After a disappointing result with Martina Barta and “My Turn” in Kiev, the Czech Republic are hoping to make a quick return to the grand final when they select their entry for the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest on Monday 29th January.
The Czech broadcaster received over four hundred submissions and last week they released the six songs that will compete in Eurovision Song CZ. I listened to every song once only, as though I was a Eurovision viewer hearing the entries for the first time, and this is what I made of them, in alphabetical order.
Song One: Debbi – “High on Love” – 6.5/10
The opening of this song is very strong, the summer acoustic backing track giving off cool beach vibes. I would say that the opening few seconds are the strongest part of the song. The lyrics are cheesy in that inoffensive kind of way; it is pleasant to listen to but doesn’t make me feel anything in the verses. Unfortunately it nosedives when it should soar in the chorus and the tempo plods along in this part, almost to a halt. Definitely not a bad entry, but I feel like the vanilla quality would mean it gets lost quickly.
Song Two: Doctor Victor – “Stand Up” – 4/10
So, watching the music video, I am immediately distracted by the swaying of the two visible members of the band. That’s not a bad thing, as there’s really not much that stands out in the chorus, bar a couple of explicit lines that will have to be cut for Eurovision (it’s a family show after all). But I was waiting for something to happen and, bar a successful yet cliched guitar solo at the bridge, there is no fire, no attack. I want to see rock songs with real power and emotion in the lyrics and none of the individual parts of this song come to anything. A wasted opportunity if nothing else.
Song Three: Eddie Stoilow – “We Rule This World” – 5/10
Another great opening that fails to deliver in the rest of the song. The first few bars are haunting yet powerful, like we are going to witness an outpouring of emotion. The backing track continues to have something good about it. It is just a shame that the inoffensive yet unimaginative lyrics pull this song right down. I was also hoping for some kind of build-up but it drags along feeling quite one-note; I hope that they can bring some kind of excitement to the live performance to elevate this.
Song Four: Eva Burešová – “Fly” – 7/10
The songs so far are doing a great job at getting my attention from the first bar and this one is no exception, the haunting yet ethnic opening wouldn’t feel out of place in an atmospheric Azerbaijan entry. The minimalist and modern backing track is an excellent way to stand out – just ask Animata for Latvia in 2015. I don’t feel like this is as strong, the live performance would have to bring out more highs and lows with Eva’s voice (which feels slightly too overproduced here) but I’m sure they can deliver an excellent performance that will get the votes in.
Song Five: Mikolas Josef – “Lie With Me” – 5/10
So another extremely strong opening, very modern and club-friendly, which definitely stands out in this field. I can’t help feeling like I have heard the exact same arrangement before. There are a lot of lyrics in this song, and though it tries to be catchy, it is not the kind of song you can sing along to (I can only remember Lie With Me and a brass instrument). I’m unsure how this will translate live, as Moldova got third in the contest last year with a similar genre song but a million times catchier. This will have its fans and does stand out, but will that be enough?
Song Six: Pavel Callta – “Never Forget” – 8/10
The thing that stands out to me the most is the tranquil backing track, it is very pleasant to listen to, just wonder whether it needs a bigger range throughout the song. Compared to a lot of the others, the lyrics are simple but effective; my only worry is his accent that is coming through in the studio version. This isn’t necessarily going for a modern angle but it is very chart friendly. In fact out of the six, this has the tune and the lyrics that I can remember the most but it will need an emotive and personal live performance to fully utilise these elements. But this is probably the Czech Republic’s best chance of reaching their second ever Eurovision grand final.
So what do you make of all of the potential entries for the Czech Republic – can you see them doing well at Eurovision with any of these?
Let me know what you think in the comments section below!