Monday, 7 May 2018

Eurovision: First Impressions #4

Hey lovelies! I know that I said I would have this post up on Sunday, however I seriously underestimated how busy I would be yesterday... but YAYYY!! Today is Monday which means that there's only a day left until the first semi final of the Eurovision Song Contest! I am super duper excited to finally get the chance to see so many of the amazing artists that I've been following for months now performing live, with their new and improved Eurovision-finale-worthy staging and choreography! Even though I will be boarding a plane to Lisbon tomorrow, it still doesn't feel like it's really happening! And as ecstatic as I am now, I don't think I will have reached my full capacity on the excitement scale until I arrive in Lisboa and that Eurovision sign is there to greet me in the airport (there better be a sign, Portugal! There was one in Stockholm when I visited in 2016 so I'm counting on it!). Obviously the ESC is something that I love and thoroughly enjoy investing several months of my life into, but at this stage in the competition it gets kinda stressful too! This is because you know that some of the artists you love won't make it into the final... there are going to be tears guys; I'm an emotional wreck so I'm sure of it, haha!

If this is the first of my Eurovision impressions posts that you are reading or if you're not really all too familiar with this wonderful annual contest, let me explain a little of how it works :) This year there are forty-three countries participating, six of them automatically get a place in the final (because they are the host country or part of the group of countries that helps fund most of the Eurovision), which leaves thirty-seven countries to compete! There are only twenty places available (meaning there's twenty-six artists in the final) for the last show which will take place on Saturday 12th May, and the artists are separated into Semi final 1 or Semi final 2, with ten qualifying from each show. I hope I explained that well! So yeah, those semi finals are going to be both incredible and a nightmare to get though, and I'm crossing as many fingers as I can that my favourites all qualify! 

This post is the fourth and final one in a mini series I've written to share my opinions of each of the songs entered into the 2018 line-up. I've discussed my thoughts and feelings, and likes and dislikes, of ten songs in each post, in the order in which the songs were released/confirmed. I will leave some links to my three previous posts at the end of this for those of you who would like to read more on the subject. Today's post is going to include thirteen songs  though, since that's how many I have left to chat about. I hope that you all enjoy reading, and if you are a fan of the Eurovision, I hope that you all enjoy the show on Saturday night!! Let me know who you're favourite performer of the night was over on twitter too! 

Eurovision Song Contest 2018

31. Belgium- 'A Matter of Time' by Sennek

It's a shame that I have to start off today's review with a song that I'm not really keen on. It's not a bad song at all, it's just that it isn't to my personal tastes. I feel like this could be a popular song for the viewers at home though as it sounds very similar to the types of songs that do well in the UK charts; it has some definitely Paloma Faith vibes. But I don't listen to much of that style of music so I could be way off, haha :D The singer, Sennek (Laura Groeseneken) has a cool voice! However I feel like the song drags on a bit and this makes me a little bored. Because of this, A Matter of Time is placed towards the bottom half of my Top 43. 

32. Croatia- 'Crazy' by Franka

Oops, this is unfortunately going to be another review much like the one above! In fact, this is my least favourite entry in the whole of the 2018 line-up (sorry Croatia!). Franka Batelic is stunning and has a great voice, but the song just doesn't do her justice at all! The line 'I will remember, roses and horses in the rain' just makes me giggle because it's incredibly cliché, even for a love song! I'm really not a fan of the chorus either with the whole 'l-l-l-love', and to be the honest the entire song just doesn't have anything unique, exciting or catchy about it. What do you think of this song guys? 

33. Australia- 'We Got Love' by Jessica Mauboy

This song on the other hand is a fabulous entry! It's all about self love and not letting people make you feel like you have to change who you are, to never give up! A message to just spread love and get along with one another  This song is also powerful, especially with it representing Australia at Eurovision as in December 2017, the country finally passed the law to legalise gay marriage!! It feels like Jessica Mauboy is singing in celebration of this and that is fantastic, and makes the song even more special. I love singing along to We Got Love, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside :D haha!

34. Austria- 'Nobody But You' by Cesar Sampson

This is a really good song, the lyrics are sweet and I like listening it before I go to bed, because it's chilled. Cesar has a lovely voice, and sounds even better performing live from the snippets I've seen (as hard as it is, I am avoiding watching the official rehearsal videos on YouTube because I want a surprise!). I think this song was a grower for my friends, but I loved it from the start. It makes me a little sad whenever I've listened to it over the last few days because the realisation hit that it's in Semi Final 1, with so many amazing songs and even though it's great, there's definitely ten better songs! T_T Why can't everyone make it to the finals!? 

35. Ireland- 'Together' by Ryan O'Shaughnessy 

This song is beautiful, and the first time I watched the video, I struggled to hold back tears (I'm way too emotional!). The lyrics just bring back old memories and feelings for me, but that's not necessarily a bad thing; it can be very cathartic to feel so moved by a song like that. Everyone loves having a good cry along to stuff, right? Ryan O'Shaughnessy voice is so nice! Some of you might remember him from when he was on Britain's Got Talent and The Voice Ireland. The video to this song is great, mostly because it features two male dancers, and it's very refreshing to see same-sex relationships represented in more mainstream media. It is a cute video for sure! If this song doesn't make it through Semi Final 1, I'm gonna be gutted!

36. Sweden- 'Dance You Off' by Benjamin Ingrosso

My best friends & I were so invested in the Swedish National Finals this year, watching all of the shows and even having a little get together for when the winner was announced. Honestly, Sweden's Eurovision selection shows, named the Melodifestivalen or Melfest for short, just revile those of any other country! They are amazing and extravagant and the hosts, David Lindgren and Fab Freddie, were incredible! Melfest is just like one big party (across six shows: four contests, a second chance round for some of the performers, and a finale) and even though I can't understand a word of what's being said, well other than Second Chance and Yes, haha!, it's still so fun to watch. I was super happy to see the artists Samir & Viktor come back again with another awesome song, called Shuffla, so I was kinda disappointed when they didn't win, however Benjamin Ingrosso was in my top 3 so that's not bad at all. There were so so many incredible songs in the Melfest this year, including In My Cabana by Margaret and A Bitter Lullaby by Martin Almgren. The winning song is one of those that's impossible not to want to dance along to, and the staging was something different and very visually appealing, but I'll say not more about that because spoilers! 

Eurovision Song Contest 2018

37. Norway- 'That's How You Write A Song' by Alexander Rybak 

As a Eurofan, it was impossible not to get excited about Norway's song as soon as we heard that it would be performed by Alexander Rybak. He was the winner of the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest, with an brilliant song called Fairytale. Back then, we all fell a little in love with his cheeky personality, his cute Peter Pan-esque look, and his fabulous violin playing! I was super intrigued to find out what his new song would be like, and how he would sound/look 9 years later! The first glimpse of his 2018 entry that I got was when the official music video was released, and my first impressions changed as soon as I saw a live performance a few weeks after that. That's How You Write A Song is certainly catchy, but after watching the official video, I also thought it was a little too cheesy (it reminds me somewhat of the song Chico Time, who else remembers that?) and when compared his 2009 winning song, it was just too different and I wasn't sure what I really thought of it. But eventually my faith was restored when I saw the stage performance of it, Alexander Rybak has a really great stage presence and his characteristics shrine though in the way he performs! Obviously, his violin playing is a huge bonus too! It's not my favourite song in the contest, but it's still a good one. Also Rybak doesn't look like he's aged at all :D 

38. Israel- 'TOY' by Netta 

Up until this point, there was none of those classic Eurovision songs, the kind that are extravagantly random and unusual, the type of songs that you can't help but love because they are so wacky and weird! They are one of the reasons that I got so into Eurovision, because you just don't hear them in many other places, and certainly not in a competition with such popularity and prestige (This is why Eurovision is truly amazing)! So, I felt until this song was released that we were missing something this year... but then we were all hit with this fabulous, quirky song!! It's brilliant and I loved it right away... Netta is absolutely amazing, she's energetic and fun and has one of those attitudes that I admire so much, she just doesn't care what people think and is loud and proud. Her social media is so entertaining and she's always bursting into random song, and getting others to sing along with her. It's also awesome to have a beautiful plus-size woman in the competition to represent! The song is not only filled with unique dance moves and lots of chicken sounds XD (yes, chicken sounds!), but it also has an awesome message! I have spontaneously sang 'I'M NOT YOUR TOY... YOU STUPID BOY' quite a lot lately! Me & my sister cannot resist getting up and imitating those dance moves everything we listen to the song too!  Omg and Netta also mentions Pikachu in her song so yeah she's my favourite person now :) Toy is the best song performing in Semi Final 1 for me, and I would really love to hear what everyone else thinks of this song, so please have a listen and let me know in the comments. 

39. Russia- 'I Won't Break' by Julia Samoylova

Julia Samoylova was an entrant of the Eurovision Song Contest for Russia last year, but she was banned from entering Ukraine (where the 2017 show was hosted) because of some confusing political rule that she broke by or when entering Crimea several years earlier. Crimea is a conflict zone but I don't know much more than that on the subject. I can't say that I was too disappointed about her not being allowed to enter the competition because I really didn't enjoy her song, but it's still a shame that in a competition that is supposed to be about unity and have no political involvement. I'm not sure what I think about her being banned from performing, I don't know enough about the situation or what she even apparently did to deserve being banned though so? Anyhow, with the show being hosted in Portugal this year, Julia Samoylova is back with another song and upon first hearing it, I was impressed by how much better it was from last years song Flame Is Burning. 2018's song has a touching theme and speaks to me on a personal level because of my own struggles with living with mental illness. It is good to sing along to as well. But then, I heard a very short clip of a live performance of the song and really didn't like it! She's had time though since then to perfect her vocals and staging, so it will be interesting to hear it live in Semi Final 2 on Thursday. 

40. FYR Macedonia- 'Lost And Found' by Eye Cue

Macedonia's entry was certainly a grower for me. When I initially heard it, it wasn't that I thought it was a bad song or anything, it's just that it didn't stand out to me and there were lots of other songs that I preferred. I felt, and still do despite me now liking the song a lot more, that Lost And Found sounded a little weird. By weird, I mean that it sounds like two different songs mashed together... basically the chorus and verses could almost be different songs with the way they sound! Originally, I wasn't too sure if they fit well together and couldn't stop thinking about it everytime I listened to the song, which was sort of distracting me from enjoying it. Nevertheless, I started to appreciate the song the more I listened to it, playing it loud in my friend's car and having a sing-along definitely helped! It has a great beat and instrumentals, and I can imagine it being played in nightclubs so I feel like younger viewers will enjoy it. I prefer the verses to the chorus but it's still overall a nice song. I'm looking forward to hearing it live, but it's in Semi Final 1 so I'm not sure how much of a chance Macedonia has of qualifying for the final this year.  

41. Lithuania- 'When We're Old' by Ieva Zasimauskaite 

I really like Lithuania's song! It was a nice change to have a song of this genre/sound after so many upbeat and energetic songs, and those with amazing high notes and full of strong emotion. This song is definitely not lacking in emotion though, it just illustrates it in a different way and is beautifully put together. The lyrics are meaningful and all about love, but not in a stereotypical way. The video is adorable too :) Ieva Zasimauskaite has a very unique voice, that is lovely to listen to and sets her apart from the other performers. Even though it's a calm and slow song, it is still lovely enough that it won't get lost amongst the crowd, and I've been told that it sounds fantastic live in the rehearsals so I feel like it has a very good chance of qualifying, despite it being in Semi Final 1.

42. Bulgaria- 'Bones' by EQUINOX

Bones is certainly different, and I've never heard a song quite like it in the ESC before. I recently discovered the music of a US a cappella group called Pentatonix and I'm lovin' this sort of music right now, which meant when I heard Bulgaria's entry for this year, I was very impressed! Although it's not an a cappella song, it reminds me of one because there's not too much instrumental input and the song relies mostly on the different vocal tones of the five singers, with a simplistic beat in the background. I just love it :) I really like how well the different singer's voices compliment each other, and I think it will be incredible to hear live... I can't wait! I love all of the space imagery, and the meaning behind the lyrics is nice too. I don't have much to say about this song other than I think it's epic and I am sure that it will quality!!

43. Georgia- 'For You' by Ethno-Jazz Band Iriao

The final song that was released, on Tuesday 13th March ,was from Georgia. I was super happy to discover that it was preformed in the Georgian language, bringing the number of songs sang in their native language to nine, which is fabulous. I want to see more in the future! For You is a nice song to listen to, very peaceful. I love the traditional feel of it with the ethnic sounds and instrumentals, it reminds me very much of something you might hear in a religious setting. I like how the song starts off calm with just one member of the band singing in the lead, and starts to change sound as the other members join in, adding their own unique tone to the harmony. My favourite part of the song though is two minutes in when it really picks up and the vocals get stronger, the song feels more powerful then and memorable. The seven guys that make up Ethno-Jazz Band Iriao have beautiful voices! The song will be performed in Semi Final 2, where most of my favourites from the 2018 line-up are also performing and even though Georgia's entry is lovely, I don't think it stands much of a chance when up against some of the other songs in this show. With it's unique twist on traditional music, I feel like it might not appeal to as many audiences.

So we have reached the end of my Eurovision Song Contest song reviews for 2018. There are a few songs this year that I am really not a fan of, but the majority of the songs that have been entered this time round have been great and so it has been super hard to choose which I prefer. Trying to sort my Top 10 was definitely a challenge!! These last few months have passed by so quickly, and tomorrow evening the ESC process officially begins with Semi Final 1. I still cannot believe that I will be there to witness it all. Wow! Eeeek it feels a little surreal that on Saturday we will find out who will win the entire contest; hopefully it's one of my favourites ;) I hope these posts have been a fun read for everyone, including those of my follows who don't watch the Eurovision. If I've helped you discover even one song that you enjoy, then I'm delighted :)

Thankyou for reading!

What is your favourite song that I've mentioned in this post? 
Have a listen & let me know :) 

If you watched the Eurovision finale last year, did you have a favourite song? 

As promised, here are the links to my other Eurovision 2018 song reviews: 


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