To catch up on last week’s Eurovision entries (countries D-I), follow this link.
Latvia: Citi Zēni ‘Eat Your Salad’
Eat Your Salad is ridiculously bonkers, no really. I present to you the lyrics ‘I ride my bicycle to work instead of a car / All of my groceries are divided by weight and stored in glass jars’. Then there’s ‘Got my reusable bag / That swag, my flex, my flag / Zero waste, that is my jam’. No, I am not making this up. Citi Zēni serenades you that being eco-friendly is attractive, and I did not expect Eurovision to take this turn. I’m here for it, though I worry the appeal is biodegradable and will soon vanish come May.
The song has a funky bassline, solid vocals and a catchy chorus which doubles up as music activism if you’re going around humming ‘Eat your salad, save the planet’. It’s kind of incredible they managed to sneak in so many sexual innuendos into a Eurovision song with minimal censorship, the second verse, in particular, taking quite the provocative turn. Citi Zēni calls themselves the ‘rap princes and 21st-century pop music diva’ and maybe I’m sure we’ll all dive into their mind space when we ‘aboard the green Titanic’ at Turin this May.
Lithuania: Monika Liu ‘Sentimentai’
Monika Liu is one of Lithuania’s most prominent singers, and the song ‘Sentimentai’ is a slow old-fashioned song with a monotonous beat. The saving grace of this song is Monika Liu’s vocals, singing in Lithuanian her voice is smooth and velvety. It’s a bit of a risk for Lithuania, considering the experimental song structure and lack of a hook that typically makes a successful Eurovision song. However, if we’ve learned anything from the past few Eurovision winning songs, being unconventional and unique can be your greatest strength.
Malta: Emma Muscat ‘I Am What I Am’
Malta’s entry this year is quite bland in comparison to the powerhouse tune ‘Je Ma Casse’ by Destiny from last year’s Eurovision. ‘I Am What I Am’ is your generic uplifting pop song, an anthem about resilience, and it would 100% be played on the X Factor after someone gets four yeses into boot camp. The song is a hesitant no for me. It’s a nice song with a nice message – but ‘nice’ doesn’t cut it with Eurovision unfortunately.
Moldova: Zdob și Zdub and Frații Advahov ‘Trenulețul’
You’re on a packed train that’s alarmingly going at full speed, and Moldova’s Eurovision entry is the soundtrack of your turbulent experience. Decked out with accordion and violin layers, it’s an energetic pop-rock-folk song that shows no signs of stopping. There are shouty vocals, and just a whole bunch of chaos happening which is undeniably Eurovision – cannot wait to see this one on the main stage at Turin.
Montenegro: Vladana ‘Breathe’
Montenegro is returning to the contest after two years away, and their representative this year is Vladana with ‘Breathe’. It has a cinematic start with haunting orchestral and string instrumentation that builds into a powerful chorus. After two years away, this is perfect to enter into Eurovision for Montenegro – it tells the story of everything in the world that has happened since they last entered the contest. It’s the story of difficult times caused by a global pandemic, and it’s beautiful – this is going to be a contender for the top spot in Eurovision, and is possibly one of the strongest ballads of the entire contest with stunning vocals that make one breathless. It’s going to be quite an emotional experience watching ‘Breathe’ live.
The Netherlands: S10 ‘De diepte’
Last year, The Netherlands held Eurovision in Rotterdam following Duncan Lawrence’s 2019 win with ‘Arcade’. This year, The Netherlands representative S10 is flying to Turin to perform ‘De diepte’ (the depths) a song about loss. The first song to appear in Dutch at the contest since 2010, S10’s song has gentle and lilting vocals that build up into a soul-stirring pre-chorus and chorus which will inspire the audience to sing with her. It has simple instrumentation to compliment S10’s vocals, however, it will be fascinating how they stage this performance for maximum impact.
North Macedonia: Andrea ‘Circles’
Andrea showcases strong heartbreaking vocals in ‘Circles’, a song about a failing relationship, it sounds like she is at the cusp of reaching the breaking point in an argument. The song is crammed with in-the-moment frustrations that dim out to a dull sadness as we reach the end of the song. The synth line is an interesting inclusion alongside the drum beats, but it will again be quite interesting to see how this will be staged and whether Andrea’s stage presence will shine on Turin’s main stage.
Norway: Subwoolfer ‘Give That Wolf a Banana’
In Eurovision, we are familiar with joke acts (and we love them for it). I mean Eurovision is a very trippy experience – you have those who take it extremely seriously with harrowing ballads or intensive choreography and then you have Subwoolfer singing about bananas. The Norwegian duo, Keith and Jim, don’t just make a joke – they actually might do very well in the contest this year. When I first heard ‘Give That Wolf a Banana’, the novelty of the situation, in which Subwoolfer are dressed in suits with skin-tight yellow wolf masks, quickly turned into amazement at how well-produced ‘Give That Wolf a Banana’ is. It’s an alternative retelling of Little Red Riding Hood beginning with the intriguing line ‘Not sure I told you but I really like your teeth’. The chorus is bass-heavy with a TikTok-worthy and memorably dance accompanying it. Even if it doesn’t do that well at the Eurovision song contest, it’s already sealed its fate as an iconic Eurovision performance by order of how captivating it is.
Poland: Ochman ‘River’
Poland has never won a Eurovision song contest, however, Ochman’s ‘River’ is their most likely contender yet. The electro-ballad is a strong entry that I’m sure the jury will adore, the beat is interesting and when it drops it is unexpecting and abrasive but ultimately, fascinating. Ochman’s vocals are enchanting and sky-soaring, alongside the string sections of the song it takes you to another place and leaves a lasting impression.
Portugal: Maro ‘Saudade, Saudade’
Portugal’s ‘Saudade, Saudade’ is one of my personal favourites of this year’s song contest, as it’s a mellow risky song for the Eurovision contest. There’s a beautiful sense of comradery in this English-Portuguese song with gorgeous instrumentations including bells, easy-to-follow handclaps and delicate percussion. Maro is accompanied by four backing singers, all sitting in a half-circle in perfect harmony. When the lyrics hit ‘Nothing more that I can say, says it in a better way’ it becomes a song about connection and support. There’s a meditative quality about ‘Saudade, Saudade’ a time for reflection where are suspended mid-air to finally listen to this collective voice. It’s a welcome entry to Eurovision, a breath to feel present in the moment. A moment to embrace the quiet. Fingers crossed that the chaotic louder entries don’t take away from the special encapsulating quality of Maro’s ‘Saudade, Saudade’.