More than two decades since Katrina and the Waves took the Eurovision crown in 1997, the UK is again set to host the event. The final will take place in Liverpool on the 13th May. Here’s WHAT A TUNE’s picks of the ones to watch.
Croatia: Let 3 — Mama ŠČ
Croatia’s entry from punk band Let 3 is a camp and surrealist experience. On the surface, it seems like a joke act, but a quick scan of the English translation of the lyrics uncover a barely disguised criticism of the Russian government.
Czechia: Vesna — My Sister’s Crown
All-female six-piece band Vesna sing in a mix of English, Czech, Ukrainian and Bulgarian in this haunting ode to Slavic sisterhood. Lyrics such as “No one wants more boys dead, We’re not your dolls” are a thinly veiled reference to the wider political context surrounding the event. Goosebumps.
Finland: Käärijä — Cha Cha Cha
This is the reason we watch Eurovision. Cha Cha Cha is energetic, fun and completely bonkers. It’s a techno metal fever dream featuring dancers with fixed manic grins and glitter. Look behind the initial chaos, and it’s actually very well-crafted track, the precision and constant changes, such as the abrupt detour into an upbeat pop interlude, call to mind certain branches of k-pop.
Germany: Lord Of The Lost — Blood & Glitter
For the past two years Germany has placed bottom of the leaderboard. So for the first time in history, the country is sending a heavy metal band to Eurovision. Blood & Glitter has clearly been selected with an eye on the soft spot Nordic countries have for this type of music. Although I’ll be the first to admit the track itself is somewhat lacking, it should be entertaining viewing purely for the spectacle.
France: La Zarra — Évidemment
La Zarra’s trembling voice is reminiscent of Edith Piaf, pair this with a groovy disco beat and we’ve got a cool and classy hit. La Zarra is Canadian by birth and now based in France. She first caught the public eye on a track with French rapper Niro.
Serbia: Luke Black — Samo Mi Se Spava
Continuing their tradition of sending edgy performance art to Eurovision, Serbia’s Luke Black paints a bleak reality over a thudding techno bass. Peppered with video game references such as “choose your fighter” and “game over”, the singer would rather opt out of this dystopian world of war and famine, preferring instead to “sleep forever”. Don’t we all? #relatable.
Spain: Blanca Paloma — EAEA
ROSALÍA and the resulting flamenco renaissance have clearly inspired Spain’s choice for their entry this year. Blanca Paloma is a stunning homage to Sevillan roots culture, a lullaby filled with references to Spanish author Federico García Lorca via metaphors about the moon and “tears of the Nile”. It’s a refreshing change that stands out from the crowd of pop tracks sung in English.
Norway: Alessandra — Queen Of Kings
Driven by its big sea shanty-inspired hook, Norway’s entry is a fan favourite and bound to make anyone like an empowered pirate queen. This low-key slaps and I won’t allow anyone to tell me otherwise.
Moldova: Pasha Parfeni — Soarele şi Luna
Drawing inspiration from Ukraine’s Eurovision success last year, Soarele şi Luna (The Sun and The Moon) goes for electronic dance infused with Eastern European melodies, with an epic flute hook. Describing the story behind the song, the Moldovan singer told Wiwibloggs: “Sometimes the universe aligns with everything when you make a right decision. The sun and the moon will bring you a crown, for you and for your fiancée.”
United Kingdom: Mae Muller — I Wrote A Song
Buoyed by their success last year, the UK are actually taking Eurovision a lot more seriously now. Dance pop break-up banger I Wrote A Song taps into the zeitgeist of female empowerment and independence. It’s undeniably catchy and should do well.