It is that time of the year!
While many people would moan and groan about this trivial musical competition, I honestly enjoy this musical battle. I don’t look at the politics of the whole competition. Instead, I look at the musical side with songs from each country’s representative.
I will feature at least three songs from each country each week leading up to the start of Eurovision 2019 on May 14. I will highlight each song based on the alphabetical order of each country. Some countries haven’t released their country’s song yet (like Belarus and Cyprus, who says they will release their song in March). If that is the case, I will skip that country and come back to that country once their song is released.
To begin, let’s take a look at the songs representing Montenegro, Czech Republic, and Hungary.
Czech Republic: Lake Malawi – Friend Of A Friend
Now, I wrote last year or in 2016 that I have a bias towards the Czech Republic. My mother’s side of the family is from this Eastern European country. I would say that I am 1/4 part Czech. Although I moved around the US because my dad was in the military, we still celebrate some Czech traditions. But, when my whole extended family got together for a family outing in Nebraska (where my mom is from), there would be Czech food, beer, and music present.
My grandpa and Uncle would always play polka whenever we had these family gatherings. And, I hated it! Polka wasn’t my cup of tea when I was little. And, I would be somewhat discouraged to believe that this musical genre was the only thing musically from my great-grandparents’ homeland.
However, that wasn’t the case. When I first discovered modern Czech songs in Eurovision a couple years ago, I was happy. Although they aren’t in Czech — something I want to learn someday — they were modern Czech tunes. Something I could relate more.
But, it wasn’t just because they were modern. It was because they were wonderful tunes too. I love the beauty behind the 2016 song “I Stand”. And, I loved last year’s upbeat tune “Lie to Me”. They were crafted well with such much musical potential.
But, I am not feeling that same excitement for this year’s entry: Lake Malawi’s “Friend of a Friend.” One of the problems with this song that is the vocals; they are a bit weak. I think the singer is too airy when he is singing the notes as his pitch isn’t strong. The other problem is that I heard this before. I feel like this a weak imitation of British indie pop bands like The 1975 and Kero Kero Benito.
Let’s see how this song plays out in the competition. But, I am not excited about this song.
Hungary: Joci Pápai: Az én apám
Joci Pápai gets bonus points in my Eurovision playbook for singing in his native tongue. I love it when artists sing in their native language during Eurovision. Yes, I can’t understand what is Joci singing about because I don’t know a lick of Hungarian (shhh, I might learn some here, and there if I keep playing this song on repeat, I learn languages from music). But, the song is so beautiful, you can understand the story of the song through his singing style, techniques, and emotions. I wish more Eurovision would sing in their native language as it is beautiful and refreshing.
“Az én apám” (which means “My father”) is a beautiful song. It doesn’t feature much except Joci’s vocals, backing vocals, a guitar, a bass, a violin, and a strong percussion set. But the heart of the song is Joci’s vocals. They lead the story, bring the emotions, and take us through his portrayal with his raw emotions. I don’t need a translation to understand how magical and powerful “Az én apám” is. Amazing!
Montenegro: D-Moll – Heaven
When I first listen to D-Moll’s song, I am reminded about the 90s’ R&B duets that featured a female vocalist and a male vocalist: “A Whole New World” and “One Sweet Day.” “Heaven” brings backs the nostalgic feelings as it is very laid back, features that well-known 90s’ percussion and snap/clap track, and features that random synthesizer fluttering around. The song starts slow, sweet, and light energy. By mid-song, the tempo picks up as the vocals climaxes slowly but surely with high power by the final chorus.
“Heaven” is a beautiful song but I don’t think it will win the competition. I think it will bring back memories of the 90s for many. But the energy is a bit off, it isn’t powerful enough, and I don’t think the vocal timbre isn’t up to par for an R&B song. I kept on imagining how Boyz II Men and Mariah Carey would sing this as Mariah Carey would carry the tune better with her timbre, techniques, her power, and her embellishments.
I also found that random synthesizer to be overpowering at some times and not necessary at times. It is a good addition but it can be annoying.
Overall, I think “Heaven” is a nice song but I don’t think it is going to win the competition. But, I do think it might have a shot to enter the finals.
Trivia: D-Moll, for those who are not familiar with music theory, means “D minor”.
So what do you think, which song is your favorite? Comment below!
And, since I have a lot of travel bloggers and readers from the world who visit this blog, what are your favorite memories or sites in the Czech Republic, Hungary, or Montenegro? Let me know in the comments below.
Since this is an ongoing series, I am going to share my prediction scorecard at the end of each post. It is a way for me to keep track of my predictions and see if they came true in May.
|Country||Standings at the Finales|
|Hungary||Finals – MAY WIN|