Eurovision 2016 – Latvia: ‘Heartbeat’ (Justs)

Latvia have had a weird run at Eurovision. They’ve won once, come third once and managed a fifth place. Everything else since their 2000 debut has been a disaster.  I still can’t forgive them for ‘Pirates of the Sea‘ (2008).

Until last year, they’d suffered six years of failing to qualify thanks to the lyrically deceptive ‘Beautiful Song‘, the criminal ‘Here we Go‘ (2013), and the indescribably awful ‘Cake to Bake‘ (2014). ‘Angel in Disguise‘ (2011) was the best of a bad bunch. ‘What For?‘ (2010) posed the question everyone in the audience was asking themselves of Latvia’s entry that year and contains some of the worst unison singing I’ve seen in recent years. Trust me, you don’t need even watch their entry from 2009.

Latvia build on last year’s surprise success of Aminata’s ‘Love Injected‘ with another similarly classy number, the 80s-infused ‘Heartbeat‘, sung by singer Justs.

It has the most memorable hook, helping keep the song distinctive. It doesn’t rest of its musical laurels, however. It swiftly develops that initial musical idea in a very short space of time, breaking out into something joyously inclusive and celebratory around 2’30”. That makes Latvia’s song for the most efficient, transformative and resourceful piece of songwriting in this year’s Contest. I love it.

Justs needs to lose the leather jacket and replace it with something else. I’m not sure what. But that leather jacket doesn’t look right.

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