We know all the arguments about how music is an art form and art shouldn’t be turned into a competition, but those arguments are for those who probably also think that unless you own every record by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix then you’re not ‘serious’ about music. And frankly we couldn’t think of anything more boring than always being just ‘serious’ about music, because at its best music should be life affirming, glorious and yes, sometimes even fun.
And Eurovision is a lot of fun.
The trouble is that most of us Brits translate the fun of Eurovision into fun of an ironic sort (because we’re too concerned with concepts of artistic merit and cool) or nostalgically fun. It’s the way Brits think about Eurovision that is as much to blame for our lack of recent success in the competition than anything else. We need to understand that it’s possible to combine being serious about music with having fun in the purest sense as well. If we could grasp this concept then there would be a number of obvious candidates for the UK to enter and win (yes actually win) Eurovision, the most blindingly obvious being Hurts. But (probably) our island mentality will never allow this to happen. One look at the number of You Tube comments in European languages on any Hurts You Tube video gives a clue as to why they could have a chance.
Come May, we’ll be getting our score sheets out and settling down in front of our TV to enjoy the experience that is the Eurovision song contest from Malmö, Sweden**. Sweden hosts the event following their 100% deserved victory by Loreen in 2012, which we’d argue was the best Eurovision song and performance in the last ten years.
It’s still early days as not all the entrants have been selected by their national heats, plus there’s still the semi-finals to get through for those who unlike the UK don't buy their way straight into the final, but from what we’ve seen so far Eurovision 2013 will have a Scandinavian victor again. We’re not quite sure what they put in the water up there but we have to hand it to them, the Scandinavian’s know how to do this stuff.
So here’s our early predictions.
They may be the country with most ‘null points’ in Eurovision history, but not this year. Margaret Berger’s I Feed You My Love sounds like Kelly Clarkson fronting a dark electro-rock soundtrack. It's rather good. It’s also co-written by Karin Park which explains an awful lot about its goodness.
Margaret Berger - I Feed You My Love (Performance Video)
Margaret Berger - I Feed You My Love
Whilst Emmelie de Forest’s - Only Teardrops doesn’t have the balls out ooomphh of Norway’s entry and feels to a certain extent like a tick box exercise in capturing votes across the continent ( Titanic-movie Celtic penny-whistle solo, ethinc boho-chic look, drummers, flames etc - all elements that we’ve seen from past 12 pointers) it’s undeniably a reasonably or even more than reasonably catchy tune. And by an obvious logic if it does capture lots of votes across the continent for having all the right elements in it then it will end up winning.
Emelie de Forest - Only Teardrops (Performance Video)
But then really, asking a British new music blog for their opinion on Eurovision is a bit like asking a vegetarian to make a brilliant bacon sandwich isn't it. So maybe we'll shut up now and get on with what we're good at, whatever that is.
** This bit is a actually a lie. We'll be in Brighton at The Great Escape Festival at that time, but we'll certainly be catching up the day after on repeat.