RtD14: Looking Back at Estonia
Welcome back to the Road to Denmark 2014! As you may have noticed, we skipped our host country to head to Estonia. I will review Dk last as that makes the most sense to me. Disagree? Leave a comment below!
I was honestly surprised when I made this table. I had no idea just how much I liked the Estonian entries. Each one has its own unique flair. I think Estonia, much more than most others, has done a great job of sending a diverse array of entries to the Contest. They are also one of the few countries that have found more success in their native language than in English.
2007 – Partners in Crime – A fun power ballad performed by the sister of 1/2 of Estonia’s winning duo. Originally, I liked this song a lot, but over time, its appeal has lessened. Overall, its a bit one note, she’s at max level throughout most of the song. Additionally, it’s a rather simple entry without much charm.
2008 – Leto Svet – What happens when you take three old guys, two of which are politicians, and tell them to make funny song that mixes in some pandering to the host crowd: Estonia 2008. While the song is fun, it’s incredibly silly and nonsensical. There’s no meaning or depth to it. You know it’s a bad sign when you can mute the performance and not lose anything from it.
2009 – Rândajad – Perhaps the most popular Estonian entry to date, Rândajad is another song with suspect lyrics from Estonia. What redeems it, though, is how the mysteriousness of the song is captured in both its arrangement and its performance. One can actually picture oneself on the Saharan dunes, watching these nomads travel by night. The orchestration was perfect. The singing was perfect. The visual arrangement was perfect. This is how you help a song rise above its station.
2010 – Siren – And Estonia comes crashing back to Earth. I like this song about as much as I like Rândajad; however, I believe I am in the minority holding that sentiment. I think the performance fits the song and the song fits the duo of Malcolm Lincoln. I think a combination of running order, retro sound, and suspect lyrics did this entry in.
2011 – Rockefeller Street – A heavy favorite coming into the Grand Final, this song was supposed to challenge Denmark, France, and the UK for the win. We all know how that turned out. I do not think I am alone in saying the results of the 2011 Contest were one of the most surprising in Contest history when they are compared against the betting odds and public opinion preceding ESC week. Objectively, though, a bland pop song with lyrics that don’t make a whole lot of sense (“1…2…7…3”?) that had a childish performance – there should not be a whole lot of surprise that this song did not do well, except to ask why it beat out some of the competition left behind in the Second Semi-Final.
2012 – Kuula – I know I am in the minority when I say that this song is highly overrated. It’s boring, doesn’t really go anywhere, and is overdramatic. A positive, though, is that Lepland flawlessly performs it. I think it is on the back of this performance, in a year where a lot of vocal abilities were subpar, that this song succeeded.
2013 – Et Uus Saaks Alguse – An incredibly aptly titled song as Birgit was pregnant when she performed this entry. She gave Estonia another flawless vocal performance. Interestingly, though, she was not as successful as Ott Lepland, even though both songs were of equal quality. Perhaps this was due to the stronger field of entries in Malmô compared to Baku.
Let’s Take a Closer Look at: Estonia 2010. The Contest in Oslo saw a revitalization of retro sounding entries, from Estonia to Albania, to Serbia to the Netherlands, among others. This trend has continued as a few countries always seem to submit, 70s, 80s, and 90s era songs to the Contests in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Unfortunately, while these songs add some much needed diversity, they do not tend to be very successful. I say unfortunately because I tend to like these songs a lot! What’s the consensus on these kinds of entries? Do other fans like them, too, or do I stand alone? Leave a comment below!