Eurovision · Music

Eurovision 2017 In-Depth: Perfect Air (Germany & Austria)

Moving back west a bit, the final two Germanic speaking countries. I have a bit of a connection to Germany through ancestry but that doesn’t necessarily translate to me loving their entries, this is all on musical quality alone. They’re both great places and have some strong entries in their past, is it the perfect air that my title describes though?

Germany – Levina – Perfect Life

We come to this Eurovision at a tough time for Germany in the Eurovision. If you’re from my country and think that the UK has done bad lately, at least we’ve not finished last twice in a row and had a nul-pointer this decade. This may be because Germany is also falling prey to the conceit that you don’t need to send the absolute best to get through the semi, or that autoqualified entries are automatically disadvantaged, or just that politically Germany has few automatic friends, sadly. Which shouldn’t be the case, German people are awesome. That nul-pointer was last only on a technicality as well, for Austria’s host entry that year finished ahead because it was performed first. And both that entry, Black Smoke and the following entry, Ghost, were entries that almost seemed to try to replicate Germany’s recent winner, Lena. Whose two entries at the start of this decade are the two best German entries in recent times, though I have a huge soft spot for Germany’s other recent last-placer, Run & Hide as well. I’m quite alone on that, I know, the voice can be a bit of a shock but that guitar solo is something else. No guitar solos in this German entry though.

In fact, this German entry is also widely tipped to be another miserable failure, because it sounds unpolished and the backing sounds like any number of dance song hits from a few years ago, most notably in the Titanium bracket. Not that that counts it out, Loreen’s Euphoria was kind of similar to that chart-topping hit, but not enough to be noticeable. When songs have been similar enough to be noticeable, like Cascada’s Glorious, also for Germany, the year after Euphoria won, they haven’t generally been rewarded. That clouded my judgement on Perfect Life for a while, I don’t like ripoffs and it’s so close to be really on the nose. A bit of time has warmed me to it but that instrumental bridge still makes me wince a bit, as much as I love Titanium, something so blatantly similar is hard to swallow. What is selling it is Levina’s vocals so far, she’s making it feel like she does really care and she’s trying to distance herself from the plagiarism inherent in the backing track. If she can do that on the night, it may work, but it’s still not exactly the best.

I have to be predicting this to finish near the bottom of the final on the night, it may get a little bit of traction if Levina proves to be a good performer but there’s not enough about this song to be memorable and surely juries will not take kindly to its, if we’re being generous, similarities to another song. Her vocals which are the sort I can like, being a little strained, also probably won’t appeal to the juries. I can’t see this making it above 20th, possibly 17th on an excellent day. However if it avoids last it’ll still be the best performing German entry of the last 3 years and if it can get above 18th then I’ll be pleased, as it’ll make the awful and seemingly inept Is It Right no longer the most successful German entry of the last 5. Which is still so weird to me, Black Smoke should have been way more appealing than that. Still, best of luck to Levina, this isn’t completely awful and given Germany is now the underdog in Eurovision it feels better to support them.

Austria – Nathan Trent – Running On Air

Look, this is a bare minimum effort and so I’m going to be bare minimum with this one, the barest of minimums to be described as ‘in-depth’. Austria are always hit-and-miss, they can hit with Conchita, they can hit with Loin D’Ici, they can surprisingly hit with Trackshittaz, they miss with bland crap like this, their host entry that was only notable for getting nul and having a flaming piano, and their 2013 entry which has nothing to say about it aside from the fact it was their 2013 entry.

I don’t like this, it’s barely better than Ireland but the truth is these songs, a standard pop song, are a dime a dozen and they’re all completely unspecial. I will probably never listen to this after the contest has finished, it doesn’t even want to come alive probably like some of the better songs of this type sometimes feel like it.

I wouldn’t normally count this sort of thing out, because my disdain aside, this sort of sound often has a lot of fans, which is the reason why it’s such a prevalent sound but I can’t see much making people vote for this as their favourite. Add that it’s performing second and that Switzerland will probably grab any Germanic votes far better, I think Austria will be back in the semis this year. They had a good run but I can’t see this getting through.

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