Last year, Eurovision was full of memes. We had yeah yeah fire, Moldovan bedroom farce, Eugent clapping, and the whole thing was won by a heady memetic froth of maneki neko and chicken noises.
This year, who will generate the most meme power?
Top Ten Songs with Meme Potential
Hatrið mun sigra – Hatari (Iceland): They’ve been memeing their way around since as long as they’ve been a band, and their Eurovision campaign has been dense with giffable moments and carefully constructed reaction pic moments. Look at them go. Woah.
Spirit In The Sky – Keiino (Norway): Tom. Hugo’s. Wig. We can only pray sincerely that they bring the wigs to the big stage because that would set the whole confection of ridiculousness. And that Fred gets some antlers too.
Say Na Na Na – Serhat (San Marino): Is Serhat himself 100% meme at this point?
Friend of a Friend – Lake Malawi (Czech Republic): From ‘she was my neeeeeybaaah’ to ‘only a friend’ to the infinite cascade of ‘friend of a friend of a friend of a friend’ to the instagram themed official vid, they know their meme.
Telemoveis – Conan Osiris (Portugal): You glue the spoons to your face.
Bigger than Us – Michael Rice (UK): Not only is wee Ricey participating in his own rice-based memefication, but the call and response of bigger (BIGGER) is quite memey. I also have to report having seen the ‘It’s Coming Home’ meme being used.
Zero Gravity – Kate Miller-Heidke (Australia): ok so she might be ditching the spikey high frock and the dementor, but I am sure they’ll produce something eye-popping and mind-bending.
Never let it be said that I don’t have feelings. In fact, I like feelings and have on occasion experienced some of the most popular ones. Here are my Top Ten ESC 2019 songs that engage the valves of my emotion organ. <3
Top Ten Songs for Feelings
Telemoveis – Conan Osiris (Portugal): Now if you want a 3 minute abstract musical about the alienation and loneliness of modern app-mediated life then here you go.
Soldi – Mahmood (Italy): Because families are complicated and so are Mahmood’s feelings.
Sebi – Zala & Gasper (Slovenia): Love is a feeling, right?
Ktheju Tokes – Jonida Maliqi (Albania): This is HUGE and because it got selected so incredibly long ago I feel like everyone is overlooking it. Why wouldn’t beautifully sung portentous trip hop make you feel something?
Zero Gravity – Kate Miller-Heidke (Australia): Because depression is a bastard, and this song sounds like when you realise you might be feeling better and you can do things again.
Kruna – Nevena Bozovic (Serbia): I really respected the costume choices at Beovizija and I can get behind a classy ballad.
Bigger Than Us – Michael Rice (UK): I really feel for poor doomed Mikey Rice. Protect him.
Limits – Paenda (Austria): This is barely there as a record, all it is is emotion and a garnish of synths)
Hatrið Mun Sigra – Hatari (Iceland): If love is a feeling, then hate is a feeling too. Although tbh this song makes me feel a lot more of the former than the latter.
Arcade – Duncan Laurence (The Netherlands): The finest of this year’s emoting boys
(bubbling under: Joci Papai, John Ludvik, On a Sunday, Roi)
It’s the weekend and my thoughts turn to love. Which of this year’s Eurovision contenders do I think set the most romantic mood?
Top Ten Songs for Romance
Sebi – Zala Kralj & Gašper Šantl (Slovenia): This is just a beautiful heartfelt moment for lovers everywhere. I am so glad we get to have it at Eurovision. It’s a mood, it’s an astral projection into a moment where it’s just the two of you.
Hatrid mun sigra – Hatari (Iceland): Pants off, harnesses on, and away you go. Just make sure you’re not first cousins, please.
Telemoveis – Conan Osiris (Portugal): Ok, so the song is actually quite sad, it’s about the essential loneliness of modern life as even our most intimate relationships become mediated by mobile phones. Put down your phone and look deep into your lover’s eyes. Feel the mutant fado move through your bodies.
Replay – Tamta (Cyprus): My heart actually does beat like an 808 – it originated in the 1980s, it is still in use to this day and hopefully has a few more decades in it yet. But yes, this is quite sexy. Also the video contains FLAGRANT breaches of workshop and welding health and safety. Unacceptable.
Better Love – Katerine Duska (Greece): Everyone deserves better love. Give it to each other.
Friend of a Friend – Lake Malawi (Czech Republic): Ok, now this is going to get meta. You could be making looooove, with Lake Malawi asking you if you can hear the people next door at it too. Maybe you are the people next door? Maybe you’re only a friend. Can you make this song make any sense?
That Night – Carousel (Latvia): This one has crept up on me. I never actually start my Eurovision playlist with it, but I am appreciating the tender coffee-shop country vibe. It’s lovely and sad.
Limits – Paenda (Austria): It’s not quite the full Sebi, but it’s still got a nice romantic chill out vibe.
Bigger Than Us/Too Late For Love – Mikey Rice/John Ludvik (UK/Sweden): Every young love affair needs a big rousing boy band ballad to be Your Song. This is a bit of a choose your own adventure. Will you take the one with the key change or the electric interchange with the backing singers? Will you take the slick popstar or the lad from down the market? It’s up to you.
Heaven – D mol (Montenegro): Sometimes love is cheesy. It just is.
I’m still none the wiser about who is going to win the big show in May, but I do like to dance. In today’s alternative Eurovision reviews, we are taking to the dancefloor and getting ready to shake it.
Top Ten Songs To Dance To
Telemoveis – Conan Osiris (Portugal): Whether you dance like a sinuous djinn or like a crash test dummy falling down some stairs, this song wants you to move like you have never moved before. Be careful not to dislocate a hip, and don’t attempt the death drop without a warm up. I find the groove irresistable.
Chameleon – Michaela Pace (Malta): I am always going to give it a go to the old pineapple-infused post-dancehall beat. Of this year’s Fuegalike contenders, this has the cheekiest drop. I like that drop a lot: it’s a bit like a very low swanny whistle and also has a cheek pop, just to assist with the bottom moving. The build to the final “Give me [noun], I’m a [noun]er” bridge is also smashing. Put it on Spotify though, babes?
She Got Me – Luca Hänni (Switzerland): 2nd in our line-up of Fuegalikes. Suspect B has less of a post-dancehall theme in the verses, it doesn’t really kick off and make you wind your body until the pre-chorus. All our Fuegalikes have drops instead of choruses of course, but I think the ‘dirty dancing’ chant is probably the most chorus-like of our drops. If you get me.
Replay – Tamta (Cyprus): Only just behind the other two Fuegalikes, and probably just because it’s less novel to me. I am ready to gie it laldy to this on any dancefloor you care to put me on.
Spirit In The Sky – Keiino (Norway): Schlagerjoik was made for the dancefloor.
Hatrid mun sigra – Hatari (Iceland): When you and the rest of the Hatari cult are performing your 110bpm quasi-sexual gyrations, be very careful not to get tangled up in each other’s gear.
La Venda – Miki (Spain): It’s not so much of a dance as a joyous pogo, but I’m there.
Ktheju tokës – Jonida Maliqi (Albania): Dancing isn’t all slut drops and bum wiggles – sometimes you need a good old gothy waft. Jonida has that for you. Although I would imagine that the nightcore version would work even better. (I was right)
Say Na Na Na – Serhat (San Marino): Sail away in the disco loving arms of our favourite Turkish light entertainer and Billboard Dance Chart superstar.
Friend of a Friend – Lake Malawi (Czech Republic): If you’re dancing hard enough, you can hear neither the lyrics nor the accent.
I’m having a bit of a problem with Eurovision this year. Well, I’m having a few problems with Eurovision this year but let us, for the moment, stick to the songs. My problem is this: at some point during national final season, I stopped caring. A bunch of internal selections were coming out all at once and I just ran out of damns to give.
My Eurovision season has probably already peaked. It peaked in a handball arena in Reykjavik where I and several thousand pre-teen Icelanders cheered Hatari to victory in Songvakeppnin. I have never before been somewhere that it felt like children might riot. It was really intense. I don’t think even the actual contest in May is going to be that good.
So, in an attempt to shake things up for myself I am changing my review criteria for this year and giving you ten Top 10 lists from the ESC 2019 songs. First up…
Top 10 ESC 2019 songs that sound good in the car:
Hatrið mun Sigra – Hatari (Iceland): When I am driving and the first crunchy bits of intro synth start, I am immediately excited. Huh! It makes me feel like a really cool demon, even though I’m going home via Lidl and I’m wearing a corporate polo shirt. I feel like I’m wearing shades underneath my skin. I feel empowered and a bit naughty. I feel like my Honda Jazz might suddenly sprout spikes and prongs and I might be able to go all Mad Max as I cruise majestically across the Erskine Bridge.
La Venda – Miki (Spain): Here mainly because yelling ‘LO QUE ERE-ERE-EH feels very, very good indeed. And also it’s helping me with my Spanish pronunciation.
Soldi – Mahmood (Italy): This is such a cool, cool song. For some reason the bass on the version on Spotify has immense, immense presence. It’s not the best Eurovision related song for bass; that would have to be Vidlik by Onuka – the ravey 2017 interval act – which makes all the plastic trim on the dashboard rattle and the windows vibrate. Soldi is not quite that, but it’s close.
Zero Gravity – Kate Miller-Heidke (Australia): In the car, no-one can hear you doing the opera bits. Right? Plus, as I fail to avoid the potholes on the dissolving road surface of Byres Road, I get the e-e-e-e- bits just right.
Ktheju Tokes – Jonida Maliki (Albania): I love a bit of portentous wailing and huge bass, so this is a surefire, mystical hit.
Spirit In The Sky – Keiino (Norway): You had better believe that I joik along with gusto and chant He lå he loi la with reckless abandon.
Better Love – Katrina Duska (Greece): It’s expansive, positive, and contains some excellent hooting vocals, which are well suited for the car.
Replay – Tamta (Cyprus): That fuego beat is great for chair dancing, and I love the great, great line ‘Heart beats like an 808’. As you drive along, ponder what happened to the rule about not mentioning specific commercial products. Then forget it. Jon Ola did, so you can too.
Say Na Na Na – Serhat (San Marino): This blast of positivity from Serhat will help you on your way wherever you are going.
Sebi – Zala & Gasper (Slovenia): Not all driving needs to be the sharp-elbowed horror of commuting down a motorway. This is a late night drive with your sweetie, and you’re almost home.
Bonus songs conspicuously absent from the Top 10:
Michaela Pace’s Chameleon, which they have managed to not put on Spotify yet and no-one commutes with YouTube on, Malta.
I’ve been meaning to show you Nova Twins for ages! Amy and Georgia are from London and play very gnarly hip hop punk with hard hitting basslines and a pleasingly gobby attitude. You will want to be in their gang, be like them when you grow up and want to go out and scare loads of square boys with them. Hit Girl is a single from 2018, but you might also enjoy Bassline Bitch or Mood Swings.
I’m always going to be a bit week for a bit of Nordic pop, especially if it’s got the propulsive Cloudbusting stabs in the chorus and an overall air of chilly lunar beauty. So please enjoy Sweden’s STORME and wrap up warm while you stargaze. The last fingers of winter are still gripping the night.
I’m instantly drawn to Serwah Amoakohene’s 90s-ish Hypnotize which is in with a chance of representing Ghana, but if you want something a bit more serious there’s Water Time Bomb which is also quite a tune.
There’s a tentative link-up between this contest and the European version – the winner of the Afrimusic 2018 contest, Symphony, performed in the Eurovillage during the Lisbon contest.
Tüsn are providing bouncy pop thrills in Küsn, or as they put it ‘dramatische Popularmusik’. They’re incredibly (and deliberately) hard to google but what I gather is that they’ve been active as part of the Berlin scene since 2012 and they’re very heavily into that monochrome aesthetic.
Küsn isn’t massively typical for their output, but I thought you’d appreciate the happy love song with the lovely choreography.