This week’s new music: Guy Sebastian, Demy, Ani Lorak, Tom Dice, Carola and more

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Eurovision is the hobby that just keeps on giving. Even in the off-season, when the contest is still months away, there’s always plenty of new music for us to explore. And this week is no exception. Here’s a selection of the latest releases from former Eurovision acts, along with a couple of oldies that somehow passed us by earlier in the year.

Demy “Ston Aera”

She brought Greece back to the grand final in spectacular fashion last May. And on Monday, she kept the spectacle going with the release of “Ston Aera” (Airborne). Once again she’s joined forces with Dimitris Kontopoulos to produce an intensely atmospheric ballad. The “This Is Love” hitmaker is often passed off as being bland, but this latest effort is anything but. Every note fizzles with drama as she sings of paranoia, craziness, loneliness and hurt. The track is taken from the soundtrack of the upcoming Greek movie Success Story, and the film features heavily in the official music video. It’s a wonderfully soapy affair with infidelity, paparazzi scrums, massive explosions and dodgy dealings. Someone pass the popcorn!

Serebro “In Space”

Two weeks ago, they announced yet another line-up change. But before she leaves for good, Polina Favorskaya and Serebro have one last hurrah with “In Space”. The Russian girl group continue their habit of going from dark to light and back to dark. This latest offering sets a much more sombre tone than the frothy “Mezhdu nami lyubov” from earlier in the year. “I’m in space with you / I’ve been waiting for you for so long” the ladies sing over moody beats, “Don’t hurt me so that I don’t leave / I’m in space with you / I couldn’t live without you”. But leave she does. After some artistic writhing in a bathtub and a trip to the woods, the music video ends with Polina waving goodbye to Katya Kischuk and Olga Seryabkina – the sole surviving member from Eurovision 2007. The hunt for Polina’s replacement is ongoing.

Carola “Til’ The End”

She’s one of Sweden’s biggest Eurovision acts, finishing fifth in 2006 and winning outright way back in 1991. Now, after a long break from the recording studio, Carola returns with “Til’ The End”. Co-written with her boyfriend Jimmy Källqvist, the song is dedicated to her children. “The moment I saw your face / I knew that grace was real / A miracle in my arms / Yes this is how I feel” sings the proud mother, “A Love so deep running through my veins so strong / Nothing in this world can take away the bond that we two share”. Unlike her contemporaries who’ve veered towards more “credible” music (hi Charlotte Perrelli), the song is unabashedly old school Carola. There’s OTT vocals, a key change, and a delicious sprinkling of schlager. For the music video, we see the “Invincible” hitmaker rock a number of high-fashion looks in a variety of different locations. Her sartorial choices are brave and daring – at one point she looks like Shaun the Sheep’s long lost sister.

Natasha St-Pier feat. Florent Mothe, MB14 “ABC”

Carola isn’t the only one singing to the kids. Inspired by her almost two year-old son Bixente, French-Canadian chanteuse Natasha St-Pier dropped her latest album L’alphabet des animaux earlier this month. On Thursday she uploaded a live performance of the record’s lead track “ABC”. Aimed at French speaking pre-schoolers, the song re-interprets the nursery staple. Ably assisted by Florent Mothe and MB14, the Eurovision 2001 fourth place finisher delivers an educational bop that’s much catchier than anything Barney the Dinosaur ever came up with. The EP consists of 26 tracks in total, with a song for every letter of the alphabet. Natasha has already released animated clips for “C – C’est la chanson du chat” – did you know French cats say miaou rather than meow? – and the jazzy “R – Rue du renard”.

Tom Dice “Cannonball”

He’s the man who took Belgium into the top ten before Loïc, Laura and Blanche made it look easy. And after briefly sparking rumours that he was about to hit the Eurovision stage once more in Lisbon, Tom Dice returned properly yesterday with “Cannonball”. And unlike the subject matter of the title, the song is neither heavy nor leaden. Instead, it’s a chilled out yet motivational anthem on overcoming adversity. “I say we’re unstoppable / I know we’re going to win the war” croons the 2010 singer, “I say we’re unstoppable / like a cannonball”. Borrowing from a slew of genres – rock, electro, pop – this is far more than just Tom and his guitar.

Ani Lorak and Emin “Prostit’sya”

She’s the Ukrainian diva who delivered one of the most iconic Eurovision bangers of all time in 2008. Recently though, much to our chagrin, Ani Lorak likes nothing more than to churn out slow song after slow song after slow song. For “Prostit’sya” (To Say Goodbye) she’s joined by Azeri star and Eurovision 2012 interval act Emin. The pair are in agreement that they need to say goodbye to each other, and communicate as much via some fairly run-of-the-mill balladry – if you’ve heard one of Ani’s ballads, you’ve heard them all. The music video is much more arresting, with the fully-clothed couple bathing in an expanding bath tub filled with white liquid… as you do.

Guy Sebastian “Bloodstone”

He’s the man who brought Down Under funk uptown at Eurovision 2015. And while he’s continued to keep things funky, Guy Sebastian mixes things up with his latest effort “Bloodstone”. Landing yesterday, the track is effectively a musical apology for the Australian singer’s past behaviours. “I’m really not that asshole that I was last night / I tend to mess up every good thing in my life / I’ll make it up to you somehow.” And the man is more than willing to pay his dues “Oh no, I’m not afraid to bleed / Work my hands to the bone /More words are not what you need / I let my labour show”. But he requires help, “Can’t do it on my own, I need you to believe”. The song is brimming with soul and rhythm, and compares favourably to Rag’n’Bone Man’s “Human”. In addition to this and his previous single “High On Me”, Guy has spent the last few weeks teasing his new LP which is due out next month. Album tracks “Exclusive”, “Vesuvius”, and “Keep Me Coming Back” are all available to stream now.

Sebastien Tellier “Lovely Blonde”

He’s the eccentric French singer-songwriter who rocked up at Eurovision 2008 in a golf buggy. And while Sebastien Tellier’s song contest stint may not have been particularly successful, he’s still one of the most in-demand alternative artists. For his latest project, the bearded musician has composed and performed the soundtrack for the American TV series A Girl Is a Gun. The lead single “Lovely Blonde” offers some major throwbacks to the electronica sounds of the 1980s, and the opening alone is completely captivating. The song itself just consists of a few lines repeated over and over, but Tellier successfully carries it off without sounding ridiculous. The arthouse style music video features scenes from the show which includes Denise Richards amongst its cast.

**Better late than never**

Elena Risteska “Tequila & Lemon”

She’s Macedonia’s most successful Eurovision performer ever, placing 12th at Eurovision 2006. And in the decade since, Elena Risteska has established herself as one of the foremost pop stars in the Balkan region. Over the summer, she released “Tequila & Lemon” a bittersweet ode to the Mexican drink and a cheating ex. Elena spied her lover with another and now she needs to escape. “Give me tequila, Give me tequila, a tequila with lemon” she demands, “Let me forget everything”. While the lyrics might suggest a woman that’s down in the dumps, the official music video hints otherwise. We see the brunette lapping up the sun by day and partying by night. No word on her hangover, though.

Demy “Me Ekdikise”

Demy certainly hasn’t been resting on her luscious Greek laurels since Kyiv. In July, she delivered yet another drama-filled number in the form of “Me Ekdikise” (Avenge Me). The mid-tempo ballad is every bit as thrilling as her current single. This time, she’s done with a lover. She sings of hatred, false truths, and revenge. The story continues on into the music video, where we see a mildly distressed Demy hastily depart a hotel room and hit the road. Before we know it she’s on the run through the woods with the authorities hot on her heels. And then BAM! She’s lying unconscious on the road, apparently hit by her own car. Amusingly, in the midst of all this high-octane action, there’s a distracting amount of product placement for Wash & Go shampoo – even in times of great stress Demy needs to look after those precious locks!

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