It is less than three weeks to go until the ten songs competing in Finland’s national final UMK 2017 will battle it out live in the televised final and a winner will be announced. Ahead of this we look at all the songs in contention, give our views and rank them in order of our favourites! As well as that you can watch the newly unveiled music videos that accompany each of the songs.
First of all, let it be said that the ten songs that YLE have selected to compete in the 2017 edition of UMK are a great, diverse mix with some fantastically kitsch songs that hark back to the true spirit of the Eurovision Song Contest, as well as some great modern pop songs that could easily penetrate the airways of mainstream radio stations all over Europe. With that said there are just a few of the songs that fail to impress, either attempting to emulate previous Eurovision songs unsuccessfully or merely boring the listener to tears.
10. Knucklebone Oscar & The Shangri-la Rubies- ‘Caveman’
I love a bizarre Eurovision song as much as the next avid Eurovision fan, but while Knucklebone Oscar and the Shangri La Rubies boast a middle aged hairy man in red sunglasses and a leather waistcoat, backing singers who remind you of the B52s and men in wrestling gimp masks, the song doesn’t deliver as much as it could. There is the hook of ‘Do the caveman (Wunderbar!)’ but there is no substance beyond this. In addition to this, the band’s name is much too long to remember and there are plenty of other kitsch and camp acts competing in UMK17 that do what they do so much better.
9. Norma John- ‘Blackbird’
Indie pop duets have performed very well at Eurovision in the past few years: The Common Linnets, Morland and Debrah Scarlett, Elina Born and Stig Rasta to name just a few. However therein lies my problem with Norma John. It’s almost as if they have looked back at the past four years of the Contest, latched on to a winning formula and therefore think by emulating what has gone before, that they can also be a success. The song however is a bland ballad that verges on being boring.
8. Lauri Yrjola- ‘Helppo elama’
Lauri Yrjola’s ‘Helppo elama’ is the only entry in this year’s UMK to be performed entirely in Finnish. The song is a fun, funky number with a catchy chorus and pre-chorus with touches of electronica pop. It reminds me of Latvia’s songs from the last two years both penned by Aminata. The electro beat in the chorus especially is very similar to ‘Heartbeat’ and ‘Love Injected’.
7. My First Band- ‘Paradise’
There are a lot of elements to like about My First Band (their name is not one of them). I love a good boy band, but My First Band seem like they are just a few years too old to meet this classification. The lyrics are pretty much about pleasuring a lady in her ‘paradise’, with the singer claiming that he will ‘leave you paralysed’ when he kisses you down there. Erm…okay. The song has a decent poppy vibe, but there are just better songs among the ten.
6. Emma- ‘Circle of Light’
Emma’s UMK song ‘Circle of Light’ is a solid effort with an impressive vocal and a song that takes us on a journey with the singer. The video is dramatic, with scenes in the snow and fire, sword fights and combat that borders on fantastical, almost with a Game of Thrones vibe. The characters in the video are running from arrows, arrows, ARROWS!
5. Anni Saikku- ‘Reach Out For The Sun’
‘Reach Out For the Sun’ is an uplifting song that has the right mix between the ballady opening and also manages to move and inspire as it progresses to the transformative chorus. Anni’s vocals are also on point, allowing fans to feel the emotion that she is trying to convey. The video also impresses, who doesn’t love some synchronised swimming, spiralling camera angles, unicorn denim jackets and fluorescent boxes?
4. Club La Perse- ‘My Little World’
Miss Lili, Ellen Vivan, Jean Michelle and Mr Cunt aka Club La Perse’s ‘My Little World’ had us hooked from the opening ‘Di di diddi di’! Their act ticks all the Eurovision boxes: glitter, colourful dress, bizarre make up, a great pop song, slapstick humour and a pig nose! This band of ‘freaks’ know who they are and are unapologetic about it! It’s refreshing to see that this kind of act is being considered for Eurovision again! Well done YLE!
3. Alva- ‘Arrows’
Alva was one of the early favourites to win UMK17 and when you hear ‘Arrows’ you can see why. The catchy chorus has us singing the word arrows at the top of our lungs all day long. The fragile yet impressive vocals put us in mind of Emmelie de Forrest. The video sees Alva take a car ride with a handsome young man with whom she watches planes take off and land and who flirtingly lends a helping hand to clean her car.
2. Zühlke- ‘Perfect Villain’
Zuhlke has managed to enrage comic book nerds everywhere with her lyrics to her UMK17 song ‘Perfect Villain’. She poses the question ‘What would the X-Men do if they came to the rescue? Would they lose their powers too, if their Kryptonite was you?’ Of course X-Men are of the Marvel comics and Kryptonite pertains to Superman who is a DC character. But who cares?! ‘Perfect Villain’ is an epic tune! Another of my faves!
1. Günther & D’Sanz- ‘Love Yourself’
I instantly fell in love with Gunther and D’Sanz. True, the song is a bit cringey with the talk sing vocals at the start. But as soon as the chorus kicks in with the emphatic celebration of masturbation, what is not to love? Lyrics like ‘Love yourself and life will last forever, touch yourself and feel a little pleasure…’ while a man in leather strokes his crotch area is what we have come to know and love about the Eurovision Song Contest. I can just imagine how this song would be staged if it were to make it to Eurovision 2017. Absolute filth!
Which of the ten contenders is your favourite? Vote in our poll!