a 90’s contest, but might be a bit too obvious for a sophisticated modern pop audience?
- Nino Basharuli – Lileo
For a trad ballad about human rights and the holy spirit, this is very listenable. It doesn’t have the memorable chorus hook you need to prompt a voter to pick up the phone, but it’s a beautiful illustration of the Georgian vocal tradition.
- Elene Mikiashvili – Fighter
Sounds like it could be a lost UMK or DMGP song. It lopes along in a modern watered-down dancehall manner but without the epic sass of a Dua Lipa or a Tove Lo. Also I think that a country shouldn’t be able to send two songs with the same title in the same decade.
- MISHO – Magic
The combination of absurd lyrical imagery, squelching synths and a handbrake-turn falsetto section makes this one of those songs that you find yourself winding back to the start so that you can check that all of what you heard was indeed real.
Structurally all over the shop, harmonically weird and sonically abrasive. A serious contender. I could see it winning.
- Mariko Lejava – Light it Up
The kind of generic uplifting light dance track that could come from any Eurovision nation from France to Cyprus to Finland to Georgia. Or indeed anywhere that can buy in a Swedish electropop song. The hard-hitting breakdown is quite exciting. A lost Saturday’s album track with a movie tie-in.
- The Mins – Crime
Indie rockish noise with a chant along wordless chorus, a catchy call and response section, and a reasonable beat. You would struggle to dance to it, sadly, but given a slight production retool (which Georgia has plenty of time to do!) they could turn it into Midnight Gold part two.
- Sparkle – On The Top
Bouncy girl group pop with another naggingly insistent synth post-chorus hook and a rather fun and filthy sounding rap middle 8. They could do a lot worse than this.
- Tornike Kipiani – You Are My Sunshine
Finally some hard-hitting rave action to wake up those viewers for whom a 25 song one shot national final is an endurance test too far! The only way this could be better is if the rules on sampling were relaxed at Eurovision and someone did an even more banging early 90s Prodigy style remix of this that incorporated sped up snatches of someone singing the other version of ‘You Are My Sunshine’ in between the punishing rave breakdowns. Also makes me wonder what a pan-European rave competition would be like. We could call it PLURovision.
This won’t win but I think it ought to.
- Temo Sajaia – All The Same
Bringing us back down to earth with a leaden thud is some acoustic cheesy pop with a surprisingly dark first verse. “Have you ever thought that you have only one life? Soon you will die”. Big stupid Eurovision chorus on it, if you like that type of thing.
- Sabina Chantouria – Stranger
Middle period Corrs with all the benefits and drawbacks that implies. Would actually be lifted into being something special with a tasteful fiddle or tin whistle solo. Very repetitive towards the end, but not as dull as it could have been thanks to the driving hemiola rhythm of the drums.
21.Mariam Chachkhiani – Fly
A big inspirational ballad wearing enough production noises to distract from boring, meandering melody.
- Asea Sool – Nature
Low tempo ballad. Huge technical wail of a chorus – will live or die on the night. As capable of inducing goosebumps as it is cringes. Unfortunately doesn’t really go anywhere.
- Nanuka Giorgobiani – Let The Sunshine In
Ah, sparse and rhythmically challenging jazz funk, that most crowd pleasing of Eurovision genres. There are long gaps in the verse groove that literally sound like the soundcloud buffer has broken. Lyrically it’s a bit confused – there’s a bit of high/sky and also a bit of ‘bring peace to human race’. And then it goes all Suus for ten seconds to open the second half of the song. I have no idea what this is supposed to be.
- Oto Nemsadze & Limbo – Dear God
If this was in any other national final, I would put this one in A Dal or Eurovizja. It’s about 60% of the way to being a modern rock song about the ineffable nature of God’s love versus earthly suffering. If you like that sort of thing. Also, obligatory ‘dear god, is this not the last song’ gag.
- Davit Shanidze – “Mtvris Katsi”(Man of Dust)
Ballad in Georgian which dissolves into free jazz saxophone skronks and impassioned wailing. If we can make it through this we can make it through anything.. On the night will either be awe-inspiring or a total meltdown.
My picks: Me da Shen, You Are My Sunshine
Likely winner: MISHO