‘The World Can Wait’ by Waylon
The question is about music not about the man. Because if it was about the man, I’d be lobbying AVROTROS to give Ilse DeLange the 2019 ticket so she can bring the Glass Microphone back to Amsterdam. Waylon was perhaps the biggest disappointment of my two weeks on the ground in Portugal.
Yet ‘The World Can Wait’ (this year’s ‘Rocks And Honey’) is an intriguing album of shifting moods, with high tides of excitement, and low tides of loss and despair. In other worlds it’s a very gentle slice of Americana, put together with a twelve strong writing team, some fantastic musicians, and lyrics that catch in my throat.
So thank you Eurovision, you’ve handed me a fantastic album which leaves a curiously bitter taste in my mouth.
‘Сберегу’ (‘I Will Save’), by Alekseev
He was already well on my radar with many thanks to our little jaunt to Ukraine in 2017, but our unsuccessful Belorussian entrant has already moved very much on from his Eurovision foray and back into his comfort zone with more modern Russian-language beats.
The very latest offering in ‘Сберегу’ shows him to be a far more confident artist than what we saw live in Lisbon, and the video provided of a recent concert below demonstrates that he doesn’t need a ridiculous rose gimmick to gain audience attention.
‘Wild Wild Wonderland’, by Saara Aalto
Aalto’s latest album is a piece of pure, unadulterated pop at its most glorious! I can’t pick a single track off of it because they just come thick and fast.
There is one track in the middle that slows things down a bit, it’s kind of like Ireland in the second half of this years Grand Final, it’s called ‘Dance Like Nobody’s Watching’ but the slightly slowed down tempo doesn’t hamper the enjoyment of the album in any way. I will say I sort of get the feeling this was the long list of songs in the mix for Saara at this years Song Contest (with the exception of ‘Dance Like Nobody’s Watching’), and after many meetings and discussions ‘Monsters’, ‘Domino’ and ‘Queens’ came tumbling out the bottom and into UMK, but probably there are others that could have equally have made the cut.
It’s not an album to make you question life, the universe and human existence, it’s a bunch of fun, uplifting songs to enjoy in your car, driving through London with the roof down while the sun shines in the sky (well that’s how I intend to enjoy it anyway!)
‘Moura‘, by Ana Moura
When I wasn’t furiously analysing rehearsal footage or dancing like a fool at the Euroclub, I spent many a beautiful night wandering through the cobbled streets of Lisbon, just soaking in the relaxed romanticism of one of the most atmospheric Eurovision host cities I’ve yet to pay a visit to.
The soundtrack to my holiday was primarily ‘Moura’, a beautiful 2015 album from local Fado sensation – and Grand Final opening act – Ana Moura. It’s a summery, full-bodied slice of Portuguese soul from a singer at the peak of her powers. Wherever you’re reading this from, I recommend playing it loud while the sun’s still shining. It’ll instantly transport you to a balmy afternoon in Portugal.
I miss it already.
‘Vu D’ici’, by Madame Monsieur
One of the joys of Eurovision is discovering a fully formed musical act that has just been waiting for their moment of wider public attention. Madame Monsieur have graced the 2018 Eurovision season with such French concepts as elan, panache, joie de vivre and amour. The album is an hour of the excellence you got with ‘Mercy‘ – emotive storytelling, chill beats, songwriting craft and a certain je ne sais quois.
Now we’ve started the summer playlist, what do you want to add to it? National Final singers, deep cuts in the archives of this year’s performers? Or something more left field? Let us know your 2018 treasures in the comments – and don’t forget to link to choice tracks!