Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Eurovision 2014: My two winners

 Hello, everyone!

The Calm After the Storm (photo by me)
 It's now been a week since Eurovision, and I'm pleasantly surprised that no less than four of its songs are in the UK Top 40 Singles Chart.

 Calm After the Storm, the Netherlands' song, is at number 9, Rise Like a Phoenix,the winning song from Austria, is at 17, the UK's entry, Children of the Universe, is at 23 and Swedish entry Undo is at 40.

 For me, this a a brilliant sign for Eurovision; that its songs are making their way into the daily lives of British people. They aren't things to be listened to as a one-off, but something to be enjoyed and valued.

 However, I am a bit sad that Malta's entry, Coming Home, hasn't yet made the Top 40. It and Calm After the Storm were definitely my two favourites, and both received a vote from me. I'm now going to talk a bit more about these two songs and why I love them.


 I will start by debauching any perception anyone may have that, as both songs are folk/country songs, I only like Eurovision songs in this style. This is untrue.

 Some of my favourite ESC songs over the years have been pop, rock or semi-opera, and there are many folksy entries that I haven't liked; Latvia's entry this year, Bake a Cake, comes to mind.

 No, the reason I like Calm After the Storm and Coming Home are that they are both great songs, independent of one another of of their musical style.


 Firstly, Coming Home by Firelight.

 Before hearing the sing itself, I heard a tiny bit of this on a recap of songs and I just knew I would like it. When I heard it through, I liked it even more than I had anticipated, and it became my favourite song in the competition. I also love the video; it's very moving and relevant for the Centenary of World War I.

 Commentators in the UK compared Firelight more than once to Mumford and Sons, but I don't hear that much of a resemblance. I agree with other comparisons, though - to Gary Barlow (Let Me Go) and One Direction (Story of my Life). 

 Despite these similarities, I think this song stands alone and is much better than any of the things it's been compared to!

 I'm really glad the UK gave several points to Malta, though I wish the song had achieved a better placing by the end (it came 23rd). It's certainly a song I'll listen to again and again, long after this year's Eurovision fever has sizzled out.


 Secondly, Calm After the Storm by the Common Linnets. 

 I really glad to see this reach the UK Top 10; I had had a hunch that it would do well in our charts.

 When I first heard it, I thought it was a very average country song, but pretty enough. I hoped it would do well as it was so different and would be a refreshingly different winner. 

 However, it really grew on me in the two days between its semi-final and the final, and I liked it so much in the final that it received my second vote. I now like it even more: it is a real grower.

 I was really glad to see it receive so many 10s and 12s; it's really not your typical Eurovision winner and I had worried it would be overlooked, but instead it did incredibly well, eventually coming second. 

 I hope this is the beginning of a successful international career for both members of the Common Linnets, Ilse deLange and Waylon. They are already big in their own country; in fact, Ilse is a current coach on the Dutch version of the Voice (which I've just found out was the very first version of the show!).


 I wish these two bands the very best for the future, and hope they will turn out to be Eurovision success stories, like Abba and Céline Dion. Even if they don't, I doubt their wonderful Eurovision offerings will ever be forgotten. They are a pair of songs with true longevity.

 Thanks for reading,

 Liz x


Songs: Coming Home - Firelight - 2014
Calm After the Storm - The Common Linnets - 2014

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