After a commendable result in the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest, the United Kingdom are hoping to further improve on their miserable run when they select their entry for the 2018 edition of the contest on the 7th Feburary.
Today the BBC unveiled the six acts who will compete for that ticket to Lisbon one by one. You can hear the songs in full on the BBC website or on YouTube. As per the rules of this review I will listen to each song once and once alone, as though I was solely watching the contest itself. Here is what I made of the songs, in the order they were released.
(All videos courtesy of the BBC’s YouTube page)
Song One: Goldstone – “I Feel The Love” – 6.5/10
The first entry comes courtesy of girl group Goldstone, with a toe-tapping number. The beat is the most memorable part of this song and definitely stands out when placed next to the slightly cheesy lyrics. It is not cringe-levels of cheese but slightly bland. I can see the angle that the song is going for, trying to fill that Little Mix modern-girl-group hole, however it misses the mark on this. It feels more like a mid 2000s album track, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but is uninspired. Overall this is a cheery decent song and sets the bar nicely for the remaining acts.
Song Two: Asanda – “Legends” – 6.5/10
It’s hard to really put my finger on how I feel about this song because on paper it has all the right elements: a modern beat, a singer with depth and something unique in her voice and an inspirational sounding chorus. But when put all together, there is a disconnect. What I do feel is that the bland chorus (“We La La Legends Tonight”) is a complete mismatch with the rest of the song and is the weakest part of this entry. It’s also very hard to see how this could be elevated live to be made memorable as it doesn’t take me anywhere, the three minutes simply slide by and that is suicide in this competition.
Song Three: RAYA – “Crazy” – 8/10
Fun fact about this song, it was co-written by none other than Eurovision alumni Greta Salóme. Again I am very happy with the modern sounding beat but finally we have a song that follows through with the early promise. The lyrics fit the tone and despite not being the deepest ever (“You’re making me crazy, crazy”) they are extremely catchy and I can remember the song after only one listen, which I can’t say about the previous two. My one hope if this does win is maybe a more powerful variation when she belts out “crazy…crazy” in the chorus, just to keep the upwards trajectory going. But I am happy with this and this would definitely bring a new flavour to the contest should it win Eurovision: You Decide.
Song Four: Liam Tamne – “Astronaut” – 7.5/10
Now this is a completely different direction from the You Decide selectors. I’d probably describe it as if Maroon 5 did an acoustic ballad. The first twangs of the guitar immediately make it stand out from the mid-tempo entries that have come before whilst the modern touches in the music stop it from feeling too sleepy. I have two main concerns with this song, the first being whether the chorus is strong enough, as it occasionally veers very close to cheese. The second is more about whether he can perform this live as the range required in this song is high. If he does this though, I expect a great performance in the national final.
Song Five: Jaz Ellington – “You” – 8/10
I am loving the different genres that this selection is giving us, now we move on to an extremely soulful performance that I can see being performed on British TV shows such as Later… with Jools Holland. In terms of lyrical complexity this is easily the best so far, the raw emotion that Jaz can bring out is exceptional. Portugal’s win last year taught us that you don’t need all the bells and whistles to succeed, just emotion and meaningful lyrics. I worry that it will go over a lot of the audience’s heads in the national selection and won’t receive the love it deserves. It is something very different that has a place in the music industry and I wish him all the best luck in the national selection.
Song Six: SuRie – “Storm” – 7/10
Our final act in this year’s Eurovision: You Decide and I must commend the BBC for stepping up their game compared to the last couple of years. Each of the songs have a good quality about them and this is no exception. The opening verse is so simple but so good and I was eagerly awaiting what would follow, sadly it didn’t completely live up to expectations. That isn’t to say that the chorus is bad, it just doesn’t really go anywhere compared to the verses. I would say that this is the most ‘Eurovision-like’ entry but that can be good and bad, good because it will appeal to audiences, bad because there will be other songs like this in Lisbon should it win. If the chorus is made stronger then this could surprise people in the contest.
So that is all six songs and I must say the quality is good this year; there is potential in all of the songs and even those that I rated lower than others can still smash it with a few tweaks.
What do you make of the six songs competing to be the United Kingdom’s entry to Eurovision? Let me know what you think in the comments section below!