Berlin calling: ESC 2013 Germany pre-selection (Unser Song für Malmö)

Time to see what another of the Big Five are up to in preparation for Sweden’s Eurovision Song Contest in May. Germany have been reclaiming the meaning of a Big Five country. It’s not just the auto-qualification for the final that defines Germany’s place in the contest, granted by its big financial contribution to the contest. It’s also has one of the bigger music industries in Europe, and as such should really be coming out with some superior content.

This hasn’t quite gone to plan for Germany (or the other Big Five) over the last decade, but Germany turned it around by winning the 2010 contest, largely thanks to the continued effort of Stefan Raab to get the German public interesting in being a proper competitor. Hosting the 2011 contest, previous winner Lena chalked up another top 10 finish, while in Baku, Roman Lob made it three top 10s in a row for Deutschland. They are truly back on the Eurovision map, so can they keep up this streak?

unsersongfurmalmo2013

They didn’t plan to take their foot off the pedal this year, with a glittering national final and 12 artists. The result was decided by a rather involved combination of 1/3 internet voting across the nation’s regional radio stations, 1/3 from a jury of former Eurovision entrants, songwriters and experts, and the other 1/3 from televoting on the night.

Mia Diekow – Lieblingslied

This just kicks off without much fanfare doesn’t it? Sounds like a German Paloma Faith, except without the vile makeup (Isn’t that just Kate Nash?). It’s quite nice really, at least she sings it well. I wonder if this faux-retro thing has been done to death a little bit, but she gets away with it.

It’s quirky (is that a banjo?) and likeable, but the melody is all over the place. Is she even singing most of the time? Worryingly close to jazz, but as soon as I think that it kicks into that rather bouncy lovely chorus. Not sure I’d go out of my way to listen to it again but it’s rather nice.

Mobilée – Little Sister

What a massive arena! Are those more banjos? I feel like this could easily have been another Mia Diekow track. This is really quite nice. It’s a little worrying that I think this is in English, but I can hardly understand a word out it.

Drum solo is perhaps the most boring breakdown I’ve ever heard *beats drum regularly for 15 seconds*. As an ensemble is sounds really nice, and her voice is sweet but a bit drowned-out. Considering I’m writing these songs in ascending order of successfulness, this final is off to a great start!

Die Priester ft Mojca Erdmann – Meerstern, sei gegrüßt

Oops, spoke too soon! Well this is certainly a gear change, from jaunty indie-pop to a rather full-on operatic number. Who ever thought this would do well at Eurovision? Those priests at the back look decidedly dodgy.

Of course this woman has an amazing voice, and it’s enjoyably dramatic for an aria like this, especially with those dazzling visuals. But I don’t tend to listen to a lot of opera…

Finn Martin – Change

Normal service is resumed. This sounds like suitably nonsensical lyrics, must be a meaningful self-penned peace anthem. These are a tricky Eurovision genre, and this sadly falls on the shittier end of the spectrum. God, those drummers are annoying, are they all on drugs?

His voice doesn’t have a lot of power behind it, I’m only hearing odd syllables. It’s all a bit new-agey and uplifting, but it just doesn’t really go anywhere.

Betty Dittrich – Lalala

Oh look at her, flame-haired! That’s not a banjo is it, what is it? A ukelele? She’s really going for the retro angle with this one with that 70s wallpaper backdrop and hippy-dippy costumes.

It’s not the catchiest thing I’ve ever heard but it’s hopelessly light-hearted and likeable. It just gets a bit repetitive, even after a semi-breakdown near the end.

Ben Ivory – The Righteous Ones

Interesting intro, lasers and off-key acappella, did he have audio troubles? If you’re going to sing in monotone, you have to be sure you’re singing the right tone.

I guess it’s supposed to be some “Born this way”-esque anthem for social misfits (Ooh, he said “Queers”, how controversial… zzz), but crucially forgets that “Born this way” was a great pop song with it. You can’t just fire off a load of lasers (and there are a LOT of lasers, even a laser-fan such as me thought it was overkill), not smile and say it’s cool pop. No wonder people exclude him, I bet he’s a HOOT!

Blitzkids mvt. – Heart On The Line

What does “mvt.” stand for? A few Daft Punk burps kick things off, and we are confronted with some hopelessly overstyled dancers, and the lead singer in some quite inexplicable trousers.

Again I think the sound levels weren’t right, she sounds a bit drowned out sometimes. In contrast to Ben Ivory, she’s singing, and while the stage production obviously thinks it’s sehr sehr cool, it’s quite a pleasant listen. Those trousers really are stupid! Decent effort but at least try to look like you’re enjoying yourself!

Nica & Joe – Elevated

After so many quite contemporary tracks (and one opera song), it’s a bit of a refreshing change to get a rather dated ballad sung by two good singers. Nica’s a strong singer, I really like her. It’s a bit of an odd pairing visually though, even though his voice is just as strong.

I think more percussion was needed here, the choruses feel a bit wishywashy. They try their best with the vocals, particularly Joe surprisingly getting the money note instead of Nica. I think the production let this one down.

Saint Lu – Craving

Another hip indie chick with a horribly-dressed band. I guess the votes was split in this sub-genre, so poor Mia ended up in last place. Nothing world-changing really, she’s got that white-girl soul voice that everyone seems to lose their shit about these days. That’s paired with a standard issues Motown-esque backing track.

She’s got a great voice and a distinct tone, but this type of music never did a lot for me. Can’t complain too much, it’s just not to my tastes.

 

Söhne Mannheims – One Love

Oh Christ, what is this? Apparently a tribute to Nas, Guetta and Marley(?!). Don’t ask the audience to repeat something and not give them a chance to do it! Participation fail! That really is the laziest shit chorus ever. How in Christ’s name did this finish 3rd?

Literally nothing for me to like in this one. Preachy crap rap verses, tedious ‘soul’ choruses consisting of “One Love” repeated over and over. Some ragga stuff in the middle-eight, with the dreadlocked lead singer parading his cringey ‘swagger’ like it’s going out of fashion – which I think it did in the 90s.

LaBrassBanda – Nackert

Well after that shit, anything afterwards would sound great. Right? Well coming in a close 2nd is this… I don’t know what this is. Barefooted uni students with long hair and too many brass instruments. I’ve heard enough German-language rap to last a lifetime I think.

Is this a joke entry or something? The crowd seem to love them, as did the radio voters, but I don’t get it. It’s got… something about it, there’s a crazy energy to it, particularly that speed-brass segment near the end. But again, why on Earth did anyone think this was a good idea for Eurovision? Thank God they just decided to play it safe this year…

Cascada – Glorious

And the winner is… well such a shameless knee-jerk reaction to last year’s winner that you might as well have called the chorus “Euglorious”. That’s a bit unfair, it’s easy to draw comparisons, this is more like your standard Cascada track. Revolting outfit, but I’ve always thought she seemed like a lot of fun.

I think this is a great pick for Germany. Considering many countries are at least considering generic dancepop tracks, this at least stands tall above many of them. With only 3 minutes and one shot to impress Europe this is easily the best of the German class of 2013, and seeing a successful act performing at the contest can only raise the profile of the contest (unless it tanks).

I really like the song after one listen. Sure, it’s nothing new, but there are a few nice lyrical moments, particularly that “I can feel the music in me”. She needs a decent outfit, but her vocals are strong and clear. I think that’s a good result.



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1 Comment

Filed under Eurovision, Malmö 2013, Music, Reviews

One response to “Berlin calling: ESC 2013 Germany pre-selection (Unser Song für Malmö)

  1. Pingback: Road to Malmö: Cascada – “Glorious” (Germany) | Verbal Diarrhoea

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