By now you’re all well aware of the Georgian entry for Eurovision this year, “Three Minutes to Earth” by The Shin and Mariko. You’re probably also aware, if you’re a regular follower of this site, how many of the Wiwi Jury comprehensively slated the entry, branding it, among other things, “unbearably dull and cheesy” and “hilarious”. One even said it was worse than Anri Jokhadze’s apocalyptically bad “I’m a Joker” from Baku. As a Eurovision fan and a folk fan – but most importantly as a music fan – I can’t help but disagree with the entirety of the Wiwi Jury. This song stands out.
The jury is right in one respect – “Three Minutes to Earth” won’t make the final, nor will ardent supporters give it any hope. It will be washed away in a sea of pop music and glittery this and spangly that. Tough competition in Semi-Final Two means it stands little chance of making it through. The dead-cert qualifiers like “Miracle”, “Rise up” and “Silent Storm” will make The Shin seem downright weird in comparison. But in terms of criticising the song itself – I’m afraid my colleagues are less than accurate, in my eyes.
In a sense, I think Georgia have judged this well. The entry will make sure that Georgia won’t win the competition or have to foot the rather large bill that goes with it. But the entry will also showcase a “genre” (if you can call it that) that may never have been represented in the contest before. I applaud the Georgian selection. It is bold and brave, and the song is brilliant.
To understand this song, one has to look past the eccentric band itself. On the surface, you don’t see much more than this:
> A drumming lead singer.
> An incredibly RiverSong-esque female vocalist with a penchant for weird arm movements.
> A secondary drummer who likely moonlights as a tai-chi instructor.
> A bassist with the world’s loudest shirt.
If you mine deep enough you’ll find beauty beneath that layer of weird. It will take you a few listens. Hell, when I first heard it, I shared the original “what the bloody hell is this?” response. But listen to the bass and acoustic guitar lines beneath it – particularly, the moment at 1:35 in which the bass and acoustic guitar work together, with the latter emitting uninterrupted and gorgeous melodies. Those guitar skills really shine.
Admittedly the rhythm isn’t easy to follow. But with a song that leans so predominantly towards the influence of prog, that’s hardly surprising. Furthermore, it demands attention from the listener. Unlike a song like “Miracle” – which, no matter how catchy, is essentially one melody with a key change towards the end – you will not gain anything if you only listen once.
The vocals on the track are particularly interesting. WiwiBloggs have already focussed on the lyrics of the song, but ignore the lyrics a second. Listen to some of the sounds that aren’t actually words. Yes, on first listen it seems rather weird. But weird is not, nor will it ever be, bad. The vocals of the lead vocalist/drummer fit perfectly with those of Mariko, culminating in a rather sensational climax towards the conclusion of the track. Once again, it demands patience and appreciation from the listener. But a song this complex deserves that attention.
My colleague Padraig described The Shin and Mariko’s entry as “more like three minutes of glorified noise…basically a hotchpotch of musical calamities”. Whilst I wouldn’t dare to call him wrong, I think this song deserves more patience. No, it won’t set clubs on fire like Freaky Fortune’s entry will. It won’t bring the ever popular pop-dub sound to Copenhagen like Aram Mp3. It doesn’t even have cake in it.
But a song like this is like a fine wine. Certainly not for everyone, too strong for some, too weak for others – but guaranteed to age better than the bottles of Bucks Fizz across the aisle.
Chris Wood contributed this report from the UK. Follow him on Twitter at @crwexe. You can also keep up-to-date on the latest Eurovision news and gossip by following the team on Twitter @wiwibloggs and by liking our Facebook page.