Friday, 16 October 2020
Thursday, 17 September 2020
katy perry recently released her sixth album smile, and much like her previous release witness, it was incredibly underwhelming, apart from a few tracks which have grown on me in the last few weeks.
i was all set to change this and do a whole post on the album to revive my throwback thursday series which i started last year, so imagine my surprise when i discovered a whole review i'd written for VIBBIDI in june last year that was never published on the site.
i've been trying to figure out why this is - the article was finished and ready to go, but after searching through my emails from around that time, i couldn't find any evidence that i'd actually sent it to my editor for him to upload onto the site, and it's nowhere to be found on my profile or perry's artist page.
i didn't stop writing for VIBBIDI until october last year, so either i never sent the article, or i did and it was never published.
either way, i've decided to post it here so i can finally put all these feelings i've been storing up about this album out into the world.
On Teenage Dream, Katy Perry Harnesses The Power Of Nostalgia to Create A Timeless Classic
For an album that spawned five number one singles, it’s hard to believe that Katy Perry’s magnum opus Teenage Dream received a mixed critical reception. On reflection, the male-dominated music industry was never going to take too kindly to a grown woman skipping through a brightly coloured candy land and shooting whipped cream from her bra, but if they’d actually taken time to listen to the lyrics, they might have seen a more vulnerable side to Perry hidden away behind the layers of artifice that came to define her second album.
While “California Gurls” and “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” topped the charts, critics seemed quick to dismiss them as frivolous party tracks and criticised her move away from the pop-rock inflections found on her debut album “One of The Boys”, but in hindsight, the electro-pop gem “Hot N Cold” should have served as a sign of things to come.
Looking back, the internalised misogyny from the largely male pool of reviewers is glaringly obvious as they criticised her lyrics that concerned partying and casual hook-ups, themes that have been rehashed countless times by male musicians without anybody batting an eyelid.
But by judging this album (literally) on face value, blinkered by their narrow definitions of what “real” music is, they failed to realise that these songs were created for not just teenagers but the dreamers and hopeless romantics of the world who seek solace in the safety of a carefully constructed chorus.
It was this complete and total disdain for pop music that meant I kept my love of albums such as “Teenage Dream” hidden, only embracing it some seven years after its release, but luckily those days are long gone.
Pure Bubblegum Pop?
It would seem that even the brightest stars aren’t above enjoying Teenage Dream; in a 2017 New York Times profile, New Zealander Lorde professed her love for the title track and pop music in general.
“There’s this sadness about it, where you feel young listening to it, but you feel impermanence at the same time”, she said, before continuing,“When I put that song on, I’m as moved as I am by anything by David Bowie, by Fleetwood Mac, by Neil Young. It lets you feel something you didn’t know you needed to feel… There’s something holy about it.”
Those same critics who decried the brilliance of Teenage Dream would no doubt recoil in horror upon hearing her compare it to David Bowie and Fleetwood Mac, but that’s precisely how I’ve always approached music. No genre is off limits and I despise the phrase “guilty pleasure”. Why should I feel shame over something that’s brought me so much joy in so many dark moments?
It’s this line between euphoria and tragedy that Perry tows so well, bringing to mind another ode to eternal youth, the hauntingly beautiful immortality of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen”.
On the latter, the song’s subject is “young and sweet, only 17”, in the prime of her life, yet the song’s melody also has a touch of the melancholy, its joyful sound at odds with the personal turmoil experienced by ABBA at the height of their fame. Listening to the song from their perspective, it takes on a whole new meaning as they know that feeling won’t last forever.
“Teenage Dream” evokes a similar sense of sadness because despite Perry’s proclamation that “you and I, we’ll be young forever”, she later went on to divorce Russell Brand, who inspired the song. Footage of the fallout from their split was included in Part of Me, the documentary concert film released in 2012.
It showed a whole new side to Perry, who seems immobilised by the pain of their separation ahead of a performance as part of the California Dreams Tour.
A world away from the elaborate wigs and costumes, her vulnerability is on full display, and despite breaking down moments before she’s due on stage, she still manages to deliver an incredible performance, her fans none the wiser.
The criminally overlooked “Hummingbird Heartbeat” also evokes fond memories of a first love and being inspired by her relationship with Brand, it retains the youthful optimism of “Teenage Dream” while incorporating the same pop-rock sound found on “Waking Up In Vegas” and “Thinking Of You” from One Of The Boys.
Nevertheless, it’s impossible not to be drawn in by these tales of a love that has the potential to last forever and while it might be a rose-tinted view of the highs and lows that plague one’s adolescence, “Teenage Dream” and “Dancing Queen” serve as a reminder that it’s important to enjoy the good times while they last.
Leaving A Legacy
One of Perry’s greatest gifts is her ability to channel such heartbreak into a universal experience that resonates with everyone the world over, as all good music should. Whether a lover or a hater of pop music, I find it hard to believe that those who were quick to dismiss Teenage Dream wouldn’t have felt at least a shred of compassion as they watched her desperately try to keep her marriage alive in Part of Me.
Songs such as “Not Like The Movies” and “The One That Got Away” still tug at my heartstrings nearly ten years after the album’s release, even though I’ve never experienced that all-encompassing love she speaks of. What makes Teenage Dream so brilliant is Perry’s ability to keep believing in it despite the breakups she’s experienced, and nowhere is this more apparent than on “Not Like The Movies”, which urges the listener to never accept second best and wait for that fairy-tale ending, while “Wide Awake” sees her “crashing from the high” of her relationship with Brand, but also finding the strength to carry on as she’s “born again”.
She emerges from the ashes, bright and triumphant with the undeniably catchy “Firework” and “Part of Me”, a Female Empowerment anthem long before conversations around feminism and #MeToo became a part of everyday life, and they still pack the same emotional punch nearly a decade later.
Writing for Entertainment Weekly, Leah Greenblatt - one of the few women to review Teenage Dream - criticised its lack of cohesion, but for me it was an expertly crafted collection of songs that blended seamlessly into one another, all retaining the electro-pop sound first heard on “Hot N Cold” and translating it into one chart topping smash after another.
Not many albums will stand the test of time, but I can guarantee I’ll press play on Teenage Dream in another twenty years and feel that familiar rush of endorphins that made me fall in love with it in the first place, because all the big emotions that encompass the human experience - love and loss, heartbreak and hopefulness - never go out of style.
Friday, 11 September 2020
i'm also still recovering from this year's pride celebrations, which saw me going out three days in a row. however, despite the actual manchester pride festival being cancelled, it was actually the best pride weekend i've ever had, and as someone whose anxiety has anxieties, it was a relief not to have to push my way through the heaving crowds which usually clog up canal street every august bank holiday.
i've always been of the belief that having several Close Friends is better than lots of random acquaintances, and i much preferred spending the weekend with a few people i actually care about at a smaller - socially distanced - gathering than fighting my way to the bar at a sweaty club and waiting half an hour to be served.
however, it does mean that we won't be going out-out for a few weeks, so these bops will have to tide me over until then.
1. julie bergan
i usually save the best till last, but i simply couldn't wait to scream about the new EP from this norwegian pop starlet.
the last time i wrote about her was in july, but since then she's released her best song yet, which goes by the name of one touch.
forming part of her hard feelings: ventricle 2 EP - which includes previously released singles kiss somebody and commando - it gave me goosebumps instantly and i know i'll be playing it on repeat for days/weeks/months to come.
also worthy of a mention is the other new track all of them; the synth-heavy chorus gives it a ~eurovision~ feel, reminding me of tamta's song replay, which the 2019 entry for cyprus.
2. dua lipa
the megastar set Gay Twitter alight once again with club future nostalgia, which gave her 80s-inspired sophomore album a - you guessed it - more club-ready ~vibe~.
i must admit i was somewhat disappointed with the majority of it and i feel like the only way to fully appreciate it would be whilst Highly Intoxicated in The Club at 3am, which sadly isn't an option right now.
however, i was overjoyed to see love is religion make an appearance, which i still maintain is her best song and much like carly rae jepsen's love again, deserved an official release.
if i'm being really picky - which i am - i would have preferred if she just released the original track as opposed to the blessed madonna remix, but at this point i'll take what i can get.
the other standout was the love again remix by horse meat disco (?) which takes the 80s sound to a whole new level, reminiscent of how will i know-era whitney houston.
i was also disappointed that if it ain't me wasn't included, but there's still hope that she'll follow in carly's footsteps and release side b of future nostalgia, featuring the much-loved (and leaked) collaboration with normani and love is religion.
as the end of the year hurtles towards us at an alarming pace, i'm reflecting on the songs that have had the biggest ~impact~ on me in 2020, and hard 2 forget by VINCINT sits pretty high at the top of my list.
i've been extolling the virtues of his impeccable 80s-inspired bangers since last year, a particular highlight being say, which - as i said at the time - features one of the best key changes in pop since greedy by ariana grande.
however, VINCINT has truly outdone himself with hard 2 forget, which features both an impeccable Big Chorus and a spectacular Key Change.
he recently announced via twitter that he's planning to release a few more songs over the remainder of this year, so hopefully there's more where that came from.
speaking of Key Changes, it seems like the world of Mainstream Pop might finally be taking them seriously, as evidenced by BTS on their latest single dynamite.
while i'm not a huge k-pop fan, i adored boy with luv and hoped they would one day release another Huge Banger.
my prayers have now been answered with their first song to be sung completely in english that also happens to be a chic-inspired bop.
and then there's The Key Change; a moment so powerful it gave me full-body goosebumps the first time i heard it.
hopefully this signals the start of the Pop Resurgence i've been praying for over the last three years, and other artists will follow suit.
5. grace davies
on paper, this should not work; a former x factor contestant releasing a song about Female Empowerment™, a now-tired trope that has become increasingly commodified in recent years - both in pop music and society overall - along with the entire feminist movement itself.
but for those who remember grace davies' performances on the 14th series of the singing competition, she was anything but ordinary.
the now 23-year-old wowed viewers week after week with her original songs and distinctive voice, and her version of life on mars? is still one of the best performances i've seen on the show.
sadly she didn't win, but securing the top spot isn't always necessary for an artist to succeed post-x factor.
she proved this by signing with simon cowell's record label in 2018 and releasing her debut single invisible in january this year.
several more singles followed, and all four were released as part of her friends with the tragic EP in june.
this brings us to not just a girl, which is definitely the most ~upbeat~ of the EP's largely piano-driven tracks, and her take on the aforementioned Female Empowerment "anthems" that have dominated hen parties over the last decade).
but what sets this track apart is the incredibly personal yet still ~relatable~ songwriting that has become somewhat of a trademark for davies, and while she's signed to a major label, she's managed to retain her independence and find her own sound.
it's also a Huge Banger that i never get tired of screaming at the top of my voice, which also helps.
i've long been fascinated with the effect x factor has had on the world of pop music, and while it could be argued that it's no longer relevant in a world where artists can reach millions of would-be fans without the backing of a big label, it's still beneficial for artists like grace who sit somewhere in-between; think bedroom pop on an arena-size stage.
gone are the days where artists are tightly controlled by record executives and put in a room with whatever producers a group of old white men have decided will sell the most records - stars who emerged via the reality TV route have now gone on to forge their own unique sound, and grace is no exception.
6. troye sivan
i really had a hard time getting into troye's latest EP in a dream, despite loving the first two singles, take yourself home and easy.
third single rager teenager! failed to thrill me, and the 52 second could cry just thinkin about you feels like a waste of valuable album space that could have been filled with either a full length version of the melodramatic snippet, or a huge my my my! style banger.
i even struggled with in a dream - i read about the song prior to its release in a vulture interview, where its sound was described as "maximalist percussion that would fit a wham! song and grinding synths that take precedence over sivan’s echoing, angelic vocals and gentle guitar interludes", so naturally i was expecting this to be the my my my!-esque bop needed to pep up the more subdued sounding songs he'd already released.
sadly it didn't live up to this incredible description, and i certainly didn't get a whiff of wham! at any point during those 3 minutes and 50 seconds, but after a few days of non-stop listening in a bid to make myself fall in love it, something finally clicked and i've had this easy, breezy track on repeat in the last few days before the summer draws to a close.
however, my favourite track has got to be STUD - the production and lyrical content far ~edgier~ than the emotional break-up themed tracks which make up the majority of the EP.
both a personal exploration of body dysmorphia and self esteem issues and a Huge Banger, it's like the dance break which closes out take yourself home turned up to a thousand, and troye himself summed it best when he described it as starting off "super introspective, in my head, and then takes you to this club scene, where you meet this hunky guy who’s there to save you from all of your body image issues.”
it's escapism at its finest, and while it's not quite the polished pop sensibility he explored on bloom, the track provides a much needed boost of energy which contrasts perfectly with the rest of the EP.
i'd even go as far as to say it's one of his best songs, and i'm hoping his next release will contain more of these Introspective Club Bangers (a new sub genre perhaps?).
7. miley cyrus
speaking of bangerz, i can't get enough of miley's latest offering, midnight sky.
it's distinctly disco while reminiscent of stevie nicks, and it's the Break Up Bop i was hoping troye would bless us with.
i also very much appreciate the line "see my lips on her mouth", because despite the huge increase in LGBTQ artists in recent years, many of them still shy away from using any pronouns in their songs.
the last time i recall such a ~high profile~ female singer discussing a same-sex relationship was halsey in strangers, her collaboration with lauren jauregui, and i can only hope hearing someone as famous as miley being open about it will encourage others to do the same.
much like in a dream, it took me a few listens to really Get Into It, but once i did, i couldn't stop and was word perfect in about two days.
she followed up the excellent music video with an iconic VMA performance which culminated in her riding atop a disco ball in true wrecking ball style; we love a self-referential queen.
much like lady gaga and madonna before her, miley has cycled through a range of different genres since the start of her music career, with varying degrees of success. her "hip hop" era was widely criticised as she was constantly accused of cultural appropriation and her 2013 VMA performance with robin thicke was criticised for what some deemed "sexually provocative" content.
her last album younger now saw her return to the country roots of her father billy ray cyrus and godmother dolly parton, but it received a lukewarm reception and just two weeks after its release, she stated she was "over it" and "already two songs deep on the next one".
a collaboration with mark ronson followed in november 2018, and for a while the disco-tinged nothing breaks like a heart was inescapable, receiving its fair share of radio play.
on reflection, the song bears many similarities to midnight sky, so i'm hopeful that her new album she is miley cyrus will continue in the same vein, and according to wikipedia, she's collaborated with pop heavyweight max martin, producer andrew watt - responsible for bops by rita ora, justin bieber, dua lipa and charli xcx - and billy idol, who is one of my favourite 80s artists of all time.
if that's anything to go by, i'm expecting a bop-filled album when it's released sometime in the future, but like everything else it's been delayed by the covid-19 pandemic, a vocal chord surgery and her divorce from actor liam hemsworth.
i first became aware of moistbreezy when she collaborated with boy sim on his excellent track criminal in 2018. she also contributed vocals to arcade, a hyperpop dream released by that kid in march last year.
then in august she released contact, a truly impeccable bop that appears on her somewhat underwhelming new EP breezy.
for me there's nothing more frustrating than this; how can an artist release one good song and the rest of the tracks are so mediocre??
while i fear that contact might be a one-off, i know i'll still be playing it on loop in the coming months.
9. sia and david guetta
another artist who has consistently frustrated me with a string of underwhelming songs is sia. at her "peak", she experienced huge success with tracks such as elastic heart, chandelier and cheap thrills, a song so irritating it still makes me irrationally angry whenever i hear it.
as i mentioned in this post, her talent as a songwriter is undeniable, and she penned a series of outstanding tracks for vox lux, which featured natalie portman as a fading pop star struggling to keep her life together, and i still love listening to private girl, EKG and blinded by love.
i just couldn't understand why she would give away all these excellent songs to other people and release such disappointing ones under her own name, but this could be set to change with let's love, a brand new collaboration with david guetta.
while it's nothing particularly groundbreaking - sounding like a cross between boys of summer and 2013-era CHVRCHES - i'm hopeful that another household name is climbing aboard the SS Pop Resurgence, joining artists like dua lipa, lady gaga and little mix as they bring back the glory days (i had to) of pop music, filling the charts with 80s-inspired synths, key changes and of course, one Big Chorus after another.
it would be wrong to talk about the Peak of Pop without mentioning steps, who enjoyed a glorious run of success in the 90s and early 2000s with singles such as 5, 6, 7, 8, stomp (my personal favourite), deeper shade of blue, and love's got a hold on my heart.
their first three albums were all produced by pete waterman, who remains my absolute favourite producer, responsible for bangers such as hand on your heart and the legendary never gonna give you up.
they also hold the honour of being the only band to successfully cover tragedy, chain reaction and better the devil you know, three songs that are so iconic they really shouldn't be messed with.
while everything steps touched during this time seemed to turn to gold (i am SORRY), they split on boxing day 2001 and h and claire went on to form a duo, though they were dropped after just one album due to poor sales.
the group reunited in 2011 and their next full-length album arrived in 2017 after the release of their incredible single scared of the dark, which features a stupendous Key Change and provided a much needed rush of euphoria when it came on during my post-uni nights out.
released to rave reviews, tears on the dancefloor instantly became one of my favourite albums that year and there's not a single bad song to be found.
so naturally i had high expectations for their new single what the future holds, which the group have been teasing on social media all week.
on first impression, it's Classic Steps™, i.e. the perfect addition to the playlist of any respectable gay bar, and has the potential to be a winning Eurovision Banger, but i didn't feel that same elation as the first time i heard scared of the dark.
interestingly, it was written by sia, once again proving my hypothesis that she gives away her best songs to other artists, but if it means we're blessed with bops like this, i'm not mad about it.
as for steps, their sixth album of the same name will be released on november 27th, and i'm hoping for some club-ready bangers that will put it on par with tears on the dancefloor.
Friday, 21 August 2020
a combination of Work Stress, hormones and driving lesson-induced panic has just about finished me off, so i decided to do the one thing that consistently brings me joy in times of trouble; write about some of my favourite songs from the last few weeks.
but before we begin, i must draw attention to the fact that love again - one of my top three carly rae jepsen songs - is finally on spotify after five! long! years!
originally a bonus track from jepsen's seminal sophomore album emotion, i fell in love with it instantly and was always mystified as to why it never appeared on the album, even just as a bonus track (though it did appear on the japanese edition).
however my days of wondering are no longer as she announced via twitter that love again and never get to hold you would be available on spotify.
the Queen of The Gays delivered once again, dropping a "deluxe expanded edition" of her finest work on the streaming platform today, so that's my plans sorted for the next 48 hours.
1. allie x
another pop icon whose debut EP has been receiving a new wave of adoration from fans since the queens from canada's drag race lip-synced to her song hello is allie x.
i still remember being captivated by bitch and prime back in 2014, but re-listening to the EP the other day literally brought me to tears, so in awe i was over the impeccable synth-driven production.
i've struggled to listen to good as its lyrics have always been a bit too Close To Home, but i managed to push my feelings aside and appreciate the song and its super dramatic outro, along with the CHVRCHES-inspired sound of catch and tumour.
but my favourite has got to be sanctuary, with production so intense i couldn't contain my tears, and have played it endlessly since.
i hate to admit it, but i found her most recent album cape god a bit too subdued for my liking, so i'm glad to have coxlltion I to tide me over until her next release.
2. astrid s
another artist i've been obsessing over in the last few months is astrid s, whose uber-catchy bops have been a mainstay in my most played songs, and her latest single marilyn monroe doesn't disappoint.
i hate to use the word "sassy" but that's exactly what this song is, a defiant statement to anyone who dares to judge not only astrid but women in general.
it sometimes feels like whatever decision we make is open to criticism, whether that's wearing make-up or going bare-faced, dating casually or settling down with one person, and dressing in a ~revealing~ way as opposed to covering up.
but none of that matters as soon as i press play on this absolute banger, which i can't wait to blast at full volume on my Daily Walks (literally the only vaguely good habit i've developed during lockdown).
i've always felt that robyn hit her peak with 2010's body talk, the album which spawned the original Sad Banger, dancing on my own - and a diabolical cover that somehow reached number 2 in the UK charts a few years later - along with hits like call your girlfriend, hang with me, indestructible and the sorely underrated stars 4-ever.
that all changed with her latest track impact, a collaboration with producer SG lewis and channel tres. it's the high impact (i am SORRY) production robyn's more recent releases have been lacking and i can't wait for this song to be played at full volume in Tha Club once we're allowed back on the dancefloor.
Gay Twitter has been buzzing about the release of kiesza's latest offerings for the last few months, and with their 80s-inspired production and a Big Chorus or two, it's easy to see why.
she first became known for her song hideaway back in 2014, which brings back somewhat distressing memories of nights out at uni as the song was played on loop in every single bar, so naturally i'm delighted she's moved towards a more pop sound.
i'd highly recommend all of the feelings, crave, run renegade, and my favourite track love me with your lie, along with the MEDUN remix.
i last wrote about FLETCHER when she released the alarmingly catchy track forever back in april, and her latest single if i hated you is another excellent break-up bop i've been playing non-stop.
featuring a similar synth-laden chorus to forever, the track forms part of her upcoming EP the s(ex) tapes, set to be released on september 18th, which hopefully contains more of the same.
6. the japanese house
as someone who's always loved Big Pop Songs, i've found my enjoyment of the japanese house's low-key sound to be somewhat of an anomaly in my music taste, but ever since i first heard the pools to bathe in EP back in 2015, i've been a huge fan of amber bain.
her latest EP chewing cotton wool follows her long-awaited full-length album good at falling, which was released last year and easily became one of my all-time favourite albums.
upon first listen, i didn't love the EP's first single chewing cotton wool, but having re-listened, it's perfect for those times where i just need to be In My Feelings.
opening track sharing beds harks back to amber's early days where her vocals were so distorted it was hard to tell if it was a man or woman singing, retaining that sharp electronic sound which had been missing from her more recent EPs, swim against the tide and 3/3.
after taking what felt like a slightly more ~pop~ direction and stripping back the autotune on songs like you seemed so happy, somebody you found and good side in, i'm glad she's returned to her roots, as i still get the same goosebumps when i hear early tracks like still, clean and teeth, though that might just be the nostalgia talking.
i instantly loved something has to change when it was released last september but my favourite track has to be dionne, a collaboration with justin vernon - aka bon iver - which no doubt sent Real Music fans (aka men who use beard oil non-ironically) into auto-drive.
i could talk at length about how the use of autotune is praised when used by male artists like bon iver and francis and the lights but women such as charli xcx and amber herself face criticism for hiding their "real" voices with it, but i'd much rather talk about what an incredible track dionne is.
sonically it harks back to her earlier releases, but lyrically the track - and the EP as a whole - see amber exploring the aftermath of a breakup.
on instagram she said these songs "punctuate the stages of coming out of a relationship and entering into a new phase", and her eloquent self-reflection is reflected in the lyrics of dionne, particularly "your past becomes your present if it's always on your mind", a feeling i know all too well as i've struggled to let certain people go in the past.
speaking of which, another artist who has been extolling the virtue of being kinder to yourself and Letting Go is griff. her track forgive myself hit me right where it hurts, so much so that i can't even choose a particular line that resonated the most.
like the japanese house, it's a much more mellow sound than i generally gravitate towards, but as long as there's some synths thrown in i can get on board, particularly as she wrote and produced the whole track herself.
her latest track say it again is slightly more upbeat in context, and i can feel myself developing a mild obsession with it in the coming weeks.
think of it as a Dual Purpose Bop; perfect for playing in the background whilst working or doing a mundane task but transforming into a bit of a banger when played full volume with a hairbrush microphone in hand.
8. rina sawayama
i must admit, when i saw rina sawayama support charli xcx in october last year, i wasn't particularly impressed, despite everyone on my twitter timeline professing their love for her.
but during lockdown i became a regular attendee of queerantine, the virtual equivalent of girls night out, and one of the songs played was who's gonna save u now? by rina.
this would make an excellent Karaoke Song, and i'm living for the day i can drunkenly scream along to it in a booth at my favourite bar.
featuring a euphoric guitar solo and KEY CHANGE, it sounds like a modern day mash up of holding out for a hero and total eclipse of the heart by bonnie tyler, two of the most dramatic and iconic songs of all time, an honour i don't hand out to present day pop stars without good reason.
i also really enjoy bad friend, a 1975-esque, auto-tuned Sad Bop that sees rina address her tendency to lose touch with once close friends. again, it's a familiar feeling, forcing me to accept that i too could have made more effort with friends i no longer speak to.
finally there's the brabo and pablo vittar remix of comme des garçons (like the boys) which i also discovered during one of the queerantine zoom nights and is an excellent song to make you feel like That Bitch.
9. lesley roy
it wouldn't be a new music friday without a eurovision bop, and while this year's contest was cancelled due to coronavirus, i've been playing story of my life by lesley roy on repeat over the last couple of months. had the show gone ahead as planned, she would have represented ireland in the competition, and it's a travesty that we won't get to see it performed live.
my only requirement for a eurovision song is that it's as "cheesy" as possible. while most people would consider this a bad thing, i gave up caring about what they think a long time ago, and this song fits the criteria perfectly with a Huge Chorus that wouldn't sound out of place on an early one direction song.
10. the toppers
though not released this year, during one of the BBC's many eurovision-themed programmes they showed to try and compensate for the cancelled contest, i became aware of what is by far one of the cheesiest entries ever.
representing the netherlands in 2009, the song is shine by a group called the toppers, which features alarmingly positive lyrics, a Big Chorus and multiple key changes, a winning formula that means i never get tired of hearing it.
clearly the majority of people don't share my enthusiasm for the song as it failed to qualify for the eurovision final, but luckily we were blessed with a semi-final performance that includes a woman with an eerily resemblance to gemma collins on backing vocals and pretending to DJ, so if you need a serotonin boost, i'd highly recommend watching it here.
11. samantha harvey
i can only assume it was popjustice who introduced me to british singer-songrwriter samantha harvey.
she began posting covers on youtube back in 2017 before releasing her first EP in 2018, and while these generic, top-40 filler songs failed to thrill me, it was her 2019 single get to know you which caught my attention.
gone were the Sad Piano Ballads and in their place, a much more 80s-inspired sound.
get to know you is as catchy as they come, and she followed it up with a remix by ekko city, which gives the bubblegum pop masterpiece a club-ready edge.
then in june this year she released hard to get, a slice of pop perfection with a chorus so good it still gives me chills every time i hear it.
hopefully there's more where that came from, and maybe she'll even sneak in a Key Change or two.