Athena Manoukian’s “Chains on You” defies Eurovision convention, proving that R&B and hip-hop do have a place in this glittery sphere. Risky, bold, daring — Athena takes no prisoners as she pops and locks and reminds all of us of our self-worth and potential. She may sing of chains, but this song is ultimately about emancipation.

Athena — who has drawn comparisons to Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B — had to break free herself, competing in a field of 12 acts at Depi Evratesil — Armenia’s Eurovision 2020 selection. In the days afterwards she realised that her diamond needed to be polished, and worked with Armenian singer/songwriter Artem Valter to take it to the next level. The production now takes us on a journey through space-age sounds, sensual breaths and even electro-bass — all the while calling on people to unleash their potential and let their gifts shine.

Scroll down for “Chains on You” lyrics

Armenia in Eurovision 2020: Athena Manoukian “Chains On You”

Athena fits the theme of #OpenUp very well, as she has been crossing borders and sharing cultures her entire life. Her mother is Greek and her father is Greek-Armenian, making her 25% Armenian. However, as she told me in an interview ahead of Depi Evratesil, she feels like Armenia is her second home. She has started learning the Armenian language and proudly identifies with both sides of her heritage.

We know about her connections to Greece but our queen is slaying across all corners of the globe. Her hit single “XO” planted her squarely in our sights in 2014 and it took a globetrotting effort to produce it. The song was recorded in Stockholm, Sweden and the music video was shot in Sydney, Australia. “XO” received an Armenian Pulse Award for Best Song in English.

Greece’s only Eurovision win came back in 2005, when Helena Paparizou performed “My Number One“. The final took place one day before Athena Manoukian turned 11 years old. Fast forward to 2017 and Athena would go on to co-write a song for the Eurovision legend. “Palia mou agapi” can certainly be regarded as one of Athena’s greatest songwriting achievements to date!

More recently, our girl tried her luck on X Factor UK, raising eyebrows with a provocative dance number as she took on Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love”.

 

In the weeks between her Depi Evratesil win and the release of her music video, Athena undertook a  major revamp of her Eurovision song “Chains on You”. Some had complained that the original was monotonous. Well not anymore. Subtle production tweaks mean there are frequent changes in sounds and texture. New additions include a deep synth reverb, more prominent percussion taps and intense clapping. The presence of the claps adds to the fire and gives the electronic production a very human touch.

About 1:20 in we hear vocal breaths — a deep huh, huh, huh — and at 1:40 sci-fi space sounds take us to a new realm. The bridge at 2:15 now comes with major bass. Amid the instrumental Athena adds the lyrics “hurt me”, cutting through the vocal silence and creating a moment of intense connection. The final 20 seconds crank up the heat and when the song stops you want to hit replay. Just wow.

Speaking to Wiwibloggs, she said: “We had only 2 weeks after Depi Evratesil to revamp the song and shoot the music video, and after days and nights of rehearsals and preparations I’m very excited to share the result of our work. It is truly a joy working alongside such a professional team and believe me, we have a lot more surprises coming up!”

What do the “Chains on You” lyrics mean?

With “Chains on You”, Athena encourages the listener to hold on to their dreams and talents, even as others try to tear them down. As she told us recently: “It’s talking about people’s worth — people’s diamonds.”

“Sometimes there are people trying to take these diamonds away from us, but that’s why I say, ‘keeping my diamonds on you’, ‘diamonds shining on me.’ It’s because your diamonds can only shine on you. Never forget this.”

In short, someone can try and steal your jewels, but the light is still going to come back to you if you believe.

The song seems to cast this in terms of a relationship. Athena lets her other half know she is boss and won’t follow whatever script he’s throwing down.

“I got it, you wanna take me to the party, ’cause you’re naughty,” she says. Athena re-iterates that she’s in the driver’s seat: “Well, let me tell you a kind of story. Yeah, I start it, I make it, I write it, I work it, don’t like it, I’m gonna say no.” Silence can be taken as consent, so Athena is going to speak up.

“Chains on You” lyrics – Athena Manoukian (Armenia ESC 2020)

Written and composed by: Athena Manoukian and DJ Paco, revamp by Artem Valter.

I got it
You wanna take me to the party
‘Cause you’re naughty, huh
Well, let me tell you a kind of story

Yeah, I start it, I make it, I write it, I work it
Don’t like it, I’m gonna say no
I ain’t lyin’, I’m tryin’, I’m flyin’, no bye
And I know I’m gonna make it to the top

Keepin’ my diamonds on you
I’m keepin’ my diamonds on you
Keepin’ my diamonds on you
“I got angels by my side”
This is what I said to you
Diamonds shinin’ on me
My diamonds shinin’ on me
Diamonds shinin’ on me
You said “I don’t really care”
Can’t you see I’m right here?

Boy, don’t deny, my lips on fire, they’re screamin’
Boy, let me breathe, you’re all I need and I say
Boy, call my name, we’re burnin’ flame, I want you
Boy, I’m yours, only yours and of course hurt me

Chains on, chains on you
I’ma put them, boy
Chains on, chains on you
Chains on, chains on you
I’ma put them, boy
Chains on, chains on you

I’m starin’ at you while sittin’ next to you
I think I got it, you just started thinkin’ how I’ll know it’s under you
So you’re walkin’ towards me and I know I should believe
I will be the one that really make you feelin’ like a boss

I start it, I make it, I write it, I work it
Don’t like it, I’m gonna say no
I ain’t lyin’, I’m tryin’, I’m flyin’, no bye
And I know I’m gonna make it to the top

Keepin’ my diamonds on you
I’m keepin’ my diamonds on you
Keepin’ my diamonds on you
“I got angels by my side”
This is what I said to you
Diamonds shinin’ on me
My diamonds shinin’ on me
Diamonds shinin’ on me
You said “I don’t really care”
Can’t you see I’m right here?

Boy, don’t deny, my lips on fire, they’re screamin’
Boy, let me breathe, you’re all I need and I say
Boy, call my name, we’re burnin’ flame, I want you
Boy, I’m yours, only yours and of course hurt me

Chains on, chains on you
I’ma put them, boy
Chains on, chains on you
Chains on, chains on you
I’ma put them, boy
Chains on, chains on you

I got it
You wanna take me to the party
‘Cause you’re naughty, huh
Well, let me tell you a kind of story

Chains on, chains on you
I’ma put them, boy
Chains on, chains on you
Chains on, chains on you
I’ma put them, boy
Chains on, chains on you

Diamonds shinin’ on me
My diamonds shinin’ on me
Diamonds shinin’ on me
You said “I don’t really care”
Can’t you see I’m right here?

Do Athena’s lyrics speak to you? Do you think the message of the song comes through clearly? Sound off in the comments below. 

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hasmig
hasmig
5 months ago

Hayastan 2021

ani
ani
5 months ago

she better slay for hayastan next year with something even better but love chains on you

esc2021rotterdam
esc2021rotterdam
5 months ago

Coronavirus is keeping eurovisions diamonds on itself this year but diamonds will shine on eurovision next year. Such a great meaning about our situation these days.