Jamala is busy settling into her role as reigning Eurovision champion. But what of other winners? Sweden’s 2015 victor Måns Zelmerlöw is most likely taking a well earned rest after his hosting duties in Stockholm, while Russia’s Dima Bilan is hanging out with famous models. As for the rest, the majority are working hard on new music. Here’s a selection of their latest releases.
New music releases from Eurovision winners
Eldar Gasimov “Sevgi Alovlandirandir”
It’s taken a while, but it seems that Azerbaijan’s Eldar has finally found his musical groove. Ever since “Running Scared” he’s been typecast as an anodyne personality, singing either dated duets or facile pop tunes. No more! In November he released the effortlessly cool, synth heavy “Duman”, but his latest release ups the ante to the next level. “Sevgi Alovlandirandir” or “Love Lights” is a wondrous electro ballad that we did not see coming. A chilled out opening gives way to a traditional instrumental breakdown, which should sound so bad but is actually so good. The accompanying artwork shows Eldar’s brain being controlled by his heart. Our hearts and brains are telling us that this is probably Eldar’s best post-Eurovision work to date. Well done!
Alexander Rybak “I Love You As Before” and “Abrazame”
“I Love You As Before” marks Alexander Rybak’s second major foray into the Russian music scene following last summer’s “Kitty”. Then we praised the “infectious beat”, calling it a “real earworm”. The same can’t be said this time round. The track is cloyingly sentimental. The Eurovision 2009 winner sings of a lost love, illustrating the story with a cutesy music video. We see Rybak act the role of a clown. He’s working a kids party but his wondering eyes keep focusing on one of the very attractive — presumably married — mothers. These scenes are interspersed with nostalgic shots of the “Fairytale” hitmaker and the woman as young lovers. The saccharine sweetness will have you reaching for the dentist’s call card.
Rybak is getting his tongue round more than just Russian. The Norwegian singer has also recorded a cover of Julio Iglesias’ 1975 Spanish language hit “Abrazame”. It’s supposed to be a gift for his Hispanic fans, who will surely appreciate his earnest sentiment. But it’s a little too sleepy for the rest of us.
Marija Serifovic “Nismo Smeli” and “Svoja i Tvoja”
Serbia’s Eurovision 2007 winner Marija Serifovic isn’t exactly known for up-tempo floorfillers. So we aught to thank Jovana Nikolic for instilling a little energy in the “Molitva” singer. Back in January, the pair teamed up for “Nismo Smeli” or “We Could Not”. By no means a dance track, the collaboration is nonetheless an uplifting affair. The drum and bass beat drives the song, reflecting the dark and smoky atmosphere of the music video. The clip shows Marija raking in the cash as she wins arm wrestle after arm wrestle. Tarantulas scuttle about in the darkness just as Jovana swoops in to take all the winnings. But as both ladies belt it out, we realise there’s a twist. They’re actually partners in crime, and the urge to fist-pump on behalf of the conspirators is almost irresistible.
However, Marija’s latest effort is a return to what she does best — dour, misery filled Balkan ballads. “Svoja i Tvoja” makes for an intense few minutes, as the singer lets her emotions take over. This emotional turmoil is the foundation of the music video. Marija’s face is the focus throughout. Reminiscent of Sinead O’Conner’s “Nothing Compares 2 U”, the camera latches onto every tear and every sniffle. The only break comes during a sequence when we see the Serbian star on a hospital bed close to death. It’s powerful yet draining.
Loreen “Under Ytan”
It’s over five months since Loreen released “Under Ytan” or “Below Surface”. And really we should have reviewed it back in December, but between the madness of 43 song selections and Eurovision itself, it got lost in the melee. Nevermind, we’ll slap our own wrists so you don’t have to. The single is a cover of Uno Svenningsson’s 1994 hit of the same name. And the “Euphoria” singer certainly leaves her mark. Her version is much darker and moodier than the original, with fantastically lush orchestration. Her vocals possess a haunting beauty, which lasts long after the song’s climactic final verses. But it’s hard to get too excited about a singer of Loreen’s calibre doing cover versions, regardless of the quality. She needs to do more if she wants to cease being the butt of Edward Af Sillen jokes.
Lena “Beat To My Melody”
Just over a year ago, Lena released the critically acclaimed Crystal Sky. The album was packed with potential hits, but it only produced two singles (albeit very good ones). That is until last spring, when the Eurovision 2010 winner finally dropped a third track from the LP — “Beat To My Melody”. It’s an infectious serving of summery pop and narrates the impact of Lena’s lover on her life — “you’re the beat to my melody”. The video initially seems like an expensive fashion advertorial, the “Satellite” hitmaker rocks a range of high-end looks from blue faux fur to a pink pants suit. But it’s cleverer than that. The first half shows Lena in a sunny, bright environment, full of open space and freedom. Conversely, the latter portion of the clip is much darker. Lena wonders long empty corridors and writhes in a padded cell. The contrast represents both the freeing and controlling characteristics of any relationship. There are very few former Eurovision artists who could pull off such a smart move. But then no other former Eurovision artists are Lena.
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