While their football team may have done much better than expected at this year’s World Cup, there’s one aspect of Russian culture that has always been on top form – their music. For this latest new music round-up, we’re heading over to Mother Russia to see what Eurovision alumni Sergey Lazarev, Polina Gagarina, Serebro and Elena Temnikova have recently released.
Sergey Lazarev – “Сдавайся” and “Paparazzi”
Having originally released “Сдавайся” (“Surrender”) in 2017 as the second single off his latest Russian-language album В эпицентре (At the Epicentre), Sergey Lazarev has now released a music video for the song. In it we witness the Russian star being impaled by a spear while out at sea. He eventually makes his way into town in order to try and contact his lover. However, rather than help the injured singer, those around Sergey decide to pull out their phones and record him instead. Eventually the couple reunites, but with the slight twist that Sergey’s lover impales herself on the spear as well. Hopefully the two of them have managed to get the medical help they need and are now recovering well from their spear-removal surgery.
An English-language version of Sergey’s latest album, entitled The One, was also released in April this year.
At the end of May though, Sergey released the brand new single “Paparazzi”. This latest release sees the “You Are the Only One” hitmaker return to a more upbeat pop style following the more emotional ballads he released last year. Sergey sings about his experience of the paparazzi and how they will always “see what they want” instead of what you try and put across: “We are the victims of their games / Who was with whom it was noticed and when … Everyone wants, everyone wants / Scandals and sensations / Smile…Smile…Smile… / Under the sight of the paparazzi”.
Polina Gagarina – “В невесомости” (with EMIN), “Toi et moi” (with Charles Aznavour) and “Камень на сердце”
She may have recently released the music video for “Выше головы”, but that isn’t the only thing Polina Gagarina has been working on. Earlier in March, the Eurovision 2015 runner-up teamed up with fellow Russian singer EMIN on “В невесомости” (“In Zero Gravity”). A mid-tempo ballad, the lyrics of the song talk about two people who agree that, although they have feelings for one another, they can’t quite make it work out due to their circumstances. “Let’s leave it all as is / We’re at different speeds but on the same path / Here a step beyond Earth’s edge, we’re floating in zero-gravity”. The music video sees both artists at the receiving end of a one-sided argument from their respective partners. However, EMIN manages to stop time, and he and Polina are given a moment to breathe, walk around and dance together before returning to their real-life situations.
Polina has also found the time to work on another collaboration, this time with French-Armenian singer and multi-million-record seller Charles Aznavour on a cover of his 1994 hit song “Toi et moi” (“You and Me”). While there appears to be no real context as to why the two decided to partner up and release the song, it provides a nice bilingual take on the classic song, and the pair’s vocals blend particularly well together.
Not forgetting her solo career though, Polina has also released “Камень на сердце” (“Stone on my Heart”). It’s another deep ballad that shows off the Russian singer’s vocal ability. The song was originally written in English by American songwriters before later being rewritten in Russian for Polina. The accompanying music video was shot in Portugal and has enough visual effects to be termed a four-minute movie. We see the “A Million Voices” songstress wearing a white dress with a long, billowing train and encountering a young girl in a forest as well as a half-naked man moving rocks on a beach. The director of the clip, Leonid Kolosovsky, noted of the video’s meaning: “we came to such an allegorical story, where you could show all the hardships and doubts, show the emotional turmoil that the heroine had developed, and how she copes with them”.
Serebro – “Новый год” and “111307”
After putting out an open casting call at the end of last year to find the eighth member in their ever-changing roster, Tatiana Morgunova was selected to join original member and Eurovision 2007 participant Olga Seryabkina plus 2016 recruit Katya Kischuk to form the latest line-up of girl-group Serebro. The group started off 2018 by releasing “Новый год” (“New Year”). While perhaps not the most appropriate song to add to your summer playlist, it’s maybe worth noting down for when you need those New Year festive feels later in the year (and want something a bit more upbeat compared to Sergey Lazarev’s similarly titled festive offering).
Nonetheless, in March they gave their fans a proper release with “111307”. The song fits well into the dark-pop half of the group’s back catalogue and will appeal to those who enjoyed previous releases such as “In Space”. Lyrically, the girls realise that they have failed in a relationship: “I failed in love, I already knew that…I don’t need all of their glaring stares / It’s better to walk away, cursing myself”. However, they’re aiming to stay calm and not hassle the other person over the problems: “111307– this is your number / And I won’t call you, I will be calm / Be calm, be at peace”.
Elena Temnikova – “Фиолетовый”, “Медленно”, “Не сдерживай меня” and “Не модные”
After being an original member of Serebro before leaving the group in 2014, Elena Temnikova has been building a steady solo career of her own. After featuring on KREC’s “Пой со мной” (“Sing With Me”) last December, her first solo release of the year was “Фиолетовый” (“Purple”), the last single off her 2017 EP TEMNIKOVA II. As we noted upon the release of the EP, “Фиолетовый” was a standout, leaning “slightly edgier and more urban”. The new music video for the song sees Elena living with a robotic, personal boyfriend. Unfortunately, her current model has a few bugs and continues to malfunction. After trying the standard ‘turn it off and on again’ trick, Elena eventually has to order a new model and she is able to enter her daily routine again without any further tech problems.
Not satisfied with TEMNIKOVA I & II though, Elena released part three earlier this year. TEMNIKOVA III: Не модные (Not Fashionable) is her first solo full-length studio album. The first song released from the album was “Медленно” (“Slow”). The song sees Elena spending the night with someone but wanting to take it slowly and stretch it out for as long as possible: “We are just on the verge of burning, breathing in / Slowly, so slowly / We are similar in this, goosebumps / Slowly, so slowly”. At under three minutes, it’s short enough to be a Eurovision entry, but it’s perhaps a bit too laid-back to make any serious long-term impact in people’s memory.
The first music video from the album came with “Не сдерживай меня” (“Don’t Hold Me Back”). In it we see Elena waiting up for her man who’s gone out for the night with a couple of friends. Unfortunately, his phone runs out of battery and the Russian singer is no longer able to get in contact with her lover. While Elena freaks out and begins to assume the worst, her man eventually makes his way home and pulls out a ring (though it’s one that he stole earlier in the night). Again, the song is a fairly slow R’n’B-influenced number, which would possibly pass most people by if there weren’t any visuals to go with it.
Finally, Elena has recently released a video for “Не модные” (“Not Fashionable”). Rather than a normal video though, we see clips of Elena and her fans lip-syncing and dancing to the song in their Instagram stories. Copy and paste everything we’ve said about the previous two songs from the album here – if you’ve heard one song, you’ve heard all 13, and there’s not much variety in pace and style to keep casual fans interested enough to listen all the way through.
What do you make of these latest songs coming from Russian Eurovision alumni? Which ones will you be adding to your playlists? Comment down below all your thoughts!