Oh I know, I know, it’s taking me a while for write this up. Particularly by my standards – I mean I did load the 2004 contest on my iPod back in JUNE!
But I hope at least some of you appreciated my album review blowout over the last few weeks, and now the dust has settled (and I try to whip up some enthusiasm for the next albums I picked), I will press on with my next 10 favourite tracks from Istanbul’s first Eurovision Song Contest.
Chris Doran – If My World Stopped Turning
#22 in the Grand Final
A big hitter out now, though Ireland’s performance had gone off the boil at this point, since the golden age of the early 90s. There’s nothing really wrong with this one at all, but it’s just a bit… safe.
I can see why they would want to evoke the spirit of MOR Irish winners, but it just comes over as a bit dated. The chorus doesn’t really have much of a climax to it, does it?
Tie Break – Du bist
#21 in the Grand Final
Not sure how this one sneaked through to the final, but a standard boyband reading of what basically sounds like a Westlife song had a nice chorus to it. There’s something rather nice about German language. It’s got a nice texture to it that I don’t often hear outside Eurovision.
A bit standard like I said, and I can’t quite put my finger on what the Westlife song is that it reminds me of (“My Love”?). They were lucky to qualify I think.
David D’Or – Leha’amin
Did not qualify, #11 in Semi-final
Ahh a bit of an earache, but you have to give him credit for a voice like that. OK it’s a little too feminine at times, but it’s very angelic and I’ve always loved a bit of Hebrew (though despite dozens of practices at “Millim” I’ve never quite cracked it.
OK it’s a bit cruise-ship easy listening, and if you only knew this was a guy singing, you might expect a drag queen or something. An acquired taste, and I’m sure I quite acquired it.
Jonatan Cerrada – À chaque pas
#15 in the Grand Final
Oh so handsome, I’m a sucker for Gallic charm. Sadly the language and his good looks are all that were really going for this one. I enjoy listening to it, but it doesn’t really do a lot for me. In fact all four of the songs I’ve just written about are pretty tedious ballads, which mires the contest a little bit, but we shall overcome.
At least the chorus is quite lovely and melodic, and he sings like a guy. A really hot one.
Maryon – Notre planète
Did not qualify, #19 in Semi-final
Environmental awareness time now. They don’t seem to do that much these days, do they? Easy for Monaco to sing, there’s only about one square-mile to keep clean and the whole country is sorted. If somewhere huge like Russia were singing it, that might be something.
Another fairly nondescript midtempo, but it’s got a nice (if a bit dated) dance beat to it that really helps no end, after the syruppy sludge of the last 4 tracks.
There’s even a middle-eight, fancy that. That nice little glory note does it for me too. Well done, Monaco, and come back soon!
Platin – Stay Forever
Did not qualify, #21 in Semi-final
Yak, why did this seem better than the preceding songs? Oh it’s a bit claggy, and the female vocalist has an unusual twist of Shakira in there doesn’t she?
A sickly love song from a duo who proposed during the national selection, and got married in Istanbul. They were really in it to win it, weren’t they? Heartless Europe weren’t impressed, and only threw a meagre 5 points their way in the semi-final.
It’s actually quite a nice melodic love song, with a key change (or two?) thrown in for good measure. We’re getting there, but a bit too much sentiment there. Wonder if they’re still together…
Jari Sillanpää – Takes 2 to Tango
Did not qualify, #14 in Semi-final
Hmm… well Finland would get their success in the following contest, but for now they would bottom out what wouldn’t be a treasured year for most of Scandinavia.
At least this is memorable, and contrasts nicely with the sloppy ballads. Only maybe it’s a little too far in the other direction, and sounds like it should be part of some cheesy Vegas magic show. He’s got a strong voice, but the lyrics are just a bit naff, and some of the notes are just a bit strange.
I can imagine thinking this is all terribly “Eurovision”, but for me it’s just a bit too far over the side of melodrama.
Jónsi – Heaven
#19 in the Grand Final
Speaking of the Nordic bloc, poor Jonsi didn’t get on too well in his debut performance, though his final position was higher than his 2012 effort for Baku.
OK it’s another midtempo ballad, but he’s got quite a nice tone to his voice, it’s just got a bit more power to it than some of his rivals in his genre. That middle-eight is pretty uplifting, and the last minute is powerfully performed. Ultimately the song is a little dated, but I’ve always got a soft spot for Iceland.
Ramón – Para llenarme de ti
#10 in the Grand Final
Could you get a more generically Spanish sounding track? Sounds like it could have come right off an Ugly Betty soundtrack. Still, it’s no surprise it whipped up the crowd and the public alike. Rrrrramon put in a powerful performance, and everyone loves a bit of sexy Latin action once in a while.
It was to be the last time Spain would finish in the top 10 until the glorious Pastora equalled his 10th place in Baku, even though I don’t like this half as much as that. It might sounds like something I’d hear in Nando’s, but it’s solid Latin fun.
Athena – For Real
#4 in the Grand Final
For a while it was looking worryingly as if Turkey might win the contest twice in a row, but eventually it finished a very creditable 4th for a host nation’s entry. It was a bit of a Eurovision curveball too, you don’t get a lot of Turkish Ska on the Eurovision stage, but variety is the spice of life.
Surely benefitting from the surplus of gloopy ballads, Turkey seized the alternative vote as many songs have done since. Maybe hosting the contest allows a country certain freedom to experiment with the song, since the eyes will be more on how they are presenting the contest (eh…)
I would never count myself as a ska fan (except maybe a bit of No Doubt), but this is actually pretty catchy. He’s got a very distinctive voice, and the track is bouncy enough to get a whole arena jumping. The chorus is a little basic, but who really cares when you’re having fun?