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Churning for Eurovision
April 8, 2014 1:21 PM   Subscribe

Just over a month out from the final of the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest, to be held in Denmark, and the line-up of acts contesting semi-finals one and two, and getting a bye into the grand final, is clear. While there's the usual rivalries, and a special focus on how Ukraine and Russia will do in the voting, the entry that is receiving much early attention is from never-winning Poland...

...Donatan & Cleo's My Słowianie (We are Slavic, or Slavic Girls) features traditional costumes and rural practices.

Apparently not a joke but a parody, the song is a critique on how Polish society stereotypically views men and women.

(Contains adult butter churning)
posted by Wordshore (48 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is kind of amazing, especially the over-the-top churning scenes. Also I can't wait until we all see this together!
posted by corb at 1:36 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]


Can we get Buranovskiye Babushki to reenact that video?

A Verka is fine too.
posted by delfin at 1:39 PM on April 8


Should you want to spend two hours getting ready by watching all the videos (and why wouldn't you?), here you go.
posted by asperity at 1:40 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


Latvia's hipsteresque "We've got a cake to bake, we've got no clue at all" could be a surprise winner.
posted by Wordshore at 1:45 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


I hate that Latvia song more than I have hated anything ever. It's smug, annoying nonsense. I hope it receives no points and someone apologizes to the rest of the world for it.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:50 PM on April 8 [6 favorites]


So can I bitch about Poland now? Is it ever ok to bitch about Poland?
posted by St. Peepsburg at 1:54 PM on April 8


It depends. What's your bif?
posted by pracowity at 1:58 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]


I found this crop of songs to be fairly lackluster, but I did honestly enjoy Poland. If I were a betting man, I'd probably put my money on Danish Bruno Mars.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:59 PM on April 8


I don't know much about Eurovision, but from my vantage point in Canada it feels like it was at some point a sincere talent show where the peoples of Europe would good-heartedly present what they felt were representative musical acts.

And then at some point it became kind of like a massive, multinational, musical 4chan where the lulz reign supreme and every entry has to toe some the razor's edge between being credible pop music and something designed to shatter the audience's reality tunnels.
posted by Shepherd at 2:01 PM on April 8 [9 favorites]


It almost seems like there's some secret draw where, each year, two or three countries must make their entry totally bonkers. Where's the fun in having 20-odd soft pop ballads, you know?
posted by troika at 2:04 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]


I liked the Latvian cake song a lot better than the Polish cheesecake fest.
posted by Wolfdog at 2:06 PM on April 8


And then at some point it became kind of like a massive, multinational, musical 4chan where the lulz reign supreme and every entry has to toe some the razor's edge between being credible pop music and something designed to shatter the audience's reality tunnels.

Nothing wrong with a good ol' fashioned European shitshow.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 2:07 PM on April 8


I have a hard time taking the Polish song seriously as a critique of much of anything, not least because the only place that's calling it a critique (in English, at least) can't even make up its mind whether it's about British stereotypes of Polish people or Polish stereotypes of gender roles. Maybe both? Even if it is and I'm just being dense, I'm not convinced that living up to some of the worst stereotypes about you is exactly the best use of parody. Mostly, the video seems like an excuse to run a three minute ad for both the Polish dairy industry and the Polish sex tourism industry.
posted by Copronymus at 2:31 PM on April 8


That said, there is some good stuff this year, not to mention an impressive variety of beards.

Personally, I love the shit out of the Armenian song with an unexpected veer into dubstep, Iceland's entry where they drive around a cardboard car and are all dressed in track suits, and whatever this Greek thing is, because it combines my love of Eurovision songs with horns and Eurovision songs with dubstep noises.
posted by Copronymus at 2:38 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]


Go Austria, continuing the tradition* of someone occasionally entering a drag act.

*Er... is 2007 the only other year? Not so much a tradition then. I remain convinced drag + Eurovision is an amazing idea.
posted by hoyland at 2:44 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]


I liked the Latvian cake song a lot better than the Polish cheesecake fest.

Why don't try some Belarussian Cheesecake?

Once I gave you one more chance
You showed me dance
But I’m not Patrick Swayze
You’re not Jennifer Gray

I told this story
But I’m so sorry
I lost my train of thought
When you called me, “My sweet Cheesecake”


Sweet poetry.
posted by Kabanos at 2:54 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]


And then at some point it became kind of like a massive, multinational, musical 4chan where the lulz reign supreme and every entry has to toe some the razor's edge between being credible pop music and something designed to shatter the audience's reality tunnels.


The thing about Eurovision is that most of the time, winning isn't the goal of the exercise. Many participant nations simply couldn't afford to host it the year after winning, or would at least prefer to avoid the expense, so they send acts that are vaguely respectable but have zero chance of winning. Many nations know that with the nature of bloc voting and population sizes, they could have the greatest song in the world and still stand no chance of winning. Some nations simply enjoy trolling, such as Ireland sending puppets three years out of five.

(You can't tell me that Jedward aren't puppets. Maybe not Henson caliber, but they're close.)
posted by delfin at 3:03 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


I'm a little disappointed that Russia's twins don't have Jedward hair.
posted by asperity at 3:09 PM on April 8


Favorited without even reading all of the post. All I needed to see was "Eurovision."
posted by JanetLand at 3:19 PM on April 8 [3 favorites]


With 3-4 exceptions, mostly overproduced schmalz. A lot of it looks like a purposeful freak show made to make pop music look bad.
posted by Vibrissae at 3:26 PM on April 8


With 3-4 exceptions, mostly overproduced schmalz. A lot of it looks like a purposeful freak show made to make pop music look bad.

You ... don't get Eurovision, then. Okay - try Romania's entry from last year.
posted by Wordshore at 3:29 PM on April 8 [5 favorites]


Romania's entry last year was amazing. I love Cezar, and just as soon as I figure out how to give him money for his new album, I will do so. I mean, it's got a Queen cover! And not just any Queen, but Queen from the Highlander soundtrack.
posted by asperity at 3:40 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


You ... don't get Eurovision, then. Okay - try Romania's entry from last year

OK, I'll give you Romania. Also, the Belarus entry (Cheescake) and 2-3 others this year are pretty good (Iceland, Holland, and maybe 1-2 others). The rest of them just seem to be gaudy, overproduced pop. That's my take; ymmv. Musical taste is subjective. What gets me about a lot of European pop is that it tries too hard.
posted by Vibrissae at 4:26 PM on April 8


I'd give you my list of recent Eurovision songs I still listen to regularly, but it would just point you to the most gaudy overproduced pop.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 4:57 PM on April 8


And then there's Lordi who won in 2006, which meant they got to open the show in Finland the year after with their song. THIS. This is how ALL events should start...
posted by Wordshore at 5:00 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]


'Cake To Bake' is like the SNL 'Chopping Broccoli' skit if it was remade on Portlandia.
posted by Flashman at 5:00 PM on April 8 [4 favorites]


It really grew out of the song contest tradition of the 50s and 60s. Song contests were huge and musicians traveled all over to enter them. The main rule was that songs had to be original, they were songwriting showcases. Eurovision was supposed to be the grandaddy of song contests. It was pretty earnest for a while.

Then the 70s happened, eastern European countries started entering, voting got hilariously political, the cost of hosting got too high and most countries started letting the public vote on who to send and it all got very weird.
posted by fshgrl at 5:20 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]


Win or lose, did 70s/80s era Eurovision entries become popular in their home countries. I am most familiar with Israel's Eurovision experience [let's put aside WHY it's in EUROvision] and I am always surprised how many "American songbook" type songs were Israel's Eurovision entry. Also, what's another way to say "American songbook-like? I mean that group of songs that make "the canon of the most important and most influential [American] popular songs of the 20th century" per wikipedia.
posted by atomicstone at 6:23 PM on April 8


I don't know why, but the BBC apparently made a two hour program called How to Win Eurovision (occasionally a wee bit offensive).
posted by hoyland at 7:22 PM on April 8 [2 favorites]


Win or lose, did 70s/80s era Eurovision entries become popular in their home countries.

I would bet $10 that more people in Europe could sing you My Lovely Horse than name a single winner who's not Lordi, abba, Celine Dion or, maybe, Buck's Fizz if they're English.
posted by fshgrl at 7:29 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Why do so many songs have such a 70s/early 80s vibe?
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:11 PM on April 8


Beacuse they're mostly all written by the same people, a group that leans heavily towards middle aged to elderly Swedish and German men.
posted by fshgrl at 9:37 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


I don't know why everyone's all down on the Latvian entry. It sounds almost exactly like what you'd expect to hear 15~20 years after we started exposing our kids to The Wiggles…
posted by Pinback at 10:22 PM on April 8


atomicstone: "Win or lose, did 70s/80s era Eurovision entries become popular in their home countries. I am most familiar with Israel's Eurovision experience [let's put aside WHY it's in EUROvision] and I am always surprised how many "American songbook" type songs were Israel's Eurovision entry. Also, what's another way to say "American songbook-like? I mean that group of songs that make "the canon of the most important and most influential [American] popular songs of the 20th century" per wikipedia."

If you do indeed mean the Great American Songbook -- which I think is a legitmate term -- i.e. the mid-century Broadway style work of writers like George and Ira Gershwin, Irving Berlin, Rodgers and Hammerstein / Rodgers and Hart, and the like, note that of these songwriters, the least Jewish of them (with a Jewish father, but raised Episcopalian) is Oscar Hammerstein. I know that the ethnic folk traditions of a country aren't usually related to their Eurovision entry, but I'm not surprised to hear that the Israeli Eurovision braintrust was reaching out to a style that was dominated by Jewish songwriters. (The only Israeli Eurovision contestant I know is Dana International, so what do I know.)
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:46 PM on April 8


I get that English is now the global language that is often the only way Europeans can communicate with each other, but do all the singers have to sing in English? Even the Russian double-mint twins sing in English.

Globalization does not have to mean homogenization.

Portugal and Montenegro get extra points for singing in their own language.
posted by eye of newt at 11:34 PM on April 8 [1 favorite]


Why do so many songs have such a 70s/early 80s vibe?

They aren't writing just for 18-year-old hip-hop fans. It's got to be hard to write pop songs that aren't awful but that appeal to the lowest common denominator across all those European borders and for a wide age range (16 to 60? 8 to 80?). Some countries obviously say fuck it and go purely for novelty and titillation, hoping people will phone in a vote for them just to get a chance to see their performers' bums again.

Just remember that the contest is a big glittery self-congratulatory champagne-sticky toupee on a whoopee cushion. Don't try too hard to force sense and order on to it as if it were a European Union referendum. The songs are sketchy. The performers are sketchy. The voting is sketchy. Winning it probably hasn't meant much of anything to anyone since ABBA won it in 1974 and went on to rule the pop music world.

do all the singers have to sing in English?

Yes, if you want people from every country to understand the lyrics and thus be more likely to vote for your song.
posted by pracowity at 12:28 AM on April 9


Cannot wait. I have my flights to Copenhagen booked. I have an apartment. I have a little web team ready to help with my Eurovision website and daily podcast.
And I have my Terry Wogan muppet ready to interview all the performers... This is my seventh year backstage in the two week build up, and there is NOTHING else like it on earth.
posted by ewan at 1:20 AM on April 9 [10 favorites]


Whoa. A professional Eurovision attendee.
posted by pracowity at 2:44 AM on April 9 [4 favorites]


You have a Terry Wogan muppet? Color me impressed.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 2:47 AM on April 9 [2 favorites]


Between my anticipation of Eurovision and the World Cup, I hope they don't boot me out of the US.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 2:49 AM on April 9 [2 favorites]


do all the singers have to sing in English?

Originally they had to sing in their own language or no language at all; that rule was changed, adding English, after a proliferation of entries with nonsense syllables for lyrics.
posted by acb at 6:45 AM on April 9


Pracowity, professional indeed, a quick google on ewan and eurovision should find me, and naturally there's a lot of stuff you'll be able to listen to and read from now until May 10th. ProfPlum, the base is Henson, we machined the rest, and I listened to his voice... a lot... to get the mannerisms and attitude.
posted by ewan at 7:52 AM on April 9


My response to Eurovision every year always starts like this and by the end it's like this.

I go through the same emotional journey every time I listen to Iceland's entry from what is essentially Iceland's punk version of The Wiggles.
posted by Kattullus at 8:07 AM on April 9 [2 favorites]


Originally they had to sing in their own language or no language at all; that rule was changed, adding English,

Well, no. Originally (from 1956) there were no language rules at all. From 1966 to 1973, a rule was imposed that a song must be performed in one of the official languages of the country participating. From 1973 to 1976, they were allowed to enter songs in any language. (Not just English, I don't know where you got that from). Then again the official language rule was in effect until 1998.

Win or lose, did 70s/80s era Eurovision entries become popular in their home countries.

Certainly in their home countries they're usually at least remembered if not popular. At least that is true in Finland. During much of the seventies, I would say each year's contest would spawn at least one minor international hit and sometimes a big one too.
posted by Authorized User at 2:16 PM on April 9


I've taken short notes on each entry from this year, and my note for Iceland begins "I like this song against my better judgement." I stand by that.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:28 PM on April 9 [1 favorite]


The video for Hungary's entry this year is real good-time party number. Should get everybody feeling really up.
posted by Wolfdog at 3:35 PM on April 9


Pollapönk have released a downbeat acoustic version of their Eurovision entry. This one has Icelandic lyrics.
posted by Kattullus at 10:21 AM on April 19


This thread is going to close in, like, a few hours. If anyone wants to have a go at doing a post for Eurovision this year (I did one last year and ... it wasn't very good) then guess this is the time / day / week to do so?

Hope you all watch online / TV / at the actual event on Saturday, anyway.
posted by Wordshore at 8:38 AM on May 7 [1 favorite]


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