Tuesday, June 12, 2012

It's June. The days are grim, cold and dark. It's difficult to imagine emerging from the house without a hot water bottle strapped to the flank of your body. Not only that, it's the furthest point in time before we can watch the Eurovision Song Contest together again. We can watch the competition from previous years, sure, but it's simply not the same without the anticipation, without that desperate need to preserve the final result.

I'd like to imagine that everyone has been returning to performances on YouTube, dwelling on those three-minute entries that at first take, didn't generate much interest. In something as seemingly ephemeral as Eurovision, I'd never really considered that musical attraction could take place over several viewings. I see now that persuasions can be altered and augmented, pop appreciation can somehow flare up and intensify, without warning. The best part of it is we can tell each other all about it.

I love how we confer, how we understand the absolute joy and farce of it all. We're out to find pop in its different incarnations - the ridiculous, the plagiarised, the trashy and sublime. We're out to find something we want to hear the morning after and ultimately, we respect each other's final vote. Even now, I am thrilled by the prospect of Min's forthcoming ukulele cover of Moldova's Lăutar and I am overjoyed to hear Montenegro's Euro Neuro whenever I pass Andrew's room. I love Louise's stunning re-interpretation of Sweden's Euphoria and I adore 1.0's tweet, acknowledging that Sweden really deserved to win... even though I was more taken with Finland's Nar Jag Blundar.

Swedish winner Loreen with her entry, Euphoria

But as with anything to do with pop, I can't help but be confused by the love and enthusiasm we share for Eurovision. Inasmuch as we are out to find the performances that captivate us on a "legitimate" level, much of our enjoyment is derived from our hilariously bitter and sarcastic commentary. I find it difficult to reconcile the nastiness of it, and while we openly acknowledge the paramount importance of pop in our lives, we also accept its idiotic meaninglessness. It would seem that for that one weekend, the tenets of good taste are obliterated and the awful becomes the amazing.

Some days ago, I emerged from the house sans hot water bottle to meet a friend who didn't quite understand the appeal of Eurovision, as much as he'd hoped to. He asked me about it, about my attraction to it, whether it was "for real". I couldn't quite articulate it as I had wanted to, that joy associated with the mutual search for great European pop. Even now, I find it difficult to figure out why we tend to get so carried away with it all. I only hope that venturing forth to Sweden for Eurovision in 2013 will prove to be the excursion I need to articulate such thoughts.

Cassettes & Chocolate Milk: Electro Podcast #44
Monarchy - You Don't Want to Dance With Me
Le Le - Normal
Mirage - I Don't Want To
Grimes - Oblivion
Jamie Woon - Night Air
Metronomy - Corinne
Mia - Tanz der Moleküle
Riccardo Maggese - Boschima

Download (45.9 MB)

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