I was listening to the BBC World Service tonight while reading. They ran a little segment on the very popular Eurovision song contest. One of the great things about modern life is that I can quickly see most of the videos, thanks to Youtube. So I took a gander. I’ll include a few links. As a warning, none of the songs are lewd, but some of the Youtube comments are. Such is unmoderated life.
Eurovision songs tend towards high energy pop numbers. For instance, the third and fourth place songs, from Azerbaijan and Turkey, are clear pop songs with light lyrics, female dancers, and a very attractive female singer. Not that I mind, but these aren’t that memorable.
Another interesting fact is that English is the most common language. 19 of the 25 songs in the final included some English, including the top 5. The Internet and economics have made a difference. There can even be controversy about lyrics, as with the Georgian selection, We Don’t Wanna Put In. A little accent work makes that Russian czar Vladimir Putin. Russia, as host, was not happy, and the Georgians got tossed.
A little more interesting are the other three Top 5 songs. After finishing last in 2008, the UK went with an Andrew Lloyd Webber creation, sung by Jade. She sings well. I wonder what musical can use this song. Maybe a Disney animated feature? It’s nice.
More remarkable are the two victors. Second place went to Is It True? by the youthful songstress Yohanna. Her first album was at age 10, and her experience shows. It’s different. To American ears, this is a country-pop ballad that could immediately play on CMTV. I thought of Carrie Underwood as I listened. Look at these lyrics, from the chorus and bridge. They’re sad. Ouch!
Falling out of a perfect dream, coming out of the blue
Is it true? Is it over?
Did I throw it away?
Was it you?
Did you tell me you would never leave me this way?
Did I dream it?
Will I wake from this pain
Is it true? Is it over?
Baby did I throw it away?
The winner, in almost a rout, was Fairytale by the Norwegian Alexander Rybak. It’s a very good song from the 23 year old. He was born in the USSR, and moved to Norway with his musician parents at the age of 4. Yes, 1990, as the USSR broke apart. His violin skills and folk knowledge are both on display here. Admittedly, this is a pop song, but the dancers are male folk dancers, and it’s a little different. The lyrics are a little sadder. It adapts traditional folk songs to the 21st century pop world. I could see myself singing this at karaoke night.
I’m in love with a fairytale,
even though it hurts
‘Cause I don’t care if I lose my mind
I’m already cursed.
I’m not going to claim that the world will be changed by any of these songs. There’s no political meaning like We Shall Overcome. And there’s no repeated kicking like Hurt by Johnny Cash. There’s not supposed to be. That doesn’t take away from what it is; Eurovision 2009 isn’t going to solve Somalia or Kosovo. Not everything is.