Early this morning the Wiwi Jury—our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals—caught a bus to Wadowice, Poland to visit the birthplace of Pope John Paul II. After cleansing ourselves with holy water, we sat down for the less holy act of reviewing Clep and Donatan’s Eurovision 2014 song “We Are Slavs.” Did we want to forsake our passports and head East? Or did Cleo’s aggressive rapping have us running for the Western border? Read on to find out..
Vebooboo: Welcome back, Poland. And more importantly, thanks for the comic relief. Sorry, folks, but I can’t take this one seriously. I question the extent to which people will understand Cleo’s rapping, because it’s way too fast and way too unclear for the average TV viewer. The one redeeming quality of this number is its originality — I have never seen something this out there in the competition, and for that I give Poland mad respect. And who knows, maybe with some cleverly provocative staging Poland’s Slavic beauties will get to shake their booties in the Final.
Angus: Cleo is totally getting up in our grills here! It’s the more in your face upstart little sister to 2009’s ‘The Balkan Girls’. The ethnic rap works because Cleo has such a determined attitude and the accordion-flecked middle 8 is pretty amazing. Unfortunately, rap has a tortured history in the contest and for all her considerable sass, I’m not sure Cleo nor accordion-wielding Donatan will be able to overcome it. The vibe is definitely right, though, and Warsaw deserve to be back at the Grand Final, y’all. It’s been five years!
Billy: Poland has such an awful track-record of choosing appalling entries that I was sure they’d up their game in 2014 and choose something strong for their big return to Eurovision. They didn’t. Everything is awful from the lyrics to the music to the singers. I loved the voloptuous girls presented in the video, but I can’t say the same for the folk music. I hope this doesn’t make the final.
Padraig: Welcome back Poland! I’d like to say that I missed them, but honestly, with such lacklustre pre-break showings I barely noticed they were gone. Thankfully, they have returned from their ESC vacation ready to make amends for past sins. On paper “My Slowanie” is a stereotypical Eurovision song – a hand clapping, ethnic flavoured, “message” song sung by a busty blonde. However, Donatan & Cleo invert the formula to produce a feminist call to arms, albeit more in the vein of the Spice Girls than Emily Pankhurst. Some say the juries will crucify this, but can they really ignore over 40 million Youtube views and massive domestic sales? Poland have risen, Lazarus style, from their usual pit of mediocrity and deserve their place in the Grand Final.
Bogdan: I was so excited to hear that Poland would be coming back to ESC! It’s one of my favourite countries in Eurovision. The song they chose is interesting. It definitely sounds Polish and that’s a good thing. However, I am worried that it won’t fare well in Copenhagen. I get that the original “My Slowianie” video had over 40 million hits, but I’m afraid that the cheekiness of the track is lost in translation – and no, adding English lyrics doesn’t help. It’s also a bit too shouty live. Juries might kill this little gem in the bud, and viewers might be none the wiser. The only thing that they might find appealing, besides the predictable cleavage, is the flawless instrumental part in the middle, which might be the song’s salvation if they stage it cleverly.
James L: All right. I kind of get it. It’s like a strong, sassy song that makes fun of Polish chauvinism or something. But come on, Eurovision is not the best venue for parody – the performance goes by so fast, people will either take it seriously and be put off, or they’ll just think it’s a joke. And musically this is something that just gets on my nerves – is it singing or whining? And is that really a melody? I might have to make this brash act one of my bathroom breaks.
Deban: Poland bowed out of the competition in 2012 and 2013, but now they’re back. As we’ve come to expect, they do little to elevate the quality of the contest. Cleo and Donatan’s voices grate on me. Their speech-rap schlager is borderline annoying. Furthermore, showing excessive cleavage and aggressively writhing with an all-female clan of cultural purists, does not light my fire. In addition, they’ve missed out on key promotional events, which clearly won’t do them any favours. To summarise my view: There’s no chance in hell of this advancing beyond the semi final.
Francheska: Oh my sweet lord I love “My Slowianie”. It would’ve been in my top 3 if it weren’t GOSH DARN TRANSLATED. But, I will be just. I am, after all, a fair dictator. The arrangement is extremely catchy. It takes Polish folk music and spices it up with modern dance/hip-hop/pop beats. The lyrics are also very good. I know that in the US, Slavs have been stereotyped as either being criminals or Russian brides, and in Western Europe they’re perceived as leeches. The song combats about a gazillion stereotypes at once, and makes fun of the patriarchy in Eastern Europe as well as those who fetishize the race. Slow clap for feminist rap. AN EFFING SLOW CLAP. My one concern is that at first it sounds a little ridiculous in English. Maybe it’s because it’s so wonderfully blunt, but to me it’s much more catchy and likable in Polish. Good luck! My grandpa’s orchard should bring good luck.
Katie: I like this song. It’s a fun song. It’s not mocking Slavic culture like some people claim, it’s just having a laugh! Unlike most, I like the mix between Polish and English because people understand what they’re singing about AND Cleo seems a lot more confident singing in Polish. One of my favourite things about this song is the way that Cleo shouts the chorus, like a chant that we all need to join in with. It’s a really catchy song that gets lodged right in your head, and I can’t wait to clap along in Copenhagen. People in Europe will enjoy it, I’m sure. It’s a mix between tradition and coooool!
Wiwi: If you mess with Cleo, she’ll pull a razor blade out of her purse and cut you deep. I love her ghetto street edge. I love the way she shakes her small rear. I love the non-stop swagger and the fact that she says “cream and butter taste so good…we prepare for you delicious food.” The hand-clapping that opens this really draws me in and the beat keeps me gagging for more. The bridge is the perfect opportunity for some spectacular visuals. Let’s hope Warsaw makes it out of its semi and that Cleo can shake it once more in the final! If nothing else, I hope Europe appreciates this for the brilliant parody that it is.
All 19 members of our jury rate each song. However, we only have room to share 10 written reviews. Here are the remaining nine scores.
Maxim Montana: 1/10
The highest and lowest scores are removed before calculating the final score. We have dropped a low of 1 and a high of 10.
The Wiwi Jury Verdict: 5.45/10
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