We as fans often have our own bias when it comes to Eurovision songs, but how will they fare when reviewed by an impartial musician? We selected 11 of this year’s entries – a mix of bookies favourites, and songs we thought were the most musically interesting.
Reviewing the entries is Jon, a guitarist from Sydney. While an occasional viewer of Eurovision, Jon certainly does not have the Eurovision attachment we have here at Eurovision Union! Without further ado, here are the reviews!
Gypsy anthem with a bluegrass twang. High energy ‘oomp-pah’ beat that keeps the groove going and lets the higher pitch instruments dazzle with their fast-paced motifs. Would have loved the chorus to have a little more punch to it (the vocals ease off in contrast to the verses) to take it into ‘chainsaw folk’ territory, and for it to potentially launch into an even more energetic ending, however this is a very entertaining effort, nonetheless. By far my favourite, will be a crime against humanity if this loses!
Slow paced alt-pop number, with a slight funky hint in the chorus. Limited vocal range throughout means the background instrumentation do much of the heavy lifting in regards to keeping this one interesting; plenty of layers of different funk/reggae influenced licks fill the background parts. Never really reaches any great heights, with no real climax to speak of. Decent without being great.
Classic indie rock number. Acoustic intro leads into full-band chorus as part of the classic “verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus” structure. Drum machine “clap” in lieu of snare drum makes the chorus feel a little soul-less and mechanical. Stripped down chorus after the bridge was a good addition, but would have loved it to launch back into a full-blown chorus afterwards – unfortunately time restrictions did not allow for this. Not a bad effort!
This one doesn’t follow the rules! An endless supply of interesting riffs one after the other – some complex; some so stupidly simple they’re brilliant. The unusual chord progressions work together seamlessly, and the use of traditional and electronic instruments together is really tastefully done. Alt-rock has a day out at the circus. A great display of creativity and I like it a lot!
Strong folk influence used to border rap verses. Full credit for the inclusion of flute solos! The folk vocals have a haunting quality which is quite pleasant. The drum machine takes away from the soulfulness of the sung vocals, and along with the rapping ensure this is definitely a modern-sounding piece. Not to my taste but has a lot of good elements going for it!
Haunting low-pitch vocals over a clever little piano riff. Use of 6/8 time is a good point of difference. Drum machine creates a ‘distant’ feel to the piece, which seems to suit it quite well. Subtle uses of dynamics throughout ensures this one stays simple without ever losing interest. One of the better slower entries in the mix.
No surprises in this song – as soon as you hear the vocals come in it does exactly what you’d expect it to do. A classic ‘top 40’ format for slower pop-ballads sees it utilise vocals with a relatively wide range (enhanced with vocal effects) over the top of piano’s and strings. Dual vocalists create a nice little bit of contrast with their timbre, however both voices occupy a fairly similar range which limits how effective this is. Will probably be of more interest to those who connect with the lyrics or the artists themselves. Overall a pretty lacklustre display of creativity from a musical perspective.
High pitched and falsetto male vocals (very similar sounding to Brandon Flowers from The Killers) are the main feature of the song, which otherwise follows all the familiar patterns of a modern pop tune. The choruses are quite catchy which makes this one deserving of more than the 0-1 votes it will inevitably get (sorry UK). Classic use of ‘loud to soft’ dynamic contrast heading into the bridge is the only real change to the overall feel to the song throughout, which otherwise remains up-tempo and upbeat. Not a bad song, but overall not that captivating either.
Clever alt-pop tune which utilises a wide variety of musical techniques to create and maintain interest throughout. Monotone, low pitched female vocals suit the overall feel of the song, and allows the rest of the instruments to be layered up then stripped back to maximum effect at various points of the song. Good uses of dynamics throughout – some of the most intriguing sections involve complete silence for a couple of beats. There are a few instances of the vocalist using too many syllables per note or beat, which is a common consequence of lyrics which have more in common with a written narrative or poem than a ‘song’, however this does not detract too badly from the overall piece. Quite enjoyable!
Deep and throaty female vocals in the intro/verses raise nicely into a higher pitched performance in the chorus. Strong strings presence throughout the song ties the higher energy sections together with the lower ebbs. A strong, bright drum sound stops this from losing energy in the choruses. Structurally nothing too creative – just a good use of tried and tested techniques. If you like familiar sounds and nothing too far out of the box, then this one will be to your liking.
Piano and vocals match in unison through the start of the intro, which lets it naturally build when the piano starts playing its main patterns, without the initial use of many other layers. The layers of other instruments slowly build up exactly as you would expect them to in a slow pop ballad. The slight roughness of the male vocals contrasts nicely with the often twinkly background music. Never really rises to any great heights, with short swells in dynamics and texture being the main features of the song.