2017 Review: Armenia

AMPTV announced a really long time ago that Artsvik Harutyunyan, the winner of national selection Depi Evratesil (“To Eurovision”), would represent Armenia. Given that her first name means “eagle” in Armenian, it wasn’t exactly surprising that her song would be called “Fly with Me.” I was also looking forward to another good entry written by Lilith, who had co-written Aram MP3’s entry in 2014 and Iveta Mukuchyan’s entry in 2016.

So who remembers back in elementary school, when people used to write “The topic of this paper is XXX”? Or maybe when people had lab reports to write and wrote “The purpose of this experiment is XXX.” (Speaking of lab reports, I probably should get back to writing mine after finishing this review…)

Prior to the song’s release, this was Artsvik’s description of the song:

My song tells a story of a girl, who is the metaphorical symbol of love. She embodies the colors, the stories and the voices that make us who we are. “Fly with me” encourages everyone to come with me on this girl’s journey of championing the diverse and beautiful human nature. I think nowadays it is especially important to embrace our heritage and our traditions. We, the people – our colors, our stories and our voices make up this world. We must never forget that this girl’s light and love is one for all of us.”

Fast forward to the song release, and the first line of the song was “I want to tell a story about a little girl with history.” That definitely brought me back to English class. Otherwise, I like the song, especially the “Fly with me high” hook, but I wish Artsvik had a stronger voice to fit the backing track; it seems as if she’s using primarily her head voice. Or maybe that’s just me, because I’d probably sing it in a lower register to not crack when trying to belt something.

As for now, this might end up on the work speaker playlist. On the other hand, if I start dancing it might get taken off again…

2016 Review: Armenia

For anyone who misreads words as much as I do, no, it doesn’t say “America.” Just saying…

Note that this doesn’t have stars. And it has orange.

AMPTV really likes to take things slowly for hype reasons, and it feels like they’re trying to become the new Sweden when it comes to announcements. However, while Sweden actually had the events and national final to back things up, Armenia tends to fall short, especially if some of the announcements are simply “[Insert Artist Here] is currently picking songs” of “[Insert Artist Here] is recording in the studio.” I don’t think that many people were that excited to hear the artist announcement in November, expect to see the song presentation on 1 January due to hearing about a “special announcement” (which happened to be a backstage video of “we’ve reduced the choices to 2 songs and I really like one of the two”), and then finding out that it was going to be until March that the entry would be revealed.

And when AMPTV and artist Iveta Mukuchyan revealed their entry, people wondered what was going on with the title.

Yes, the title is spelled as one word, “LoveWave”, kind of like an effective hashtag with the words separated with capital letters. This is clearer than the “jesuisXXX” tags, where I kept misreading the tag as “jesu is XXX” instead of “je suis xxx.” But why would it be one word? Because if it was two words, then the title would mean this:

And Armenia is susceptible to earthquakes, like in 1988…

So maybe LoveWave could stand for an EKG, since that’s also a wave? It also works that like the song, which starts out small and ends up as a euphoric pulsing, is kind of like how the SA node in the right atrium sends out autorhythmic signals that travel down the heart muscle until the entire organ contracts to send blood to the entire body.

Once Iveta finishes the whispering part which a) sounds like she might have been listening to Adele’s “Hello” prior to writing the lyrics and b) I’m not the biggest fan of, the song jumps up full of energy and turns into one of my favorite songs of the year despite weeks of only understanding the word “you….” When she’s still whispering, I can switch the song off. After the song builds up, a chill runs up and down my spine, and the gong hits, I have to keep listening to the song. Until the final gong sounds off, there doesn’t seem to be a proper place to stop; despite the pulsing baseline which grounds the song, everything else is floating in the air and doesn’t touch the ground, climbing higher until it plateaus during the instrumental break and stays high up. (And given this feeling, I wonder if she’ll be walking on clouds during her performance…)

More news in the world! Finally…

And finally there’s news on the contest! Thank you AMPTV and RTCG! I’ve been sitting in front of a blank Word document for days trying to come up with something that isn’t ripped off from Tumblr or just another “here’s a song and here’s my feelings about it” post….

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“How many more are there?!” (sorry Conchita…)

 

Anyways, Montenegro decided to change musical style directions and go back to the pop world with the trio Highway, who participated in the second season of X-Factor Adria. While I did enjoy the Balkan ballads for two years in a row, I missed some of their “out there” entries like in 2012 and 2013. This year it will probably be a pop-rock entry reminiscent of 2007 or 2008 (hopefully more like 2007 since that was catchier IMO).

Armenia also selected their participant internally, this time with half the drama as 2015’s selection. Or probably less than 1/6 of the drama, since everyone knew it was a female soloist. It turned out to be Iveta Mukuchyan, who’s been hyped before in the ESC world.

Now we can finally say the season’s rolling towards May. Now bring on the national selections!

Or for some people, it’s every day 🙂

And the winner is…Sweden!

I was going to post this yesterday, but congratulations to Sweden and Måns Zelmerlöw for winning the 60th Eurovision Song Contest with 365 points!

It’s also Sweden’s 6th win since ABBA in 1974.

Ranking:

1. Sweden- 365 points
2. Russia- 303 points
3. Italy- 292 points
4. Belgium- 217 points
5. Australia- 196 points
6. Latvia- 186 points
7. Estonia- 106 points
8. Norway- 102 points
9. Israel- 97 points
10. Serbia- 53 points
11. Georgia- 51 points
12. Azerbaijan- 49 points
13. Montenegro- 44 points
14. Slovenia- 39 points
15. Romania- 35 points
16. Armenia- 34 points (Tie Break)
17. Albania- 34 points
18. Lithuania- 30 points
19. Greece- 23 points (only 8 of which came from Cyprus)
20. Hungary- 19 points
21. Spain- 15 points
22. Cyprus- 11 points (And Greece only gave Cyprus 10 points. Death and taxes are still guaranteed, but Greece and Cyprus exchanging 12 points isn’t anymore.)

23. Poland- 10 points
24. United Kingdom- 5 points
25. France- 4 points
26. Germany- 0 points (There were points somewhere in the split voting but they disappeared)
27. Austria- 0 points

 

 

American ESC Fan problems

As much as I would like to watch the Eurovision final on Saturday, living in a different time zone (GMT-5) makes it extremely difficult because of something called work. Instead of getting to sit down in front of my computer and streaming the contest off YouTube or SVT Play, I have to stand in a bakery until 17:00 local time (23:00 CET), and by then most of the contest will be over. But living in a different time zone isn’t the only issue:

  • Before the actual contest, there’s a chance that you can’t listen to the song on YouTube because the song’s “not available in your country/region.” Don’t even try Spotify, since the Eurovision Spotify playlist doesn’t work in the US.

  • It’s not just the time zone; it’s also the time of the month/year. When I discovered Eurovision in high school I realized that ESC took place during AP testing season (for college credit). And now that I’m in uni, I’m dealing with summer classes. And work, obviously.

  • When delegations advertise “Win a free ticket to Eurovision,” it’s only for residents in Europe/the EBU. Or it’s written in a language that I and/or Google Translate can’t read.

Must be 18 or older and must be residing in Europe when the winners are selected…

 

But I’m not going to complain since I already got to watch the 1st and 2nd semis this year with sound, and that’s already a great improvement to dealing with shite internet stream and family members who don’t approve of my interests. I’m probably going to keep 27 flags in my back pocket and talk about the contest with my coworkers who don’t know anything besides hearing me constantly sing “Heroes” for the past 2 months. It’s also nice that the US was pretty well represented this year:

Charlie Mason- Lyricist for Serbian and Slovenian entries

Tamar Kaprelian- Representing the Americas in Genealogy, Armenia’s entry this year

MERJ (which included former members of Blackstreet)- Performed with Daniel Kajmakoski in this year’s Macedonian entry

I guess the USA can build bridges with the Eurovision world. I’m just not invited because unlike with Uzari and Maimuna, time is not on my side. when it comes to watching the final. 🙂 Now ESC World, make some noise so people outside of the world can hear you too!

Thoughts on Semi-Final 1

Thanks to SVT App and something called headphones, I managed to catch the contest with the sound on this time!

I didn’t watch Denmark’s performance since I had to use the washroom, but the replay showed that it was exactly the same as in DMGP, so I didn’t really care. And I still don’t like the guy’s face.

Predicted qualifiers (in participation order):
Moldova, Armenia, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Estonia, Belarus, Russia, Albania, Georgia

Actual results (in participation order):
Armenia, Belgium, Greece, Estonia, Serbia, Hungary, Russia, Albania, Romania, Georgia

Well 7 out of 10 isn’t that bad. Then again, it was such a crapshoot trying to predict the qualifiers that probably could have predicted the same amount by drawing random flags out of a hat, and I didn’t consider any visuals of the rehearsals. It’s also a good thing that 5 out of the 10 qualifying countries are more uptempo, so we don’t have to drown in a sea of “jury-friendly” ballads in the final.

Now let’s move on to the 2nd semi!

2015 Review: Armenia

This year Armenia is focusing on its diaspora and commemorating what happened in 1915 with the Genealogy and the song “Don’t Deny” “Face the Shadow.”

Inga and Anush Arshakyan describe the situation in their 2009 entry:

“Without me we cannot be, can’t you see? We aren’t free, fixed like a tree to the holy ground.”

And since much of the diaspora share the same story, ARMTV gathered the artists Essai, Tamar Kaprelian, Vahe Tilbian, Stephanie Topalian, Mary-Jean O’Doherty,  and Inga Arshakyan, five from the five continents (apparently South America got disregarded) to represent the diaspora and the final from Armenia.

Judging simply by the music and lyrics, the song doesn’t pull major political strings at the surface level since it’s mainly about people facing shadows and dark things/times in their lives. At a deeper level, the lyrics are a call to the diaspora to remember the past events. However, since the lyrics are in English, one could argue that it’s for the non-Armenian-speaking diaspora or for certain parties who don’t recognize the events.

The first song that I thought of after hearing “Face the Shadow” was Switzerland’s 2006 entry, which was another supergroup with six lead artists that didn’t have the best chemistry. That was pretty much caused by the molding the artists around the (borderline generic) song. The composers of “Face the Shadow” seem to have done a better job, writing the song around the artists to fit their voices and vocal styles. Still, there’s only so much they can do to cram six distinct voices into three minutes. Compared to most songs in the contest, the verses seem to be a little “disorganized” as all artists need to be showcased. It gets a lot cleaner once they leave the second verse and start the refrain; there the voices blend and they go from their individual identities to their one cultural identity.

Overall it’s a good song in studio. I’ve yet to hear it live, and I wonder how it will be staged in Vienna. Part of me is thinking that forget-me-nots are going to be involved, but that might not happen since that might end up being too political.