Editorials & Opinion

The Songs That Didn’t – 2014 in Review [Part 4]

The 2015 national final season is now less than a month away and we continue with our reflection of the year that was. In part 4 it is again the turn of Liam Clark to delve into another four national finals and talk about what could have been. This week we discuss Latvia, Israel, Malta and Germany.

Latvia
Aminata Savadogo – I Can Breathe

Latvia has fallen on some hard times of late, it’s now been five consecutive failures to qualify for them but I feel like this is rather unfair. Yes, I was a hardcore Aarzemnieki fan, as anyone who reads wiwibloggs will know, but I genuinely felt that this year’s Dziesma was a very strong field of songs. For me it’s an easier task to name the songs I didn’t like in the Dziesma final (Hint: It was Eirosmits) but at the same time I need to pick one.

So as much as I love the intensity of Ralf and Valter’s ‘Revelation’, the folky madness of Olga & Līgo’s ‘Saule Riet’ or the power of Dons’ ‘Pēdējā Vēstule’ my pick of the bunch is the simple funk stylings of Aminata Savadogo with ‘I Can Breathe’. I adore Aminata’s voice which can do low growling notes all the way up to the high, urgent shouting of the final chorus where she seems to truly be proclaiming her freedom from her bad lover. The one criticism I have of the song is that there was a rather odd choice in costuming, but Aminata is so gorgeous that she almost pulls it off.

Israel
Mei Finegold – Be Proud

Firstly let me say that Mei Finegold is a fierce bitch and Same Heart was definitely the right choice to send to Eurovision. On the night she was plagued by some unfortunate camera work and it is a travesty that she finished second last. Now with the standard fanboy rant out of the way let me address the remaining two songs.

Neither of them are as good as Same Heart, but one of them shone through better and it was not the one Israel agreed with. Gaining a piddly 5% of the televote ‘Be Proud’ featured much more of the harsh, aggressive vocals that I love from Mei. ‘Staying With You’ felt like a weak attempt at a dance number and fell flat. So while I can’t say I am a huge fan of ‘Be Proud’, it is certainly the second best from that national final in my eyes.

Malta
Deborah C – Until We Meet Again

After two fierce women, we move onto something much much sweeter. One of the things I love about Malta’s national final is that it’s so familiar. Names pop up year and year again and you look forward to seeing your favourites coming back and seeing what they’re up to now. I’ve enjoyed previous entries by Deborah C, but it was this year with her simple, breezy pop tune that she really won my heart.

‘Until We Meet Again’ is certainly nothing new, and I don’t doubt it probably would not have done very well at all had it been sent to Copenhagen. Firelight was most likely the best choice Malta had, especially when DeBee for reasons I will never understand came second. But as I have previously confessed, sometimes I just want a song that makes me happy, and ‘Until We Meet Again’ makes me very, very happy indeed.

Germany
MarieMarie – Cotton Candy Hurricane

I must confess, prior to starting this week’s article I had not actually seen the 2014 German National Final. So during dinner a few days ago I sat down and watched the whole thing from start to finish. I really wish I had seen it at the time, because I have been depriving myself for months of what is yet again another cracking national final. I thought long and hard about which track I wanted to pick. Perhaps the Baseballs’ ‘Mo Hotta Mo Betta’? Santiano’s ‘Fiddler on the Deck’? or even the sadly unplayed on the night ‘Error’ by Madeline Juno? In the end I decided to go with the one I was unable to get out of my head, which was MarieMarie’s ‘Cotton Candy Hurricane’.

I had heard this song title before, but it did not turn out to be anything like I expected. I was anticipating a Korean bubblegum pop style song and instead we were treated to a harp infused electronic folk song by the rather strange looking MarieMarie. I think this was a fantastic tune complete with some endearingly awkward dancing and with the exception of a few failed notes this song has me hooked. And really to be honest I thought that almost all the songs in Unser Song Für Dänemark were better than the eventual winner.

Do you agree with Liam or do you think that there were better songs that he overlooked? Tell us in the comments below! And stay tuned next week for another set of reviews reminding us of the songs that made up 2014’s National Final season!

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Liam Clark

I am a founding editor of escXtra who now works as a member of the Estonian Delegation's Press Team. Even though my Xtra days are behind me, I still like writing the odd piece here and there. P.S vote for Estonia 😘 🇪🇪 ❤️

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