RtD14: Looking Back at Croatia
Happy Thanksgiving! A moment of silence for Croatia’s withdrawal from ESC2014.
And we’re back! Croatia, a country that I consistently like (though, not love), is withdrawing from next year’s Contest (along with several other countries, sadness!) but they have left a legacy of some nice, heartfelt songs.
2007 – Vjerujem u Ljubav – A unique song that doesn’t neatly fit the ESC mold. It sounds a bit sloppy to me, like it didn’t quite come together correctly. It’s an alright song, I suppose.
2008 – Romanca – One of Croatia’s more popular entries. Apparently, this was a group of street performers before they competed at ESC. I loved the feel of this song – it’s so cool. And they were so stylish! It’s a shame this song didn’t do better.
2009 – Lijepa Tena – This song was a beneficiary of the jury wild card spot for the second semi-final in 2009. It’s a bit melodramatic, but generally is a nice listen. The singing is passionate, though a bit screechy at times, the music could be better, but it fits the overall tone of the song.
2010 – Lako je Sve – A big favorite going into the Contest, the return of a much more mature Feminnem to the Contest, this time for the homeland. This song is amazing, the story of a woman crawling back to her husband after cheating, the composition is moving, and the performance was gripping. It suffered from being in a very strong semi-final.
2011 –Celebrate – A fun, lively song that’s a bit on the daft side. There’s not much to this fluff song – just fun.
2012 – Nebo – A stirring song. A bit of discord among the fans, as they generally like the original composition and performance better than the Contest version, but I like both versions. The song is purposefully underwhelming, aiming to move the soul as opposed to appeal to the shallow vanities as many entries try to do.
2013 – Mižerija – Croatia, once again aiming for a high brow entry, presented a piece of high culture with this entry, as klapa style is considered a part of the world heritage. While ESC is most definitely the stage where a nation should be displaying its unique cultures, when this is done, one must remember that great success should, unfortunately, not be expected. A truly beautiful work of art stymied by its entrance into a pop music competition.
Let’s Take a Closer Look At: Croatia 2010. This song is a part of a bigger point that I’ve made before in my live notes. One semi-final always seems much stronger than the other. Some how, some way, more of the favorites and other strong contenders end up together while the other semi-final remains weak. In 2010, favorites, Croatia, Denmark, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Armenia, Israel, and Turkey, not to mention Georgia, Sweden, Ukraine, and Ireland, were all in the second semi-final, along with the Netherlands (which had developed quite the cult following). It’s no wonder that a song as strong as Lako je Sve failed to move through to the Final. How do we balance this? How do we ensure that both semi-finals are equally balanced in quality? Especially, since it’s usually the second-semi-final that is stronger. It will be interesting to see how the two semi-final format continues to stabilize as we move forward it continues to establish itself.