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This blog is about music videos. If you want to know what I think of the songs, you can find my exciting and witty opinions at The Singles Jukebox.

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Put a sign language donk on it! This is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen (also I now know the BSL for ‘techno’ = amazing)

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Tinkara Kovac - Round and Round (Slovenia)

Me and Tinkara have Previous - she put in a great effort for the Slovenian side in the 2010 Pop World Cup with her prog flute action. I remember her definitely being on the more competent end of the Slovenian pop, which sadly isn’t saying much (their metal and techno scenes are pretty great, however).

Here Tinkara is rocking some amazing earrings in a… volcanic lake? Or is it a quarry? You could definitely film an episode of Doctor Who there, anyway, plus one of her dancers already has hair like Karen Gillan. That black sludge looks rather nasty, but of course it wouldn’t be a Slovenian Eurovision entry without some sort of anti-pollution message: “if we can’t change how we’re living, is life just a lie on repeat?” Remember to RECYCLE, kids!

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The Common Linnets - Calm After The Storm (Netherlands)

I’m still annoyed at the Netherlands after I lost a tenner (each way!) on Anouk last year. I won’t make that mistake again, especially as this year they’re sending a country duet which is uncannily similar-sounding to Every Breath You Take. It never really gets going and has minimal chance of success, but at least it’s at the less offensive end of the Mumford spectrum Eurovision seems to be enduring this year.

The video however is uncannily similar-looking to Hazard by Richard Marx but with more standing around in fields and less walking down by the rivers/baying mobs burning down Richard Marx’s house. I have had Hazard stuck in my head all day thanks to acquiring Belgium’s Eden Hazard for my Panini World Cup 2014 sticker album. Hashtag music criticism.

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Hersi - One Night’s Anger (Albania)

Tourist board alert! Albania’s ‘stunning’ beaches/forests/one way systems are getting an outing in this video, while Hersi (dressed as an extra from My So Called Life who has gone clubbing at the Bronze) displays the many healthy pursuits that Albania has to offer: pony-trekking, paragliding, awkwardly cycling with a camera on her handlebars, arguing with dudes in anoraks etc.

Overall this is a pleasingly awful Evanesence-style grungewarble. I am especially fond of anorak dude’s wretched November Rain unplugged hilltop solo (and the stupendously crap drum break in the middle 8), but realistically Albania will have to employ some mighty daft staging to get through to the final.

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Five Years of the Singles Jukebox

thesinglesjukebox:

We’re not usually big on self-aggrandisement or mythologising. More or less, we just do one thing — we rate pop songs out of ten — but we love it and we do it well. We don’t pay attention to the consensus around us; we build our own (sometimes, but we often disagree). And we’ve now been doing it for five years.

Of course the story of the Jukebox goes back further than that. We started as a pair of columns on Stylus, one for UK singles and one for US singles, which ran until the site closed in 2007. A chance meeting between two writers in a pub led to a few emails going across the globe, and all of a sudden the band was back together, just like we’d never split up. Sure, our friends at Pitchfork began to focus on individual tracks in earnest a month earlier, stealing our thunder somewhat, but we’ll always have the extra decimal place.

In the last five years, there have been nearly 3400 songs covered from over 60 countries, with about 30,000 individual paragraph-long reviews from us adding up to about 2,000,000 (two million) words. It’d take you a week solid to read the site from front to back. We don’t recommend you do that, so here are some highlights from our first five years. Feel free to share your own in the comments!

Here’s to another five just like these.

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I feel very lucky to have been part of the TSJ crew over the last few years - this highlight reel makes for some happy nostalgia times right here. Who knows, now I have a new phone AND working headphones, I might even be able to get back on the regular reviewing bandwagon!

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Firelight - Coming Home (Malta)

Good grief, yet another set of Bumford & Bums — this time, in the trenches! Soldiers are weeping over photos of loved ones as they cower behind sandbags, Siegfried Sassoon is being blown up as he writes a poem, little Tom from Hollyoaks is playing in a muddy puddle. Given the probabilities involved it’s safe to assume that all the above dudes have carked it by the end of the tune and are now meeting their loved ones in a poppy field afterlife — except there are clearly no poppies in Malta (LIES???) so they have to use daffodils instead?

War is dreadful enough without this assault on our ears adding to the misery. If I had to pick the worst part, it would be piano lass’ middle 8 with its weird chord (conversely, her hair is the best part). If we somehow achieve world peace before semifinal 2 then perhaps this song will be rendered redundant and we can all concentrate on cake-baking (YES ALRIGHT, I will get round to the cake songs soon, I promise).

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Carl Espen - Silent Storm (Norway)

As most of Tumblr is aware, the most painful experience one can endure is trying to draw comics for other people. Carl here is having a bit of trouble with his pencilling, which is not helped by the poltergeist photocopier (sent by Team Azerbaijan as SABOTAGE???) mussing up all the paper. His glass of extremely weak lemon drink gets knocked over and spills all over that nice parquet flooring. (I am secretly covetous of the parquet flooring.)

Never mind Carl! If the drawing doesn’t work out I’m sure there’s a Scandinavian crime drama somewhere that needs your ‘they all died the cat died’ brand of haunting vocal.

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Conchita Wurst - Rise Like A Phoenix (Austria)

Austria are going all out this year with a bombastic Bond theme — think The World Is Not Enough — you know, the Garbage one. No? Come on, it was better than the Sheryl Crow one. Unfortunately while ‘Rise Like A Phoenix’ has plenty of oomph, it is not a better song than the Sheryl Crow one. I’d rank it at around Sheena Easton level. The video isn’t much cop either: rose petals in a bathtub is sooo 2005 dahling.

As far as I know Conchita the only 2014 entry named after a national delicacy (cake doesn’t count — I’ll be getting on to this year’s bizarre baked goods theme shortly, I promise). For a bit more background on her there’s a meandering RTE interview here, where you get a good look at her awesome arm tattoos. It’ll be interesting to see how far she gets in the competition.

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Sebalter - Hunter of Stars (Switzerland)

No spaghetti were harmed during the production of this videoclip." Oh Switzerland. I don’t even know if that’s the proper grammar or not. Or if what that last sentence were was! Sebalter is just the right side of twee to be adorable, running a hotel with his banjo-heavy backing band and cheerfully whistling at the grumpy food critic who wanted a Waldorf salad, not pasta.

After last year’s problematic entry I’m glad I can fully get behind the Swiss for once. It helps that Sebalter resembles a player on the better looking half of the ATP circuit. Fingers crossed the dude doesn’t fuck up the whistling (or the fiddle solo) on the night.

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