Stockholm 2016

An Xtra take on Moldova’s O Melodie Pentru Europa 2016

Another Super Saturday is coming up on Saturday 27 February, and one of the countries choosing their song for Europe will be Moldova. The big final will be preceded by two semi-finals, and Ryan and Peter have been listening to the songs from Tuesday’s first heat. Here are their thoughts. If you want to listen along, just click on the song title.

Doinita Gherman – Irresistible

Ryan: Trying to be modern, but still sounds completely Eurovision. And I don’t mean that in a good way. Wouldn’t be a completely awful winner, but it’s the kind of thing that would be completely overrated by fans. Some misplaced Celtic vibes halfway through give it a bit of an faux-ethnic twist, and at least make it a bit more interesting, but I’m not convinced. 4/10
Peter: Doiniţa was one of my favourites last year with her crazy flamenco-inspired number. She’s gone into English this year but the tempo is still high. It starts off as a catchy, quirky, folky pop song, and then suddenly it turns into a Kelly Clarkson lite Melodifestivalen reject. Don’t get me wrong, it’s one of the most solid of the bunch, but it’s not as interesting as it promised to be at the start. Very catchy though, and Eurovision-ready. 8/10

Valentina Nejel – Va Fi Târziu

Ryan: This is more than dated, it definitely feels appropriate for the contest about twenty years ago. Whilst there are no contemporary elements to it, it trucks along gently to reach its inevitable climax after the unnecessary guitar solo. You’d think the Moldovan viewers have enough sense to not touch this with a barge pole. 0/10
Peter: This is one of two replacement entries for songs that have pulled out in the last month or so. It’s a very nice ballad in a Eurovision 1996 sort of way – and it really could have been pulled right out of a contest in that era. Not that that’s a bad thing, but it would do nothing now. 6/10

Valeria Pasa – Save Love

Ryan: A bit of a dated vibe here, but an anthemic ballad gets me every time, and this has all the elements. Fingers crossed for a decent stage performance, but I definitely think this is one of the more promising ones of this bunch. 8/10
Peter: This start off a little bit like ‘The Power Of Love’ but unsurprisingly never quite scales those heights. Valeria does have a good voice though and she lets rip more as the song progresses. The chorus is quite basic but they’ve chucked some gospel backing vocals in to beef it up a little bit. It could have been recorded in the 1990s but it’s definitely one of the better ballads in the selection. 7/10

Emilia Russu – I Am Not The Same

Ryan: Save for the slightly dodgy English, I could almost expect to hear this one sung by the latest winner of Idol in Melodifestivalen. The song is fairly modern sounding, but not the kind of modern that would have wide appeal on a Eurovision stage. She definitely needs to work on the English pronunciation, but it’s certainly one of the more promising ones. 7/10
Peter: This is a fairly nice ballad but it sounds like a demo so that would need to change in the very unlikely event that this makes it to the contest. I do like the melody, it’s really the boring basic production that’s holding me back. Some promising flute action kicking in halfway through though – more of this please. 5/10

Che-MD – Voda e cu noi

Ryan: This is one of the few that I’ve heard people actually talking about around the traps, and I’m not quite sure why. It has a bit of a Santiano (that’s from the German final 2014 for new players) vibe about it, and I’m guessing there’s going to be a strong theatrical element in this one. Song wise it’s nothing special, but a fun listen nonetheless – one can’t feel like this kind of thing has been done before, but then so has most of Eurovision really. 6/10
Peter: This dad rock gets some points for the folky hook running throughout it, but really it’s not my kind of thing and I’m always a bit turned off when the biggest hook in a song is instrumental. 3/10

Chris Maroo – Tonight

Ryan: For starters, Chris is actually a female – contrary to what you might think – and this is a relatively contemporary pop tune, but nothing particularly memorable going on here – another one which you’re likely to have forgotten by the time it’s over. Lyrics like “Shake that body, won’t stop till the early morning” gives you some idea of what to expect here. 3/10
Peter: I don’t quite know what to make of this one. Chris Maroo’s voice (Chris is a she) sounds like it belongs on some tinny Romanian dance track, but it’s actually quite a funky pop song built around a funk guitar riff. It’s still very understated though. I don’t know, it’s all a bit of a mismatch but there’s something charming about it. Still, I can’t see it being particularly competitive. 7/10

Valentin Uzun – Mine

Ryan: Think a less catchy version of Ovo je balkan (Serbia 2010) – ethno-pop’ish beats with trumpets. Very Eurovisiony, and you’d half expect milkmaids to come bounding out halfway through or some other folk-song cliché. Wouldn’t be overly unhappy with this winning, but there’s nothing modern about it. 6/10
Peter: As far as I can tell, there’s no Pasha Parfeny involvement in the national final this year, so we’ll have to settle for a Pasha substitute instead. This has a strong hint of Lăutar with the brassy folky influence given an Olly Murs sheen. It is certainly catchy and it stands out, so if Moldova wants to repeat itself then I can see this being a strong contender for the ticket. 7/10

Chriss Jeff – Good Life

Ryan: Just to keep the chees-fest going, Good Life wouldn’t sound out of place on a children’s TV show. Cheerful but entirely too twee and annoying by the end. There is a weird child-like voice in the bridge which will be almost impossible to replicate live, and therefore pointless. Almost certainly will be a train wreck on stage. 3/10
Peter: This is a sort of Olly Murs pop-ish raggae-ish song sung by someone without the personality. It threatens to be annoying but gets away without being too irritating…for a verse or so. Then the awful la la la la chorus comes around and I log out. Oh and there’s a Bollywood sample in the middle for some reason. 3/10

DoReDoS – FunnyFolk

Ryan: The folk gets turned up even more of a notch (as the title might indicate) in this one, although it took me a few lines to realise they were actually singing in English. There’s something slightly more catchy and theatrical about this one, but it also feels a bit more cheap and shouty. You can imagine this having almost an on-stage play as a performance. 6/10
Peter: Yes, well it’s an appropriate title I suppose. Basically a 200 kph rollercoaster ride of a three minute song. Turbo-folk with an emphasis on the turbo. Lots of shouting and exchanges between male and female vocalists, with the occasional more melodic dubstep-lite refrain thrown in. I wouldn’t say it’s catchy, as it’s impossible to sing along to, but it is infectious, and I really miss Moldova sending mental stuff like this. 7/10

Viola – In The Name Of Love

Ryan: Possibly the least Eurovision song we’ve heard yet – more like the kind of thing you’d put on at the end of a party to get everyone to leave. Slow and soulful, if you’re into that, but I suspect few will be. Sorry. 1/10
Peter: The introduction immediately promises something very sultry and jazzy, and then Viola’s voice kicks in and it’s incredibly underwhelming. I understand she’s being very jazzy and free but it doesn’t match the much more conventional music. Another song that goes nowhere. 3/10

Maxim Zavidia – La La Love

Ryan: Another bright and twee number, but a cute tune with equally cute lyrics. Want to dislike this, but can’t help myself. Quite poppy sounding, and you could imagine him prancing around the stage in a suit, with female backing singers dressed in flowery dresses. Catchy chorus alert here too. 7/10
Peter: OK so it’s quite different from that La La Love, but I don’t think that title ever needed to be reused. This sounds like a 60s girlgroup song, but sung by a man. It almost gets away with being retro in a contemporary way during the verses but then it just gets completely naff by the chorus. Can’t see this one going anywhere. 4/10

PRIZA – Rewind

Ryan: At first glance this is the kind of song you might expect to hear in the 102nd qualifying round of the Lithuania preselection. It’s actually quite a sweet and solemn sounding ballad. It gets a bit of a new energy to it about halfway through with a back beat reminiscent of the kind of tune you might hear on a random American rock band’s album. I actually really quite like this, but it’s not winning material. 8/10
Peter: The stripped back start to this song exposes the ropey lyrics, which I can’t help but notice throughout the song, but apart from that this is a solid rock ballad. I like the production, which sounds modern and builds nicely, although a slight revamp would probably be in order should this win. 6/10

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