Eurovision 2017: [Denmark] Anja / Where I Am

Denmark’s ‘Where I Am’ is a surprise this year. No-one I know is talking about it especially.

‘Where I Am’ transcends the usual Eurovision characteristics of cliché, pastiche, or imitation, and secures the much-sought after status of ‘decent pop song in its own right’.

It’s a safe mid-tempo song with a mild bittersweet feel laid out within seconds of the song getting underway. The same harmonic progression is repeated throughout the song – verse, chorus and middle eight – but thanks to subtle contrast, and reasonably sophisticated if stylistically unadventurous production, still makes for a satisfying listen.

It won’t trouble Italy’s runaway winner, but it deserves a place in the final. If she can nail the live vocal on the night I will cheer it as loudly as I possibly can in the jury final.

Eurovision 2016 – Denmark: ‘Soldiers of Love’ (Lighthouse X)

Denmark is a reliable sort at Eurovision. They embrace the programme and its spirit, and aren’t shy about having fun. The 80s are the best place to start: ‘Sku’ du spørg’ fra no’en‘ (11th, 1985); ‘Ka’ du se hva jeg sa‘ (3rd, 1988); ‘Vi maler byen rød (3rd, 1989); ‘Hallo Hallo‘(6th, 1990). All of them cracking songs, with a charming naivety and a steadfast refusal to apologise for anything.

Denmark is also responsible for a personal guilty pleasure. It didn’t qualify, but ‘Shame On You‘ (2005) is actually rather entertaining, possibly because of the roller-skating on stage.

They’ve won a few times too – the first time with the blissfully elegant Danseviese. Next, with the nauseatingly uplifting ‘Fly on the Wings of Love‘ in 2000, and after that in 2013 with ‘Only Teardrops‘.

If Eurovision has improved the quality of some of its musical output over the past ten years, then its down in part to a handful of countries who have bought into the vision of a handful of executive producers and come up with well-performed distinctive songs which have landed well amongst Eurovision fans and Saturday night viewers alike.

Denmark is one of those countries and ‘A Friend In London‘ (5th, 2011) is one of those songs, so too ‘Talking to You‘ in 2005, ‘All Night Long‘ in 2008 (even with Simon Mathew’s contrived cockney-geezer striding around the stage), and not forgetting ‘In A Moment Like This‘ in 2010.

What of Denmark’s entry this year?

On the plus side, Denmark’s song for 2016 has a good verse and a lead singer with chiselled jaw and an enviable confidence. On the minus side, the song’s chorus slips into unrelenting and irrevocable blandness, and the jacket with the Ming the Merciless collars needs to go. Ultimately, the song tries very very hard but by the time we get to the middle eight the truth is out there for all to see: musically this song struggles to sustain itself. I really wouldn’t be surprised to see it in the Final. I know how Eurovision works.

Eurovision 2012: Hungary / The Sound of Our Hearts / Compact Disco

Eurovision fans test one another when they convene. ‘Who’s is your favourite?‘ is quickly followed by the qualifying question ‘Which do you think should go through?‘ before the ultimate slam-dunk, ‘But which do you think will go through?‘ It’s a rare thing when all three questions are answered with the same country. Hungary’s song The Sound of Our Hearts from Compact Disco would be the one for this year.

That which is perfect doesn’t – or shouldn’t – require close analysis. Actually, that’s an excuse for saying I can’t be bothered to provide any further qualification for this particular entry.

I love it. And I want to hear it over and over and over again.

And that is all that needs to be said.

Hungary has never won the Eurovision.

They haven’t really come close. They’ve submitted some great upbeat numbers in recent years – Katie Wolf in 2011 was a favourite , so too Zoli Adok in 2009 right up until his brilliant video was transformed into the travesty of the stage act he had to perform on the night.

Hungary has also contributed a ballad in 2008, some blues which did rather well in 2007 and a cracking little folksy choreographed number in 2005. 2012 sees the country fielding their best number since they debuted in 1994.

Eurovision 2012: Denmark Should’ve Known Better Soluna Samay

Seeing the result announcement from Denmark’s selection programme included in this preview video propels the country’s act Soluna Samay into the list entitled ‘Strong Contenders for Eurovision 2012’. Here was a surprise victory and a popular choice. Those of us who don’t live in Denmark are already thinking that this act is potentially a cut above the rest.

Soluna has a brilliant voice with an obviously reliable delivery. She looks convincing on screen and the track occupies a large space – clearly.

The song has a clever trick, delivering the simple but still memorable hook for the entire song – the chorus – right at the top of the song. It embeds itself in the mind of the listener/viewer within seconds of it starting and that will do it good.

A place in the final on 26 May surely beckons for Denmark and whilst seeing Soluna carry off the trophy at the end of the evening wouldn’t in itself be a disappointing thing, the similarity of Soluna’s voice (and that of the song as a whole) with that of Alannis Morrisette and the fact that the song doesn’t especially go anywhere, makes err on the side of caution that this will be the ultimate winner.

This in itself might be because I’m a fussy customer. I just expect a little bit more from my perfect and well-deserved Eurovision winner.

Denmark are a force to be reckoned with at Eurovision. The country has won twice, in 1963 and 2000, came second in 2001 and for the most part managed to pull off a top ten placing on the majority of occasions they’ve participated in the contest.

In recent years, the country has turned in some great (if imitative) numbers, including a homage to The Police 2010, something redolent of Take That’s Shine in 2011 and who could forget Denmark’s song for 2009 written by Ronan Keating and sung by someone who sounds like him. All of this makes Soluna’s similarity with Alannis Morrisette this year less of a coincidence and more of a strategy intended to win the contest for the country a third time.

Eurovision 2012: Denmark Should’ve Known Better Soluna Samay

I'd lose the hat, if I were you Soluna. It's not working.

Denmark. Are you receiving me?

News via the interweb this evening is that Danish televoting viewers of the Melodi Grand Prix along with the country’s national jury aided by international juries from Germany, Norway and Azerbaijan have plumped for ..

.. the song I was reasonably positive about but also wasn’t entirely blown away by.

Should’ve Known Better sung by Soluna Samay (above) in a gold sailor’s hat and frilly bits attached to her shoulders is OK. It trips along. It fills 3 minutes.

But really, why didn’t you end up with Overflow?

Didn’t any of you read this blog earlier today? I need to work on my distribution a little more carefully, clearly.

Read Eurovisionary’s blog about the Danish final for a breakdown of the votes. Personally speaking, it makes for surprising reading.