I’m writing this without giving the rest of the Picky Bastards a pre-warning first. Anyone expecting a group of music fans like us to write an article slating the biggest music show in the world can find another website that will happily do that. I LOVE the Eurovision Song Contest. It’s high camp, it’s energetic, it has some terrible songs sometimes, but when it gets it right there’s no better place to find music you’ll never forget.
Rather than dive into the archives and create another tired top 10 list that mentions Cliff and Brotherhood Of Man (yawn), instead I’m staying as current as I can and picking out some of the most interesting, best and downright weirdest songs that are to compete in for the 2021 title in Rotterdam, just under a month from now. There are some gems this year so buckle up for a journey into the world of Eurovision 2021.
Voices – Tusse – Sweden
Let’s start with the leaders of recent Eurovision songs, Sweden. Their entry is always the winner of Melodifestivalen, a six-week long competition that is the most popular show on Swedish television. You think Eurovision fans get one week a year to look forward to? These sorts of things happen for months every single year, with the resulting song in 2021 being ‘Voices’ by Tusse. While I wish the studio version had a little less tweaking of Tusse’s voice, this is a really great song. Massive in scale, full of #Inspirational backing vocals this will be a highlight on the night.
10 Years – Daði Freyr – Iceland
The big story this year is obviously that Eurovision didn’t happen in 2020. All of the songs were selected, everyone was on the promo trail already, but the show itself was cancelled. Rather than carry songs over a year, they decided it would be unfair for songs to have a whole year to become big hits. It makes sense though, the biggest of those hits was by Daði Freyr, whose ‘Think About Things’ was EVERYWHERE last summer. Instantly memorable and all over Tik Tok, he’s back again this year with the very similar 10 Years. It’s not as instant as last year’s song, but there’s a strange charm to his performance it’s hard to dislike.
ZITTI E BUONI – Måneskin – Italy
Something a bit different here, from a country that has been delivering brilliant Eurovision songs (and high final placings) for a few years now. It’s probably not what you’d expect from a thing like Eurovision, but rock songs and ‘bands’ have had a history of doing quite well on the night. I really like the energy of this, not exactly ‘Hard Rock’, but raucous enough that it’ll stand out.
Je Me Casse – Destiny – Malta
Now we are talking. One watch of this video and I’m obsessed with this, Destiny is full of personality and energy. The saxophone is irritating enough that this has been lodged in my head since that first listen. ‘Boy why you putting that drink in my hand, Think if I’m drunk then I’ll give you a chance’ this a great pop record lyrically and musically. Definitely a favourite for me.
Set Me Free – Eden Alene – Israel
I don’t know if all of this year’s Eurovision songs sound like K-Pop songs, or if K-Pop songs all sound like Eurovision songs, but either way this could be a Blackpink single. It’s also worth noting for including ‘the highest note in Eurovision history’, a B6 whistle note for anyone who knows what that means.
RUSSIAN WOMAN – Manizha – Russia
I mean it would be weird if one of the other entries was called ‘Russian Woman’, but this is probably my favourite entry in a long time from Russia.
Tout l’univers – Gjon’s Tears – Switzerland
The last actual winner of Eurovision, Arcade by Duncan Lawrence went on to become a massive international hit, via Tik Tok of course. The first Eurovision winner to chart in the UK in nearly a decade, in fact. Of the songs that look to recreate that same energy, this is probably the best, even if it’s not very exciting.
Adrenalina – Senhit – San Marino
San Marino are cult favourites at Eurovision, such a small nation that has only ever qualified for the final twice. This year is made even more random by the fact that Flo Rida, of ‘Apple bottom jeans’ fame, is featured on the song. If he turns up on the night, I’m going to love every second.
Shum – Go_A – Ukraine
This will do very well. I know that sounds like I’m being ridiculous, but this baffling song that starts off like a folk hymn and builds and builds until it properly goes wild for the final minute is classic Eurovision. I have no idea what this song is about, but it’s exhausting and exciting in equal measure so I’m here for it.
Embers – James Newman – United Kingdom
It would be weird for me to not mention the UK entry, but bear with me on this, it’s actually quite good. Arguably the best entry we’ve had for as long as I can remember, if this was played alongside the ‘Hot Hits UK’ playlist on Spotify you wouldn’t notice any difference. After years of endless ‘will this do’ entries, a proper UK dance banger that sounds like it was produced by someone who’s actually heard a pop record in the last decade, this is a revelation.
So that’s just a handful of songs that are worth catching from this year’s entries. I think this is one of the strongest years in a while, in terms of songs I actively want to add to my own playlists, and after nearly two years without a Eurovision Song Contest I am parched for the main event.
Words by Sam Atkins