Following Austria’s less than successful entry last year (last place in Semi Final 1); the only way is up for Austria. The national broadcaster ORF have gone back to basics and re-jigged their national selection format. Invitations were sent out in October for song submissions and ORF have selected 5 to proceed to a national final to be held in Vienna on February 15th.
The 5 entries are from singers covering a vast array of diverse musical genres including soft rock, electro pop and folksy soul. One thing they all have in common is that they are all in English, whether this is a good or bad thing is up for debate, however, I always appreciate a song sung in the vernacular. I have listened to the tracks and have given a review of what I have heard. With all things Eurovision and without any sense of irony, it’s very hard to judge the songs without the added benefit of stage presentation etc; however, here goes my thoughts on the 5 songs competing to represent Austria in 2013. For 2 of the songs there are videos which we have posted but all the songs are contained on the below link. So you can hear all the songs in their entirety here too as you read our review.
(Photograph courtesy of ORF)
Elija – ‘Give Me a Sign’.
First up is Elija with ‘Give Me a Sign’. A soft rock ballad about the break up of a relationship and Elija’s need to meet up with the ex for one last time. Not a bad song with a good melody to it and based on a couple of listens it’s a sweet tune, however this is a Eurovision national final and I don’t think it will be instant enough to get the votes of the Austrian public. It’s a 50/50 televote/jury decision process in Austria and unless Elija has a broad fan base (a trawl through youtube brought up very little) I can’t see this going to Malmo.
(YouTube Video Courtesy of ELIJAofficial)
The Bandaloop – ‘Back to Fantasy’
Just like Elija, the Bandaloop want to be taken back in time. A time of Electro-disco kitsch glamour pop and in all honesty it’s a place I wouldn’t mind joining them in. Think a mix of Scissor Sisters meets Goldfrapp, meets La Roux. Barca Baxant is the lead female with an Ana Matronic persona in this trio and the band are definitely living up to their self-proclaimed ‘neon colours orgies pomp’ description. A good electro pop jam with a good consistent beat (there’s almost a dub step feeling going through the whole song), though the rap isn’t exactly required and adds nothing to the song in my opinion. Depending on the stage show and how it’s presented to both the jury and Austrian public, it may do well.
See Link for a recording of the song
Falco Luneau – ‘Rise Above the Night’
A nice guitar intro, Damien Dempsey esque sound. Falco is singing to his lover about dancing under the city lights and that they’ll rise above the night. Has the makings of good anthem and nice build up but I’m not sure if it reaches the heights it could, it finishes with a Coldplay ‘viva la vida’ sound. In related news, Falco from what I can see looks the part and has the cool rocker look going on which may add to the overall presentation of the song. Hey, it’s a cruel world out there and looks can go a long way especially on a television show. One to watch….
(YouTube Video Courtesy of Falco Luneau)
Natalia Kelly – ‘Shine’
Out of all the contestants, Natalia Kelly popped up more often than any of the other performers. This may be due to the fact that she appeared on Austria’s ‘The Voice’ and a voice she certainly has. The song itself ‘Shine’ reminds me of Delta Goodrem at her best and while her voice may not be as pure as Delta’s (there’s a definite Diana Vickers ‘quality’ to it) she none the less carries the song beautifully. The song goes down the route of Katy Perry and Pink in that it’s all about empowerment and positivity and that you will ‘shine’. While not the dance track that ‘Euphoria’ was, the song follows suit in the sense that it is built on one word; ‘shine’ which is repeated quite often but it works. I like it.
See the below link for a recording of “Shine”
Yela – ‘Feels Like Home’
From the faux Amy Winehouse from Italy last year to the pseudo Avril Lavigne from Russia back in 2004, Eurovision is no stranger to sending artists that remind us of more well-known artists. Cue Yela, who is an Austrian Corinne Bailey Rae in more ways than one. From the sound to the look, Yela has it all. A folksy soulful number from Yela, she has a great voice and carries the song perfectly. The initial feeling is one of summer with its breezy beats and melody. A great little song and with simple presentation could do very well indeed. In fact, given that I’ve only heard the songs and not seen any ‘performance’, this is the song that catches me most. Look out Corinne, there’s a new girl in town.
See the below link for a recording of “Feels Like Home”
Overview – All in all, a fairly strong national selection from Austria. ORF may have reduced the quantity of songs by half but have undoubtedly ‘upped’ the quality in the process. Any one of these songs could be selected and do a good job for Austria in Malmo given the right performance positioning and staging. Hopefully, Ireland can follow suit with a strong national final in February. Watch this space!
Author/Guest writer – Alan Cromie
Source ORF and tt.com