Today the Wiwi Jury—our in-house panel of music unprofessionals—gathered our readings on democracy and headed to Belarus, which George W. Bush once called “the last dictatorship in Europe”. Did Alyona Lanskaya’s Eurovision song “Solayoh” fill us with a sense of freedom? Or was it totes totalitarian and nasty? Read on to find out…
Mr Häggkvist: I’m just sick of all the drama this country makes every year. Belarus is the Telenovela of Eurovision. But even I have to admit that “Solayoh” is a very good song in the end. All the Arabian sounds really stayed in my mind after I logged out of YouTube. I want the songs at Eurovision to be fun and interesting, and I see all those things in this entry. This is so much better than the original song “Rhythm of Love” that we met in December!
Vebooboo: Surprise, surprise, we’ve got a singer with horrible English pronunciation yet again this year. This is such a generic Eurovision song a la the type of stuff that Turkey used to produce year in, year out in the early and mid-2000s. However, somehow this generic stuff always does well, especially in a year with very few pop songs…so I feel pressured to give this a good score even though I find it painful to listen to. Average vocals, average staging, and way too freaking repetitive throughout. Europe, please don’t make this Top 10.
Bogdan: This is a great Eurovision song; the only problem is that it sounds like so many other good Eurovision songs. It has a bit of “Wild Dances”, a bit of “Zaleilah” (“Solayoh” sounds like Belarusian for “Zaleilah”), and a bit of “Dum Tek Tek”, to name but a few. If you are new to Eurovision, you will probably be hooked. If you are a veteran fan, you won’t be fooled. But you will still secretly root for it. Yes, “Solayoh” will be this year’s ESC guilty pleasure. And I’m guilty as charged!
Alexander: To be honest, I prefer “Solayoh” over Belarus’s original entry “Rhythm of Love”. It has a catchy Latino-inspired chorus and some decent lyrics (whose pronunciation needs to be worked on by Alyona). While it’s overall a decent entry that’s pleasant to listen to, my main problem with it is that it’s quite generic and doesn’t go anywhere. Unlike some of the other entries, I don’t feel like “Solayoh” uplifts me on a musical journey while I’m listening to it. It’s very middle-of-the-road quasi-Latino pop, which can be either a good or bad thing at Eurovision. It’s hard to say how it will do..
Deban: Congratulations Alyona. This is the third Wiwi Jury critique I’m giving you in 2 years. Please let it be the last. What was wrong with “Rhythm Of Love”? It’s one thing to re-work a song, but changing it altogether? That said, the backing vocals on this track feature far more prominently than yours. C’mon. Turkey may have responded to this melody, but guess what? They’re not voting this year. The PR spin is getting somewhat overstretched. Hardcore Eurovision followers now want to see ‘more meat on the bones’. Borrowing the words of Jamie (One of our readers in Belgium), ‘I’m tired of your drama’.
H.K. Dick: I rather liked “Rhythm of Love” and was very disappointed to see it abandoned in favour of “Solayoh”, which, on first listen, sounds like a substandard Greek 2000’s entry. However, it’s a grower. There’s a smouldering sexiness and with the stage bound to be filled with scantily clad hot male dancers this will probably get the juices going for enough voters to make it to the final. A more pulsating beat and this could have been a top contender.
Wiwi: I’ve never been a huge fan of Alexander Rybak, so I didn’t appreciate his cameo in Alyona’s official video. That aside, I’m excited that Belarus has guaranteed itself a spot in this year’s final. “Solayoh” is one of the more infectious songs this year. Depending on how you read that, it’s either a disease that won’t go away or a song that you’re happy to keep humming after the singer leaves the stage. The chorus is easy on the ears and a re-mix will be fun to dance to at EuroClub. The Latin sound is a nice foil to all the boring ballads we’re going to hear this year.
The Wiwi Jury Verdict: 6.21/10