Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler...Former teacher... Scientist... Published author... Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published May 12th 2019
Enjoy the best of Europe
Guess what – it's Eurovision time again! Woo-hoo!
What surprises many people who know me and my love for rock music and classic rock at that is that I am one of those sad addicts of the annual Eurovision song contest who gets up at 4am to watch the semi-finals and final all live. No, really, I am. I have been doing this for many, many years (though when we first had kids I would watch the replays instead), since the early 1980s. Yes, I admit it – my name is Steven, and I am addicted to Eurotrash music.
Now, I am the first to admit that the vast majority of songs are instantly forgettable and are actually awful. They are poppy and the lyrics are cliché-filled and the acts themselves are often train-wreck/can't-stop-watching awful. And yet, each and every year, I will sit there and watch. Having said that, every year there is generally one song at least that I like. Generally. Some years, maybe not… and 2018 was one of those years. Oh well.
This does mean I have heard a lot of Eurovision songs. I have heard a lot of languages I do not understand (though in high school it did help me with my Italian, and in later years with my French). I have seen a lot of choreography that still leaves my mouth open. And I have seen Australia inexplicably become a part of Europe…
In that vein, this is my list of my favourite ten Eurovision songs, in my order of preference. Just that – my favourite songs entered in the Eurovision song contest.
However, before that, I want to mention one song, one which I feel is only okay, but which is the song Bel used to convince me to go with her at the end of 1987. So, while it is not the greatest song, it does have some connection and I couldn't leave it out. 'Hold Me Now' by Johnny Logan (1987); Ireland, winner
Sappy as all out, but… it worked. What can I say? Well played, Bel – well played.
So, to the list proper!
10. 'Ooh Aah... Just a Little Bit by Gina G (1996), UK, 8th
No, don't judge… I don't know what it is, but there is something about this track that makes me bop along. I was not really doing aerobics instructing when this track came out, but I think that's what attracted me to it – this would be awesome in a class. It's catchy and I'll bet a number of people reading this will now have it as an ear-worm that will not leave them…
9. 'Waterloo' by Abba (1974); Sweden, winner
I don't mind some Abba stuff. What is surprising is how complex the songs are, and how good the lyrics are in many cases. 'Waterloo' is the song that broke them onto the world stage and, yes, I don't mind it. It does have a strange lyrical concept – utilising Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo as a metaphor for a relationship. Have to say, that is unique. Still, this started everything for Abba across the world, and the world would be a little poorer without their music.
8. 'Believe In Me' by Bonnie Tyler (2013); UK, 19th
I like Bonnie Tyler, and have mentioned her here once or twice already. This song might not have done brilliantly, but I really like it, one of the power ballad style songs she is rarely matched in performing. There is almost a vague country feel in the verses, and then she lets loose in the chorus. Under-rated and forgotten song.
7. 'Puppet On A String' by Sandie Shaw (1967); UK, winner
From the first time my dad played me this song, I loved it, and I still like it. It's kitsch and it's strange and it really is of its time, but there is something joyous about its cheeriness. It's just a silly song (as so many were back then in Eurovision… back then?), but it's a definite ear-worm and it is still fun.
6. 'Hard Rock Hallelujah' by Lordi (2006); Finland, winner
Look, I don't mind heavy metal. In fact, I really like some bands. And yet I think the reason I like this song is that it is so different to anything seen at Eurovision before. It stunned everyone who heard it. "What is that? Why is it here?" was the cry of the masses. Well, it is very good, despite everything else. Bravo to Finland for trying something different, and well done for the voters choosing it. Pity the differences were not carried over. Still, for a light version of heavy metal, it's not a bad track. And they looked awesome…
5. 'Sound Of Silence' by Dami Im (2016); Australia, 2nd
Of the Australian entries into Eurovision, this is not only the best, but one of the best songs ever to go into the competition. Dami's voice is amazing, the way it soars in the chorus and yet is tender in the verses. It is still an amazing piece of music and it's just a shame the following two Australian songs were so bland. She should have won, for what it's worth. Yes, her song is that damn good.
4. 'Heroes' by Måns Zelmerlöw (2015); Sweden, winner
Not only was this a very deserving winner, but it also had one of the very best stage productions I have seen in Eurovision. The way Måns interacts with the video wall is stunning, and almost took away from what is an amazing song, with great lyrics and a string vocal performance. I honestly thought the song would hit internationally after it won because it was so much better than a lot of the stuff in the charts at the time, but after the contest was all over I hardly heard of it again. Shame. This is one great song.
3. 'What's The Pressure' by Laura Tesoro (2016); Belgium, 10th
While I've said Dami Im should have won in 2016, my favourite song is not one that should have won, but it is one that I enjoy immensely. Laura Tesoro's song is fun and full of life and just a great bit of Euro-pop that hooked me from the first time I saw it in the semi-final. I knew it wouldn't win; I knew it didn't matter. I love this song.
2. 'Making Your Mind Up' by Bucks Fizz (1981); UK, winner
For so long this was my favourite Eurovision song, even if it never featured in my favourite songs of 1981. It was just a nice bit of 1980s pop. Look, I can't tell you why I like it so much, but I still know all the lyrics, and in year seven (as an 11 year old), I learnt the dance with a girl from school and we did in front of people (including me taking the dress off her to reveal a mini-skirt). Maybe that's it – I relate it to some fun memories. Don't care; I still like the song.
1. 'Yodel It!' by Ilinca feat. Alex Florea (2017); Romania, 7th
My favourite ever Eurovision song, one I've mentioned before. Again, don't ask me to explain why I like it, but I do. The yodelling, rapping, singing, hip-hop fusion combination with a great message and infectious beat – the best. I know it's recent, and time could well change my opinion, but for two years now, no: it is still the best.
And there you have it, my top ten Eurovision songs. I know, this is one list that could be very subjective (I've already been told off for leaving off Guy Sebastian… well… no). I would be very intrigued to hear what everyone else thinks and what your own favourites are. So, as usual, comments, questions, etc. are always welcome. Also, feel free to share it. Put the link wherever you want, get people talking. It's all good.
The ABBA guy playing the piano has always reminded me of you :) probably just the beard but still. I don't suppose you played the piano back in the 60's??? A few good catchy turns in your collection. Thanks for the memories yet again xx