Sunday, February 13, 2011

ESC 2011: Norway

A quick rundown of the finalists for Norway:

My personal favorite as explained earlier. Of course, it is all a question of "what are you trying to achieve through participation in ESC?" - most of which will say is "win". Albeit, winning the competition does not necessarily mean winning anythin other than the competition and gaining a whole lot of expenses the following year. Helen Bøksle is a wonderful display of Norwegian Soft Power - that is, the propogation of Norwegian cultural heritage.

Sie Gubba - Alt du vil ha (All you want, you'll get)
Is another propagation of Norwegian Soft Power. While some will claim this is only country (of which, some will say Norway is the only country in the world consuming more country music than the USA - true or not), it is not. It's Trønder-rock, a speciality of the Trøndelag dristricts. The song, however, does not stick, nor does it propagate anything beyond itself.

A sure hit among the Douglas Adams fans could probably raise a lot of geek-points in Düsseldorf for the band name alone. The song, however, is regular pop, and doesn't stick.

Now this is music! It is catchy, it is well done, the band members have character - definitely one of my favourite musically. The lyrics are well beyond the grey area (she's got a fire down below), and it is a propagation of US soft power rather than Norwegian.

While sheep is one of the words that do not gain an 's' in plural, The Blacksheeps broke the surface in 2008 with their song Oro jaska, beana - Be quiet, dog. This song made it to the top of Nordic ESC and contained Norwegian and Sámi lyrics. No wonder, the band is from Deatnu/Tana, one of the major Sámi towns. I really appreciated their 2008 hit.

Their 2011 entrance goes a step further, with Norwegian, English and Sámi lyrics in the same song. However, they have so absolutely lost their innocense since 2008, the lyrics are just as far beyond the grey area as The Lucky Bullets, and is yet another rock song. It would be interesting to create a buzz about the languages used in the lyrics, but it would probably get lost in the party party.

Speaking of parties, Stella Mwangi participates with THE party song. Easy to remember, catchy, mulicultural, positive and sung by a black woman. This is African soft power. Alas, black party party music is how Dave Benton secured Estonia's winning position in 2001. And it's immensly popular in Norway.

A mix of TLC and Destiny's Child, Åste & Rikke is one of the more interesting songs in the Norwegian finale. It's memorable, but probably not singable by the ordinary mortal. And it's soul, which means it's "High-Pigmentation Soft Power" performed by "Not-Very-Pigmented people".

Simple girl-with-guitar-pop. The song sounds somewhat familiar, though I can't put my finger on it. Could probably win in one of the worse years of ESC - such as 2001. Unfortunately, this is not expected to be one of those years.

Not too surprising, then, that that the winner for Melodi Grand Prix 2001, the song that will represent Norway in Düsseldorf in May is... Haba haba, hujaza kibaba!

On the bright side, the lyrics are positive and encouraging. Trouble is, there's a statistical chance it might win. And there are dance steps, too. It will plague every disco in Europe for a year!

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