Eurovision 2015 - Big 7 Preliminary Reviews | Museled

Welcome, Museled readers, to yet another set of reviews of this year's Eurovision entries. This time around, we'll be taking you through the auto-qualifiers. Each year, the "Big Five" are automatically placed in the finals. The "Big Five" consists of the United Kingdom, Italy, France, Spain, and Germany. In addition to the Big Five, there is the previous year's winner (and host country). This year, that is Austria. Being that this is the 60th anniversary of Eurovision, Australia has been granted a one-off pass to compete in the contest, having had a long 30+ year history of broadcasting the contest in their country to large viewing numbers. So what do we make of these auto-qualifiers? Are they good enough to warrant their automatic place in the finale? Let's see!


Germany ~ Ann Sophie - "Black Smoke"

It's difficult to say if "Black Smoke" could be any more of a mess. We can't quite make heads or tails as to whether this song is trying to go for more jazz, soul, or pop, but it completely misses the mark to make quality music in any of those genres. From the insufferably shouty vocals in the chorus to the cheaply produced garage-sale keyboard hook, this song crashes and burns from start to finish.

Museled score: 4/10


France ~ Lisa Angell - "N'oubliez pas"

Despite a valiant effort from Lisa Angell to breathe life into this song, "N'oubliez pas" simply lacks the necessary support to elevate the drama or emotionality to a climax. The song constantly sounds like it's going to lead to some sort of big bang but alas, it never arrives and we're left feeling empty. Even after having looked up the translation of the lyrics, the song fails to stir any potent reactions from us. The production is entirely lacking as the instrumentation fails to create the necessary urgency or climax that the song would have greatly benefited from.

Museled score: 4.5/10


Spain ~ Edurne - "Amanecer"

"Amanecer" is a not-terrible song. The melody is decent but there needed to be a greater contrast in the melodic range from the verses to the chorus. Without such, the song essentially stays in the same place for its entire duration. The rhythm of the percussion is also good but the production on it is weak, as the drums needed to be hit harder, louder, and preferably on just deeper bass drums in general. This song needed booming drums, not tapping ones. The backing instrumentation also should have been expanded on so as to broaden the song's scope and strengthen its impact. The lyrics are also highly down-trodden and Edurne's lispy delivery of "corazon" is cringeworthy.

Museled score: 6/10


Austria ~ The Makemakes - "I Am Yours"

"I Am Yours" is a tune with an indie rock feel that follows in the footsteps of folks like Hozier or Gavin Degraw. It's a competent track in its bluesy elements and the lead singer's vocals are quite nice to listen to. The song doesn't build up to anything, though, thus sounding more like an album track than a single. But hey, if you're looking for something pleasant to listen to while you knock back a pint at your favourite local pub, you've come to the right song.

Museled score: 6.5/10


United Kingdom ~ Electro Velvet - "Still in Love with You"

Delightfully cheery and hilariously cheesy, "Still in Love with You" pays homage to the roaring 1920s and old-school musicals. With a very clear story being told in the lyrics of a woman reassuring her patronising man that despite running off to have her fun, she is still in love with him, the song instantly made us laugh. It reads like a clever, tongue-in-cheeky parody of the even-more-casual-than-today sexism of decades past. Remember "Sixteen Going on Seventeen"? Well "Still in Love with You" seems like it was written by a lover of classic musicals that was self-aware enough to know when the the messages being sung about were entirely archaic. At its best moments, the song's got a fun bounce, making us want to jump up and lindy-hop. At the very least, we find ourselves whipping out the jazz hands and the matching dopey grins to bop along.

Museled score: 7/10


Italy ~ Il Volo - "Grande Amore"

Oh "Grande Amore," the most Italian song to ever Italian. But all jokes aside, this is popera at its finest. In all honesty, we didn't know we could enjoy popera, as past experiences with the genre left us rather sour over lacklustre vocalists that simply lacked the discipline and vocal ability to be proper opera singers. Before we give you our review of the track, it should also be worth noting that the music video we've included is the original, unedited version of the song. (All songs to compete in Eurovision must be no longer than 3 minutes). The Eurovision-edit of the song has the first chorus transitioning straight into the build-up into the second chorus. This couldn't have worked out better, as it allows the song to maintain the momentum it has built up from the song's beginning and keep the energy levels up so as to keep the audience's interest. (This is especially important within the context of a competition). As for the song itself, the production is classically beautiful while also retaining a modern-element so as to not be so isolating to those who wouldn't normally indulge in this genre. The drums are important for the song's movement so it doesn't stall in its tracks and all three of the vocalists are strong in their own rights as well as when singing together. It's truly a collaborative effort. Also can we stop and take time to music video? It's equal parts Italian flamboyancy and all-out geekiness! Ghost, Back to the Future, and Spiderman? Yes, yes, and yes!

Museled score: 8/10


Australia ~ Guy Sebastian - "Tonight Again"

What's that sound? Oh, just the sound of Guy Sebastian mic-dropping all over these other auto-qualifiers (and most of the songs in this year's line-up)! Before we even get into the masterpiece that is this song, we have to let those of you who didn't already know this, that Guy Sebastian only had 72 hours to compose the song, gather his band, record it, mix it, and master/produce it, not to mention record the music video. Guy Sebastian is bringing some desperately needed soul to the overwhelmingly vanilla Eurovision. His vocals runs do laps around absolutely everyone else in the contest. Even his backing vocalists sound better than a great deal of this year's competitors. We so appreciate his use of organic instrumentation. From the the horns, piano, saxophone, drum set, all of it serves to show that old-school will never die. The groove of this song is one that has flavour and an understated attitude that doesn't have to knock you about to make you feel its impact. Nothing can take away the fact that this is one of the finest tracks to have ever graced the Eurovision stage.

Museled score: 9.5/10


Though this concludes our preliminary reviews of the song's in this year's contest, stay tuned for further coverage of the contest as only a few weeks remain till the first semi-final kicks off!

Eurovision semi-final 1 will air Tuesday, May 19, at 12PM PST/3PM EST/8PM CET/9PM CEST.
Eurovision semi-final 2 will air Thursday, May 21, at 12PM PST/3PM EST/8PM CET/9PM CEST.
The Eurovision finals will air Saturday, May 23, at 12PM PST/3PM EST/8PM CET/9PM CEST.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the great write up of Guy Sebastian. Totally agree with all your comments. We Aussies love a party and this years Eurovision is going to be one big celebration! We are all so proud of Guy representing Australia he is an amazing singer, songwriter, producer...we know he'll give it his best shot. If you love his video clip just wait till you've seen him perform 'live' on stage.....Guy's talent is World Class!


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