Yesterday the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — travelled to Bulgaria. In Sofia, we stopped by Arena Armeec, the home of Junior Eurovision 2015. There we discussed Poli Genova‘s song “If Love Was a Crime”. Did we embrace the criminal life? Read on to find out!
Poli Genova – “If Love Was a Crime”
“If Love Was a Crime” reviews
William: Ethnic but not off-putting, “If Love Was a Crime” manages to think locally while translating globally. The opening verses build steadily and confidently, leading to a pre-chorus that is all kinds of amazing. The chorus itself could be a tad bigger, but the Bulgarian lyrics and turbo-folk feel make it sufficiently special to carry the song. The lyrics are clever and the nod to the criminalisation of homosexuality is truly daring for a singer from a conservative country. Breezy, catchy and feel-good, this is easily Bulgaria’s best Eurovision entry ever.
Score: 9.5 /10
Angus: Polly moulds together old world neo-noir, with new-world synths and hypnotic production for an uber cool final combination in “If Love Was a Crime”. The fusion of Bulgarian through the song really is the icing on the cake here. Sofia done good, and if all the stars align, Poli will too.
Robyn: I’ve been hoping for a big, bold contemporary pop moment and here it is. This is what the mid 2010s sound like, so bravo to Bulgaria for getting in there with a cool modern pop sound and not trying to formulate a “Eurovision hit”. Combined with the dream position of performing in the second half of the second semi, a song this strong with killer staging should get Bulgaria a much deserved place in the grand final.
Bogdan: That’s how you return to the Eurovision stage! Poli Genova surpassed all my expectations and brought a contemporary, bold, radio-friendly, catchy track that is sure to look and sound amazing in the Globe Arena in May. Also, am I the only one who’s getting Madonna vibes from “If Love Was a Crime”? I cannot wait to see how Bulgaria is going to stage this killer song!
Deban: Bulgaria marks its return to the contest with a bang. Poli Genova slays with a tune that’s unmistakably hers, and a message that touches the human fibre. “If Love Was a Crime” incorporates elements of her Balkan background, and summons it into 2016. More importantly, it addresses the issue of criminalising sexual minorities head on, without removing you from the dance floor.
Denise: It’s a shame Poli didn’t qualify in 2011, but we all know now that she is a great artist. She can sing and she can perform. The song was such a surprise. Bulgaria was never among my favourites, but this time they are. I love the Bulgarian parts. Poli not qualifying once again would be one of the biggest crimes in Eurovision history. For me it’s top 5 material for now.
Diego: I’ll admit it, I was a big fan of “Na inat” back in the day and we’ve already seen how much of a show-woman Poli is. “If Love Was a Crime” is quite a powerful bet for Bulgaria’s comeback in the big game. It seems they liked it when they hosted JESC that they want to host the actual Eurovision Song Contest next year in Sofia. Leaving aside Poli’s rocker-girl gene, this entry gets stuck in your mind for the whole day. Not exactly my cup of tea, but surely a song we must keep an eye on for top 10.
Edd: Poli is a true star, with an amazing voice and hilarious personality. What “If Love Was a Crime” gives us is really expensively produced verses, building up to a cheap chorus. The melody and foreign lyrics of the chorus give it anthemic potential – but the actual backing track is just too bland. Nevertheless, if Bulgaria gives us some killer staging (And I’m talking Katy Perry “Dark Horse” standards) this could easily go top 10.
Josh: Poli Genova has evolved from the rock chick we remember her as in 2011 and has blossomed into a global pop star who deserves to be one of the favourites this year. I’m thrilled for Bulgaria and the fact that they will absolutely go to the final with this song. “If Love Was a Crime” is a great radio-friendly track for 2016, and I love that the most memorable hook of the song is the line in Bulgarian, which also keeps within tradition for the country. Poli, you slayed my life in 2011 and you’ve come back to slay it some more.
Luis: Poli is not a rocker anymore, and I’m sad about that. On the other hand, I’m more than pleased with the alternative she’s brought — “If Love Was a Crime” is infectious! While this genre is not exactly my cup of tea, Bulgaria’s comeback song is such an earworm that it has totally stuck in my mind. Poli is such a charismatic performer and this song suits her perfectly. All I’m going to say is day mi lyubovta!
Padraig: If love is a crime, lock me up and throw away the key, because I’m smitten! This is unquestionably one of Bulgaria’s most competitive entries ever. It’s instant, radio-friendly, catchy and carries a message that’s universal. Coupled with Poli’s endearing personality and you’re onto a winner – relatively speaking. Junior Eurovision success has clearly re-energised the country, yet their desire to do well hasn’t seen them bin their trademark ethnic flavourings completely. Despite its brevity, the Bulgarian refrain adds a sense of national identity while also giving the song some much needed character amidst a sea of Anglophone entries. “If Love Was A Crime” has to qualify. Otherwise something’s seriously whack.
Zakaria: I can’t help but feel a little disappointed because I was hoping for a pop/rock entry from Poli. While I prefer “Na Inat”, I still think ILWC is a strong entry. The song is very infectious and gets better each time I listen to it. Out of all the songs presented this year, this one is undoubtedly the most contemporary and if Bulgaria doesn’t make the final with this, I fear all hope would be lost for them.
In the Wiwi Jury we have 40 jurors but only have room for 12 reviews. The remaining 28 scores are below.
William C: 9.5/10
The highest and lowest scores are dropped prior to calculating the average score. This is to remove outliers and reduce potential bias. We have removed a low of 7 and a high of 10.