Between artist reveals, national final teasers and ticket announcements, it sometimes feels like we’re moving towards Lisbon 2018 at a breakneck speed. So let’s pull the brakes a tad, and catch-up with some performers from contests gone by.
In this latest round-up of new music from Eurovision acts, we listen to some songs released at the start of November along with a few from earlier in the year.
Dalal Midhat “Never Give Up”
We last saw her on stage for Bosnia & Herzegovina at Eurovision 2016. Now, Dalal Midhat makes her musical comeback with “Never Give Up”.
The gentle ballad weaves a tale of hope overcoming diversity. “I’ll never give up / I’ll never give in” she sings, “And I will walk a thousand miles to see you smile again”. Amidst lush instrumentation — piano, flute, cymbal — Dalal shares her pain. “People that I lost / They’re never coming back / Something I must live / Live with every day”.
The song is given added emotional heft by the fact that it was recorded to raise awareness around organ donation. The music video is interspersed with shots of children in need, while the singer herself sports a top emblazoned with the donation hotline number.
Mariya Yaremchuk “Do nestyamy”
For her last single she lounged on a Bali beach. And now, Mariya Yaremchuk is breaking free from convention on “Do Nestyamy”.
As with her previous effort, the track has contemporary dance elements, but it is dominated by experimental flourishes. Whoops follow electronic blips as Mariya sings in an almost conversational tone.
Speaking upon its 2 November release, the Eurovision 2014 singer shed light on the creative process, “(this is) is my cry of freedom. Freedom from patterns and expectations, and the search for truth in itself”.
The “Tick Tock” hitmaker continues to flirt with the strange and the wonderful in the delightfully psychedelic lyrics video.
Rosa López “Ahora Sé Quién Soy”
During the summer she scaled the Spanish album charts with her newest album Kairós peaking at two.
And now Rosa López gives us the latest cut from the LP “Ahora Sé Quién Soy” (Now I Know Who I Am). As the title suggests, it’s a song of self-discovery.
The track allows the Eurovision 2002 alum to let loose on the vocals. “Now I know who I am / and if winter comes / your soul will guide me”, she sings passionately, “Now I know who I am / now who I am / and if we change our owner / I can never forget you”.
The message is universal, but Rosa decides to convey it through a lesbian love affair. The music video sees a woman seek relief from a joyless heterosexual relationship. She finds the missing spark in the arms of another woman, but there is hurt and heartbreak before they can truly become one.
Sertab Erener / Oceans of War “Finding White In Black
She’s one of Turkey’s most successful female soloists, both before and after her Eurovision 2003 victory. But for her latest project, Sertab Erener is sharing the limelight as front woman of the newly-formed Oceans Of War.
The group are due to drop their debut EP in January, with “Finding White In Black” giving us a taster of what to expect. Although, with a run-time in excess of five minutes it’s arguably much more than a taster.
The epic rock ballad is bleak, think “1944” but darker. “Somebody tell me why they burned my home / they buried all the hope like a baby unborn” Sertab sings plaintively, “Look there is no one left there behind / Even to mourn”.
Also recorded in Turkish, the single forms part of the soundtrack for the critically acclaimed Turkish movie Ayla, a hotly tipped contender for next year’s foreign-language Oscar.
Sertab’s not the only one at the movies. “Sympatie” (Sympatie) from Kristína features in the festive Slovakian film Tri zelania.
The grossly underrated Eurovision 2010 performer has made a name for herself making infectiously catchy upbeat pop, a trend that continues with “Sympatie”. You might not understand what she sings, but the soaring chorus is irresistible.
Europop beats make for a refreshing/dated (delete as appropriate) early 2000s throwback.
An endearingly cute music video adds to the feelgood quotient. Kristína shines amidst clips from the movie, which appears to be a humorous take on school yard love at Christmas time. All we’re missing is some popcorn.
Basim “Aji Aji”
He took a three year hiatus following his stint representing Denmark at Eurovision 2014. But after his smash hit comeback single “Comme Ci Comme Ca” peaked at two in the charts, Basim is straight back at it with “Aji Aji”.
Once again, he’s broken the Danish top ten. And once again, he’s heavily indebted to the Latin sounds which have been dominating the world’s music markets in the wake of “Despacito”.
Like his last release, Basim works both his Danish and Moroccan Arabic roots with bilingual lyrics.
He seeks forgiveness and promises that he’s changed.
Regardless of whether his motives are sincere or not, he’s serving up spicy hot multi-cultural rhythms. And for those alone, we’re more than happy to forgive any misdemeanours.
**Better late than never**
Ivan NAVI feat. Mariya Yaremchuk “Khimiya”
Taking a break from her own endeavours, Mariya Yaremchuk lent a helping hand to hip-hop performer Ivan NAVI back in October. “Khimiya” (Chemistry) tells the story of a love triangle, of which Mariya lies at the heart.
In the music video, we see Ivan confront his love rival in the boxing ring while the pop diva plays hot and cold in a variety of locations, from the basketball court to the park.
It’s a fun upbeat track, but while Mariya plays an intrinsic role to the narrative, she doesn’t have much to do. Her vocal contribution is limited to just one verse, which she raps.
Still, she looks stunning in the music video as the guys fall over themselves in an effort to be with her.
Kristína “Mat’ srdce”
The Slovakian pop princess has working hard in recent months, releasing three singles since September. Kristína started the productive streak with “Mat’ srdce” (Have A Heart).
Less bopppy than “Sympatie”, it’s still radiates sunshine and charm. She maintains, that to have a heart doesn’t require science and it’s better than any drug.
Drugs or no drugs, love does appear to cause some odd side effects — in the music video, every surface Kristína touches becomes covered in moving floral murals.
Luckily, the phenomenon doesn’t frighten away her hot lover, with the pair finally finding each other’s hearts at the top of a clock tower.
Kristína “Zradila nás chémia”
For her October release “Zradila nás chémia” (Cheated By Chemistry), Kristína swapped the pop for balladry.
Singing of heartbreak, the “Horehronie” songstress displays her versatility with aplomb. Unlike other well known pop vocalists, she has no trouble hitting the high notes.
The song possesses an almost Disney-like quality, heightened by Kristína’s sartorial choices in the music video. Compared to her livelier hits, this lacks a memorable hook but it’s pleasant nonetheless.
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