The Wiwi Jury Reviews Bulgaria’s Sofi Marinova with “Love Unlimited”

Today the Wiwi Jury—our international panel of music un-professionals—headed to Sofia to review Bulgaria’s ESC 2012 entry “Love Unlimited.” Did Sofi Marinova’s ethno-pop have us shaking all that god gave us until late into the night? Or did we catch the first flight back to London? Read on to find out.

Wiwi: What do a woman taking a pregnancy test, a homeless man, and a struggling artist have in common? They each appear in Sofi Marinova’s official Eurovision 2012 video. The rather bizarre production is meant to convey the power of love, and the trauma of being separated from those important to us. As the lyrics tell us: “Love has no limits, language and color/ It’s equal for everybody on this world/ For me, for you, for them.” The same verse repeats later substituting “pain” for “love.”

I’m all about the positive message, and initially I liked the dance beat. But I can’t deal with this song once she reaches the higher register, especially towards the end. It’s like someone is sticking needles in my ears. It’s sweet that she shrieks “I love you so much” at the 2:50 mark. Sadly the feeling is not mutual.

Score: 3.5/10

Vebooboo: She may have been the first casualty of Eurovision’s Next Top Model, but I’m really hoping this girl makes it through to the Final. Any upbeat song about tolerance and acceptance that manages to squeeze in at least four languages is a winning number in my book, especially when it has a cool tune switch around 2:10. This will be popular among the Eastern European block and has a real chance to end up in the Top 10.

Score: 7/10

Meows Kitty: Another ethnic sounding club tune, this one isn’t too hard on the ears and she does a good live performance. But there’s still a whole world of difference when up against the likes of Sweden’s “Euphoria” or France’s “Echo,” which are clear favourites in this year’s disco stomper category. I think it may have a chance at qualifying, though.

Score: 6/10

Deban: I’d heard of Sofi Marinova before, and was privileged enough to attend one of her gigs many years ago. Her album ‘5 Octaves of Love’ is one of my most treasured Bulgarian possessions. It was clear from the start that she was going to nail the pre-selection.

“Love Unlimited” is a fab entry, but somehow let down by the omission of an editing ear. This song starts off with a very clubby feel, but ends up being too lyrically heavy in a ménage of foreign languages. Bonus points for singing most of it in Bulgarian. I firmly believe it’s a language that works well in music and crosses over with ease. Does anyone remember the phenomenal success of “Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares” topping album charts across Europe? Singing in native languages isn’t a setback in my humble opinion.

“Love Unlimited” has good ideas, but the abundance of ideas are in conflict. Sofi didn’t need to pump up the volume in 10 different languages. When you’ve got only 3 minutes, it reads as a schizophrenic move. Also, who wears a ballgown to a discotheque? She should have showed up on stage in a pair of tight jeans and a t-shirt; flanked with a team of athletic muscle boys. Presentation is key and even in The ESC, it cannot be over emphasized. She is a diva. Divas play to pink voters. Sofi should have jumped on that train! Her song preaches the message of love without prejudice and boundaries. Unlike, Gaitana’s “Be My Guest,” “Love Unlimited” avoids being annoying.

Pitfalls aside, the remix of this song would go down a storm at the Euroclub. Also, this single would be a great addition to her 14 album catalogue.

Score: 7.5/10

The Wiwi Jury Verdict: 6/10

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