Hello Dear Readers!
I thought this week, I would try something different. Instead of the usual twenty song playlist, I decided to craft two ten-song playlists – one for the heartbroken and one for heartbreakers. It’s no secret that Eurovision is full of love songs, but there are also quite a few anti-love songs. Here are twenty on both sides of the equation that I think are worth a listen. As a reminder, these songs come from the Televoting Era (1998 – onwards) with focus on recent years.
Songs for the Heartbroken
It’s never fun to be dumped — unless you can turn that pain into a successful song at Eurovision! These songs capture the anguish, remorse, loss, and pain that the end of a relationship can bring.
Find the playlist here: Eurovision for the Heartbroken
- Denmark 2012 – Should’ve Known Better performed by Soluna Somay
- Serbia 2008 – Oro performed by Jelena Tomašević
- Cyprus 2010 – Life Looks Better in Spring performed by Jon Lilygreen and the Islanders
- Iceland 2009 – Is it True? performed by Yohanna
- Bosnia & Herzegovina 2007 – Rijeka Bez Imena performed by Maria
- Greece 2015 – One Last Breath performed by Maria Elena Kyriakou
- Sweden 2004 – It Hurts performed by Lena Philipsson
- Russia 2010 – Lost & Forgotten performed by Peter Nalitch and Friends
- France 2009 – S’Il Fallait le Faire performed by Patricia Kaas
- Serbia & Montenegro 2004 – Lane Moje performed by Željko Joksimović
Honorable Mention: United Kingdom 2002, Portugal 2003, Slovenia 2006, Serbia 2012, Cyprus 2015, Montenegro 2015
Eurovision for Heartbreakers
Not every relationship ends in despair, in fact, oftentimes, one person is happy that the relationship is over. Sometimes their emotions can be joy, relief, excitement — just happy to be free of a bad relationship. These songs are for those who are feeling great to be single.
Find the playlist here: Eurovision for Heartbreakers
- Germany 2015 – Black Smoke performed by Ann Sophie
- Slovenia 2005 – Stop performed by Omar Naber
- Cyprus 2007 – Comme Çi, Comme Ça performed by Evridiki
- Italy 2012 – L’Amore È Femmina (Out of Love) performed by Nina Zilli
- Macedonia 2005 – Make My Day performed by Martin Vučić
- Slovenia 2011 – No One performed by Maja Keuc
- Belarus 2014 – Cheesecake performed by Teo
- Lithuania 2007 – Love or Leave performed by 4Fun
- Belgium 2013 – Love Kills performed by Roberto Bellarosa
- Denmark 2014 – Only Teardrops performed by Emmelie de Forest
Honorable Mention: Andorra 2006, Ukraine 2008, Denmark 2009, Poland 2011, Israel 2014, Estonia 2015
- Ballads of heartbreak and sadness are most known for coming from the former Yugoslav countries, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia. Furthermore, one man, Željko Joksimović is behind some of the most famous and successful entries for these countries as composer and occasional performer:
- 2004 – he performed Lane Moje, he won the semi-final but ultimately finished second
- 2006 – he composed Lejla, which Hari Mata Hari performed for Bosnia & Herzegovina. This is not only my favorite ESC song ever, but its third place is the best BiH finish to date.
- 2008 – in addition to hosting, he composed Serbia’s title defense effort Oro, finishing sixth.
- 2012 – his triumphant return as a performed, he performed his self-composed entry Nije Ljubav Stvar, finishing in third place.
- 2015 – he composed the Montengrin entry Adio, which only finished 13th, but is only the second Grand Final qualifier for Montenegro, and its highest ever finish.
- As female-led songs become more popular, we’ll see more and more heartbreaker songs.
- Interestingly enough, songs on both sides of the break-up spectrum range in tempo and tone.
The most recent previous list: Eurovision for Rockers
Next week: Eurovision for Baladeers
….And we’re back! After moving about 720 miles (~1155km), starting a graduate program, and dealing with various personal and health issues, I am back! Thank you for your patience 🙂
So, Dear Readers, this week brings us another playlist. This time, we’re looking at rock songs. When most think of “Eurovision + rock music” they immediately go to Hard Rock Hallelujah (Finland 2006), and with good reason. It is a winning entry and one of the 20 most important ESC songs in history, in my opinion. However, there are many more rock entries that have graced the ESC stage. Below are twenty standout examples from the past few years.
When I say “rock music” — you may think of thrashing guitars and banging drums or power ballad that draws out every emotion or even your favorite eighties hairband. I tried to capture all of these styles (and more) below while also avoiding songs I have previously featured in a playlist. Again, I tried to curate a playlist with a nice flow. Enjoy!
Find the playlist here: Eurovision for Rockers
Georgia 2011 – One More Day performed by Eldrine
Finland 2007 – Leave Me Alone performed by Hanna
Turkey 2010 – We Could be the Same performed by maNga
San Marino 2008 – Complice performed by Miodio
Finland 2015 – Aina Min Pitää performed by Pertti Kurikan Nimipäivät
Armenia 2013 – Lonely Planet performed by Dorians
Georgia 2015 – Warrior performed by Nina Sublatti
Turkey 2008 – Deli performed by Mor ve Ötesi
Ukraine 2010 – Sweet People performed by Aliosha
Finland 2014 – Something Better performed by SoftEngine
Iceland 2007 – Valentine Lost performed by Eiríkur Hauksson
Italy 2014 – La Mia Città performed by Emma
Switzerland 2012 – Unbreakable performed by Sinplus
Finland 2008 – Missä Miehet Ratsastaa performed by Teräsbetoni
Albania 2011 – Feel the Passion performed by Aurela Gace
Norway 2005 – In My Dreams performed by Wig Wam
Honorable Mentions: Turkey 2004, Czech Republic 2007, Cyprus 2007, Macedonia 2009, Cyprus 2011, Turkey 2011, Denmark 2011, Macedonia 2012
The Armenian song from 2013 may seem a bit out of place, but it was composed by none other than heavy metal legend Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath fame.
Hard Rock Hallelujah is considered the only rock song to win the Contest. However, quite a few other rock songs have fared well, particularly entries from Turkey, which has three Top Ten rock entries (2004, 2008, 2010).
What’s your favorite rock song from ESC’s history? Do you appreciate the diversity in musical styles that we find at the Contest or would you prefer that most entries just stick to pop?
As a reminder, these weekly playlists are meant to help introduce you to the wide breadth of music from the Contest’s recent history. For various reasons, I am focusing on the “Televoting Era” of the Contest (1998 – present), furthermore, the majority of entries I am choosing come from after semi-finals were introduced in 2004. I also limit the lists to only 20 songs, to help make them more manageable for listening.
The most recent previous list: Eurovision for Dance Parties
Next Week: Eurovision for Breakups
Hello Dear Readers!
Do you like to dance? Do you like to party? Well, good news! This week’s playlist will help you do both of those things! I tried to have a good mix of styles, countries, and finishing positions. No notes this week as most of the songs are fairly self-explanatory, but I did my best to curate a party playlist for you all!
Find the playlist here: Eurovision for Dance Parties
- Israel 2015 – Golden Boy
- Germany 2013 – Glorious
- Armenia 2008 – Qele, Qele
- Hungary 2009 – Dance with Me
- Poland 2011 – Jestem
- Montenegro 2013 – Igranka
- France 2010 – Allez! Ola! Olé!
- Portugal 2014 – Quero Ser Tua
- The Netherlands 2008 – Your Heart Belongs to Me
- Lithuania 2010 – Eastern European Funk
- Cyprus 2012 – La La Love
- Serbia 2011 – Čaroban
- Estonia 2014 – Amazing
- Moldova 2015 – I Want Your Love
- Norway 2007 – Ven a Bailar Conmigo
- Albania 2006 – Zjarr e Ftohte
- Turkey 2009 – Düm Tek Tek
- Greece 2007 – Yassou Maria
- Romania 2012 – Zaleilah
- Ukraine 2006 – Show Me Your Love
Honorable Mention: Moldova 2010, Turkey 2007, Russia 2012, Ireland 2013, Ukraine 2008, Azerbaijan 2009, Norway 2012, Macedonia 2014, Hungary 2011, Austria 2007, Serbia 2010
- While animals are not allowed on the stage, puppets are; and in 2008, Ireland sent their humorous comedy puppet Dustin the Turkey.
- While the title of the 1963 winner from Denmark, Dansevise, translates to “dance song,” the first, truly uptempo song to win the Contest was 1965’s Poupé de Cire, Poupée de Son from Luxembourg (which is featured on my playlist Eurovision for Beginners).
- Of the 63 winners in Eurovision history through 2015 (remember, four songs won in 1969), only 29 (46%) have been moderate to uptempo. Thirteen of which (45%) of those came in the televoting era (1998 to today).
- Greece and Turkey are, generally, the most renowned for their ethnic-pop infused dance numbers. Highlights include: Greece – 2001, 2004, 2005, 2008, and 2013; Turkey – 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2012.
What are your favorite ESC songs to dance to?
Missed last week? Eurovision for Anglophobes
Next Week: Eurovision for Rockers (prepare for a lot of Finland and Turkey!)
Hello Dear Readers!
Language has had a tough time at the Eurovision Song Contest. Songs could be in any language until the language rule was adopted in 1966; from that point on, songs had to be in an official language of the participating country. The rule was abolished from 1973-1977, but re-implemented from 1978. As the breadth of countries increased, the EBU saw a need to allow more freedom for participants. Starting in 1999, countries have since been able to compete in any language they wish. Almost immediately, English became the predominant language of the Contest, with a few holdouts (namely France and Portugal) generally sending entries in their own languages. Many choose to sing in English to broaden the appeal of their song; additionally, many argue that the language rule favors countries with English as an official language (the UK, Ireland, and Malta) and cite the unprecedented success of both Ireland and the UK in the 90s as examples. Interestingly enough, the only year that televoting and the language rule overlap, 1998, a non-English song (Diva, which was in Hebrew) won; however, all three English entries finished in the Top Ten.
Whether you long for the days of national languages appearing in full force or you just enjoy the breadth of diversity of the Contest, this week’s playlist is for you! It features 20 fan favorite (and personal favorite) entries of the Televoting-era (1998 onwards) that do not contain a single word in English. Enjoy!
Find the playlist here: Eurovision for Anglophobes
Spain 2001 – Dile Que la Quiero performed by David Civera
One of Spain’s most popular and successful entries, this song decisively won Spain’s national selection and came in 6th place in Copenhagen. The song is a declaration of love and loyalty.
Slovenia 2002 – Samo Ljubezen performed by Sestre
Belgium 2003 – Sanomi performed by Urban Trad
The infamous imaginary language entry, Sanomi came second to Turkey by two points in one of the closest Contests in history. There have been one and a half other entries in constructed languages. The Netherlands sent Amambanda in 2006, which was sung partially in Dutch and partially in a fictional language. Belgium again sent an imaginary language entry in 2008, O Julissi, but it failed to get out of its semi-final.
Russia 2003 – Ne Ver’, Ne Boisia performed by t.A.T.u.
The infamous t.A.T.u. took to the stage for Russia, one of the few artists to compete at the height of their popularity. Coming in third, a mere three points from first place Turkey, there’s a lot that can be said about this entry. Focusing on the language, it’s worth noting that was only in Russian due to an error made by the delegation. This song, like much of t.A.T.u’s work, talks about standing out and against a society trying to tear you down.
Serbia & Montenegro 2004 – Lane Moje performed by Željko Joksimović
Winning the semi-final, but ultimately coming second in 2004, Lane Moje was the song that introduced the Contest (and the continent) to one of its most popular and successful stars: Željko Joksimović. He went on to compose three other Top Ten entries (BiH2006, SER2008, SER2012), Montenegro’s second qualifying and best placing entry (2015), and co-hosted the Contest in 2008, the first year with two semi-finals. Like every song composed by Jooksimović for the Contest, Lane Moje is about heartbreak and longing for a lost love.
My favorite Andorran entry, this song is sultry, its performance was sexy, and its lyrics tell a good story. Unfortunately, it finished last in the semi-final. This entry is a song of empowerment, as Jennifer sings about moving on from a bad relationship.
Rarely does a country submit a song in a language that is neither its own nor English. 2007 saw three such entries – Romania (which contained six languages), Latvia (sung in Italian), and Cyprus’ French language rock song. Despite not qualifying for the Final, this entry is one of the most popular from the 2007 ESC and from Cyprus, winning several fan awards after the Contest. The song describes a so-so (bland) relationship that has grown stale and Evridiki’s intentions of leaving because of it.
Bulgaria 2007 – Voda performed by Elitsa Todorova & Stoyan Yankoulov
The one and only entry from Bulgaria to qualify for the Grand Final, Voda features two of the most prominent percussionist in the country. The song stands out for its trance composition and the traditional folk style of the singing. It finished fourth in Helsinki. The song, written in a folk tradition, is about s search for life’s meaning using thirsting after water as a metaphor.
Portugal 2008 – Senhora do Mar (Negras Águas) performed by Vânia Fernandes
The first time that Portugal ever qualified from a semi-final, this haunting song sparked a three year run of qualifications for the much maligned country. The song captures the painful sorrow of a woman waiting for her husband to return from going out to sea – much appropriate for Fernandes, who is from an island off the coast of Portugal.
Spain 2008 – Baila Chiki Chiki performed by Rodolfo Chikilicuatre
Bosnia & Herzegovina 2009 – Bistra Voda performed by Regina
France 2009 – S’Il Fallait le Faire performed by Patricia Kaas
One of the most popular and well-known singers from France, Patricia Kaas performed the song that most recently landed France in the Top Ten. The tale of all-consuming love was a major favorite among the juries.
The first Greek entry in Greek since the language rule was lifted, maintained the nation’s streak of Top Ten placings. Interestingly enough, Giorgos Alkaios, who is much better known for his ballads, wrote this song of overcoming the past with the hopes of finding a new young artist to sing it. Not finding a suitable performer, he took the song to Oslo, himself.
A fun song, this is the most recent entry to take the stage in Finnish. Despite having a large fan following, the song failed to make the Grand Final.
Albania 2012 – Suus performed by Rona Nishliu
The only song with a title in Latin in ESC history, this song shattered perceptions about what “a ESC song” should sound like. Nishliu’s unique voice conveys heartache like few others.
One of the few qualifications for Macedonia, Crno i Belo marks the return of Kaliopi who was the singer of the Macedonian song in the 1996 preselection, Samo Ti. This song was written by her ex-husband and is, understandably, about a fracturing relationship.
Italy 2013 – L’Essenziale performed by Marco Mengoni
A epic song of love, this entry was third consecutive Top Ten finish for Italy. Mengoni insisted that the song remain wholly in Italian, making it the first to do so since Italy’s return in 2011.
Only Hungary’s third Top Ten song, Kedvedsem was wildly popular for its catchy melody and easy to sing-along to lyrics. The title translates to “Sweetheart” and is a love song to the unique girl that captured Bye.Alex’s heart.
Montenegro 2014 – Moj Svijet performed by Sergej Ćetković
The first-ever Montenegrin to qualify for the Grand Final. This gentle song talks of a world of peace, understanding, and love. The performance also features a dancer on rollerblades made to look like an ice skater.
The first time ever that France finished in last place, this rap song tells the story of man who has everything but the one thing he wants: a mustache.
Honorable Mention: Italy 2015, Portugal 2014, France 2013, Finland 2012, Estonia 2012, Austria 2012, Estonia 2009, Russia 2009, Albania 2008, Latvia 2007, Slovenia 2007
The United Kingdom, despite having a vast array of languages represented within its population has never submitted a song that was not in English.
Belarus, Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan are the only countries to never submit a song that was not at least partially in a national language.
Ireland and Malta have only strayed from English once.
Sweden and Denmark have clauses where winning songs must be translated into English regardless of the original language of the entry.
Finland’s most recent non-English song was När Jag Blundar, which was sung in Swedish!