1994 EUROVISION SONG CONTEST - DUBLIN
This page contains
Daniel Viles' official opinions on the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest held in the
Point Theatre in Dublin and won by Ireland for the third consecutive time. The
highlight of the staging was a giant swirl starting at the stage rear and
billowing out towards the front of the stage. A number of performers made good
use of this feature.
1. SWEDEN -
Stjärnorna - Marie Bergman & Roger Pontare **
please tell me what makes Eurovision entrants think that if they enter a power
ballad, people are going to prefer to any of the other songs exactly like it. I
mean, what is the logic? Are there power ballad connoisseurs out there who
discuss the variations between each rendition? Roger's warbling voice sounds
exactly as it does six years later in Stockholm, but Marie's voice is actually
quite pleasant. She deserved a better song - and partner.
2. FINLAND - Bye Bye
Baby – CatCat ***
This is a late 70s disco style tune with a
dark atmosphere that owes quite a bit to "Ra Ra Rasputin". I can
imagine this song being quite divisive. Some people will enjoy the strange mood
and the driving rhythm, while others will quite unashamedly lampoon it as a
classic piece of archaic Eurovision dribble. Worth a listen just to see what
side of the fence you sit on.
3. IRELAND - Rock
'n' Roll Kids – Paul Harrington & Charlie McGettigan ***
Hmm, a slow piano country ballad about rock
n roll? The lyrical references are kitsch and the nostalgia is very mushy
indeed, so don't listen to this song for the lyrics unless you're a 4KQ
listener. Do, however, enjoy the laid-back vocals and the tastefully simple
arrangement that genuinely do give the song its nostalgic feel. It would have
been oh too easy to bring on the big arrangement and turn this into a
mega-ballad. Full credit to the arranger for resisting this evil temptation.
4. CYPRUS - Ime
Anthropos Ke Ego – Evridiki **
What do you get when you mix a power ballad
with a thousand wog stereotypes? THIS SONG! If Celine Dion was Cyprian, this is
how she'd sound. The folk instrumentation makes it bearable, but there are so
many better uses of balalaikas to be found. Give this a miss.
5. ICELAND - Nćtur –
Mid-tempo loud ballad alert! If it isn't bad
enough that this song is completely unoriginal, the singer seems completely
unaware that there are sections where she possibly should be singing a little
bit softer - the bits where the music goes soft, for example. Give this a wide
6. UNITED KINGDOM -
We Will be Free (Lonely Symphony) - Frances Rufelle **
Given that I don't understand the lyrics of
the other songs in this contest, it would be unfair of me to single this song
out for inane lyricism. This is a funk piece with gospel backing vocalists and
a string quartet inserted into the middle section. To complete this musical
equivalent of a road accident, Frances' vocals are pleasant enough but sound a
little strained in the high sections. I'm all for stylistic fusion in music, but
I'm not convinced that this works.
7. CROATIA - Nek'ti
Bude Ljubov Sva - Tony Cetinski *
Three comments not heard at the 1994
Eurovision: "Gee, I'm so glad Croatia are in Eurovision so that they can
sing a power ballad"; "What a wonderful trumpet solo!" "I
just love it when guys end songs on an out-of-tune falsetto note".
8. PORTUGAL – Chamar
a Música – Sara *
Oh, for fuck's sake, enough already! I'm
used to an abundance of slow power ballads in Eurovision, but five of the first
eight? Mercy baby, mercy!
9. SWITZERLAND - Sto
Pregando – Duilio **
Make that six of the first nine. The song is
called 'Sto Pregando', just in case hearing the title thirty times in the song
isn't enough for you.
10. ESTONIA - Nagu
Merelaine - Silvi Vrait *
Seven of the first ten! Don't be fooled by
the rock guitar introduction. This is as bad as it gets. Silvi's voice is a
joke (unless you enjoy women who sound like they really should give up the
smokes professing undying love to you in a Baltic language) and the music is as
unsurprising as anything else in this contest.
11. ROMANIA -
Dincolo de Nori - Dan Bittman **
It was a song of two halves. The song starts
with an Elton-style piano solo. Is it a ballad? Is it something original for a
change? The vocals aren't good but there is just enough hope there to keep you
listening to the song. Then, about halfway through, the song takes a one second
pause...and re-invents itself as...a power ballad. I give up. I fucking give up!
12. MALTA - More
than Love - Chris Scicluna & Moira Stafrace *
And now, a power ballad - Maltese style! I think this song actually tries to piss you off. Just when you think you
just might be able to bear another three minutes of this, Moira starts on the
vocal gymnastics. This leaves enough room in the melody line for a good dose of
'overharmonisatia'. And lastly, as a special treat, the accompaniment adds
tubular bells. You read right, tubular fucking bells! And we're only halfway!
13. NETHERLANDS -
Waar is de Zon? - Willeke Alberti *
The power ballad connoisseurs are having a real night out tonight!
Yay! It's not a power ballad! In fact, it's
really quite good. This song is a strange mix of late seventies disco music and
wartime showgirl music. Needless to say, the vocals sound like a trio of
wartime showgirls trying their hand at disco music. You'll have to make your
own mind up about whether it works or not. Personally, I think that this is
great fun. Chances are that if you enjoyed "Doop", you may well enjoy
this. Oh, and enjoy the contributions from 'Mr Bass Man'.
15. SLOVAKIA -
Nekonecna Piesen - Martin Durinda & Tublatanka **
The seventies pop scene featured a number of
singers who sounded like they had just failed a Broadway audition. Martin
Durinda was apparently one of them. This is a very dated up-tempo pop tune
performed by a rather untalented singer. About the only thing going for it is
that it isn't a power ballad.
16. LITHUANIA -
Lopsine Mylimai - Ovidijus Vyshniauskas *
This is a power ballad (and I'm having a déjŕ vu) sung by a throaty male blues singer. I
would have thought that "Up Where We Belong" would have been enough
evidence for people to realise that blues voices and power ballads don't mix.
Perhaps most people have realised this but years of Soviet oppression have
robbed the Lithuanians of this vital piece of information. Once again, unless
you love power ballads, don't waste your megabytes.
17. NORWAY - Duett -
Elisabeth Andreasson & Jan Werner Danielsen ****
Now, here's a real surprise (no sarcasm this
time). I am a firm believer that any musical genre done properly will sound
good. This song is proof that even a power ballad can sound magnificent. How
this one differs from the rest tonight is that: 1. the singers have the vocal
strength to carry the song (this was easily the standout vocal performance of
the contest), 2. the composition has a melody line that you actually want to
listen to; and; 3. every note in the composition serves to build the power in
the song. There are no unnecessary embellishments, no musical gimmickry, just a
superbly constructed song that is a real treat to listen to.
BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA – Alma & Dejan – Ostani Kraj Mene
review to follow when my WinAmp player
starts working again!
19. GREECE - Diri-diri - Costas Bigalis *****
It took me a little while to like this,
which is strange because I am a real folk music junkie. The balalaika intro is
a little misleading as to the direction of the song, but once the song proper
kicks in, this is genuine Greek summer fun. Costas' lilting vocals float
effortlessly over the string and percussion-driven arrangement and the vocal
harmonies in the choruses actually work, a first for Eurovision! It's not particularly
original but if you like Greek music, you may well love this.
20. AUSTRIA - Für
den Frieden der Welt - Petra Frey *
Yet another power ballad, this time with a
Jean-Michel Jarre influence. The tune is boring and I'm going to take a really
wild guess and say that the title translates as "For the Freedom of the
World". If that's the case, then the lyrics are dumb as well.
21. SPAIN - Ella no
es Ella - Alejandro Abad *
Some Spanish men simply need to be told that they not actually as sexy
as they think they are. Alejandro evidently desperately wants to be a tough and
sexy throaty singer and he just comes across as someone who is trying way too hard. The fact that he's singing another
power ballad doesn't exactly endear him to anyone either.
22. HUNGARY - Kinek
Mondjam el Vétkeimet - Fredirika Bayer ***
One of Eurovision's most prominent features is to hear great songs
butchered by awful singers. I doubt, however, that there have been many worse
cases of butchery to answer for than Fredirika's pre-meditated murder of this
delightful composition. This mellow 'lie back under the stars'-type tune
features some exquisite acoustic guitar work and a delightfully airy oboe
descant that lifts the piece at key moments. In fact, the orchestration of the
song generally is first class, only to be ruined by a completely insensitive
vocalist. Che disastro!
23. RUSSIA –
Vetschni Strannik – Youddith ***
another mix of genres that leaves me wondering exactly what happened. The
verses feature some more fine acoustic guitar work which underpins a gently
rolling melody, then, for some reason, the choruses burst into a rather loud,
crass Broadway show tune. Why, oh why? What composer wakes up and says,
"You know, I've got a really good little tune but it could do with just a
bit of Bernstein right about here." It promised so much...
24. POLAND – To Nie
Ja! – Edyta Górniak *
I bet you can't guess what the style of this song is! Oh... apparently,
you can. Lots of people go nuts over this song. Sickos!
25. FRANCE - Je Suis un Vrai Garçon - Nina Morato *****
This is far and away the most original
composition of the night, an honour that France seem to be getting quite used
to. This rock, almost art-rock, song teases the listener by keeping the rhythm
of the song in check while building the texture with guitars and strings to
create a sweeping soundscape that Led Zeppelin would be proud of. The result is
a tense, gripping song, which, aided by a charismatic vocal performance from
Nina, is strong enough to carry the listener along with it. Easily the pick of
That was pathetic!
Absolutely pathetic! No less that fifteen power ballads polluted Dublin's stage
during this contest and only one (Norway) was of any quality at all. The picks
of the night were France and Greece, followed by Norway and Germany, then
probably Ireland. After that, Finland, Hungary and Russia are the only songs
that I would recommend that you listen to AT ALL, which makes it difficult to
complete a top ten. So, I'm not going to! The 'dud of the night' award ends as
a four-way tie between Malta, Iceland, Slovakia and Lithuania. Things can only
get better from here.
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