What makes a good song? That is a question frequently raised as Eurovision season hits peak level, and not only by Alexander Rybak. How do we as critics decide what’s good and not? How do voters and juries at home judge entries? Who will win? And will it be a well deserved victory?
As you probably don’t know, we have the occasional shot at songwriting ourselves in the GEE headquarters, so we know very well it ain’t easy. But we at least know what to aim for in songs in general and more specifically in Eurovision hits.
A catchy melody, for starts. There are so many music genres and they all mix together in a giant melting pot in these times of genre collapse. People tend to call everything pop and be cool with that. Which is all great. But, being over 30 and old fashioned and all that, we still expect a main riff or hook that someone will remember after hearing it. Something we could sing along to, even. Or at least a verse and a chorus. And maybe even a bridge. And definitely something that makes us hit the floor in Euro club, even for a slow dance.
With all this in mind, we would like to know what the heck went on in Finland this year. How did the nation that gave us Lordi, Krista Sigfried, Paradise Oskar and Kuunkuiskaajat get stuck with a horrifying combination of electronic dance music you don’t want to dance to, a voice that tries to sound like Bruce Springsteen with double-sided pneumonia and a DJ style resembling something we saw in the Finnish country side in 1994?
Mainly what happened is that the Finnish people didn’t have a choice, we guess. YLE just decided to let the guy with the most views on YouTube represent them and unfortunately that was Darude the DJ. He was then asked to present three songs that the public and a professional jury got to choose between. They forgot to tell him the songs needed to differ from each other, we guess, but nonetheless, a song was chosen, and it tells you to look away. Which is a wise choice, if we may say so.
We get it. We might be too old to understand this EDM thing. But that’s what we have our 12 year old associated jury member and avid EDM lover for, and we’re sorry to say it tested and failed with him as well. We just can’t see who is going to like this. It feels a bit like someone found a rhythm bot online, clicked play and asked that other guy to sing whatever lyric lines pop up in his head as the night settles and the MDMA kicks in. Safe to say, we do not approve this tactic for Eurovision.
Let’s just settle with the answer to our opening question, then. We don’t always know what makes a good song, but Finland’s entry this year sure ain’t it. Rest in peace, oh great nation of vodka, ski jumping, very hot little wooden houses, depressing TV and tragicomic cinema. Or at least rest until next year. And book your return from Tel Aviv on Wednesday. It will probably save you a lot of money, at least.