Song Reviews – Estonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina

Posted: 25/4/2006 in:

Song: Through My Window
Artist: Sandra
There was a moment back in the early part of the decade when it looked as though Estonia would be a Eurovision force to be reckoned with, thanks to their three year run of top five finishes (the most notable, of course, being their 2001 victory). Since 2003 it’s been downhill all the way, though, and they’ve been floundering in semi-final territory ever since it was introduced. This year, however, we reckon they’ve got more chance of progressing to the final than they have done previously. Despite its resemblance to ABBA (and specifically Does Your Mother Know) Through My Window, one of the first songs to be chosen for this year’s contest, is an upbeat, likeable little number which is memorable enough to attract those voters who won’t have heard any of the songs before semi-finals night. For all its plus points, however, we sense a problem. For one thing, this is performed right after Sweden, and the similarities between the two songs – both taking the Scandi-pop route – are all too obvious (and despite our reservations about Carola, we have to admit the Swedish song is better). For another, this comes right in the middle of a batch of strongly fancied songs – with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iceland to follow – and try as we might, we just can’t picture all of the last four songs qualifying from the semi. We hope we’re wrong, because this is a nice little number (even if the choreography in the video we saw was noticeably naff) and Sandra is appealing, and we’d like to see Estonia back in the final – but right now, we’re just not sure.
For It: An uptempo, feelgood number that’s easy to like, even if it’s nothing to get too excited about.
Against It: Like it or not, Sweden will be a hard act to follow, and given this song is similar in tone it’s in danger of being swept away by the Carola juggernaut. Add to that the fact that the Bosnian song which follows is also among the favourites and Estonia could be in trouble. Once again, we’re on the fence with this one – like Poland, we reckon it could go one way or the other.

Song: Lejla
Artist: Hari Mata Hari
And so we come to the penultimate song in the semi-final – and as we’re constantly reminded by the Eurovision pundits, singing second to last is always a good place to be, whether you’re in the semi or the final (let us not forget it did wonders for Latvia in the final last year – we can only speculate what might have happened if our 2005 favourites Hungary had drawn that slot. But anyway….) To be honest, though, this year’s pentultimate semi-finalist doesn’t really need the advantage of singing second-to-last, since they seem likely to qualify anyway purely on the strength of the song. Lejla – sung by one of B&H’s most popular artists (he is known as the ‘nightingale of Sarajevo’) – was written by Zeljko Joksimovic – who guided Serbia and Montenegro to success in 2004 with the beautiful Lane Moje. Like the aforementioned, this treads similar territory – it’s a haunting, gentle ethno-ballad – and although it’s not quite as immediate as Lane Moje, it still has plenty going for it (not least Hari Mata Hari’s excellent vocals). Sandwiched between Estonia’s song and what will undoubtedly be a bizarre performance from Iceland, this should really stand out. B&H have taken the more uptempo route in recent years, so in a way this seems like a bit of a gamble for them – but it’s one that’s paid off, for this is their strongest effort for years, and not only is it a very likely finalist, but it could give them their best result yet. Let’s just wait and see whether they snag that all-important second-to-last slot in the final too – they could do a lot of damage if they do.
For It: Very different from the songs all around it in the running order, and it couldn’t have asked for a better position in the draw – plus it’s one of the better ballads in the final. Provided the performance is as good as we’re hoping, we’d be surprised if this didn’t make the final.
Against It: Might be a bit too similar to Serbia and Montenegro’s 2004 effort for comfort – and as good as this is, Lane Moje was a superior song. It might also find itself in trouble if voters have tired of ethno-pop – but somehow we don’t think that’ll happen.

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