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Friday, May 9, 2008

Eurovision: pirates of the sea, 75 cents in my pocket and a 90s beat.

posted by on May 9 at 9:00 AM

Latvia has quite a decent Eurovision trackrecord. They debuted with the charming group Brainstorm in 2000, have since won once (Marie N – I wanna – ESC 2002) and three years ago they sent the cutest display of innocent blond boys (and funniest simultaneous sign language) to date with Walters & Kaza ‘s “The War -or as they sang it “ the wur”- is not over”.
This year Latvia sends Pirates of the Sea (as opposed to Pirates “of the Air” or “of the land” I suppose) with Wolves of the sea. Unfortunately, when they say pirates they actually do mean pirates. This is a traditional Latvian er… pirate song but thankfully we find out that, despite whatever rumours to the contrary, pirates can do choreography. Fancy that. There’s even a lady pirate, and apparently Captain Hook started a new career as a Latvian singer. This song sounds like Aqua, but then on speed (remember Barbie Girl? Or was that only a hit in Europe?) and examines the identity crisis pirates go through when they find out that “pirates are all they can be”. It can’t be easy being born with an eyepatch or a hook for a hand and realising that your future is determined for you. Philosophical food for thought, thanks to this Latvian entry. Thank you, Latvia.

Representing Croatia is Kraljevi Ulice & 75 Cents with the song Romanca. First off, why 75 cents? Why? What on earth does it mean? And who is 75 cents? The man with the hat? The older guy who mutters things from time to time? The change in their pockets? I doubt we’ll get the answer anytime soon, but my autistic nature has a hard time dealing with this. Anyway, let’s move over to the song. I love this, I don’t know why. Granted, I’m usually a big fan of Croatia. Croatia could send a dressed up dog to Eurovision and I’d probably still vote for them. I loved Danijella (Neka Me Ne Svane - ESC 1998) and Doris Dragovic (Marija Magdalena - ESC 1999) and every Eurovision review I’ll ever write will at some point feature the name Claudia Beni (ESC 2003). I also have a soft spot for songs with a tango-y, gypsy feeling, though that doesn’t always do well at Eurovision, see Jari “Cockring” Silanpaa (Finland ESC 2004) or Ivan & Delfin (Poland ESC 2005). For whatever reason, be it the gypsies, the tango or the old folks, I’m completely, totally and utterly charmed by this song, though I have to admit that -having just listened to the song- already I can’t really remember what it sounded like.

And from one end of the spectrum (real instruments and street musicians) we go to another: Bulgaria sends Deep Zone and Balthazar (again: which is which?) with “DJ, take me away”. Woohoo! It sounds like we’re back in the nineties! Seeing as this is Eurovision, that means we’re still a decade or so ahead of the rest of the contest… The lyrics are as varied as they are thought provoking (“when the lights go down, I need you, DJ please take me away”) and this song reminds me of the trashy stuff I used to listen to when I was in high school (Sash – Encore une fois, 2 Fabiola, etc). Obviously, I love it.

Next up: Denmark, Georgia and Hungary.

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Pirates! Pirates! I do love the pirates because, well, I like ridiculous novelty acts involving costumes. And they're just so earnest about it. Plus, it's about freedom. Or wolves. Or plundering. Either way, Riga 2009 has a nice ring to it.

I liked the Croatian song about the stilettos. Two years ago, yeah? That one was great, especially with the guys in native (?) costumes dancing around behind her. I love it when there are dancers in native costumes swirling around the bizarre pop songs.

Bulgaria is also in a tradition I like- it was one of my early favorites- in that it's three terrible songs that have somehow combined into one terrible song. (Poland last year was also in this category.) Also, it's totally nonsensical and awesomely Eastern European. Hurray, Bulgaria!

Posted by Abby | May 9, 2008 11:10 AM

pirates is brilliance. croati, okay. "cockring" HAHAHAHAHAHA!

okay, bulgaria is complete stupid trash, especially that horrible guitar break. lame. it will probably win. do you think they'll shoot real guns at the comp?

Posted by terry miller | May 9, 2008 11:23 AM

What do you mean, Bulgaria is lame and terrible? It's fan-tas-tic! I'm prepared to fight over this, you know. Bring it on! What's the Bulgarian flag? I'm painting one for my ESC party.

Posted by Griet | May 9, 2008 11:26 AM

75 cents ... because the old rapping man is 75 years old... easy like that

Posted by frederic | May 10, 2008 1:35 PM

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