Yes, the summer is here, which means two hours of sunshine in Edinburgh for all of July, and the threat of snow in Sydney. Still, it’s really a state of mind, so thanks to Jamie McLoughlin over at Boom Bang a Blog, who’s asking people to make up a ten track long Eurovision inspired playlist for the summer.
Shouldn’t be a problem, I thought, let’s do one each and see how in tune Sharleen and I are with each other’s musical taste. As you can expect, from the two main writers of a brand new site, we’re perfectly in tune with each other…
One other thing, though. Jamie threw a spanner in the works with a few conditions for a playlist. They must include:
- At least one non-winning song for a Eurovision national final.
- At least one song that was never put in for Eurovision, national final or otherwise.
- At least one Eurovision winner.
- At least one non-English song.
- Not all the Eurovision songs from the 21st Century
Ewan’s Top Ten Summer Playlist
They Can’t Stop The Spring, Dervish (Ireland, Eurovision 2007)
But what they can do is have a serious case of stage fright for two of their three minutes on the stage at Eurovision, which was a crying shame. Why it never worked, I’ll never know, but it’s Irish without being cheesy, airy without being silly, and very singalong, which you need to open a summer compilation.
Work Your Magic, Koldun (Belarus, Eurovision 2007)
It still sounds like a Bond theme to me. Even though those films come out in November this is the summer blockbuster movie theme that never was. I can hear every single masculine pose in the track. Love it.
Las Vegas, Martin Stenmarck (Sweden, Eurovision 2005)
It’s the show tune, with the clicking fingers, smooth pressed suit, and a verse structure that screams spin on the spot then point at the audience in the middle. It puts a big smile on my face, and my kids love singing “Las Vegas… with the neon lights!” So it wins a place on the CD just for that.
Click Clack, Ralf Mackenbach (Netherlands, Junior Eurovision 2010 Winner)
Speaking of the kids, the little Richard Hammond/Roy Castle lookalike at the most recent Junior Eurovision is my “one Eurovision winner” pick (you can argue about De Troubador being a 25% win outside). I know a lot of people look down at the Junior Contest as something a bit creepy, but its far less sinister than Hollie Steel on Britian’s Got Talent. This is pure summer sing along with Ralf, keeping the thread of Swing / Big Band running through the first half of the playlist.
Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead, Alex Swings Oscar Sings (Heart for Sale)
Officially my guilty pleasure in this playlist. It’s so excessively cheesy it makes gorgonzola look like curds and whey, makes Ani Lorak look like little orphan Annie, and makes The Toppers sound like Metallica. Schwwwwwwiiiiiinnnggg!!!”!
Yassou Maria, Sarbel (Greece, Eurovision 2007)
It’s everything you expect from a modern Greek Eurovision song. A hint of ethnicity, bouncy and memorable lyrics and just enough oomph to get your hands in the air and dancing on your office chair, stuck behind a window as the sun streams in.
Heart on Fire, Ruslana, (Wild Energy)
Eurovision fans will of course spot this as the interval act in 2005. Now I could have chosen Wild Dances, but everyone knows that one, an this is just different enough, but still has all the stomping, shouting and excitement of the 2004 winner.
Love Me, Anna Cyzon (Poland, National Final 2010 2nd place)
All credit to Marcin, he made full use of his Eurovision 2010 experience representing Poland, but the staging of Legenda was just… creepy, and failed to get through to the Saturday night final. Look at the second placed song for Poland though and not only do you have a modern Lady Gaga/Katy Perry-esque powerpop song, you had a song that would have made the Grand Final and was a likely top ten finisher.
My Heaven is Your Hell, Lordi (The Monsterican Dream)
Punch the air! Lordi was not a one-off with Hard Rock Hallelujah, they’ve got albums full of heavy rock n roll, they’ve got some of the gods of rock wanting to sing with them (Twisted Sister, Kiss, Accept) and they can deliver with pretty much every song. This is probably one of their more anthemic tracks, and it’s perfect when the top of the corvette comes down and you slam into Top Gear on the interstate on your US road trip.
Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu, by Domenico Modugno (Italy, Eurovision 1958)
And a little epilogue to finish off the CD from the depths of history, but this is sooo a perfect summer track. Visions of ice creams on a beach, girls with headscarves on the French Riviera and you cannot listen and not smile.
Sharleen’s Top Ten Winter Warmers Playlist
Never one to shy away from a challenge, I accept that I’m now creating a list that has nothing to do with how I currently feel. A summer play list, written by an Australian who is currently shivering through winter to keep her UK colleagues happy. Granted our winter temperatures are hardly what you call cold. They are more like an average British spring day – around 10 degrees. Nevertheless, here is my re-titled 10 song selection of Eurovision-themed Winter Warmers, guaranteed to put a smile on your face and get your booty on the dance floor:
Ooh Ahh (Just a little bit), Gina G (United Kingdom, Eurovision 1996)
Nowhere better to kick off my play list than with an Australian. Brisbane girl Gina G was not just the British prospect for Eurovision, but a top 40 hit for what seemed like the whole of 1997 back in Australia. Its still a perennial party favourite here, and for that reason easily earns the coveted first place in the top 10.
Manboy, Eric Saade (Melodifestivalen 2010)
There is one shared sentiment amongst all my Eurovision-loving friends – this song would have been a great contender from the Swedes for Eurovision this year. It is the song we are still singing all these months later from Melodifestivalen, and features some critical elements for greatness – easy sing-a-long chorus, hot artist, a key change and a climax marked by some form of activity (explosion, reveal, or in this case, being dumped on by a rain shower). And let’s face it, in Sydneys’ current stormy weather, it’s a look that can be easily replicated on any street corner.
Take Me To Your Heaven, Charlotte Nielsen (Sweden, Eurovision 1999 winner)
My one selected Eurovision winner in the play list also falls towards the close of the 20th Century. With more than just a wink towards ABBA in its influence, it’s the compulsory entry for a play list for someone who doesn’t actually like ABBA. And its glorious pop chorus making even the most hard-nosed fan want to join in a sing-a-long, so it’s a natural choice.
Hero, Charlotte Perelli (Sweden, Eurovision 2008)
No play list is complete without at least one double play. It was no winner, but it remains a fan favourite from the queen of the Eurovision disco. Need I say more?
Lady Gaga, Akord (Moldova, national finalists for Eurovision 2010)
How can you not celebrate the season without one of the hottest stars currently in the world? Except THIS isn’t that star – it’s a tribute to that star, brought to you by a boy band that was in the running for selection as Moldovas entry to Eurovision 2010. Akord made the Moldovan final, but suddenly dropped out citing a better offer from the US, never to be heard of again. Shame, as I tipped either Sunstroke Project or Akord to win that national final. Svante Stockselius would surely have seen his dream come true in 2010, to have ‘Lady Gaga’ on the Eurovision stage.
(Unfortunately there is no clip to show you of these guys performing the song, but you can still enjoy the sounds of Akord set to images of Lady Gaga on YouTube).
These Words, Natasha Bedingfield (from the album ‘Unwritten’ 2004)
For me, Natasha has produced some of the best sing-a-long, dance along tunes of the past 10 years. She sums up feelings of breezy love with this particular song, putting a spring in my step and a flutter in my heart as I stroll down the street in my wool coat right now. Its also the song that also brings back happy memories for me of sitting in Berlin, drinking lemonade in the heat one summer holiday. Here’s an idea, how about letting Natasha loose on the German public as the UK representative next summer?
Vrag Naj Vzame, Rebeka Dremelj (Slovenia, Eurovision 2008)
2008 certainly featured a lot of lovely ladies and pumped out some great dance tunes. Slovenia was up there with Sweden’s Charlotte, Greeces’ Kalomira and Ukraines’ Ani Lorak as one of the best. Unfortunately, unlike the aforementioned ladies, she never made it to final due to shaky live vocals, a bad draw and perhaps, just perhaps, that ghastly purple and lime green dress. Getting past that though, the original recording stands up against them all, and with its thumping beat its hard to resist the urge to dance.
MfG, Die Fantastischen Vier (from the album ‘4:99’, 1999)
With Berlin/Hamburg/Cologne/Dusseldorf just around the corner, how are you with your Deutsch pronounciation? Fanta4 are one of Germanys most popular bands, regularly playing the European summer festival circuit, and influenced by the likes of The Beastie Boys. I genuinely love this song, its been on my iPod play lists for a very long time and I feel its about time I share it with the outside world. Bounce along with the top down in hip-hop stylee, and look highly cultured and intelligent as you practise famous acronyms in a foreign language in readiness for the Eurovision country of 2011.
Die For You, Antique (Greece, Eurovision 2001)
The often rubbished Eurovision year of 2001 actually produced one corker of a tune that should have won the whole competition. Antique featured the voice of Elena Paparizou (yeah, you know her – she returned just 4 years later, and blitzed the competition at Eurovision with ‘My Number One’), combining the best Swedish pop sensibilities with the Hellenic language and sounds. Almost 10 years on, it may gone but its not forgotten by the fans and thus deserves a second airing this season.
Ja Tikai Uz Mani Tu Paskatitos, Brainstorm (from the album ‘Tur kaut kam ir jabut’ 2008)
Last but not least, my favourite ever Eurovision act gets a mention. ‘My Star’ by Brainstorm (2000) ALWAYS features on my personal play lists, but here is a more current taster of what those Latvians are up to. ‘Ja Tikai..’ was the first single off the 2008 Latvian-language album, which was then released in 2009 in Russian and 2010 in English (the song was released under the title ‘Your Call’, but unfortunately not issued as a single). It demonstrates a new direction and sound for the band – many of the songs showing more rock and r n’ b influences. Nevertheless, a decade later they still sound the goods and look the part, especially now that Renars is minus the bell-bottom trousers.
There’s already a few more suggestions for summer playlists on Boom Bang-a-Blog; the question is what can you come up?