Loyal followers of our website know that each week we put a spotlight on a Eurovision country for our weekly Throwback Thursday article. Well this week is my turn. Therefore I thought it would be the perfect time to wax lyrical (see what I did there?!) about my favourite ever Russian entry. Serebro’s 2007 effort “Song #1”!
The Story of Serebro.
We arrive in Helsinki, Finland after Lordi’s win with “Hard Rock Hallelujah”. Broadcaster Russia 1 are looking for entries to represent them at the contest. The submission window opened on 20th January 2007. Russian songwriter Maxim Fadeev wanted to put a project together to deliver to the broadcaster in the hope that the act would subsequently represent Russia in Helsinki. He decided that he wanted to build the project around singer Elena Temnikova. Elena had already made herself a household name in Russia at the time coming in Third-Place on Star Factory. Ironically the winner of Star Factory: 2003 was the 2015 Russian representative and subsequent Runner-Up Polina Gagarina.
Elena Temnikova had this to say about her approach by Fadeev and her subsequent involvement in Serebro in February 2008 to the Russian In Style magazine.
After Star Factory, Maxim Fadeev offered me a new job. He offered me to be lead singer in girl band. I decided to do it, and we together found second and third member
As a result, the second and third band-members ended up being; Olga Seryabkina who was Elena’s friend and Mariana Lizorkina. Mariana was the last of the three Serebro girls to join the band after she saw an internet advert looking for a third band member for Serebro.
Serebro then submitted “Song #1” to a closed audition process alongside songs from Gorod 312, Band’Eros, Zveri and Aleksandr Panayotov and Alexey Chumakov. Russia 1 then decided on Serebro and “Song #1”. The song was revealed and unveiled during the Head of Delegations meeting in Helsinki on 12th March 2007.
Why did I choose this?
Well. I am big fan of uptempo dance-pop songs in the contest. When I got given Russia to write about, I had three options. These were t.A.T.u’s “Ne Ver Ne Boysia” which came in Third-Place in 2003 or Sergey Lazarev’s “You Are The Only One” that also finished in Third-Place in 2016. All of these options are part of the dance-pop genre.
I decided on Serebro due to one reason. The stage show! I adore the stage show, one of the most overtly sexual stagings the contest has ever seen. With their short dresses, thigh high stockings and sexual dance moves it really encapsulates three powerful young women who know what they want and how they will get it. The electro dance break in the bridge of the song just puts the cherry on top of their pie. I love when acts push the boundaries between the contest being a family show on one hand and an adult show on the other.
I have to say that “Song #1” is the best song Russia has ever sent in the contest and it will take a lot for me to like another Russian entry as much as I do this one. As I have got older, I have come to appreciate the more adult entries as I love the added grit.
My experience with Russia at Eurovision.
Another reason as to why I chose Russia 2007. is due to the fact that at the age of 24, I consider myself as a Eurovision veteran. I started watching the contest in 2004. So therefore, writing about Russia 2003 would be me writing about something before my time. So unlike Serebro, my opinions on t.A.T.u are a bit too retrospective rather than writing about a song that had an impact on my Eurovision life. While I am living it!
Similarly Sergey Lazarev is a bit too recent for not only me but a vast number of you! So writing about something that I have had first hand experience of an perhaps not some of you is like me passing down a little nugget! I also think that Serebro are like a hidden gem, doing well in the contest, but are not perhaps as well remembered as their 2007 Top-3 compatriots. Who are, Verka Seduchka of Ukraine and winner Marija Šerifović of Serbia. So I am giving Serebro the spotlight they well and truly deserve!
Relive Serebro’s “Song #1” below
So, that is what I have said. I will now pass over to my colleagues who will give their opinions!
What in the name of sanity is this song? I know the 2000’s were full of “strong and confident women”, but when you read those lyrics, it sounds like publicity for a brothel (or a very “filthy” night out). It’s vulgar (and I mean it, I don’t know how they got away with a “b-word” with the strict rules on vulgarity), and certainly not classy. But at least, the staging and the music are coherent and get this messy, filthy feeling out. I appreciate the coherence, I can even appreciate the choice of “rough realism” but not the content itself (the naughty girls). It lacks the class of Ani Lorak, the pretense of innocence from Kalomira, etc. Those were sexy. Serebro weren’t.
As for Russia as a participant, it’s a strong player, and I assume they’ll want to do a strong come back for 2019. A bit like Azerbaijan, they have been sending good stuff but they didn’t win with one of those (neither did they become runner-up with one of those…). But they know how to stage a show, they have incredible performers (Lazarev’s talent shone through his performance, however one might dislike the “grandiose” aspect of it). I’m not against their winning or their hosting, because I think that whatever the “issues” arosen by a Russian hosting, the Eurovision spirit would still have its way.
As a huge fan of Russia’s answer to the Sugababes, with all their line-up changes, it is interesting to look back on their first break out hit. Everything about this is sinfully provocative and that’s why I love it. Yet actually this is probably one of Serebro’s tamest songs! This is the Russia I enjoy the most. When they come out all guns blazing with a current banger and their biggest talents.
Song #1 is easily my favourite entry of theirs. Lyrically it is witty and clever, pushing the boundaries with its suggestive euphemisms. Musically it has aged well with the electronic guitar sound and that dance break. It reminds me of a grittier, beefed up version of Girls Aloud’s Sound of The Underground. The staging was simple, yet sultry with the erotic funeral attire and thigh high boots. Certainly worked for me! Though again I do wonder how they managed to get away with being so obviously risqué. Definitely would have been a worthy winner and deserves to be remembered as a Eurovision classic.
Girl bands usually seem to struggle at Eurovision and in public-voted music competitions in general judging by the frequent eliminations of various girl bands in week 1 of The X Factor live shows. Indeed, as a result, girl bands are a rare sight at Eurovision these days. One of the pre-contest favourites in 2010, Feminnem, failed to qualify in Oslo. Two years earlier, No Angels earned Germany a joint last place. However, Serebro proved that girl bands can do well with the right song and performance in Helsinki in 2007!
Song #1 is just a great pop song that is instantly catchy and performed energetically by the Serebro girls. It has aged well over ten years later with its modern production. Russia always seems to either go with super catchy and accessible pop or a peace ballad. While I’m a big fan of Song #1, my favourite Russian entry would probably be Polina Gagarina’s A Million Voices. While cliché, and a song that could only exist in the Eurovision bubble, it’s the absolute best of the Eurovision ballad genre. I wanted it to take the victory on that night in Vienna!
2007 was a mixed year but I will always look fondly on it because it has four countries’ best entries of all time*. Serebro has the honour of being the act that, in my eyes, represents all the good things that Russia has to offer to the contest and, incidentally, the last time Russia bothered to send actual quality to ESC (maybe 2010 is up there too, need to debate this with myself).
Song #1 is lyrically brilliant, provocative and it pushed (Eurovision) boundaries. It seemed to be the stepping stone for the contest to explore a direction it had never gone to before (sadly, it didn’t actually go there afterwards either). It dared not be all about peace and love but simply about sex, and it worked wonderfully. The staging was simply perfect and those three minutes are sheer Eurovision perfection. I wish Russia had won that year (even if I think it was the second stronger song of the year**), since that probably would have spared us the insufferable dross that they sent the year after, one of the worst winners of all time***.
* In case you were wondering, the other three are Hungary, Finland and Andorra.
** In case you were still wondering, that was Hungary.
* In case doubt would kill you, worst winner ever is Estonia 2001.
So that is what my colleagues had to say. I wan’t to know what you think. Reply below in the comments or get in contact with us at @escxtra on all platforms.