Earlier today, the Wiwi Jury — our in-house team of music unprofessionals — traveled to Latvia ahead of LTV’s national selection process “Supernova”, which kicks off on February 1. We started our journey in the country’s capital Riga, where we enjoyed “pelmeni” — delicious meat-stuffed dumplings — while reviewing the first four competing songs. Were the entries as appetizing? Read on to find out…
Aminata Savadogo – Love Injected
Anthony: If this entry was a football match, it would really be a game of two halves. The first half of the song is instantly forgettable, while the second half livens up. The only standout is the chorus which explodes to life. I’m not quite “Love Injected” myself, as this gets a tad repetitive.
Deban: Aminata is a pop starlet who reminds her audience that she has feelings too. Perhaps not the most memorable of entries. That’s a hard feat to achieve when you’re trying to tell a deeply emotional story. Her belt towards the end of “Love Injected” wreaks of pain…but in a good way.
Judit: At the begining she sounds like Kiesza, but after that it becomes stroneger and more powerful. Her voice is strong, but this song is boring for me. “Love Injected” wouldn’t be a good choice and hopefully Latvia knows that.
Patrick: This is one of the strongest songs for Eurovision. Aminata is damn amazing – the look, the voice and this song! The chorus is stunning, but just missing a little something. Regardless, I can see her doing really well! GO AMINATA!
Robyn: I’m really torn over this song. The minimalist R&B thing is very current and interesting, but the song itself doesn’t really have the hooks that a winning ESC performance has. There’s no memorable singalong line.
Sopon: Gone is the Smurf repeating “I can breathe” six trillion times — a fantastic artist has been reborn! Aminata goes super minimalistic, with an R&B/house mix that doesn’t overshadow her amazing voice in the slightest. With a touch of Adele and Beyoncé, she can’t go wrong. This is going to be in the top three of Supernova, no doubt, and I won’t be surprised to see it in Vienna.
Zach: This is a really interesting song, and the fact it’s in Latvia’s national final of all places is quite intriguing. It’s really minimalist in terms of production, but I really like the backing track, especially in the beginning. The vocals seem to be on point, and the chorus is booming and powerful. I’m really interested to see this on stage. With a good show I’d definitely find myself rooting for her!
Wiwi Jury Average: 6.6/10
Dima Millenin & Kamilla – Colours of Love
Anthony: “Colours of Love” is the usual belt-out-loud type of ballad Eurovision fans are all too familiar with. Both Dima and Kamilla really need to deliver those vocals on Supernova, or this ballad will fall flat. I don’t think Latvia would be going in the right direction with this one.
Deban: When three minutes feels like half an hour, one can be certain that this isn’t a winning recipe. I felt like speeding up the track, or pumping it with crack. Halfway through, I felt suicidal.
Judit: Oh lovely. We have only heard something like this a hundred times on the stage. The song is good, and I can’t say I won’t listen it again, but hopefully Latvia won’t let this fly the Latvian flag in Vienna.
Patrick: Mainstream… It is definitely a lovely ballad with good singers but we’ve heard it so often, every year, and in every NF. They mostly do bad. But it’s a strong ballad so I can see it in the final of Supernova. I’m less certain it could advance to the Eurovision final.
Robyn: Ugh, another Disney ballad. With the “You be the brush and I’ll be canvas” lyrics, I can’t help imagine this as the theme tune from an animated film about a heroic paintbrush. The one positive thing I can say is that Dima and Kamilla’s voices sound good together.
Sopon: “You Raise Me Up”, in duet form. That’s the easiest way to describe this song. With ridiculous metaphors and cheesy melodies, I don’t think this belongs on the Eurovision stage. Some songs just don’t bring that magic.
Zach: Oh my lord it’s cheesy, and I’m from Wisconsin so I know cheesy when I hear it! The male vocals are really off putting, and the lyrics are laughably awkward to a very high degree. The cheesy male-female duet has been done to death at Eurovision, I pray they don’t send this.
Wiwi Jury Average: 3.2/10
Minta – Nefelibati
Anthony: Imagine being next to someone bashing the lid of a metal trash can continuously. Then add some electronic mix to it in between. The result? You get a baffling entry that’s hard to understand and frankly one jumbled mess. All this drowns out the wishy-washy Florence Welch-esque vocals.
Deban: Velvety vocals against a much harsher instrumental texture. I like the contrast. It creates interesting musical experimentation. Unfortunately, this wanes after a minute. There’s no incentive to hang on for another 120 seconds.
Judit: Oh please, there’s no place for this song. I think Supernova deserves more. Of course it’s just my opinion but I can’t say a nice word.
Patrick: This is dark… and so would be the result if Minta wins in Latvia! This is totally horrible! The techno-sound is good but the voice is so nasal. Just No!
Robyn: This is background music. It’s a nice enough song and I would expect to hear it playing in a cool cafe or bar, but it’s too uninvolving to work on a stadium stage. It just doesn’t have enough energy to work as a big, engaging performance.
Sopon: I can barely make out what he is saying — it is filled with whining and dreary vocals. Too much going on for a minimalist vibe and the marimba is doing nothing but ruining it all. The only way someone could really like this is if they are into hipster films or if they smoke a whole lot of pot.
Zach: I’ll start out by saying I actually really like the backing music, it sounds really futuristic, and I admit it gets my head bopping. However, the vocals need some MAJOR work. Diction is really all over the place, couldn’t really make out actual words at all. I’m interested to see this live, but I feel it will be a major let down.
Wiwi Jury Average: 2.3/10
The Stones – Free Your Mind
Anthony: A cappella harmony introduces the song for the first 30 seconds, a la Bohemian Rhapsody. Then the rest of “Free Your Mind” has that bizarre mix of traditional folk, uplifting indie and tambourine playing chucked in. It makes strangely pleasant listening, but only to a certain extent.
Deban: It feels like I’m being shouted at. Naturally, I’m resentful. There’s nothing subtle or persuasive about this number. The racial undertone of” black or white” is cheap, and the wordplay on “weak and/or small” is cheaper. You’ll need a stiff drink to see any merit in this.
Judit: It’s a cheap copy of David Jordan’s Sun Goes Down. Nothing original and I have no feelings about it. Maybe the audience will love it live.
Patrick: The beginning is really strong, but then there is this noisy and weird break and the “umpf umpf” kicks in and it reminds me of a bad sailor-song just before the sailors fall over because of drinking too much alcohol. It’s probably very Latvian but this is not what I want – I mean we already had some Pirates from Latvia!
Robyn: How audacious of this group to use the well known nickname of the Rolling Stones for their band’s name! “Free Your Mind” is a very jolly and uplifting song with Celtic themes. This merry band of minstrels put loads of energy into the song and it would be great to see this live.
Sopon: Did the songwriter write the song in Latvian first, and then translate with a rhyming dictionary? It’s riddled with grammatical errors and is generally poorly-lyricised. There’s disharmony between the singers and music, a lot of noise, and a lot of repetition. No, thank you.
Zach: Kind of sounds like something you would hear in an old world pub after a day of hard work, so obviously very dated. Shouting doesn’t substitute for quality singing gentlemen, I’m sorry to say. I honestly thought I was listening to a cult theme song for a moment. I feel this will be a real mess live. However, points given for their vocals managing to blend rather effortlessly.