Stockholm 2016

Will it be Swedish or native songwriters representing Spain in Stockholm?

With the reveal of the Spanish contenders this week, I wondered if anyone else had similar views to me. I asked two of my colleagues, Peter and Matteo, to throw me their opinions on the six songs competing to represent the Iberian nation in Sweden this upcoming spring.

Barei: “Say Yay!”

Matteo: It could go down well, if the backing vocals are not overdone. I am really impressed by the quality of this song, her voice sounds quite a thing that could even improve the whole thing when live. It also sounds the right kind of modern and radio friendly.
Nathan: If this got a good visual performance, this is a strong contender to perform strongly in a voting window. I’d actually go ahead and suggest this could take Spain into the Top 10 again with such a contemporary radio-friendly song. My favourite thing about this is that it gets my foot tapping and I did stifle a laugh when I noticed how they had hidden the ‘required’ Spanish lyrics. The electro sound could have even taken a hint from Alphabeat. The chorus isn’t too repetitive due to the backing singers leading the hook of “say yay, yay, yay!” either with a hint of Florence + the Machine.
Peter: Oh I like this one! It’s a very current, international sounding pop song. It would be at home on the radio, it puts me in the mind of a slightly basic Jess Glynne song. There’s not much of a musical journey but the brass and the backing vocals towards the end make it all a bit euphoric. I’m sceptical of its chances but I think it would be deserving of a place at the contest and it could do well – I’d dance to it in Euroclub if nothing else. Bonus points if you can spot how Barei gets around the Spanish rule.

Electric Nana: “Now”

Matteo: Catchy, definitely. But I can’t see this as the winner – the other songs are stronger. At the same time, the base doesn’t sound as polished and refinished as the other songs. Is it weird if this reminds me of “Piensa gay” by Lorena C?
Nathan: Why on earth is this only 2:19? Her vocal is fairly distinctive, that’s for sure. This is a real mix of genres from electro to power rock and then into pop rock, which certainly doesn’t work in any sense of musical sense. It also contains lyrics in French before the Spanish verse kicks in, due to Electric Nana speaking both French and English as well as her native Spanish.
Peter: This one is interesting. Some strong 60s soul influences running through the verses, with 80s synths and a 2000s electro chorus. It’s a bit of a mish mash, but not unpleasant (although the 2:19 running time is quite sufficient). I’d like it if there were a bit more to the chorus as it gets quite repetitive towards the end. I’m interested to see how it comes across live – it could be given a boost if Electric Nana performs it well, but I’m guessing she won’t.

María Isabel: “La vida sólo es una”

Matteo: I don’t believe in winner and comebacks (as much as she’s no one to the adult Eurovision audience), but this sounds as the most catchy of the group – and the most Spanish sounding. Not only for the high usage of Spanish. I have no clue if she can sing well live, but this is my choice for Stockholm.
Nathan: Contemporary latin pop from the word go. I’d back this in a heartbeat, I have to say. We’re aware that María Isabel is competent live due to her recent appearances on shows such as Tu cara me suena and can be confident that live this will come across really well. The only question I have is how they plan on balancing the evident need of choreography with the fact that there will be a requirement of backing singers due to the way the composition of the track uses them throughout the chorus.
Peter: This is what I like to hear from Spain, but haven’t in quite a while. Breezy, summery pop that sounds Spanish but is incredibly accessible to foreign ears. It would be filler in Eurovision itself, but at least it’s enjoyable filler and I’d much rather have this making up the numbers than a novelty song or an earnest acoustic midtempo. It’s also nice to see another Junior Eurovision graduate making the grade, especially one that serves a reminder that Spain can achieve Eurovision success.

Maverick: “Un mundo más feliz”

Matteo: I would understand if Spain wanted to go with something more latino sounding, as this is the cliché that most of Europe expects from them. But this sounds quite a safe choice for the National final. Not the last place, but definitely not first place.
Nathan: A graduate from La voz 2015, Maverick has shown to the Spanish audience that he is a capable singer. This might also fill the typical male led Spanish latin music criteria that Europe expects to hear from Spain, the lyrics are a little cliché in the chorus too. This would fit perfectly in any Spanish national final in the last ten years, that’s for sure. For me, this is an outsider to win if the Spanish want to back this genre to Stockholm.
Peter: A laid back Latino song that puts one in mind of a calm summer afternoon in the verses, but then the chorus comes around and we’re into cliché territory with the trumpets rearing their ugly heads at just the right point. It’s like what Spain sent at the start of the 21st Century, but with a ration place on the fun quota. It’s just a bit lacking and doesn’t really go anywhere. I’d imagine this is an outside bet unless the Spanish public are incredibly fond of this genre.

Salvador Beltrán: “Días de alegría”

Matteo: Probably the most Spanish thing from this year. So not the right choice for the Eurovision stage. Clearly trying to be extremely radio friendly, but I feel again the safety that doesn’t push the boundaries – and doesn’t make people vote. (Sorry everyone if I’ll say this. But the sound in some parts is too early 00s.)
Nathan: The first thing to note here is that the transition from verse to chorus is infuriating. It’s so safe too that I really couldn’t see this scoring at all well with anyone. Nobody will be motivated to pick up the phone to vote for this and that key change GRATES because not only does it go up into a minor or diminished chord (I can’t work out which right now) it actually didn’t even need that.
Peter: Sorry, is this 2016? Días de Alegría would be such a dated, old-fashioned option to go for, sounding like something from a 90s Spanish soap opera. You know what though? I really like it! I assume it’s not going to get the ticket but it’s one of those satisfying songs that goes exactly where you want it to go and is nice and familiar. It’s not done in a half-hearted way, a lot of effort has gone into this rubbish – and there’s the key-change! Sold.

Xuso Jones: “Victorious”

Matteo: I am a big fan of Sweden. I love this songs when they are in Melodifestivalen. But with this lyrics, with the Spanish half verse (ridiculous attempt to make it feel more national) and the fact that this could be a song from any 7th place in a Swedish semifinal, I am quite certain this is not the right choice. We’ve seen what happened with Edurne and her “modern song” that felt of everything, except for Spanish.
Nathan: You don’t hear this and go “Spain”. As my housemate said, “like IKEA, it’s well constructed” – and I can’t disagree. Also the fact that the lines of Spanish have been added later is CLEARLY obvious as Xuso’s vocal tone changes completely from English to Spanish… absolutely not worth sending after last year’s (obvious) terrible result for Spain with something so incredibly similar as Matteo said. This really doesn’t deserve the ticket to Stockholm for Spain.
Peter: My my, this is generic. I’m all for a Swedish-bought ringer being pulled in, so you know it’s bad when I’m calling it out on being soulless cut and paste factory-produced drivel. I had heard this being described as like a parody of every song Peter Boström has ever produced and that’s exactly what it’s like! It’s like every heat opener has been put into a blender and the resulting brown concoction is a sort of average of all of them with none of the excitement of any of them. I hope he makes a mess of this live, it’d be a shame if this was chosen.

So in summary… who’s going to win?

If you fancied getting to the point and you’ve made your way just to this section of the article, I should point out that whilst the consensus is that this is a fairly strong selection for Spain, there are three songs that really stick out as worthy selections.
María Isabel, graduating from her Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2004 win to this 13 years later really is a great transition and also a good narrative to take into both the selection and Eurovision itself. We’ve all settled on “La vida solo es una” as the potential winner here.
Also in the running would be Barei with “Say Yay!” due to it’s strong contemporary and radio-friendly composition as well as Maverick’s “Un mundo más feliz”, although we feel this is an outsider as it is fairly cliché.
With a jury featuring Edurne, Loreen and Carlos Marín, it will be interesting to see if the professionals agree with us too!

But what do you think?

The beauty of Eurovision is that we all have varied views and opinions on the songs in the running to represent the 43 contenders for the Eurovision Song Contest 2016. Whilst the fan base is wide and the preferred genres varies from person to person, it’s very rare that fans agree 100% on the best song in each selection.
So what do you think about Spain? We’ve told you where we stand but we want to hear from you. Drop us a message in the comments below or tweet us @escXtra with your winner for Objetivo Eurovisión!

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