The first of our projects over the summer is to review a selection of the albums released by artists from the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest.
First up is this year’s Finnish entrant Krista Siegfrids, who released her début album “Ding Dong!” a week prior to the contest in May. So, what kind of a record is it? And how does it compare to her Eurovision entry “Marry Me”?
27 year-old Krista took the Eurovision fan circle by storm with her infectious performance on the Malmö stage, and I for one was intrigued enough to seek out this album; hopeful that it would be full of the same quirky, high-octane pop that had quickly characterised Krista’s musical style. And I certainly wasn’t disappointed!
The album contains ten songs, all but one of which are up-tempo numbers which feature the similar pseudo-electro instrumentation and ridiculously catchy hooks to “Marry Me”. For many, the obvious comparisons are to the music of Katy Perry and Ke$ha, and this is understandable when you consider the combination of sassy spoken verses and soaring melodic choruses most evident in tracks like “Money”. However, Krista maintains her own quirkiness throughout, ensuring that these similarities merely serve to highlight the relevance of the album in today’s market.
The opening and closing tracks “More Is More” and “Stupid Love” owe considerably more to the dance music scene, something which is reflected in both their structure and lyrical content. Krista also manages to adopt a number of characters through her music – the stalker-esque persona of “Marry Me” morphs into a shameless golddiger in “Money” and a full-on badass bitch in “Your Boyfriend”, illustrating her knack for incorporating humour into her lyrics. However, the stand-out track of the album sees Krista abandon all this and perform the honest, heart-wrenching ballad “Can You See Me?” as a tribute to her father, laying her soul bare and creating a truly captivating piece of music in the process.
It’s on this track in particular that I believe Krista’s voice is best showcased, the slight cracks at the top of her range adding to the raw emotion of the song.
For me, the highlights of the album are “Money”, “Under My Skin”, the 80s-infused “Seventeen” and the aforementioned “Can You See Me?”.
*EDIT – adding the YouTube links around a month after I originally wrote this article, and I’d just like to emphasise what an epic track “Under My Skin” really is. Fabulous has a new definition, people. Listen, listen, listen!!
Marco Muntean from Romania – Love Krista album!!! The best song is “Money”!!
Janne Bruzelius from Sweden – Have her physical CD album but have not played it yet
Adriána Filipová from Slovakia – Krista´s album reminds me of Kesha but Krista is a lot better. Her song “Can you see me” is really strong, dedicated to her father, and it´s definitely worth listening. Other than that i think “Marry me” is already a legendary song. Other songs from the album are average.
Sami Luukela from Finland – Love it!
So overall, it would appear that “Ding Dong!” has been fairly positively received amongst Eurovision fans. It could be argued that it’s a fairly predictable collection of generic pop songs, but their catchiness and relevance cannot be dismissed lightly. Krista has demonstrated that she’s clearly aware of her audience and knows exactly what she’s aiming for with this album, and to my mind at least, she’s most certainly succeeded. TEAM DING DONG!
Hello there guys! My name’s Rory and I’m 15 years old (although this was originally written when I was 14). I’m probably one of the youngest Eurovision bloggers in the history of the Internet, but some research has to be carried out on that stat! Below is a picture of me (not the best one!) and below that, you can get to know me just a little bit better!
Name: Rory Gannon
Location: the West of Ireland
First ESC: Helsinki 2007 – I have memories of previous Eurovisions (Kyiv 2005 and Athens 2006), but my first ever proper Eurovision viewing was back in 2007 in Helsinki. As with James, I had no idea it would turn into what it is today, but it’s great that it has, because I’ve met so many people who are like me and have one common passion – the Eurovision.
Favourite ESC: Malmö 2013 – For me, this year’s Contest in Malmö was definitely the strongest year since I started watching the Contest. Since the Contest ended nearly a month ago, I’ve found myself singing most of the songs from this year and being overcome with Eurofever, I went to Malmö to watch the show and I must say it was “underbart”! (That’s ‘wonderful’ in Swedish, for those who mightn’t have known.)
Least Favourite ESC: Belgrade 2008 – When Belgrade hosted the show back in 2008, it was a bit too structured and organised. As well as that, there were few songs that I really liked (e.g. Shady Lady, Qele Qele) and this was another factor in the decision. Overall, it was the least pleasing Contest for me since I started watching it.
Favourite Winner: Secret Garden 1995 – I’ve always been a fan of the ethnic ballad, as it shows off the country’s culture and style of music. When I first heard Secret Garden with Nocturne, I found myself in a land of beauty and history and that’s what you imagine when you hear a masterpiece like Nocturne. My second favourite is The Voice, which won the Contest the year after. Like Nocturne, The Voice is a Celtic ethnic ballad, which I loved even more because it was from my own country! But there are so many favourite winners I wouldn’t be able to pick another one!
Least Favourite Winner: Ell and Nikki 2011 – From the masterpiece that is Nocturne, to the worst winner ever; Running Scared. These guys did not deserve to win in my opinion, as there were so many other songs in the final that year that could win the Contest, but somehow, THEY managed to win. I wonder why Europe made the wrong decision in 2011; Mika Newton, Lena, even Jedward were better than them! Shame on you Europe!
Favourite ESC Song (soo hard to choose!) “Marry Me” by Krista Siegfrids – It’s the most cheesy pop song the Eurovision has ever seen. But at the same time, it’s the best song that ever graced the Eurovision stage. Krista came out onto that stage and had fun as Eurovision’s first ever bride. The song itself, though cheesy, has a strong message about marriage equality, and I’m proud of Krista for standing up for gay marriage, and well done for the kiss too! ;D
Favourite Non-Qualifier: “Samo Shampioni” by Elitsa and Stoyan – I am VERY VERY disappointed in the juries of Europe for putting that song last. Obviously, the public has better sense! Elitsa and Stoyan were the first actual Eurovision artists I heard when they performed in Helsinki with Water, and they had just as strong a song this year with Samo Shampioni. The song fits them so good and I was very depressed when they didn’t qualify.
Top 5 ESC countries: 5) Finland – Finland has been one of the best countries for me during the course of my viewing of the Contest. Obviously, I enjoyed Marry Me, but I actually enjoyed Yamma Yamma from way back in 1992. That was an amazingly catchy song that was so hard to get rid of out of my head. Other songs I’ve enjoyed from them were Työlki ellää, Da Da Dam and Leave Me Alone. I was reasonably happy that Lordi eventually won for Finland, but I think Hannah would have done it, had the Contest been somewhere else.
4) Italy – Since the Italians came back into the Contest two years ago, they have proven to be a force to be reckoned with, getting top 10 placings for three years in a row. Also, Italy gave the Contest their first huge hit; Volare back in 1958. I’ve really enjoyed Madness of Love, L’amoré é femmina and L’essenziale. I think Italy will have a good chance of winning the Contest next year, if their current placings are anything to go by.
3) Russia – Russia… oh where do I begin? They’ve been one of the most successful countries and I’ve loved most of their recent entries, for example; Party for Everybody, Mamo and What If? Russia is also one to get votes from all over the place though, but I agree with it, as the country sends very good songs to the Contest and hopefully many more.
2) The Netherlands – The Dutch are the most unsuccessful country in Eurovision, even though they’ve sent some of the best songs and I was so glad when Anouk finally brought the The Netherlands to the final with Birds (to which my co-admin James strongly dislikes). My favourite songs from the Netherlands are Birds, You and Me, Shine and Amanbanda.
1) Germany – Thank God for Lena Meyer-Landrut!!! After years of terrible results, Lena finally brought Germany back to it’s glory days. When she re-represented Germany on home soil with Taken By A Stranger, I knew she was going to have a huge career. And since Lena participated, Germany’s finishing position have stayed strong, though Cascada came 21st, and therefore a victim of the Anggun effect (fans going crazy for a particular song, but then not voting for it). My favourites from Germany are Ein Bisschen Frieden, Satellite, Taken By A Stranger and Glorious.
Best ESC Memory; Going to Eurovision for the first time in Dusseldorf in 2011 – 2011 was the first time I went to the Eurovision Song Contest and what an experience it was! If you have never gone, I highly recommend you do, especially if you love the feeling of euphoria and being with those who share the same passions as you!
Favourite ESC song from the 90s: The Voice by Eimear Quinn (1996) – As what was stated above, the song is very ethnic and shows off Ireland’s beautiful culture. I was (and still am) very proud that she won.
Favourite ESC song from the 80s: Ein Bisschen Frieden by Nicole (1982) – Like Marry Me, the song carries a strong message of love and peace and Ralf Siegel composed a very beautiful song that won for Germany for the first time.
Guilty Pleasure: Oh god…. Shine by the Toppers. When The Netherlands originally picked the song in 2009, I was very against the song, but now I find myself singing whenever I’m watching the 2009 Contest back over! Let your light shine, people!
So that’s a little bit about me, thanks a lot for reading it if you’ve managed to get this far without closing the tab! I look forward to bringing you the latest ESC news with James here on ESCviews! If you have any questions for me, do ask it through the comments below! See ya!
Hey! Well this is interesting isn’t it. Writing a blog post, that’s a new one for me. Hopefully this blog will be worth it, and we have a load of interesting stuff planned to share with the Eurovision fan community.
But first of all, I guess it would help if we introduced ourselves to you all, right?
Location: United Kingdom
First ESC: 2007 – I watched it with the sole intent of revelling at the misfortune of the UK act Scooch, who I expected to finish just about as low as humanly possible. I had no idea it would develop into a full-scale obsession, but after hearing some of the songs that night, I knew there would be no turning back :’)
Favourite ESC: 2009 – Everything about it was just spectacular on so many levels. The stage, for a start. Just wow. And then the general quality of the songs was so much higher than before, so many of them are still among my all-time favourites.
Least Favourite ESC: Difficult to choose… but I think I’ll have to go with 2010, simply because the results annoyed me so much. Particularly in the semi-finals. Most of my favourites were eliminated before the live finals, with only Albania, Iceland, Ukraine and Germany remaining.
Favourite Winner: Somewhat ironically, I’d say that Lena’s “Satellite” is my favourite winner, with Ruslana’s “Wild Dances” and Helena Paparizou’s “My Number One” as runners-up.
Least Favourite Winner: “Running Scared” by Ell & Nikki. It was just such a wallpaper song, let’s be fair. It was a weak year in my opinion, but how this managed to claw its way to the top I will never understand. Not unless you bring in the arguments about vote-buying and diaspora, but let’s save that for another day, eh?
Favourite ESC Song: “Gravity” by Zlata Ognevich – there is just something about this song that clicked with me from the moment I heard that half-finished live version back in December. The voice, the melody, the instrumentation… It’s just amazing.
Favourite Non-Qualifier: “Horehronie” by Kristina Pelàkovà – I can’t sum up the devastation I felt when that one didn’t go through. Unbelievable. It still hurts. For my personal tastes it had everything. Foreign language, female vocal, ethno-pop backing, random wailed bit after the first chorus, guys dressed up as trees… WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE, EUROPE!?
Top 5 ESC countries:
5) France – If we’re looking at their overall ESC history, then there are just too many strong songs to mention – “Un Jour, Un Enfant” is poignant, “Tom Pillibi” is adorable and “C’est Le Dernier Qui À Parlé…” is just magical. A French-speaker, I’ve enjoyed hearing the diverse genres they’ve offered us in more recent years, with “Allez, Ola, Olé” and “L’Enfer Et Moi” being personal favourites, and “Chacun Pense À Soi” a bit of a guilty pleasure.
4) Bulgaria – Most of the music I listen to outside of Eurovision is Bulgarian, would you believe it. But while I sit here dreaming of the day they send Anelia, their actual Eurovision entries have been pretty good as far as I’m concerned. Who couldn’t love the legend that is Sofi Marinova??
3) Romania – Okay, they are the most hit and miss nation on my shortlist (Cezar… no.) but when they get it right, god do they get it right. “Zaleilah” was pretty much perfect, and I’d say the live vocal of “Let Me Try” is among the best in the history of the contest. More like that please Romania!!
2) Greece – Regardless of how much I love their current trend of catchy laïko-inspired pop numbers, my love of Greece at Eurovision owes more to the absolute masterpieces they sent in the early 90s – “Olou Tou Kosmou I Elpida” and “Ellada, Hora Tou Fotos” are two of my favourite songs of all time, pretty much impossible for me to get bored of. And plus, when you can sing every word (well… syllable anyway) of something in Greek… that’s generally a good sign!
1) Ukraine – But my favourite is Ukraine. They have never put a foot wrong in my opinion (apart from 2003, but let’s not go there). This is the country that gave us Ani Lorak, Zlata Ognevich, Svetlana Loboda, Tina Karol and Ruslana. Need I say any more? I just love love love their music and I can’t wait for the day they win again!
Best ESC Memory: Has to be the moment that Rona Nishliu qualified with “Suus”. I’d been a major fan since it was selected but I had this awful feeling that nobody in Europe would get it. Of course, when she ended up 5th on the Saturday, I just… THAT is Eurovision happiness.
Favourite ESC song from the 90s: Gonna say “Fiumi Di Parole” since I haven’t already mentioned it, and I feel like it deserves some love.
Favourite ESC song from the 80s: “La Det Swinge”. And I’ve seen this live. And wow. FABULOUS.
Guilty Pleasure: “party for everybody, dance. come on and dance. come on and dance. come on and boom boom” *proceeds to remove cakes from imaginary oven*
Well thank you for reading through all that! We’re gonna start with some articles in the coming days, but Rory will be introducing himself in a similar way first!
What do you think of my answers? Feel free to share your views in the comments below!