Hello and welcome back to my review of the entries of A Dal 2019, the Hungarian selection process for the Eurovision Song Contest.
Fifteen songs have already gone under the microscope, which you can find here -> https://thebloggingdj.wordpress.com/2019/01/16/budapest-calling-rating-the-songs-of-a-dal-2019-part-one/)
Now it is time for the remaining acts to face judgement. Which will scream as winner and which will whimper as filler? It’s time to find out.
DENIZ – “Ide várnak vissza”
Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way first of all; predominately rap songs have never done well at Eurovision. But that is not to say that it can’t, the ones sent to the contest have never been gone enough. Sadly, this isn’t the breakthrough for the genre. The song is modern and goes down the tried-and-tested route of a female performing the chorus and the rap being the verses. I actually prefer the spoken parts, even though they are quite long. The chorus itself is limp and lacks the power and memorability to pull the song together; it doesn’t stand out or leave any kind of impression. 6
USNK – “Posztolj”
So I might as well start this review by saying read the first couple of sentences of the song above regarding rap at Eurovision. This pair won the Hungarian version of the X-Factor in 2018, so I imagine that they have a big fanbase and this might well make the final of A Dal. I can say that this is definitely placed in 2019, unlike other songs. Sadly, this isn’t my kind of music at all and felt like two minutes of shouting broken up by a semi-singing section that was uninspiring. I’m sorry, but it’s not for me. 3
Monyo Project – “Run Baby Run”
This song starts out beautifully, with a classical inspired musical opening and a lounge-esque verse with some heavy beats. I could imagine this start being played on a radio show live and it going down very well. Then, strangely, the song goes both forward and back a few decades to include some drums and an electric guitar solo. If the singer can pull off the big note live then it will be great to listen to, but in its current form feels a bit too experimental and all over the place. 5
Leander Kills – “Hazavágyom”
Starting slow and calming, this song goes through a massive transformation by the chorus. Adding various instruments into the mix slowly helps to build layers, until it has a thumping beat that is very catchy. There is something ethnic about this performance, like they are playing from the heart and relating to local music. The song is about longing to be home and it works really well in this respect. The violin solos are excellent and links everything together. In short, this is how to create a rousing mood in a way that is not your obvious drum and guitar sections. 8
Gotthy – “Csak 1 perc”
The best thing about this song is its production value in the verses; there is just enough dance material in there to put it in 2019, but not so much as to overwhelm the singer. However, there isn’t much that is unique or memorable within, with the EDM instrumental being exactly what you would expect. A Dal 2019 has a lot of similar sounding songs and I fear that this one is too middle-of-the-road to get people to vote for it. 6
Ruby Harlem – “Forró”
This whole entry has quite a lounge bar feel to it and subsequently doesn’t really go anywhere in the way I hoped it would. The chorus, strangely, doesn’t appear until the one minute point and it is not particularly Forró (literally meaning hot); it is what you would expect. The inclusion of the brass instruments towards the end at least add a bit of fun and helps me to forget about the annoying modern noises. But overall, forgettable. 5
Rozina Pátkai – “Frida”
With a dark, mysterious but still very modern opening few beats, I had high hopes that this song would deliver an Animata (Latvia 2015) moment. The first minute is probably the best part of this song; after that it starts to divert into a 1980s track, complete with heavy autotuning on her voice. The pacing also becomes a bit too stop-start to enjoy the flow and emotion. I don’t know how this will translate live either, and that worries me. 6
Gergő Oláh – “Hozzád bújnék”
Sometimes, keeping it simple is the best way when songwriting. It is obvious that this song was produced in the past year but it is done in a way that has a timeless appeal. The focus is completely on his words as he presents a story, that is very well shown by the emotional music video. The great instrumentation swells as the song reaches its climax, whilst remaining extremely pleasant to listen to. Sticking to basics works well here, though I hope its relatively simple style doesn’t work against it in the running order. 8
László Váray – “Someone Who Lives Like This”
Imagine you are walking around Budapest, taking in the sights and you are met with a busker who is performing his latest self-penned single. It isn’t the best but it is loud and stops you enjoying the scenery. This is how I feel about this song. There is an extremely awkward attempt at trying to make rhyming couplets and when this doesn’t work, it sounds simply awful. The pacing is all over the place and it does not interest or excite me in the slightest. Sorry, but I can’t find many positives in this. 3
The Sign – “Ő”
This song reminds me of their representative in 2013, ByeAlex, complete with a colourful music video. Honestly, I quite enjoyed that aspect and I hope that somehow they can translate this mood into the live show. The song, as a whole, tells a nice story but musically, to those who perhaps don’t speak Hungarian, it flatlines. It may get votes from the public at A Dal but it seems more suited to film than a live stage like Eurovision. 5
Timi Antal feat. Gergő Demko – “Kedves Világ!”
I was enjoying this classical, soothing song until the static came in and the true song began – a surprise that I was not expecting. To be honest, I was drawn more to the classical notes than what followed. The violin accompaniment was a nice touch and complimented the vocals well and it had energy. Not too much is jumping out to me though, it reminds me of Macedonia 2018 and look what happened there. Though it tries to be different at the start, it feels quite middle-of-the-road. 6
Bence Vavra – “Szótlanság”
When a ballad can be both modern and emotive, they have done something right. Using a more modern musical base, Bence Vavra manages to perform an emotive story well. He has a great range and manages to have a vulnerability in his voice as well as delivering on the powerful notes. There is a key change towards the end, which is expected but also feels satisfying, that the emotion was ready to explode. I hope he performs well live. 8
Gergő Szekér – “Madár, repülj!”
I am a bit confused over what to make of this entry. The slow start is pulverised by a spoken word/rap section which conveys frustration and emotion. The song then reverts to ballad form, but has some annoying and unnecessary dubstep elements on top of it. Finally, when I am expecting something big, the modern instruments go completely and it becomes a standard power ballad. It almost feels like a song in reverse and I think the writers should have picked one direction, instead of three or four. 5
Bogi Nagy – “Holnap”
A lot of these songs have used additional layers of instruments in order to try and elevate their songs. Only a few have stuck with the basics, including this ballad. Sadly, despite her clear and good voice, the lack of any development in musical level leaves me feeling a bit uninspired. I can again see this song in a film or a TV show, during an emotional scene involving a couple, but overall, this is a bit basic. 6
The Middletonz – “Roses”
The final song of this selection comes from an ex-Eurovision entrant, András Kállay-Saunders, who brought Hungary a top five finish in 2014. Could he be returning to the contest with this modern hit? Well, this song is heavily influenced by the Top 40, it sounds fresh, and the rap section, unlike I lot I have heard in this selection, has the right balance of attack and power. But, I have one major concern. This is so heavily produced at times that I wonder if it will translate at all onto the live stage, as a lot of modern hits can’t. If this can be done, they could well win A Dal. 8
So that is all thirty songs reviewed in A Dal 2019. I must admit that there are a good mix of hits, from all genres, but most still feeling quite fresh and marketable to a modern audience.
Who is your favourite and who do you think will win that ticket to Tel Aviv? You can let me know all of your thoughts in the comments section below.
Coming up on TheBloggingDJ will be previews of as many National Selections as I can muster. You can read all of my latest reviews and thoughts by subscribing to my blog and receiving email notifications. I hope to see you guys soon for more Eurovision pieces!