Editorials & Opinion

Xtra’s pick of the 70s

Xtra’s pick of the 70s

Welcome back to our new daily series, as we travel back in time and one of our editors picks out a song each day from Eurovisions gone by and puts it into the spotlight. Today is Tuesday, which means we move to the 70s and Maximiliano brings you his pick from the Eurovision archives. Spain 1973: Mocedades – Eres Tú (2nd place) Besides being one of my all-time favourites and an undisputed Eurovision evergreen, I thought I would also add a few rarities about this song you may not know about. Even back in the 70s we already had #EuroDrama as this entry was accused of plagiarism due to the similarity it has in some notes with the Yugoslavian entry of 1966 (“Brez Besed” by Berta Ambrož). However, this SKANDAL did not lead to the disqualification of the Spanish song and that allowed it to become the massive worldwide hit it has been for decades. Mocedades recorded the song in 6 languages (Spanish, English, Basque, German, French and Italian) but other people all over the world have made covers in their local languages (lots of Scandinavian artists, for example). Maybe the most surprising versions are the ones coming from places like Korea and Vietnam. As a token, check …
Xtra’s pick of the 50s & 60s

Xtra’s pick of the 50s & 60s

Welcome back to this daily series from escXtra, where one of our editors will travel back in time each day and pick a song of their choice from the past to write about. A new week means we go back to the early days of Eurovision, and today Rodrigo brings you a cut from this Eurovision era. Spain 1967: Raphael – Hablemos del Amor (6th place) It has become a certain joke within the Eurovision circles that Spain is robbed quite often in what their fans call an “injusticia”. For me, this song represents the first time any such claim can be made. Everything about this song clicks for me, and the performance was flawless. Instead, juries went for the rather bland and childish entry from the United Kingdom (granted, Spain got back at them the following year, taking the crown to Madrid when everyone expected the Brits to win, although I still believe that the 68 result was the right one, but that’s a whole other story). In terms of the lyrics, ‘Hablemos del Amor’ portrays a love story between two people who are fighting against people’s prejudices about their love, whichever those are. It is so universal in its message that I love how …
Xtra’s pick of the 21st Century

Xtra’s pick of the 21st Century

Welcome back to our new daily series, as we travel back in time and one of our editors picks out a song each day from Eurovisions gone by and puts it into the spotlight. Today is Friday, which means we move to the 00s and Brent brings you his pick from the Eurovision archives. Bosnia and Herzegovina 2004: Deen – In the Disco (9th place) In 2004 a young teenage me stumbled upon the Eurovision Song Contest late one night and wasn’t quite sure what he was seeing. In the Disco is my first ever Eurovision memory so has to be my first pick in remembering the 00’s. This is song embodies everything I have come to know and love about the contest; it’s catchy, up beat and unavoidably camp. Coming up in 2016 Bosnia and Herzegovina will make their return, so what better way to kick off remembering the 00’s? When people used to ask me what was so great about Eurovision, or what the contest was like this was usually my go to song. Deen’s struggle with his weight because of too much dancing is something I’m sure we can all relate too, right? On second thought’s probably not. But that’s ok, his …
Xtra’s pick of the 90s

Xtra’s pick of the 90s

Welcome back to our new daily series, as we travel back in time and one of our editors picks out a song each day from Eurovisions gone by and puts it into the spotlight. Today is Thursday, which means we move to the 90s and Wiv brings you her pick from the Eurovision archives. Iceland 1991: Stefán & Eyfi – Draumur um Nínu (15th place, should have won…) 1991 is one of my favorite Eurovisions, with in my opinion at least three winners (none of which won, of course…). And this is the one that speaks to my heart the most. This is one of those songs that, at least in its own country, takes on a life entirely of its own, totally unrelated to Eurovision. In Iceland a lot of people regard this as their “second national anthem,” some actually refer to it as “the *real* national anthem”. There is not a single person who can’t sing along to this song, not even among those who claim to hate it. And in the early hours of the morning, at drunken parties, someone is bound to pick up a guitar, and everybody will *sing* along. If you ever visit Iceland, this has to be on your “to do” list. My …
Is the British public to be trusted?

Is the British public to be trusted?

It was announced yesterday that the United Kingdom will go back to a national final in search of their lost Eurovision glories. Turning to Hugh Goldsmith, who has a good track record in terms of production success, the UK seem to be (desperately) trying to stop being Europe’s laughing stock make an appearance in the podium once again. The first of my concerns comes from the very little detail we have so far about the consultation process. As the news broke and information started flowing it seemed like a relief to know that key industry figures’ advice will be sought. I am thinking (hoping) by key industry figures they mean Simon Cowell (love him or hate him, he can spot talent miles away and has a gift for making hits) and not the experts that selected ‘Still In Love With You’ and had the balls to brand it as edgy. So far, so good, right? Well no, because as soon as you continue reading it turns out that “fan associations” will also be part of that consultation. It was later on revealed that this will imply OGAE UK’s involvement, although the degree of the participation remains uncertain at this point. To what …
What’s next for the United Kingdom?

What’s next for the United Kingdom?

Every May a question arises from Europe: how can a nation that has won 5 times and placed second 15 times end up in the right hand side of the scoreboard? After Jessica Garlick coming third in 2002, the United Kingdom has seen the bottom of the Eurovision chart almost every year. Is it right to blame the arrival of the eastern countries, as British journalists like to do? Or is it the fact that they are direct qualifiers, so people are uninterested in voting for them, as others point out? Seeing that no eastern country has won since 2011 (and before that: 2008) and that one of the Big 5 has won only 5 years ago, clearly it’s time to blame something else. Yesterday’s news gave us the confirmation that the BBC knows that something needs to be revised, so here are a few things that must be changed in order to bring back the Empire to the top.
Xtra’s pick of the 80s

Xtra’s pick of the 80s

Welcome back to our new daily series, as we travel back in time and one of our editors picks out a song each day from Eurovisions gone by and puts it into the spotlight. Today is Wednesday, which means we move to the 80s and Liam brings you his pick from the Eurovision archives. Finland 1987: Vicky Rosti – Sata Salamaa (15th place) I think that my love of certain songs comes from the amount of emotional attachment I have connecting myself to a song. Songs that I otherwise might not really have given a second thought to suddenly take on a whole new context which allows them to become something really special. This is what has happened with Sata Salamaa for me. The 1987 Eurovision Song Contest took place just over 24 hours before I was born and it was won by a guy who was also born in Australia, so I’ve always felt quite a strong connection to the contest of my birth year. But initially I don’t think I really thought too much about Virve Rosti aka Vicky Rosti’s song. It wasn’t until I was an exchange student at the University of Tartu in Southern Estonia back in 2012 that I connected to this …
Xtra’s pick of the 70s

Xtra’s pick of the 70s

Welcome back to our new daily series, as we travel back in time and one of our editors picks out a song each day from Eurovisions gone by and puts it into the spotlight. Today is Tuesday, which means we move to the 70s and Peter brings you his pick from the Eurovision archives. Germany 1977: Silver Convention – Telegram (8th place) The 1970s were a strange time for Eurovision’s relationship with mainstream pop music and the charts. On one hand, the contest had started to produce international chart hits on a fairly regular basis (moreso than it would manage until very recently), but conversely, the sound of what was doing the business in Eurovision was mostly worlds apart from what was popular outside of it. I was not to come into the world for some years yet, but I would imagine that when modern pop sounds of the time did find their way into the competition, it was both refreshing and jarring at the same time. The song I’ve chosen today is one example of this. Silver Convention had already scored disco hits on both sides of the Atlantic with songs like ‘Fly Robin Fly’ and ‘Get Up and Boogie’ before they were …
The escXtra style guide to Eurovision key changes

The escXtra style guide to Eurovision key changes

For better or for worse, key changes have been part of the Eurovision soundscape for decades. We present eleven tried and tested methods of deploying this musical weapon to an unsuspecting continent. Please drink responsibly! Stop, look and listen The Scandi staple. Why compose a way to change key when you can just stop the music, press the “+1” button, then go again? As used by the Olsen Brothers, Charlotte (under both names and faces), Carola, Wigwam, Chanee & N’evergreen… Why do the Nordics love these so? Je ne sais quoi. Rise up If you’re shifting the song up, why not do the same to your singer? All change Why only change key when you can change tempo, change time signature, change costume and change the on-stage weather conditions? Machine gun Eurovision’s First Hot Mess offers three rapid fire key changes in the space of thirty seconds. Sheer joy! Crux The whole three minutes is all about one note. One note, two keys. I’m’a hold this note ‘til you forget what key you were in to start with Seem bit familiar to Pastora’s effort? Funny that…  The great leap Eurovision key change are usually a little step up. A semitone almost …
Xtra’s pick of the 50s & 60s

Xtra’s pick of the 50s & 60s

Welcome to a new daily series from escXtra. Every day, one of our editors will travel back in time to shine the spotlight on a song of their choice from past Eurovisions. We will revisit a different era each day, so since today is Monday, we go right back to the start – the 50s and 60s – as Nick brings you his pick from the Eurovision archives. Belgium 1957: Bobbejaan Schoepen – Straatdeuntje (8th place) It’s 1957. The Eurovision Song Contest is entering its second edition and somehow we already expect chansons and other ballads flying around to fight for the trophy. Some countries try to bring a breathe of fresh air by doing something different. A song about a pony, a song which ends in a big kiss and this: whistling by one of Belgium’s most successful singers. Bobbejaan Schoepen, 32 years of age, was a true pioneer for Belgian music. And that resulted in him going to Eurovision, where he allegedly did not know what his song would be until his first rehearsal. So there he was, whistling his way through a ‘street tune’ and seeing he finished right near the bottom: Tied for second last. But Bobbejaan remained successful. Being tired of …
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