Oliver: Innovation and artistry
As we are coming to the end of a decade, I considered the songs that have left the strongest impression on me. Be it a performance, the song/lyrics or a ‘moment’ on stage. Turning points that have overtly or implicitly guided the contest to where we are today, and where we could be in the future.
- Leave Me Alone (Finland 2007)
- Taken By A Stranger (Germany 2011)
- Love Injected (Latvia 2015)
- Euphoria (Sweden 2012)
- Lejla (Bosnia and Herzegovina 2006)
- Deli (Turkey 2008)
- Minn Hinsti Dans (Iceland 1997)
8 Points: City Lights (Belgium 2017)
In the last few decades, the contest has changed radically. I would argue this is one of the strongest choruses the contest has seen in some time. It is simplistic, following an octave progression – a massive ear worm. However, Blanche’s moody and vulnerable vocals tied with the consistency of the backing track is so reflective of individuals trying to keep up with modernity.
10 Points: Hatrið mun sigra (Iceland 2019)
This song is somewhat ‘controversial’ and rightfully so. It is a marmite track – you love or loathe it. I am very much in the former. But why? It isn’t a simple repetitive bubblegum pop the contest is known for. It is challenging, jarring and a perfect reflection of the maelstrom of society, culture and existence the contest too-often tries to shy away from. It is layered with meaning, while also providing the contest with a sound/genre fusion we haven’t really touched base on in the contest.
Honorable Mention: Soldi (Italy 2019)
Seeing Mahmood at LEP I knew he would do extremely well. Months after the contest, seeing perform in London once again I realised his artistry, musicality and potential. The fact I spent a good 2 days in a strange ‘grief’ state trying to comprehend what I had witnessed/heard/felt is something I haven’t really experienced. While he came second in Tel Aviv, this guy has a huge career ahead of him. Insofar as the contest, the soundscape of Soldi and the effortless performance of a personal story gives me so much hope for the decade ahead. We will hear innovative, commercial and fresh songs. The contest will be the platform for new international stars: I cannot wait!
12 Points: Calm After The Storm (Netherlands 2014)
I think if you took away all the winning songs, there would be one song/performance that would resonate across the continent. This song is simple, subtle and sublime. It captures a universal feeling and provides a masterclass in staging and effectively portraying emotional storytelling. Unlike abject sorrow or utopian joy, CATS provides nuance and with it a sense of realism. You only need to look to 2015 onwards with the increase of male-female duets to see how impactful and influential this song has been to the contest.