Eesti Laul is one of the most anticipated national finals of the season. And today broadcaster ERR is unveiling the ten songs that will compete in the first semi-final of Eesti Laul 2018 on 10 February.

In early November, the 20 semi-finalists and the names of their songs were revealed. At that stage, a few songs were already released, but today is the first time we’ll be able to hear all ten songs competing in the first semi-final.

The songs will be slowly revealed today, one by one every hour from 10:00 to 21:00 EET on the ERR Eesti Laul stream. As was the case last year, TV host Mai Palling and Vanilla Ninja guitarist Piret Järvis will chat with the artists as their songs are revealed. You can also watch the proceedings (with livestream commentary) on the web site of our official Eesti Laul partners at DELFI PUBLIK — Estonia’s most-read news source.

The Eesti Laul semi-finals will take place on 10 and 17 February. Ten songs will make it to the grand final on 3 March, where Estonia will select their act for Lisbon.

Eesti Laul – Semi-final one

Wiwiblogger William offers his candid first impressions below. The songs are being presented in the running order of the semi-final.

Vajé – “Laura (Walk with Me)”

We don’t know who Laura is, but if she has half a brain she’s going to take these guys up on their offer of a walk (so long as they sing).  Stefan’s voice is smooth, resonant, sweet and sexy — and the production is very now. He mixes electronic sounds with a smooth dance beat that seems to nod to Shawn Mendes. He doesn’t just sing, he smoulders. And while the song doesn’t yet have that WOW moment, staging, close camera crops and plenty of eye contact may well elevate this. They told ERR that they’re here to do this their way. “We have never been compared to other people and artists,” they said. “Maybe we’ll just come and do as we see. We do not look at anyone else.”

Iiris & Agoh – “Drop That Boogie”

As you can see in the pics below, Iiris oozes attitude and that comes through in her sound, which flirts with genres from electronica to garage to pop. She’s pretty but gritty, yesterday but today — and she appears to be singing about a same-sex relationship. “Me and my lady we bouncin’ backwards and on…I’m not sure she’s the one, but whenever we kiss it’s like Rachel and Ross.” (Nice reference to Friends there). The song lacks the predictable peaks and troughs of a typical Eurovision song, but it’s funky edge could lend itself well to staging.

Iiris actually lives in London, but continues her cooperation with Agoh. She says her performance will involve “a little chillin'”.

Etnopatsy – “Külm”

“Etno” sounds like “ethno” — and you can really feel it! Bringing indigenous sounds and some undeniable authenticity to the contest, this track bridges the ancient with the modern to create something intoxicating, mystical and spellbinding. The repetition of hell-la, hell-la, hell-la, hey really drills into your ears. Bonus points for their fierce dreadlocks, ladies! In recent years, both Sweden and Norway have said “well done but no thank you” to Sami-inspired tracks. Will Estonia follow suit?

“Estonian folk musicians and composers have always been inspired by nature and natural phenomena,” they tell ERR. “We want the sun to be in the winter, beautiful cold in winter, and this inspiration comes from Estonia’s nature, and we both are nature lovers.”

Sibyl Vane – “Thousand Words”

Sibyl — which actually consists of Helen, Heiko and Hendrik — brings straight-up alternative to Eesti Laul. They’re represented by the Latvian label I Love You Records and they won the Young Bands 2011 competition, which gives them a bit of street cred. “Thousand Words” has a familiar sound — it wouldn’t be out of place in a teen movie and for some reason it makes me think of Ireland 2009 (not a bad thing). The first minute builds really nicely, but the chorus, while pleasant, ultimately feels a tad flat. Word has it they’re great live, so there’s plenty of reason to feel positive about this one.

Aden Ray – “Everybody’s Dressed”

Aden has crafted a current, sensuous sound. His high-pitched vocals sound choral, religious and sexy all at once — a strange mish-mash that is surprisingly inviting. The use of synth and digi-sounds give him contemporary flair, yet I can hear 80s greats like Annie Lennox in there. The song is interesting but a tad monotonous. As with so many songs so far, it lacks the climax so commonly found in Eurovision contenders.

Tiiu x Okym x Semy – “Näita oma energiat”

Mr Saxobeat seems to open this track, promising sunshine, sand and plenty of pina coladas. But things get very grunge very quickly and our saxophone friend is swallowed by a garage-warehouse-hip-hop group that has no sense of melody, shape or form. This feels messy and rather unfortunate. They clearly have character and personality in spades (see our Instagram gallery below). But the song is just so tedious and irritating I can barely bring myself to finish it.

Stig Rästa – “Home”

“Goodbye to Yesterday” had fire and a smouldering edge. This does not. Instead Stig goes for something sweet, tender and dreamy — a love letter to his special someone. Sleepy to some, totally romantic to others, it isn’t a clear winner or even a clear contender — but Stig doesn’t care. This year marks his 12th appearance as a songwriter or artist and his first going solo. “I’ve been practicing so much now that I’m not afraid of anything,” he told ERR. We have to give him props for the line “Sleep on the balcony, watch a little GoT” — I love the Game of Thrones! My only fear is that the more hipster acts in this year’s selection will, like the Mother of Dragons, leave him feeling a little burnt.

Miljardid – “Pseudoprobleem”

If Franz Ferdinand were re-born in Estonia, they may sound something like this. Miljardid strike the right balance between mainstream and niche, radio-friendly and slightly alternative. The track progresses somewhat linearly, but changing instrumentation, rhythm and accents keep it interesting. It seems a tad repetitive for Eurovision, and the ending rather abrupt, but surely this will find, and deserves, its fans. Interestingly, Estonian social media suggests this is one of the more popular acts. Music critics, however, say this is one of the band’s worst songs.

Desiree – “On My Mind”

Desiree sounds fab. She’s a breath of fresh air — and one with a very Spotify-friendly sound. The snare drum is a simple yet effective flourish, and for me the song speeds by. But at the moment it — like so many other songs here — feels flat and lacks a proper climax. We’re moving forward but I never feel like we arrive anywhere and at times this seems more like background music than the main event. No matter. If Desiree can pull this off live and infuse it with a bit of emotion (which, at times, is drained out by the digital sounds) I may just fall in love.

Elina Netsajeva – “La Forza”

Wow. Elina can sing. Her operatic flourishes will no doubt divide the fandom. But this much is clear: She’s managed to take opera and make it slightly more accessible with some contemporary production that gives it a slight pop vibe, without moving into camp territory. Live she should rightfully blow people away.

What do you think about the songs competing in Eesti Laul’s first semi-final? Which should make it to the grand final? Tell us in the comments section below!

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Photos: Rauno Volmar

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Matthew
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Matthew

Etnopatsy, Elina Netsajeva and Stig Rasta are clear qualifiers.

Sam ESC
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Sam ESC

La Forza is amazing OMG!! if she can sing like this live, imagine the staging at ESC, this could win ESC 2018…… DONE XD

Zebb
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Zebb

I sense it a bit more radio-friendly semi than last year’s one, should be wrapped smoothly. I can’t say I’ve got my fav here but Aden Ray’s ED is good in studio version

Coolhand
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Coolhand

Who I think will qualify

1. Stig Rasta- Home
2. Elina- La Forza
3.Etnopatsy- Kulm
4. VAJÉ- Laura
5.Liris- Drop That Boogie

redfox
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redfox

I like “Young” but the beat is a bit too similar to a thousand more songs at the moment. It is ok to listen but might not really stand out with riding the trend

Marco A.
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Marco A.

I’m all for Pseudoprobleem! 😀 #MiljardidToEurovision

AngieP
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AngieP

“Laura” starts well, it draws you in, but then it gets boring. “Drop that boogie” is not my cup of tea. However, I like her voice. “Kulm”: thank God a song which isn’t in English. I don’t understand a word, but it sounds very interesting. It’s folk, atmospheric and beautiful voices. With a good staging, I think it stands pretty well. “A thousand words” is different from what I heard so far, but it’s repetitive. However, a good live performance can elevate this. “Everybody’s dressed” is nothing special. It doesn’t stand out. “Naita oma energiat”: you totally remember this, becuase… Read more »

Radiologistology
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Radiologistology

1. Elina
2. Etnopatsy
3. Desiree
4. Sybil Vane
5. Iiris & Agoh
Stig is super overrated, I don’t get HOW people like that song. Then Vaje, hunnay I want to fall on the floor and die from how much I hate it. My top 4 are the only ones I feel like can actually do well in Eesti Laul though, and only Elina can do good in Eurovision. I hope Estonia doesn’t pull a Latvia with ‘Baltic’!

Martin C
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Martin C

Stig rasta’s song home definitely reminds me a bit of playing with numbers from Eurovision 2015 (which I loved!)

Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

I haven’t heard all of them yet but so far… “La Forza” is one of those “love or hate” songs – I actually think it’s too flat and serious at the moment. At least with Jamala’s “1944” there was a beat and a meaningful story behind it. (Discuss.) My favourite is actually “Misty” – I’m probably the only one with that opinion though. 🙂 Stig’s song is nice. I did cringe at some of the lyrics though, to be honest. (Sorry Stig.) Külm – I really like this genre, but the song is missing something and becomes repetitive. There’s also… Read more »

Calum Macleod
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Calum Macleod

My qualifiers prediction:

1. Külm (My number 1!)
2. La Forza (This opera is so powerful! If she can pull this off live, this could be a real contender.)
3. Home (I actually really like this! Such a sweet song!)
4. Laura (Walk with Me) (Really like the melody in the chorus.)
5. Drop That Boogie (Not the best of the bunch, but I still quite like it.)

Lazarevfan95
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Lazarevfan95

I have three songs i adore from this
1. A Thousand Words- Indie rock is my favourite genre and i like her voice
2. La Forza- WOW!! What a voice!! I love operatic vocals!!
3. Etnopatsy- This sounds magical!! I love folk music and if they pull it off on stage both vocals and staging wise they could win!!
I also like Psuedoprobleem not as much as the other three but it is extremely catchy and a gulity pleasurev

Ronda
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Ronda

1. Home
2. Külm
3. La Forza

Sabrina
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Sabrina

For me the best of this semi is Külm. Not a fan of La Forza but I admit that if Elina delivers a great live performance, this could be special. Stig’s song is so bland. But I feel the same about every Ed Sheeran song and he’s doing quite fine without my approval! I love Iiris voice, not sure about her song.

Janro
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Janro

Stig Rasta is by far my favourite! I want him to win already! Come on Estonia! Do me this one favour! 😉

OhhHoney
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OhhHoney

La Forza gives me the same vibes I got when I listened to Rise like a Phoenix and 1944 for the first times.

Hani
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Hani

Home sounds like Give me love from Ed Sheeran.

Jo
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Jo

My prediction for qualifiers in this sf:
Stig – Home (based on his fame);
Iiris & Agoh – Drop tha Boogie (based on Iiris’ fame);
Elina – La Forza (strong entry);
Aden Ray – Everybody’s Dressed (jury bait);
Vajé – Laura (radio-friendly).

Erik
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Erik

Does someone have the link to the remaining 10 songs that were leaked?!

Sashko
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Sashko

People love a cute man who sits on a stool with a guitar. If Stig Rasta does that, then he wins.

One Cold Cerveza
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One Cold Cerveza

Stig Sheeran sticking to something that is proven to work. The rest of the songs are so disappointing that he might just pull this one through.

Jo
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Jo

That Laura song is the best here:)))

Polegend Godgarina
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Polegend Godgarina

I’d say for them it’s La forza or nothing, that’s the only song that I can see qualifying. Truly a weak and disappointing selection full of indie-wannabe acts (not like we were short of them in the past edition, but this time they make up for most of the entries, to the point that many songs sound the same).

Polegend Godgarina
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Polegend Godgarina

Oh, I forgot about Külm–that one is a qualifier, too. Desiree has no chance imo, song is too flat and that sound is so 2015.

CharlieChan
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CharlieChan

Yaaas Külm is LITT

Erasmus
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Erasmus

I actually agree with you! I also like “Home” and “Young”, but “La Forza” and “Külm” stand out for sure!

Audrr
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Audrr

Oh, yes, its powerful and slays! Totally different and makes you listen. In fact she’s the winner of tvshow called Classical Stars 😉

Polegend Godgarina
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Polegend Godgarina

(Can’t Keep Calling) Misty – from the lyrics this must be the next lesbian anthem. The guitar solo in the last minute gives me life, but apart from that, the song is pretty lifeless. Knock Knock – the chorus is really catchy, while the rest of the song is forgettable. A heavier, rockier production would have worked better. Koplifornia – I don’t have to know the meaning of the lyrics to tell they’re cringeworthy. Overall, a forgettable rap record that tries to be old school while blending modern elements, resulting in a confusing and rather unpleasant mix. Show a Little… Read more »

CharlieChan
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CharlieChan

Desiree’s On My Mind is amazing, but Ethnoplasty with Külm is just a masterpiece. Külm for the win right now!!!

CharlieChan
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CharlieChan

La Forza is preety cool too

MTD
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MTD

I am not sure whether my taste went rogue or I just went to like more “mature” things.

I only like two songs – Stig’s and Aden’s.

Maybe Vaje’s, as well.

But nope for the other ones, even tho there are decent ones.

pasi
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pasi

At the moment Stig is BY FAR the best! Just love his song and his voice! He sounds similar to Mans. 🙂

YoungsterJoey
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YoungsterJoey

Not a fan of any of them, which is a shame cause the last two East Lauls were brilliant. Stig’s is OK but it’s not because he’s a returning act and also Indrek Ventmann’s Tempel.

If anything, even the Eesti Laul theme song is my top pick so far.

Jo
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Jo

Big thanks for those who posted the link with the 20 songs. I took a quick listening, here’s my favs: *La Forza – Written by Hans Zimmer (^^), it’s the one that gives the WoW moment, sounds like it comes from a movie; *Everybody’s dressed – Nice chorus, however it takes too long to get there; *Tempel – I like it, but I don’t think it would do well at ESC; *Knock Knock – Kinda weird, I like the rap. Not very strong as well. In general, it’s not a very strong year, most songs are just “ok”. I’d pick… Read more »

Jo
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Jo

oh, and Misty, nice tune.

Polegend Godgarina
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Polegend Godgarina

La forza – oh my, oh my. It’s ENTIRELY sung in my native language, Italian. I am shooketh and slayeth. Her enunciation is good, and the belting gives me eargasms. So far it’s my favorite, I think that’s the type of song that’s definitely a qualifier and that can do well (of course, if she can pull it off live).

Kjartan
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Kjartan

definitely a qualifier like Verona?

namnam
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namnam

Yep, Elina is going to win. Elina and Stig are the best. All the other songs are just meh.

Polegend Godgarina
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Polegend Godgarina

On My Mind – a bit too flat and repetitive, but I like the girl’s voice. Not so much those background effects, they’re so 2015.

Luc
Guest

Heyyy! I already listened to all the 20 songs and “Desiree – on my mind” is by far the best for me! It’s a Modern catchy pop song but the sonh kinda gets boring in the 3rd chorus. Eesti Laul is kinda weak compared to other years but that song could make it to the eurovision final

esc freak
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esc freak

Stig and Etnopatsy the best so far.

eurovision6
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eurovision6

Vajé are really good, wouldnt mind if they won the whole thing actually. As for qualifiers id want Desiree (also potential winner but a little predictable for me) and two of Iiris & Agoh, Etnopatsy and Sibyl Vane depending on live performance

Erasmus
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Erasmus

I love/like Home, Külm, these two songs should and will qualify to the final in Eesti Laul, and maybe even in Eurovision. Laura and Drop that Boggie aren’t bad, but others are. So yeah… Hope that second final will be better..

Paul D.
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Paul D.

La Forza FTW

Polegend Godgarina
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Polegend Godgarina

Pseudoprobleem – it’s in no ways a bad song. Catchy chorus, hypnotic beat and a sound that’s old school but not dated. Still, I can’t see this going far at the contest, but on its own it’s a nice song.

Zebb
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Zebb

Might check out later fully again…

Trio looks fun, but song really lacks at chorus.
I agree with words on Aden Ray’s ‘ED’, and dunno is ‘Home’ good or am I fed up with Sheeran vibe a lil bit. But it’s better than I’d expect.

Paule
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Paule

Where can I hear “Home”?

ESCHK
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ESCHK

Just listened to “Home”, it’s decent, sounds like a slightly catchier version of “Playing With Numbers”

Marx
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Marx

Before hearing those songs I thought that this will be strongest semi-final.. It seems that I was quite wrong. Most songs here a fairly forgettable. Although good show could redeem some of them..

(hopefully Elisa has a good song)

Marx
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Marx

Sry.. I meant Elina

Polegend Godgarina
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Polegend Godgarina

I’m still perched for “La forza”. I can feel that one’s gonna leave us shooketh.

ImFromRomania
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ImFromRomania

Stig Sheeran 😀 , Will be Lisbon him his home in May 2018 😀 ?

Marx
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Marx

Hopefully not.. He has a dull and boring song. It would be disastrous in Lisbon.

Polegend Godgarina
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Polegend Godgarina

Home – blatant Ed Sheeran ripoff… he’s even attempting Ed’s accent for heaven’s sake. It’s definitely better than his previous songs, but Stig sis do your own thing.

You're boring :P
Guest
You're boring :P

Hopefully, that day comes very soon 😉 go away with your constant hatred.

Polegend Godgarina
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Polegend Godgarina

Näita oma energiat – I can’t really find any redeeming qualities in this one. Just like Drop That Poopie, it sounds like it comes straight outta 2003. Annoying and cringeworthy.

Jo
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Jo

Not looking very positive so far. “Everybody’s dressed” is my favourite, but it isn’t great.
Still three songs to go.

Jo
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Jo

In that pic, Iiris looks like she’s thinking “Nailed it”, but for me is exactly the opposite.

Polegend Godgarina
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Polegend Godgarina

Whew, you’re serving TASTE in everything you’ve said so far. Let me say a big AMEN!

Jo
Guest
Jo

Stig’s song is ok imo. Aden still have my vote.

Jo
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Jo

*has

Coolhand
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Coolhand

Love Drop That Boogie!!!! Favorite potential esc song I’ve heard so far

Polegend Godgarina
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Polegend Godgarina

Everybody’s Dressed – a very charming song, I loved it first listen. Sultry voice, hypnotizing beat, and mysterious lyrics. Off to a great start. Thousand Words – this sounds like a track from P!nk’s I’m Not Dead album from 2006. While I really enjoyed it, I feel like it’s a little bit out of place in 2018, unfortunately this sound doesn’t do anything anymore. Külm – this type of tune always has its charm, and it’s perfect for the contest, where historically haunting songs in Estonian go far. Drop That Boogie – this is so 2003… in a bad way.… Read more »

popoo
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popoo

There are more than one Laura in the world you know. So narrow minded.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

Laura Poldvere a.k.a. Paula Mustikas a.k.a. Lucifer Remmel, the Muusa songstress, is the only relevant one. And no, she won’t walk with them.

popoo
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popoo

It’s about that darker guy’s girlfriend for gods sake. You need a better hobby.

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

And you need thicker skin.

Evridiki
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Evridiki

“Drop That Boogie” is such a good song and the chorus is catchy 😀

Polegend Godgarina
Guest
Polegend Godgarina

I’m praying to Jesus Christ for your taste.

Marx
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Marx

I think that it could lend very well itself to the stage. You are way too harsh of this song.

Polegend Godgarina
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Polegend Godgarina

You too will be on my prayer list till the day I die.