Possible Artists: Ireland

Today sees our eighth edition of the ‘Possible Artists’ series and this particular installment of the series is concerned with my homeland of Ireland! Even though we’re the most successful country at Eurovision, we’ve started to flop in the Contest. So who would I personally choose to represent my home country?? Well you’re just going to have to read the article to find out!

Imelda May for Ireland please!
Imelda May for Ireland please!

So the first artist I would recommend to represent Ireland would be the rockabilly artist Imelda May. She is fairly famous in Ireland because of her genre of music and the fact she’s very different to what else is out in the Irish charts (I guess you could say that she’s the Irish version of Björk!). Her style of music is very retro and is instantly recognisable; so much so, that she has been endorsing a form of banking with her songs being played in the background. In 2008, she blasted onto the international with her debut solo album, charting in not only Ireland, but in the UK, France and even the US! This song was her first single from the album and became a huge hit in Ireland, despite only charting in position #88.

This song is a perfect example of Imelda’s musical style; a pop song with a 60’s rockabilly feel to it. Imelda’s voice suits the song perfectly and the song itself would have been suitable to send to Eurovision in 2009, as it was released in January of that year, easily passing the September 1st rule. If this song went to Eurovision, the song would have stood out like a sore thumb in Moscow and definitely have qualified, if the performance was strong enough to equal the song. Had it have reached the final, I would reckon it would have finished around 15th position… possibly. It may have been higher or lower, we shall never know! Another major single from Imelda is her highlight song from 2010; ‘Mayhem’.

‘Mayhem’ is more of a ‘everything is all over the place’ kinda song, and the lyrics talk about a recently separated couple so that’s bound to be all over the place! Like ‘Johnny’s Got A Boom Boom’, this song is now one of Imelda’s signature songs and it’s no wonder it’s her best charting single to date; coming in a very respectable #24 in the Irish charts. This song just about passed the September the 1st rule by only about 12 days, so the song could have gone to represent Ireland at Eurovision in Düsseldorf in 2011. As 2011 was a reasonably weak year (depending on your taste in music), this song may not have done so well as its predecessor, maybe failing to qualify from a very strong semi-final.

There are many rock artists that have come from Ireland such as U2, The Script and Aslan, but for my secondary recommendation, I would pick the artist Enya. Enya was mostly a one-hit-wonder in 1989 with her international hit ‘Orinoco Flow’, though it’s mostly recognised as ‘Sail Away’. The song reached No.1 in four countries and topped the European Hot List chart too. She later released a song in 2000, ‘Only Time’, that also did very well for her. but it wasn’t the song we remember when one hears the name Enya; that job is for ‘Orinoco Flow’, in all it’s beautiful glory. Definitely a strong choice for Ireland if RTÉ was to pick her.

Apart from Enya and Imelda, we’ve also picked these gems from the charts, who could do really well at Eurovision:

Bressie – “Can’t Stay Young Forever”
Kodaline – “High Hopes”
Wallis Bird – “Encore”

Your views:

So would you like to see Imelda or Enya represent Ireland at Eurovision? Or would you pick a different artist?

Would Enya or Imelda do Ireland justice at Eurovision?
Would Enya or Imelda do Ireland justice at Eurovision?

Richard West-Soley from the United Kingdom: The Script please!!

Michael Romano from Australia: I think she’d be a good choice for Ireland, it’s something different than they have sent before and she has potential to do well.

Brandon McCann from Northern Ireland (he’s a reporter for escdaily, so you should take a look!): I don’t know Imelda May but I would be interested in Enya but I’m worried she can still sing awesome for it. If the Corrs got back together that would be awesome, would also be interested in the The Cranberries doing it. But I think most Irish people would be very interested in one of the Westlife singers singing for Eurovision.

Samantha Ross from the United States (a reporter for escinsight and runs the blog escinsider): Honestly, I don’t know Imelda May’s work, and was never a huge Enya fan…I’m probably not the best person to ask!

So it seems that Imelda May would be a rookie for the Eurovision fans, as she isn’t well known. That, however, could work to her advantage, as she could start anew and become a hit all over Europe! But what would you think? Would you recommend the artists above to RTÉ or would you pick another artist? Feel free to let us know by commenting below!

Album reviews updated!

Just a quick message to all our awesome readers; I’ve just gone through and added YouTube videos into every one of our five album reviews to date, which should hopefully make them more fun to read and allow you guys to hear the best tracks that we highlight in each review. The links to all five articles are here in case you’d like to check them out!

Krista Siegfrids: “Ding Dong”

Anouk: “Sad Singalong Songs”

Marco Mengoni: “#prontoacorrere”

Emmelie De Forest: “Only Teardrops”

Robin Stjernberg: “Pieces”

Thanks for sticking with us, we really value all the views and feedback we get on our blog, and we hope you’ll all join us as we continue counting down the days until Denmark 2014!

Album Review: Robin Stjernberg “Pieces”

Woop woop, it’s album review o’clock once more; and this time I’m going to be looking at the most recent album of the 2013 Swedish contestant Robin Stjernberg, who took 14th place on home soil back in May with the song “You”. The album “Pieces”, his second in total since finishing second in Swedish Idol 2011, was released at the end of June… so was it worth the wait?

Does "Pieces" live up to expectations?
Does “Pieces” live up to expectations?

I for one was somewhat disappointed when “You” didn’t manage higher in Malmö, I always felt it was a well-constructed and very accessible number which Robin certainly sung the socks off on the ESC stage – and THAT note was just amazing. However, I was also never quite sure how I would stylistically categorise it – very typically Swedish, yes, but was it rocky-edged schlager, or straight down the line pop, or oddly-instrumented dance? Or none of the above? In short, Robin’s Eurovision entry had me intrigued, and, being a fan of his voice and singing style, I was very interested to hear what the album “Pieces” would sound like.

On a first listen, the most striking thing about it is that it is most definitely a pop-rock album. The arsenal of instruments help to cement Robin’s intended genre, and on the whole they compliment his voice well. There are two distinct “types” of song at play here: he either goes for energetic, chanty up-tempo, or heart-wrenchingly emotional ballads – and I’d say the latter works best for him. Aside from the aforementioned piece of sheer fabulosity that is “You”, the anthemic “Six Feet Down” and the previously-released single “On My Mind”, the up-tempo tracks on the album leave me a little cold. That may be just me struggling to connect with them, or having trouble seeing past the guitar-laden backings, but when Robin is given a ballad, boy does he shine.

For me, the best example of this would be “Beautiful”…

From the first verse, I loved it, but when that chorus kicks into a different key and the melody soars up into Robin’s trademark higher register, bloody hell there were a few tears. Like, one of those moments where a piece of music you’ve never heard before seems to be so heartfelt, almost painful, and yet ineffably beautiful in the same moment and it all gets a bit too much… You know it’s a good ballad when it can do that.

But it’s not just on a musical level that this album makes a connection, it’s in the lyrical content. Now, obviously, this will depend heavily on the personal experience of the listener as to whether the messages behind each song leave an impression, but a number of them are laced with emotion and become even more poignant when they are related to Robin’s backstory. Anyone who followed him pre-Eurovision will be aware of his massive weight loss in recent years, and will be able to infer a potentially difficult adolescence which is just about confirmed in the lyrics and music video for “Scars” –

Knowing this suddenly adds yet more contextual relevance to the lyrics of “Beautiful”, “Every Bit Of Me” and the show-stopping title track “Pieces”, and allows the listener to realise how Robin is not just singing all the notes, he is feeling every single word, and it is this emotional connection which makes the ballads on the album so powerful.

If I was to criticise anything about “Pieces”, it’s that he or his record company haven’t released it as well as they could. It was preceded by two 2012 singles “On My Mind” and “Scars”, then somewhat interrupted by his Melodifestivalen/Eurovision campaign with “You”. They then somewhat inexplicably released an EP containing six of the album tracks, meaning that by the time the main event rolled around, there were only six *new* tracks to be purchased. Which doesn’t make sense in my book. Furthermore, they’ve chosen “Crime” as the next single – about as close as the album gets to summery, but not a great song in any regard – whilst neglecting some of the aforementioned stronger songs. The majority of them are shoehorned in at the end of the album as if Lionheart are almost trying to disguise their existence, and I wish they would just let them shine, because that is the direction I really think Robin should be heading in.

So; my overall comment on the album would be that it is very Swedish. Any single one of the tracks could be shipped off to America, handed to some questionably-talented Disney channel wannabe and become a pan-Atlantic hit within a week. But instead, they’ve been given to Mr. Robin Stjernberg, who, with his unique interpretation, has extinguished any real chance at worldwide success they had, but has simultaneously lifted them out of the realms of the ordinary, and just made them better pieces of music in general. Robin, congratulations man. I hope Sweden appreciates this record as much as it should.

Your Views:

What's your opinion on "Pieces"?
What’s your opinion on “Pieces”?

Lisa Kussler from Germany: I love it 🙂 AWESOME !

Nathan Stella from the Netherlands: Great, really heartfelt, I have the feeling he really ”lived” his lyrics!

Rinor Nuhiu from Albania: I AM ROBIN’S BIGGEST FAN! I have the album. Loved it!!

Emil Kolasiński from Poland: Amazing, the best Swedish album in this year 😀

 

It would seem therefore that “Pieces” is largely a popular album among Eurovision fans; now all we have to do is hope that our enthusiasm will catch on, and legions of new Robin fans will emerge and join us in giving this amazing album the amount of attention it deserves!!