This week’s ‘slideback’ sees Alexi and the team put the 2016 Cyprus entry under the microscope – Minus One and their song ‘Alter Ego’…
When I saw that I had been assigned Cyprus for my Slideback Sunday, I knew instantly the song I wanted to go back to and explore. For me, it is one of the more underrated songs from recent years and I felt it was the perfect track to rediscover and one to get Eurofans listening to once again.
‘Alter Ego’ by Minus One flew the Cypriot flag in Stockholm in 2016, finishing 21st – a result that still rankles with me to this day. The song is not too dissimilar from MaNga’s entry for Turkey six years previous – and I would say it is just as catchy, even if the live performance was not as good.
So its finish of an admittedly disappointing 21st still confuses me. It’s incredibly memorable, has an ‘ear wormy’ chorus, and even includes a howling wolf – what is not to like!
What do the team think?
2016, in my opinion, was the strongest year in Eurovision history in terms of song quality. Apart from one or two countries who sent trash (looking at you Ireland and Montenegro), every country seemed to really up their game in terms of artist charisma, staging and song-quality. Cyprus was no exception. In the context of Cyprus’ song quality pre-2018, Alter Ego is a real leap forward. The song is dramatic, well-produced and lent itself well to great staging. The werewolf motif could have easily entered tacky territory, but the Swedish polish steered it into ‘high concept’ instead. In any other year, Minus One would have been vying for a top 10 spot, but with such a stacked line up, I was happy for the motherland to have put forward such a strong entry and to have qualified. Back then, I really thought this was the best it could get…how wrong I was…
2016 remains a year that is hard to beat both in terms of quality and production. Two of my favorite songs ever come from that year, gems like Armenia and Bulgaria. Unfortunately when it comes to Cyprus, I have to admit that I had kind of forgotten about the song. I don’t dislike it per se and I am quite fond of the lead singer’s vocals but the staging, style and overall production just aren’t for me. Still a solid effort and I am glad Cyprus has been stepping up their game at the contest and I hope a victory for the island is very near.
This is everything I like to see at Eurovision. “Alter Ego” simply delivered in all aspects in my opinion. Arguably my favourite entry from Cyprus, it’s dynamic from start to end and still sounds fresh nearly 4 years later. 2016 was one of those years where the camera work was truly on point (2019 can’t relate), and as you’re watching at home, the song and performance as a whole really draws you in. “Alter Ego” is one of those few songs I come back and listen to after the contest, there’s nothing more I could ask for from it.
When Minus One was selected, I’d rank that as one of the most exciting moments I’ve ever had as being a Eurovision fan. I like rock entries that border on metal a lot, and for the few years preceding them, there had been almost none. And it was exactly the right type of that genre. It had an invigorating and clean instrumental line, the singer sang with exciting urgency, it sounded like The Killers, one of my favourite bands growing up, and to top it all off the music video had, well, wolves. I went into the 2016 contest with it solidly as my favourite and though the eventual winner Jamala edged ahead of it, it’s still one of the first entries I think of when I think of the all too short list of brilliant rock entries from the past decade. Seeing this qualify was nothing short of amazing and it’s still my favourite Cypriot entry. I would love to see Eurovision nations taking powerful moves like this more often.
We would love to hear your thoughts on Minus One and ‘Alter Ego’. Be sure to stay updated by following @ESCXTRA on Twitter, @escxtra on Instagram and liking our Facebook page for the latest updates! Also, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to see our reactions to the news in the run up to Rotterdam!