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Each year since 1956 a bunch of European countries submit (horrifically bad) songs into a pan-European (plus Israel) contest called Eurovision, which is broadcast all over Europe and according to Wikipedia is one of the longest-running television programs ever. This year, Exurovision was held in Baku, which is the capital of Azerbaijan, a country you may be familiar with through its appearance in the Peirce Brosnan Bond movie “The World is Not Enough“. Although most of the songs entered into the contest are truly the dregs of the global music industry (Ex: San Marino’s 2012 entry, The Social Network Song ), there are occasionally a few acceptable songs. The following is a personal ranking of the best five songs of this years contest, complete with their official contest rankings:
1) Sweeden: “Euporia” by Loreen – Eurovision 2012 winner, and winner in my heart too – Catchy dance-y tune, simple performance and no stupid gimmicks (an Eurovision rarity)
2) Ukraine : “Be My Guest” by Gaitana – 15th place – I would consider visiting Ukraine if it looks and sounds like this music video. I don’t think this is representative of the country, though. A fun, summery dance track.
3) Ireland: “Waterline” by Jedward – 19th place – Hot Irish identical twins. Funny hairdos. Catchy beat which will grow on you until you find yourself humming it at inopportune times. See previous post on Jedward for more info.
4) Iceland: “Never Forget” by Greta Salome and Jonsi – 20th place – Yes, that is the Jonsi of Sigur Ros fame. No, this is not his first Eurovision entry (the previous one, in 2004 was way worse). This song is a testament to patriotism, because I can’t figure out any other reason Jonsi would agree to be associated with a song like this. Listen to it in Icelandic here.
5) Cyprus: “La La Love” by Ivi Adamou – 16th place – Some of the stupidest lyrics I have ever heard in my life. Good to listen to at the gym, though.
For the curious, or for the deaf, the number two song was a group of old Russian grandmothers singing this (no, that is not a joke, Europeans and music judges actually ranked that as the second best song in the competition), third place went to a Serbian dude singing a boring ballad in Serbian, fourth place to the host country, Azerbaijan, with a boring ballad in English and fifth place to Albania for a boring song in Albanian.
On Tuesday May 8, Wide Branches, a folk duo comprised of Caroline Mullis & Taylor Rogers, visited WOBC’s Studio B and played several songs from their recently released album, Crossing Bridges. You can find recordings of the session below!
Now, if you’ve been a good reader of the WOBC music blog, you know I love St. Vincent. Like “actually-kinda-border-line-obsessed-this-is-an-embarrassing-thing-to-talk-about-type-deal” love. In other words, my love is true and unwavering. And after seeing St. Vincent live at the Newport Music Hall in Columbus, that love has only strengthened.
Ok, let me put my St. Vincent boner away for a minute. I’m going to be straight with you. I am not easily impressed by live music. Or let me rephrase that– I am not easily impressed by the “lo- fi blah blah drone-core blah blah chill-wave” sound that typifies the live music scene today. It’s a thing for bands that act like that don’t give a shit, but in doing that, they make me, the listener, really not give a shit. Thus forth, no shits are given and not much fun is had– just the look of slouchy, stewing over post-adolescent ennui not unlike as seen in an American Apparel ad staring back at me from across the stage. I like musicians who care. I want upwards of five shits to be given about the music I listen to. St. Vincent cares. St. Vincent gives shits.
Walking into the Newport Music Hall in Columbus, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew what I was about to see was going to be FREAKING AWESOME, but the long road trip had addled my brain and for some reason, I just really wanted a milkshake. So while I went outside and did my meditation exercises to try to calm down, which involve me imagining that my whole body is slowly melting into butter or that I am on a nice beach somewhere (note: this didn’t actually happen), I tried to remind myself of what I was about to witness– a true goddess by the name of Annie Clark. I shuffled back inside and the show shortly began.
First off, let me say: WHOA. WHOA. SV, you got chops. Starting off with the unmistakable synth intro of “Marrow,” a track from the 2009 album Actor, the show commenced in a fit of bursts and stomps in the form of the song’s scattershot chorus of “H-E-L-P! Help me! Help me!” From there, St. Vincent moved onto the head-banging standout “Cheerleader.” It was only roughly six minutes into the show and already Ms. Clark had the audience in the palm of her stand. Standing up on stage, her curly halo backlight by a cool glow of white light, St. Vincent was the gospel, and the audience, piously staring back up at her, enraptured.
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