Song Reviews – Netherlands and Lithuania

Posted: 20/4/2006 in:

Song: Amambanda
Artist: Treble
The Netherlands may be one of the longest-standing participants in Eurovision but they haven’t had too much luck recently – they scraped through the semi-final in 2004 but made little impact on the final itself, and last year missed out on the final completely even though Glennis Grace’s big ballad My Impossible Dream had been tipped as one of the favourites to qualify. This year, they’ve gone for a slight change in direction from the relatively gentle efforts of recent years – Amambanda is an uptempo, ethnic-sounding number performed partly in a made-up language (well it worked for Belgium in 2003 so why not?) – yet the overall effect is strangely underwhelming. It’s not a bad tune – it’s pleasant and catchy enough, while the band’s drumming skills should ensure a spirited performance on the night – yet there’s something strangely unmemorable about the whole enterprise, as if a lot of effort is being put in to no avail. There are certainly far worse songs than this in the contest, but with some very stiff competition in the semi-final we can see this one being overlooked.
For It: It’s far from terrible, and there’s scope for a lively performance. And of course the made-up language gives it a bit of added novelty.
Against It: The semi-final line-up is stronger than ever this year and this just isn’t distinctive enough to stand out. It reminds us a bit of the Estonian entry from 2004, and like that we think this is likely to miss out on a place in the final.

Song: We Are The Winners
Artist: LT United
Every so often, a Eurovision song comes along which is so blatantly ridiculous that you can’t decide if it’s the worst entry ever or a sheer work of genius. Pietro and The Allstars managed it in 2004 with the Swiss clunker Celebrate (and scores a big fat nul points for their troubles), and lo and behold, this year the Lithuanians have done it. Having notched up one of the most unimpressive track records in Eurovision – they debuted in 1994, scored no points and immediately disappeared again for five years, only to have very little success since (the best they’ve managed so far was 13th in 2001, and last year they came last in the semi-final), it seems that this year they’ve decided to take it a bit less seriously. Thus we’ve been treated to a song which consists of little more than LT United chanting repeatedly about how they’re the winners of Eurovision and so we must vote for them – which, if the national final is anything to go by, will be accompanied by a performance featuring silly dancing and all manner of general lunacy. And sure enough, it’s divided audiences, with some proclaiming it a satiric masterpiece and others – rather more sensibly we feel – dismissing it as a load of old claptrap which is fully deserving of the inevitable last place that it’s going to get. And what of Team Eurovision? Well, the first time we heard it we couldn’t stop laughing – and we do appreciate the fact that at least you know where you are with a song that has as blatant a title as We Are The Winners – but in hindsight, we have to admit it’s not very good really (even if it is a damned site more entertaining than the likes of Belarus and Cyprus). However, we can’t help thinking that however hard they may have tried to come up with the silliest song possible, there’s a very slim possibility that the Lithuanians’ efforts may backfire and they might find themselves doing rather well. This is, to be honest, extremely unlikely to happen. But if going down the novelty route worked for the likes of Alf Poier and Stefan Raab (after all, who really saw Austria’s success in 2003 coming?) then whose to say it won’t work in this case? Stranger things have happened.
For It: Its sheer awfulness may well work in its favour – for one thing, it’s virtually critic-proof (it’s knowingly bad so any more insults you fling at it are likely to have little effect), and novelty tracks have a habit of outperforming expectations. Highly unlikely to make the final – but you never know….
Against It: Pretty much everything else really, since this bypasses the cleverness of previous novelty entries and just winds up being silly.

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