I love Eurovision. I remember finding out Emma loved Eurovision too, I was delighted. It was one of those so-called dealbreakers. I couldn’t be with someone who wasn’t prepared to spend three evenings at the beginning of May listening to the best of Euro-pop.
We are too dismissive of Eurovision in this country. It’s not British, it’s too flashy. It’s not what it used to be. All are used as arguments to cover the truth: we can’t deal with having just a little bit of fun. In truth, there have been some absolutely awful songs entered into Eurovision (arguably, mainly by us), but then there have been some amazing ones too. And it’s those to which I dedicate this blog. Remembering the incredible songs, ones I still listen to all year around.
But first, when Britain inevitably do badly tonight (we have a good song – but that won’t matter), how many people do you reckon will blame European politics, Brexit and the like? How many people will actually realise that the problem is far deeper than that? We don’t take it seriously enough. Ireland haven’t qualified from the semi-final for a few years now, and yet they are supposedly loved on the European stage. The fact is that Ireland are stuck in the 90s, entering boy bands and power ballads willy nilly without truly understand how pop has evolved since Westlife had just taken the mantle from Boyzone.
Yes, politics plays a part. I’d be stupid to say it doesn’t. But the fact that we don’t win, in my opinion, is more to do with the fact we don’t enter the semi-finals. As part of the big five countries (France, Italy, Germany, Spain and us) who contribute the most money to the EBU, we are allowed to enter the final directly. But it hinders us. Since the semis were introduced, only one of the big five entries has won. In 2015, we finished ahead of France and Germany, the two most loved countries in the EU. If the EU mattered to Eurovision, that wouldn’t have happened. Brexit may have a small effect, but I’d be surprised if it means we lose tonight.
Turkey have stopped entering because they oppose the big five idea. I do too. But mainly because we don’t have the chance to perform the song to a full audience (it makes a difference to the competitor), the public are only voting for us once and the song doesn’t have a few days to sit in the minds of the people who watch it.
But enough about that, let’s look at some of the best tunes from recent years. In my opinion, 2014 was the best year Eurovision has ever had (in my lifetime). Rise Like A Phoenix, Calm After The Storm, Silent Storm, No Prejudice, La Mia Citta, Something Better and Undo are all songs I listen to pretty regularly. Indeed, Emma and I have since bought both of the The Common Linnet’s albums.
After the success of that year, our expectations were high for 2015. It wasn’t as good, but that isn’t to say there weren’t good songs within it. Belgium’s Rhythm Inside (see up) was the best, followed by Norway’s A Monster Like Me and Estonia’s Goodbye to Yesterday. Wars For Nothing, De La Capat and Love Injected are also worth a listen from that year.
2016 wasn’t as good as the two that it followed, but it still contained the brilliant If Love Was A Crime (complete with excellent dancing) and If I Were Sorry (which I heard being played by chavs in the arb). My point is that we shouldn’t devalue the competition, it is a serious music contest and has genuinely good songs if you actually look away from all the dodgy jokes, awful hosts and fun of the occasion. But enjoy the fun, the fun is amazing. We should have more fun in our life.
So I haven’t posted videos of all the songs listed here, just a selection of my favourites (and a couple of others from earlier years). If you want more to check out, look at New Tomorrow, Standing Still, Alcohol is Free and I Feed You My Love. For now, enjoy these songs and enjoy the contest. You might be surprised by how much you like the music, I can guarantee there is something for everyone in it tonight.