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We have an artist!

The Netherlands has announced that they will be represented at Eurovision 2016 by Douwe Bob! Here are a couple songs of his to get you familiar with him:

“Pass It On”

“Stone in a River”

I can’t say I’m super thrilled. One of my least favorite genres of music is the set of fratty white guys with acoustic guitars (term copyright of Todd in the Shadows) singing pseudo-deep, almost sleazy platitudes about love or life designed to seduce the listener. I’ve spent a good portion of the evening familiarizing myself with Douwe Bob’s catalogue, and, regrettably, he fits exactly into this description. To be fair, his almost bluegrass “Multi Colored Angels” does show a tad bit of promise; if he goes in that direction and stays away from the faux-poetry, words could be eaten.

The Netherlands never do super well in my personal rankings; their song last year, “Walk Along,” came close before it was ruined by shoddy staging, non-comittal dramatic choices, and an uninvested performance, but before that, you have to go back to 2007 to find the last Dutch entry I loved. This probably won’t be any different, but he might whip up something to surprise me; who knows? The song is slated to be released in February, so we’ll wait until then to see what Mr. Bob creates.

And by the way, oh dear Dutch broadcaster, if you’re reading this, Dotan.

“Alone” by Sasha Bognibov – A Review

So I procrastinated so much on the genre explanations that I ran up against the first song of the national final season! We’ll get back to those later; we have a very important matter at hand. A couple days ago, the Eurovision edit of our very first possible entry was released.

Perhaps I should clarify: every country has at its discretion its method for choosing the song. Sometimes, they’ll select the song/artist internally, but some countries, such as Sweden, who get higher ratings for their national selection than Eurovision itself, and Moldova, whom we’ll be discussing today, pick their song in a televised event, like a mini-Eurovision for the country.

Usually,  I wouldn’t devote a full post to a single national final entry, but this one’s getting a write-up because:

  1. It was the first song released, and
  2. It is just that good.

Bognibov has released 16 national final entries including this one, and none of them have actually been selected to compete in the Moldovan national final, O Melodie Pentru Europa (“A Song for Europe”). This, however, is his best chance at getting his foot in the door. The vocal is rich and nuanced, and the production, also done by him, makes some truly inspired contrasts between the slower verses and the synthy, catchy, power-pop chorus. His lyrics are extremely evocative, and speak to anyone who’s ever felt even a slight tinge of loneliness at any point in their life. By listen 17, I was finally ready to take advantage of the upbeat chorus and start dancing instead of crying. All in all, I can’t wait to see this song compete at O Melodie Pentru Europa; keep your fingers crossed for him! It might even end up being the Moldovan Eurovision entry, which would put Moldova solidly in my top 10 for the year, possibly even higher. Y’all should also check out the 4-minute version, which features a deeply unsettling music box intro that only adds to the strength of the song.