30 January 2018
Both Norway and the United Kingdom have a solid selection this year without any great highlight – at least in terms of songs. Highlights are some of the names returning, notably Alexander Rybak for Norway, and Iceland’s Greta Salome co-writing Raya’s Crazy for the UK. First impression had Crazy as the best from the UK, while it was Charla K and Stop The Music for Norway.
Norway – Melodi Grand Prix 2018
Yes, big news is Mr Fairytale, Alexander Rybak, is back for Norway, returning with That’s How You Write A Song. Is it? While there’s some nice hooks and that notoriously infectious Rybak style, overall it’s all a bit silly – especially that it’s sacrificed the conventional song structure of two verses and the chorus to make itself silly. The sacrifice hasn’t worked. Much will depend on the stage presentation, and whether it can exude some of the magic that Fairytale did.
Another return is Aleksander Wallman, one half of JOWST, with Talk To The Hand. Good idea, because this face ain’t listening. While it captures much of the vibe that allowed Grab That Moment to finish tenth in Kyiv, it’s not as good, nor is it a style I particularly like. Then there’s the “returning artist” factor. They are often compared to their previous song, and quickly ignored if the song isn’t as good. Rybak might have a stronger chance to overcome this phenomenon because his appearance was 9 years ago, so nostalgia and sentiment might come into play.
It’s a similar story for Stella Mwangi, who flopped at Eurovision in 2011 with Haba Haba, and is back in 2018, this time in a duet with Alexandra Rotan. It’s a song that reveals itself after extra listens, is much better than Haba Haba, and Norwegians may feel she deserves her shot at redemption. Scandilove is the other big improver. I hated Scandilove initially before bumping it up the ranks, and I still have a problem with the f-word in songs. I’ve never heard it used other than as an unnecessary grab for attention.
Stop The Music is the one to which I keep returning. Co-written by Per Gessle of Roxette, it’s a big sounding pop ballad with an ounce of class about it. It’s negative, like many in MGP, is it’s quite generic. You Got Me is such a fun song, while Rebecca’s Who Are We, written by Kjetil “A Monster Like Me” Mørland is one of those soft ballads that often suck me in. Vidar Villa’s Moren Din is a throwback to old-style Scandi pop and so infectious, and thankfully it’s in Norwegian as the “Your Mother” translation in English suggests some really creepy lyrics could be lurking within the song. Scandilove rounds out the top 5. It’s unique enough that the voters could jump onto it. They could also dismiss it for being too trashy. As for Rybak, next time write a proper song. After initially being underwhelmed by Norway’s songs, I’m really looking forward to Melodi Grand Prix 2018.
My Top 10
01 Charla K – Stop the Music
02 Stella & Alexandra – You Got Me
03 Rebecca – Who We Are
04 Vidar Villa – Moren Din
05 Ida Maria – Scandilove
06 Nicoline – Light Me Up
07 Alexander Rybak – That’s How You Write A Song
08 Aleksander Walmann – Talk to the Hand
09 Tom Hugo – I Like I Like I Like
10 Alejandro Fuentes – Tengo Otra
Melodi Grand Prix is on 10 March 2018
United Kingdom – Eurovision You Decide 2018
Curiously, five of the six songs are one-word titles, with the only multi word song being the weakest. Could there be a title of no words one day? Simply called ….. and there’s a pause in the vocals that ordinarily would be the song’s title. I digress. Like Norway, the UK’s selection is a bit on the generic and uninspiring side. SuRie’s Storm actually starts with plenty of promise and then disappointingly meanders through. Astronaut and I Feel The Love are so “I’ve heard these a million times before”, while Jaz Ellington could garner votes with his smooth voice. Otherwise the song, while pleasant, doesn’t break any moulds.
It seems a battle between Legends and Crazy. Normally when splitting songs, I defer to the song title that best reflects me. Legend or crazy? Mmm, it’s about equal. While I have a feeling Legends will take it (and would be happy with that), I’d prefer Crazy – especially as it gives Greta Salome a chance of redemption after her early exit in 2016. If it was You or Astronaut that won, I might explode. Remember, we need some fast food music at Eurovision! It can’t all be “music with feeling”, as too much feeling can get creepy too.
My Top 6
01 RAYA – Crazy
02 Asanda – Legends
03 Jaz Ellington – You
04 SuRie – Storm
05 Liam Tamne – Astronaut
06 Goldstone – I Feel The Love
You Decide is decided on 7 February 2018