The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — continues to rank and review the 43 songs competing in Eurovision 2018. Next we turn to the islands of Malta and MESC winner Christabelle with her song “Taboo”. Did it make us want to break a taboo? Read on to find out!
Christabelle – “Taboo”
Angus: Last year we got a generic Eurovision ballad, this year we get a generic midtempo dance number. Christabelle herself is a tour de force – she has a voice and knows how to use it – but “Taboo” is a decidedly by-the-numbers production. It goes through all the right motions but fails to knock anything out of the park. The production is cool and Christabelle sounds great, but Malta doesn’t have a fully polished package on its hands.
Antranig: It sounds strange to say this about an upbeat pop song but this is the most emotionally touching entry of Eurovision 2018. “Taboo” is a beautiful song with an important message and therein lies its strength. I adore Christabelle and her Eurovision appearance is long overdue. The staging at MESC was perfect so if they can replicate it and make it a bit grander, Christabelle should take Malta back to the final.
Chris: What’s most important about “Taboo” is Christabelle’s ability to raise the stakes live. She gives an urgency and passion that’s otherwise missing from the track. The national final performance’s staging is hit and miss, with the lighting far too dark and projections not quite clear enough. What’s more, without LED in Lisbon, the blatant messaging is obviously lost. Taking that away might leave Christabelle too exposed.
Cinan: Christabelle is so cute and beautiful. The song is a good one, I do love the music video and the national final performance, and she is surely going to surprise us in Lisbon. The chorus is especially strong. When I first listened to it, after few minutes I started singing along. It’s catchy, which is a very good thing.
Kristin: Dear Malta. I want nothing but good things for you in Eurovision and life in general. Just remember that. But “Taboo” is horribly dated and cheap and likely to be forgotten as soon as it runs its course on the stage in Lisbon. Unless, of course, Christabelle gives everything she’s got — and that girl has a lot to give, no doubt! She is super talented and one heck of a performer. I’m counting on you, Christabelle. Make this snoozefest of a song into something memorable. Blow us away!
Robyn: Like a lot of Maltese entries, “Taboo” is super serious and ambitious, music with a message. The song doesn’t quite measure up, however. The lyrics are a little sketchy and use odd imagery (“these demons have broken my goal”) in an attempt to get the message across. Christabelle, though, is a likeable performer and may be able to deliver a performance that will stand out in the second semi-final.
In the Wiwi Jury we have 20 jurors but only have room for six reviews. The remaining scores are below:
We have removed the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. This is to remove outliers and potential bias. We have removed a low of 4 and a high of 9.5.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 6.31/10
What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!
It’s a little clumsy. Both in structure and lyrically. I do have a soft sport for it though. In my top 15.
I think staging and live vocals will make or break this one because it has a limited audience.
As someone who’s dealt with mental health issues, I appreciate the message this song is trying to convey. However, these lyrics are SO unbelievably cliche and the idea of this song being about mental illness never crossed my mind until I read Christabelle’s comment on it. Melodically it is an OK song and I feel it may qualify, though probably only within the 10-6 range. I like it, I guess.
I can’t stand this song! Not my cup of tea at all. This is probably the only song this year I really HATE! It’s a 0/10 *yukes*
10.0/10.0 IT’S PERFECT. LOVE ITT!! HAS TO WIN!! GOOOOO MALTAAA!
This screams NQ for me, maybe I’m wrong, but I can’t see this song appealing to anybody, sorry. Annoying and only song which I don’t like this year, stop listening at the half of the song, seriously I prefer Iceland or UK over this.
Don’t mind the ”mesage” which is not seen btw, and seems fake and fabricated, like ”now is trendy to have some message, so we will have this one”.
One of the best music video but were wasted on such an average song. Malta really spend it all on the visual and forget that we judge the song, not the video. I kinda like Christabelle voice, but this song does not accentuate her voice at all. It has no clear beginning and ending for me. Even the Climax is kinda confusing for me. She is in SF2, which means she stand a chance to qualify, but to be honest I hardly see her pass 20th place.
SCORE : 5.5 / 10 ( Video add 2 points just saying )
This is just a good performance of an awful song. Singer is good, outfits are less than average. Then we get to the song, for me this is one of the worst songs this year, even for a person who likes generic pop like me. Honestly, I’d rather listen to the studio version of “Forever” and we know how bad that song is. But because of a decent performance and Christabelle’s Nice vocals, this actually Belarus. But at the end, that’s not a compliment at all. Denmark: 22th United Kingdom: 26th Slovenia: 30th Moldova: 35th Armenia: 36th Malta: 39th Belarus:… Read more »
I read your review and replaced every Malta reference with the UK. Funnily enough, it still worked!
Good song, beautiful music video. It’s powerful but I can’t see it doing well.
This is more show than anything else.
The song as is, is just crap and it won‘t go far. And this is one of few I actually believe stand no chance of qualifying in any way.
I really would like Malta to win one day, but I am afraid I do not see it getting far with this entry. Christabelle seems to be sweet and if she really works on her performance she might scrape through, and hopefully she will. What I think really makes the song sink are the amateurish lyrics. They are a blatant mess from start to finish and struggle for a meaning but never really convey it. It feels like they wrote the song and as an afterthought decided to give it a meaning figuring “mental illness” could fit in. Whoever the… Read more »
Its not a bad song…
6/10 – 22nd / 43
I’m so mad and disappointed by this one. Christabelle deserves much better and HAS brought us much better in Rush and Kingdom, she is a heck of a performer with a great voice. It is wasted in this song. It has some edge and darkness to it that shows some maturity and the topic is handled well, but the lyrics are messy not just word wise, but the distribution is very unusual, and tough to follow. For the power behind this song, it should be much better than it is, but it will likely stay in the semis. People I’m… Read more »
I usually don’t pay attention to the lyrics at all, but these ones are really really bad. Also the production is so basic, not bad but just so mediocre. I love the staging and her, the song is not good, but not bad either. I have this as my tenth qualifier and it shares the same place as Hungary(like the song, not my genre). We’ll see if it will qualify, it’s one of the many border line qualifiers in semi 2(together with Latvia, Hungary and Slovenia). My rankings: 1. Belarus 8,5/10 2. Armenia 8/10 3. Slovenia 7,5/10 4. Denmark 7,5/10… Read more »
These stucky lyrics were built in fine track. Melodies are well differentiated and that helps chorus to stuck out. At same time, melodical part processed softly so it lets all the other effects to attract, which makes track sound playful while still mantaining certain atmosphere.
Now, when there’s more clarification to song meaning, it came more positive but when heard during song, lyrically it’s still messy.
Amongst bunch of bops this comes pretty lively to me, I’d want this to make the final cut.
From the generic pop cousins on this year’s Eurovision (Australia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Finland and Malta) this is probably the most generic one. It’s the only one I actually dislike, the others I consider average and they actually don’t bother me as “Taboo” does. Everything this song tries sounds cheap or at least painfully obvious. The “animals, animals” / “criminals, criminals” are the best example of the poor choices that were made by those who wrote it. And there’s where the lack of good production values can make a big difference. They weren’t able to mitigate the weaknesses of the song… Read more »
You are so right! This is the one I dislike the most too! Stick&stones, bones, animals, criminals…all these scream unoriginality to me!
I appreciate the “you have to understand me, not blame me” approach , but using demons to depict mental issues became a cliché. Of course this would be a discussion that would go waaaaay beyond an Eurovision forum, but I don’t believe it’s the right way to describe them for those who weren’t affected by similar situations on a personal level. Anyway, I think the lyrics fail to find the right images to its message. The curious thing is that Finland’s song didn’t have the same ambition and intention (at least I understand it as an unpretentious song about fighting… Read more »
1)SLO 6.58 2)ARM 6.39 3)BLR 6.36
4)MLT 6.31 5)DEN 6.17 6)MDA 6.08
1)MLT 8.13 2)DEN 8.00 3)SLO 8.00
4)MDA 7.75 5)BLR 7.56 6)ARM 7.5
1)SLO 14.58 2)MLT 14.44 3)DEN 14.17
4)BLR 13.92 5)ARM 13.89 6)MDA 13.83
The modified scores have changed as I mistakenly first thought only 18 reviews are there when the sample size was infact 20
MALTA – When I first heard it, I thought it was one of the many very poorly written entries from MESC. I wasn’t even sure what a ‘taboo’ in the title is. Then Christabelle herself really politely explained the meaning of the song to me in the comments and now I like it better. The song is about raising awareness of mental illness and stigmas they have to face every day (”animals”, ”criminals”). The message itself is great and very important. The lyrics used to share it are sometimes a bit clunky, though. It was needed for the author to… Read more »
This is the one song this year that I actually dislike. Okay, I get it, it’s supposed to raise mental issue awareness, but as I said before, good intentions don’t make a good song. Even with the explanation given, the lyrics lack any coherence which puts them on the same level as “Oj, oj, oj, så glad jeg skal bli” (but “Taboo” is far less entertaining). The melody and the arrangement are just the usual generic pop stuff that isn’t able to transport any emotions. Christabelle seems to be a lovely person, but her rather blunt approach to performing this… Read more »
Great new direction in terms of staging at MESC is what made this song win! This isn’t the best song….. Beat lacks consistency and the message of the song is definitely lost in the poorly conveyed lyrics. Add to that a singer with sometimes pitchy vocals and a country that does poorly in televote and you would have a certain NQ but this year’s semi 2 has its doors open wide for Malta to sneak through.
Not my favorite in MESC by far. My favorite was Supernovas. This was 8th.
call me cliche but this song sticks. pun unintented but cant find another word. I think it can do well. I am very impressed by the video productionI wish we had half the brains to do something like that. also, mental illness as a theme? Unique. the live staging that I saw was a bit too dark however, they need some effect because I couldn´t see the singer on stage
The worst song and singer this year, and I’m from Malta. We should have sent Eleanor Cassar. We would qualify and probably win this year with Eleanor.
Okay, now you’re being ridiculous. ”Taboo” isn’t great but except for ”song for dad” maybe, she was your only Chance of coming Close to reach the final.
u ghalaq oxx halqek
YOU ARE SO BRIGHT AND INTELLIGENT AND OHH YOU SIMPLY REALLY KNOW HOW TO DISCUSS PEACEFULLY
wiwinotaste as usual underrating a song because it isn’t Spain. omg bye.
she is a deserved winner
I don’t hate this song, but I don’t like it. For me, it’s just there. There is just nothing memorable about the song. Sorry Malta, I cannot see this going to the final. 3/10
My topp 5. 8/10
I am so glad that Christabelle has gotten finally a chance to go to Eurovision, but I don’t know if this was the best song to do it with. I absolutely adored Kingdom and I liked Rush quite a bit, and I’m not gonna lie, Taboo left me a bit cold. But then again, in such a week MESC this year, this was probably among the better options. As for the song, it has a lot going for it, mainly that great pre-chorus (the “and I know part”) and it is a given that Christabelle is gonna bring power and… Read more »
I wasn’t convinced to that song from the very beginning. Musically, it was typical “one of many” for me; I read a lot positive things about the lyrics, but honestly, I don’t find them revelatory; and what is that “taboo” actually? Anyway… It’s quite nice as a radio song to listen.
I thought that this was really bad when I first heard it but since more entries have been revealed (some of them actually really bad), Taboo has found itself staying pretty constant and is comfortably in my lower 30’s when it comes to ranking. Even though parts of this song are really cringe and there is no way that this is qualifying, it isn’t the absolute disaster that was last year.
I really like This entry, it’s super catchy and I hope it Will qualify (even If it isn’t in My top 10 in SF2) The NF performance waas amazing, and the song is also super catchy. I also really like Christabelle. This however lacks power, but hopefully the staging Will make up for it.
It is too Maltese for me, you can instantly guess that it is from Malta even if you did not know anything about the song- and for me that shows it lacks international appeal. Yet, I applaud them for tackling an important message, and Christabelle is simply outstanding. Unfortunately, I do not think it will qualify. 5.5/10
Soooo wiwi ranks this with 6.31 but last year’s winner with 6.56..Legit
Yeah, 6.56 for Salvador was kinda ehh… weird. But I guess that happened because it was so polarising.
I know. So Overrated.
Denmark has gotten lesser than that
There is a beautiful live piano cover of this song on YouTube, in case anyone is interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbaE826mfo4
I actually don’t think it’s that bad… It’s an alright Uptempo song, but I really like the Transition between verse and Chorus. That bit gets me everytime. I always feel like there’s a disconnect between the instrumentals and the vocals. It seems like they just threw all sounds they had together and used it as the instrumental… That really puts me off. The Chorus starts good, as I said I really like the ”Let our guards down, it’s time to break the taboo…” and so on, but the last bit ”Sticks and Stones will break my soul” is not only… Read more »
Okay, let’s be nice: a 5/10 or 5.5/10 would be more fitting I guess..
It’s a bop if we look beyond the messy lyrics. I think they’ll make her perform last in the semi, and she’ll qualify both from the public and from the jury side.
The studio version of the song does not do much for me, however the live performance in the Maltese national final was fantastic. The visuals really enhanced this. If they do something similar, and especially with a good running order, it’s qualifying.
”Before we all become animals, animals”
This year belongs to chickens. End of story.
Malta – Christabelle: “Taboo” Keys: E minor, G major Time Sigs: 4/4 Song structure: Intro – Verse 1 – Refrain – Pre-Chorus – Chorus – Verse 2 – Refrain [shortened] – Pre-Chorus – Chorus – Bridge – Pre-Chorus – Reprise Harmony: Chords with added second, fourth and sixth notes. Juxtaposition between major and minor keys. Influences: EDM, Dubstep Music comments: I love playing this song on the piano. It has lovely clashing harmonies throughout, and the short melodies and hooks are expertly composed. Why the production went to so much trouble to bury the counter-melody under so much added noise,… Read more »
Interesting, this was the song you were hoping was gonna win at MESC. How would you rate others, then? 5/10 is a pretty median rating… but I share some of your sentiments, and I will write my rating pretty soon.
On the overall Eurovision scale for song content, unfortunately Malta’s National Final selection of songs this year was caught between 0% and 50% ratings. Previous years’ Maltese selections have been slightly better. This doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy MESC this year – I love the performers, I love the atmosphere and I love the people. I hope they continue to put on a good show, and hopefully one day they will win the ESC, then we can all go to Valetta to enjoy the contest the next year. 🙂
Interestingly, I noticed how your average scores mostly began to decrease when you removed the performance mark. I mean, I recall you giving Heart of Gold an 8 (a song for which I gave, and would still give a 4). My highest scores for MESC are still Breaking Point and Song for Dad, both at 8. My lowest scores are for One Step at a Time and Love Renegade, both at 2. Taboo was still well into the upper half of them.
Cool, there is perhaps some truth to that. On a different matter, I have to admit, I wonder how many people feel the same way Aaron does (below). There are those who would rather we weren’t reviewing the music in a contest at all, let alone the performers. There are those who see it more as a celebration of music and values, and would rather the “contest” aspect was not dwelled upon. I suppose I’m used to being in the minority in life, and I’m maybe just over-empathising. But this year I’m nowhere near as certain as I was last… Read more »
The Eurovision for me is a FRIENDLY SONG CONTEST. In that order. Once you remove any of the words, it stops being the same show. Everyone gives their best (or in some cases, something in substitute of the best) and they hope to win. It’s up to US (all of us, Europeans, Australians and some Asians) to decide who will it be based on our personal preferences. It’s what Wiwibloggers do, it’s what televote is for. It is what makes us feel even the more part of it. We can dislike a song, but there shouldn’t be any actual hate… Read more »
Cool. Thanks Colin. 🙂
There is no dubstep or EDM influence. I don’t understand why people comment here and think that they are qualified to make an analysis of a song. There is no “added noise” oh my goodness. The song is pretty straight forward in it’s musical structure. THERE IS NO EDM. Oh my goodness this comment is infuriating. Unqualified ESC act wannabes so badly want to critique something they know nothing about. When you can compose a song that goes onto the ESC stage then you’d rightly be in a place to criticise. The song is quite clear, I don’t know, maybe… Read more »
@Aaron: If you feel that way all the time, perhaps it would be best if you simply did not read the Wiwi Jury articles or their comment pages. Best wishes.
What’s interesting is that by your commentary it’s clear that lyrics touch theme of mental illness, social reflection and fighting to get over it. But at direct look text is vaguely written, albeit well rhymed…
Can you say more about counter-melody, Mask?
It’s perhaps best to use this recorded version for reference (since the original lyric video has been made private). Make sure to turn the sound up as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbtclgMqnBk The entire song has “echoes” of hooks and melodies that have been electronically delivered in different ways. The most obvious ones come in the Verses – right at the very start of the song at 0:07 you hear a pretty strong set of noises, which are sort of “counter-hooks”. “Echoes” in her head indeed. 🙂 But it’s the Chorus I really like. At 0:39 onwards, the backing track has what at… Read more »
It helped a lot, thank you very much 🙂 I never stopped to think that this kind of element had a particular name. In this song I guess I would like them more if they keep it subtle. On the other hand, if they were too subtle, untrained ears like mine wouldn’t notice them there. I don’t know if it was because of the national final’s audio, but they practically disappeared on the live version and that made the song sounds less refined.
5.5/10 This is a good song, I like the message of it and it’s a good package. However as a song I think it’s missing that punch; That moment to make you say Wow! The staging in MESC is good, I hope it’s replicated and uplifted.