Eurovision You Decide 2018: The songs, the hype, and the heartache

Every year around about this time, this blog goes a bit weird by referencing the Eurovision Song Contest.

There is a very good reason for this (other than the fact that whenever the Eurovision bus fires itself up and splutters down the carriageway I get a little bit excited) which I will in a future post sometime explain in detail.

For now, either embrace what’s to follow, or look on with horror and bewilderment.

The UK’s national final – Eurovision You Decide – is on TV tomorrow night at 7.30pm on BBC Two. UK Eurovision fans (most of them) are deliriously happy about this because they see it as the BBC’s growing commitment to Eurovision, and importantly, them then fans being respected with a ‘proper’ national final.

The 90 minute extravaganza is coming from the Brighton Dome (where The Abba won in ’74) and one half of the presenting team features Sweden’s winner, general heartthrob and surprisingly good presenter Mans Zemmerlow. Yay, etc if you like that sort of thing.

The expert panel has on it one member of pop band McFly, S Club 8 singer (and songwriter) Rochelle Humes, and former X Factor flop and TV presenter Rylan.

What of the songs? Well, don’t hold your breath.

I Feel Love / Goldstone

Country-come-pop. Kinda.
The chorus is better than the verse. Close in vocals are going to make it a bugger to sing live.

There’s an implicit tension in the chorus which never gets resolved. It’s as though the chorus is a constant state of preparing for lift off but when it comes to pressing the button everyone’s discovered they didn’t fill up the fuel tank.

There will no doubt be loads of leaping around. Expect the worst – you may well be pleasantly surprised.

Legends / Asanda

I heard this song a few months back before it had gone through the production ‘magic’ necessary to bring it to the stage. I found the brass in the opening of the verse and throughout the chorus intensely annoying. Production hasn’t improved it.

People will say its catchy and therefore memorable. Bollocks.

I have a hunch this is the song the BBC would like to see represent the UK. On that basis it will probably win. However, at 16 years old I do not see how singer Asanda has the stamina or experience to pull it off.

Crazy / Raya

This song has a more inclusive feel, with a compelling verse that leads to a surprisingly satisfying chorus too. I adore the chord progression at the end of the second and fourth line of the verse. This one has the rousing call-to-arms I expect from a present-day Eurovision song. Love it.

Astronaut / Liam Tamne

As soon as this starts I want it to be over. But stick with it until the end of the first chorus and it blossoms into something a little more compelling.

What will potentially ruin it at the You Decide final, or if expectations are shattered and it ends up in Lisbon this year, is the nauseating world-weary twang Liam gives to his voice – a dated contrived affectation that smacks of cynicism, apathy, or wilfulness.

Blue / Jaz Ellington

Heartfelt and well-meaning as it is, this will sink at Eurovision.

Storm / SuRie

This has a sweet spring-time feel to it which I do associate with Eurovision.

The verse builds to an efficient and effective two-stage bridge – the descending strings just before the chorus do sound cheap and nasty though. The middle eight is plausible but the return of the chorus that follows feels like a damp squib. Serviceable and pleasing.

It’s OK, but it wouldn’t be memorable in a Eurovision running order. And if we did need to qualify for a place in the final, we absolutely wouldn’t get through with this.

 

 

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