1992 EUROVISION SONG CONTEST – MALMÖ
This is probably the only place in all of the World Wide Web where you can obtain Daniel Viles' opinions on the songs of the 1992 Eurovision Song Contest held in the Icehockey Arena of Malmö, Sweden. The contest was held on May 9 and was won by Linda Martin of Ireland.
1. Spain – Serafín Zubiri – Todo Esto es la Música *
The first of two Swedish Eurosongs for Serafín (also plays at Stockholm in 2000) who, incidentally, is blind, so I can't blame him for the pure white Richard Clayderman piano he plays. This is your standard Eurovision power ballad; rambling non-melodic verses building to an irritatingly loud chorus. Serafin's voice needs a lot more strength for this sort of song. Not a good start.
2. Belgium – Morgane – Nous on Veut des Violons **
The Eurosong is often criticised in this part of the world for providing a standard of entertainment no better than a TV talent quest. This is the sort of song that these comments have in mind. The song is a boppy little pop shuffle with lots of boring motifs. But even with this bit of fodder, Morgane is out of her depth here. She simply can't project her voice enough to give this song a chance, not that it really deserved one.
3. Israel – Dafna Dekel – Ze Rak Sport **
A lesson can be learned from this performance – volume is different from strength. Dafna, who would go on to co-host the 1999 Eurovision, shouts her way through this fairly lifeless samba (I would have thought that 'lifeless samba' was oxymoronic!) and basically kills any chance this has of becoming anything better than a passable song to dance to.
4. Turkey – Aylin Vatankos – Yaz Bitti *
I'm beginning to wonder whether the performers were given a chance to warm up at this contest. Perhaps my sound files are badly mixed. Either way, the vocal performances at this contest have been terrible. Yaz is no exception, bluffing a mediocre path through this light pop ballad. The chorus introduces a light funk beat but don't get excited. This is more 'New Faces' stuff.
5. Greece – Cleopatra – Olou tou Kosmou i Elpida *****
I knew I could count on Greece to raise the standards. Cleopatra's vocal performance is a little inconsistent, which suggests that Malmö's warm-up facilities weren't all that they should have been, but there is a clear gap in class between Cleopatra and the four previous singers. This is a relatively sophisticated pop song, certainly in this company, managing to be both brooding and uplifting. The counterpoints on the unidentified wind instrument which looks like a clarinet and sounds like a doudouk deserve special mention.
And raising the standards even further, an all-time great Eurovision song. It is also possibly the only reggae song ever to grace a Eurovision stage. The laid-back marimba-led rhythm just gently pushes the song along while Kali's rich baritone voice is as pure as the Caribbean that inspires this music. Horns add a little punch to the latter stages of the song to complete a superbly created soundscape. The three-minute time limit for Eurovision songs is greatly lamented at moments such as these.
7. Sweden – Christer Björkman – Imorgon är en Annan Dag **
However, for power ballads such as these, I would quite happily accept a three-second time limit! The song is unimaginative and Christer's vocals are pleasant enough without showing anything special. This song's one redeeming feature, however, is the arrangement for the backing vocals. The harmonies are almost 'doo-wop' style harmonies, which make the song sound much warmer. It's not often that I praise Eurovision backing vocalists but this deserves mention.
8. Portugal – Dina – Amor d'Agua Fresca **
Fortunately for Dina, I don't hate mid-tempo easy listening pop songs nearly as much as I hate boring power ballads, but this song still sucks. I think the whole point of 'easy listening' songs is that they don't go anywhere, which means that the people who tend to listen to this sort of song don't like their music to do anything that might be considered exciting or creative. If you like 4KQ, this is your song.
9. Cyprus – Evridiki – Teriazoume ****
This song could probably best be described as half pop song, half show tune; however one categorises it, it certainly deserves a few listens. Evridiki's voice copes with the mood changes throughout this song quite well although I wish she'd lay off the vibrato a little. The main feature of the composition is the haunting string ostinato that darkens the song right from the first bar. Not a classic song but definitely worth a spin.
10. Malta – Mary Spiteri – Little Child **
I wonder if 'Mary Spiteri' is rhyming slang for 'airy fairy'? Mary does her noble best to look, dress and sound like Shirley Bassey, so if your musical tastes are inclined towards Maltese Bassey impersonators, this song is for you. I'm not a fan of the musical style employed here, but for those who are, this is a genuinely good vocal performance. For old people only!
11. Iceland – Heart 2 Heart – Nei Eða Já **
Eurovision contests invariably have at least one Motown shuffle; in 1992, it's Iceland's turn. Once again, this song is just a minor variation on the style template, so if you go for this sort of thing... The vocal performance here is desperately in need of a recording studio. The two girls shout their way from start to finish. I doubt that they could sing more than four songs like this in one evening before their throats gave way.
12. Finland – Pave Maijanen – Yamma Yamma ***
One for the ageing rockers here. This up-tempo number is actually not a bad late seventies style rock song, similar in style to the Little River Band (i.e. easy listening/rock). Pave sounds like an ageing rocker, he plays guitar like an ageing rocker, the song sounds like it was written by an ageing rocker and it should appeal to people who like music by ageing rockers.
13. Switzerland – Daisy Auvray – Mister Music Man ***
Ute Lemper, eat your heart out! Yes, for the first time in a while, we have a cabaret song in Eurovision, which, despite the English title, is sung in French. This is the slow strip style of cabaret song with the big band blaring and the songstress (who is rather influenced by the previously mentioned German legend) draping herself over anyone or anything worth more than a hundred grand a year. Enjoy this one; Daisy sure did!
14. Luxembourg – Marion Welter – Sou Fräi **
There is a reason why Luxembourg doesn't compete in Eurovision anymore. This is an up-tempo pop song that, for some reason I can't quite explain, sounds like something Christopher Cross might do. Marion sounds like she's been trained at one of these annoying talent schools where they teach normal kids to sing and dance like dickheads. A pleasant enough song but it can fade into obscurity quite happily.
15. Austria – Tony Wegas – Zusammen Geh'n *
And now, a song for you from Austria's favourite greasy lounge singer. Yes, this song is a boring power ballad and, as such, it deserves no mercy. For those of you who still think I'm being harsh on poor Tony Wegas, check out the sudden decision to go for a power note up the octave to finish the song. The highlight is the four bar introduction on the cello. The Austrian Eurovision committee should have just put that on a loop for three minutes.
16. United Kingdom – Michael Ball – One Step Out of Time *
And now, a song for you from the U.K.'s favourite greasy lounge singer. Michael sounds like he has also graduated from one of those annoying talent schools and now makes a living performing in variety shows at R.S.L. clubs and trying to get onto 'New Faces'. This is an up-tempo song rather than a power ballad but the aim of the song is the same – to get a fuck! Oh, do your health a favour and listen to this song without the picture.
17. Ireland – Linda Martin – Why Me? *
This is probably the worst of Ireland's four winning songs in the nineties. It amazes me that there are people in the world who can prefer one of these annoying power ballads over another apparently identical annoying power ballad. Linda, at least, sounds like the sort of singer who used to win 'New Faces'. There will be plenty of people who find this song romantic and uplifting. Do me a favour. Stay the hell away from me!
18. Denmark – Lotte Nilsson & Kenny Lübcke – Alt Det Som Ingen Ser *
Oh joy, another fucking club variety song. Well, at least it's something my grandmother can clap along to. Lotte and Kenny shout their way through this song, which is a boring up-tempo... have I said this before? I'm sure I've given this review before. Fuck it, it sucks!
19. Italy – Mia Martini – Rapsodia *
I think Mia watches 'A Star is Torn' and 'Mahogany' on alternate nights before she goes to bed. Look, there are only so many ways that I can review a bad power ballad. Strong voice, too much vibrato, insipid composition, blah, blah, blah... zzzzzzzzzz.
20. Yugoslavia – Extra Nena – Ljubim te Pesmama **
The Yugoslavs have tried to please everybody here. For me, they've entered a song with heavily Mediterranean verses, you know, the strings, the accordion, the mandolin, the whole bit! For the old farts, they've morphed these verses into grandstanding power choruses that probably get sung in Greek R.S.L. clubs. This contest has taken a real dive since the Swiss entry.
21. Norway – Merethe Trøan – Visjoner *
The intro to this song sounds so promising. Merethe is a little out of tune but the harmonies are sweet enough. But just as you get comfortable, out comes the orchestra and suddenly, we have a disco song. A bad disco song. The sort of song that gets sung in R.S.L. clubs at variety shows. About the only suggestion I can make to liven this song up would be to have the backing singers dress up like a construction worker, a policeman, a Native American...
22. Germany – Wind – Träume Sind für Alle Da *
If a guy were singing this song right the way through, it would sound like the sort of power ballad they sing for the winner of the Miss America pageant. This is absolutely insipid.
23. Netherlands – Humphrey Campbell – Wijs Me de Weg *
Oh, I spoke too soon. There was no need for the Norwegians to hire the Village People, the Netherlands have beaten them to it. Of course, these Dutch lads don't need to use outlandish costumes to get attention; they dress in a far more tasteful orange uniform. A perverted sense of nationalism, perhaps? This is for disco fans only.
This contest, overall, was an absolute disaster. Highlights were few are far between as most entries went for the irritating ballad or shapeless disco club number. The 'dud' of the night was probably the German song, but it was a strong field for that particular award.
Moving on to the positives, Greece and France were the picks of the night with both Cleopatra and Kali performing absolute gems. Cyprus' entry was creative while Finland and Switzerland drew on old styles to produce good tunes. Unfortunately, these five are all that can be enjoyed from this contest. A real dud.
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