Over the coming weeks, sometimes more than once a day, we will bring you daily previews of the contest, spotlighting each of the songs individually in random order, where they come from, who will be performing them, and more, as well as some historical info on the contest and some of the past winners and participants.
Next up on our Song-By-Song preview is the official entry from the United Kingdom, “Storm” by SuRie, written by Nicole Blair, Gil Lewis, and Sean Hargreaves. The song is performed in English. SuRie – real name Suzanna Cork – has been a musician since childhood, and has been involved with EuroVision twice before – as a backup singer and dancer for Belgian artist Loic Nottel in 2015, and as Belgian performer Blanche‘s musical director last year. As one of the “Big Five” with Spain, Italy, France, and Germany, the UK moves automatically to the Grand Final. For the uninitiated, the UK represents Great Britian, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland as one country; Scotland has tried to enter the contest on its own several times but has been rejected as the rules limit entries to countries who have European Broadcast Union membership and who cannot be represented in other forms; Scotland does not have a membership of its own and relies on England’s membership to participate.
I love this song’s message – that you can get through anything if you hang on through the ‘storm’ – very positive and very uplifting. However, I’m not so crazy about the execution. The video is bland and boring, consisting entrely of head shots of SuRie, and while she’s a beautiful woman and nice to look at, it doesn’t portray the story of the song the way it potentially could have. And the tune is standard UK synthpop, which is fine, and usually one of my favorite types of music, but here it just seems watered down.Which is too bad, because lyrically, this song is fantastic, reminding me of the lyrics of “The Power Of One” by the late Donna Summer, from the film “Pokemon 2000” – you just have to believe, and hang on, and you can manage to get through all of life’s challenges. The song will probably be a hit in the UK and the continent, but I don’t see it making the leap to the US charts without a serious overhaul of the song’s mix.
The UK have been one of the stalwarts of EuroVision almost since it’s inception. They debuted during the competition’s second year in 1957, and have been in 60 contests thus far, winning five times: with “Puppet On A String” by Sandie Shaw, 1967; “Boom Bang-A-Bang” by Lulu , 1969 (part of a four way winner’s tie also including Spain, The Netherlands, and France..and boy does EuroVision love its nonsense titles over the years); “Save Your Kisses For Me“, by The Brotherhood Of Man, 1976 (and one of only a handful of entries since 1975 to make the US charts in a major way, hitting #27 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the AC chart); “Making Your Mind Up” by Bucks Fizz, 1981 (one of those winners I just can’t figure out…); and “Love Shine A Light” by Katrina And The Waves, 1997. They have also finished in the runner-up position a whopping fifteen times over the years, more than double any other countries’ second place finishes. However, the UK’s EuroVision fortunes have had a serious downturn since 1999, which was the year that a rule was dropped requiring that songs had to be sung in each country’s predominate language (a rule that had been relaxed briefly before in 1974 and 1975, which is how ABBA and Teach In were able to perform in English those two years, and thus winning the competition; ABBA would have probably won anyway, Teach-In probably not). As most songs are now performed in English, the UK’s edge has slipped away a bit, finishing the top ten only twice since then in 2002 and 2009. It also hasn’t helped that the UK has fielded some truly inexplicable entries over the past 19 years, the weirdest of which were 2007’s entry, “Flying The Flag (For You)” by musical comedy act Scootch, a satirical swipe at the airline industry (?), and in 2012. when the nation chose living legend Englebert Humperdinck to carry their EuroVision banner with with the pedestrian “Love Will Set You Free”. Go figure. To be totally honest, the past two years I’ve been watching the contest, the UK has offered up bland, boring, recycled-sounding material; we can hope their fortunes will take an upturn this year…but don’t hold your breath, although lyrically the song will score with people
Here’s the official music video – judge for yourself!
Join eCinemaOne, The Kirkham Report, and Planet BiblioMusica each day through the finals on May 12 – be sure to check each site, because some of the features will be exclusive to just one of the sites! The daily artist and song profiles will appear on each site, with some past winners and historical info coming to TKR and PlanetBM in the next week or so as I complete my research!
In case you’re interested, I will post my list of all 43 songs in the order of my favorites at the end of our song by song preview in early May, so keep tuned in! This weekend is going to be full, with FOUR song by song profiles each day, so we will have time at the end of the profiles to do some favorites and not-so-favorites…
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Also published on Medium.