Stockholm 2016

Xtra Review: Germany’s Lied für Stockholm

Germany originally planned on sending Xavier Naidoo to Eurovision, until it appeared that the German people were less than happy with the decision. So the broadcaster withdrew Naidoo and launched a national final: Ten artists, all with one song – a much easier concept than the past few years.
Nick has listened to these ten. Below you can find his thoughts.

Alex Diehl – Nur Ein Lied

Alex brings the song that brought him fame to the German Eurovision stage. He wrote this after the Paris attacks last year and a simple phone recording got him millions of views. This is a masterpiece with its lyrics and that’s mainly the reason why it got its fame. The picture works: Alex, a simple guy (no glamour surrounding him), a guitar, the lyrics in German. And that’s where it all goes wrong: Alex wants to appeal to an international audience, so he’s added a few English bits. Ok, I get that, but what I don’t get is the French bit. Yes, the reason for writing it is linked to France, but his French is abysmal. I like the song a lot, but the Eurovision version is no stand-out.

And I don’t want to stand and watch
‘Til flames engulf all around us
I’m far too scared to hold my tongue

Avantasia – Mystery Of A Blood Red Rose

Tobias Sammet launched the Avantasia project seventeen years ago and in 2016 he wants to go to Eurovision. He doesn’t need it for an international career: His latest tour went through Japan, the USA, Canada and most of Europe. Mystery Of A Blood Red Rose is a great symphonic metal tune mixed with that little bit of schlager. It’s the genre you could give me anytime. I love the full version of this so much: After three minutes, Tobias throws in the keychange and lifts the song to a new level. You can guess what happened in the three minute cut though… He ends the song the moment the bridge ends and the keychange should kick in. A sad decision, but still a really good effort.

No time to breathe, don’t have no time to waste
Bring on the night, seize every drop of life away

Ella Endlich – Adrenalin

Finally, Germany. It was about time schlager got its well-deserved spot back in the line-up. It’s been a while since we had a proper schlager effort in their national final, mainly because schlager was often seen as old-fashioned and only destined for a tiny part of the German language market. I get it, but I was and am part of that market. The revival of schlager came in 2013, with Helene Fischer. Soon other singers followed, like Eurovision entrant Michelle and Wolke 7. Ella Endlich is now also following in those footsteps. Schlager can actually be modern and generally liked and Adrenalin is no exception. An absolute stomper and my clear favourite of the lot. I can only hope this is a contender, because Europe needs to see this. She’ll have to be really good vocally, but that’s one thing I have no doubts over. Excellent stuff!

And we sense the adrenalin
We can’t escape that feeling
Because this here is our dream of flying

Gregorian – Masters Of Chant

With over 100,000 Facebook likes, Gregorian are a solid name in this lot. Not a lot of German members in this and the countertenor Narcis is from Romania (you may remember him from the Romanian national final in 2013), but they’re based in Germany now, so ULfS is their destiny. They’ve decided to enter a chant and they’re saying they’re the masters of it. Dressed like monks, this surely will be an interesting picture to see on stage. I don’t mind it, but I really don’t think this should go to Stockholm. There are much better, much more accessible choices on offer.

Will you guide us, God?
We are singing as one
We are masters of chant

Jamie-Lee Kriewitz – Ghost

This might well be the favourite on Thursday. Jamie-Lee won The Voice of Germany in 2015 with this song: This was her winning single. The seventeen year old singer is known for her love for Asia and she shows it in her clothes. She’s a character that certainly makes an impression, but even more than that, her voice stands out and so does her song. This midtempo effort is really convincing and I’m a big fan. I can’t wait to see this live on stage on Thursday and I’m convinced this will at least reach the superfinal, it already has more than two million views on YouTube. She said she’d love to do Eurovision right after winning The Voice and this is the song to do it with. Brilliant!

This is the ghost of you
Haunting the ghost of me
Lonely in a crowded room together

Joco – Full Moon 

The sisters Josepha and Cosima form the duo Joco together. They’re not that well known and to be quite honest, I doubt this song will change that… This song lacks any sort of punch and the vocals are so on the edge, they could easily hit off key. They’ve composed/recorded this in the legendary Abbey Road Studios, but Abbey Road has seen better songs in its days. I just can’t connect to this song in any way, sort or form and I’m relieved this is not a favourite to win the ticket to Stockholm.

Hey full moon, full full moon hey
Do you know you’re like a giant mirror
Meaningful, mythical, mad reflector

Keøma – Protected

We always have a bit of indie pop in national finals in Europe. This is a well produced track by this duo from Cologne and Berlin. It however fails to make any sort of impression when it comes to delivering in three minutes. I’d happily listen to an album from these two, but this is nothing more than a song on an album. It doesn’t do nearly enough in this line-up. It will certainly have its fans and I see potential in the duo, but not with this song in a Eurovision adventure. There’s other ways for them.

I’ve got to know you can be trusted,
but I don’t know if you can trust me too
I’ve got to feel like I’m protected

Laura Pinski – Under The Sun We Are One

The return of someone who always gets a load of crap from fans everywhere, especially in his home country Germany. Ralph Siegel, banned from participating in Germany since over ten years, gets to make a comeback together with a young talented singer, Laura Pinski. This song follows everything you’re used to from Ralph Siegel, including the world peace message. Still, this song is a step forward from Chain of Hearts last year, it’s much more modern. Still very clear that it’s Siegel, but I enjoy most of his compositions, so I don’t mind this. I doubt the Germans will go for it, but this is not bad at all.

We are the hope that will never die
Singing the songs that will never lie
We’re the love on earth

Luxuslärm – Solange Liebe In Mir Wohnt

I’ve waited for this moment for quite a few years: Luxuslärm entering the German national final. I’ve been a fan of their music for years and I always thought they’d be a great fit in the Eurovision Song Contest. Their rock tunes would appeal to people far beyond the German language area. I was quite surprised when their 2016 entry turned out to be a midtempo poprock effort – no heavy guitars or drums, but just a nice song for three minutes. I love it, but I can see why people call it boring. It doesn’t slap you in the face, it just very nicely sits there. I’m a fan, but will it win? Doubt it.

I’ll let it snow in the desert
Put myself in the middle of the storm
I fill a sea with my tears
As long as love lives in me

Woods of Birnam – Lift Me Up (From The Underground)

I’m not quite sure what I should say about this. I like it, it’s funky, it’s simple, it’s theatrical. There’s not a lot of fuss about this one and I don’t know where it’s going to end. I don’t think you could actually hate this. It’s just there and it’s really good in ‘just being there’. It’s very Woods of Birnam and with the theatre background, I expect them to make the live performance rather spectacular.

Breathe it in, beat it out
Lift me up, lift me up from the underground
Show me life, tell me dreams

The favourites?

There are a few frontrunners in this bunch. The first is clearly Jamie-Lee Kriewitz. It’s the most successful song we have on offer and it’s already proven itself in the charts and among music fans in Germany. Add to that that Jamie-Lee can deliver – that’s a frontrunner.
However, if Tobias Sammet’s metal fans tune in, you can’t rule Avantasia out either. He made metal accessible and that could definitely play to his advantage. The same goes for Ella Endlich: If the schlager audience tune in (and I guess they will, ARD attracts schlager minded people), there’s a chance for her. She’s my personal favourite, so I remain hopeful.
Those three I would see as frontrunners, but apart from Joco, there’s no one I can rule out for 100%. It will surely be an interesting show on Thursday. We’ll be blogging and tweeting throughout the show and we’ll have a few interviews too. Stay tuned!

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