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I am professionally obligated to hate this song. Estonia’s 2017 Eurovision Entry.

May 10, 2017


I cannot judge this entry objectively because I’m too annoyed.   “In Verona” is a song that constantly evokes Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet without bothering to look up ANYTHING WHATSOEVER ABOUT THE PLAY.

Am I asking Koit Toome & Laura to watch a production of Romeo and Juliet or read the text in either English or Estonian?  I am not.  Am I asking them to spend approximately 20 seconds on wikipedia establishing a few core facts about the play?  I suppose I am.

These two singers describe their doomed love and try and give their romance some kind of spurious literary solemnity by invoking a play that they can’t be arsed to learn the first thing about.  Such is their contempt for the very story they so casually exploit.

In short, they treat the Romeo and Juliet story as though it were the story of a romance gone sour.  Which is exactly what the Romeo and Juliet story isn’t.  These teenagers die long before their romance goes sour.  Their love is beautiful from beginning to end while the love sung about by Koit Toome & Laura clearly descends into self pity and alcoholism.   The cynical indolence that fuels this utterly inappropriate Shakespearean appropriation enrages me and I cannot think of Koit Toome & Laura without getting all ratty.

These two do not deserve love.  Though they may deserve each other.

Here’s the video, which employs the prevalent and annoying habit of pasting lyrics in bold capitals in the background in a strained attempt to give the words a significance they don’t possess:

Here are the lyrics.  I am too angry to lineate them properly as verse:

Sleeping all alone you wake up with a bottle in your hands no sound of serenade cause we both know we lost our game I was always high on loving you before the romance turned to drama like Romeo and Juliet once before we are lost in Verona Learning through the scars will make you stronger time is the proof I´m not a loner kind I know I just cant get over you I was always trying to tell the truth before the romance turned to drama I hope the best in me was always you before we lost our Verona We are lost lost in the crowd of the street we are lost like two sailing boats in the sea we are lost `cause sometimes we building and burning down love we are lost our Verona We lost and we found our Verona …. We are lost in Verona Reckless type of love,reckless type of love we never said I`m sorry we never said enough this western type of woman; western type of man disappeared in Verona.

It is questionable whether Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet satisfies an Aristotelian definition of a tragedy at all.  Neither of the protagonists have that quality of ἁμαρτία that has classically been deemed requisite to qualify for an instructively tragic denouement.  Neither Juliet nor her boyfriend are tragically flawed and the most identifiable flaw in their situation is the Italian postal system.  Their deaths are not the result of flaws of character so much as the timing of communications.  For this reason it is possible to write a happy ending to Romeo and Juliet simply based on letters arriving at the right time and in the right order.  You can see this version performed as part of the majestic 1981 Trevor Nunn/David Edgar adaptation of Nicholas Nickleby.

Not that Koit Toome & Laura care.  These Estonians have a lazy contempt for literature and feel they can  exploit it without so much as glancing at it.  They despise me and the thing that I do, and therefore I wish them ill.

Lithuania’s entry  is flashy… that’s all I can say:

For fresh-faced innocence – Bulgaria’s yer only man:

But if you prefer something jolly and sinister at the same time – you’ll prefer Belarus:

There’s something a bit too tasteful about Switzerland’s entry:

For something superficially a bit “edgy” – try Norway:

Croatia, on the other hand,  offers two voices for the price of one:

Here’s Ma and Pa in San Marino:

For youthful angst – Ireland:

Ireland’s entry is, I think, more emotionally involving than Denmark’s:

Right now I prefer cultural nationalism when it isn’t Hungarian:

The Netherlands offers something altogether safer:

Utterly (winningly?) different is Romania:

Less immediately exciting is Malta:

So you might prefer Macedonia:

Or you can “Climb Every Mountain” with Nathan from Austria:

Serbia offers a big ballad about rising and falling and falling and rising:

Meanwhile, here is Sweden:

Here, meanwhile, is Omar belting it out for Slovenia:

Portugal offers something just a bit more special:

Anyhow, Portugal’s offering is infinitely more palatable than Poland’s:

A man who needs a deal of personal space is this guy from Montenegro:

Equally sexualised is the Moldovan entry:

Latvia offers a more techno-trance version of minimalism:

Iceland’s entry isn’t really a Eurovision song either:

Georgia’s offering is undoubtedly a bigger if not bolder initiative:

Frankly, I prefer Finland:

I’ll be sorely vexed if Finland doesn’t do better than Cyprus

Frankly I’d rather the Czech Republic won – though they won’t…

Belgium looks like a better bet:

But if it isn’t, maybe it will go to Azerbaijan with this…

Armenia’s Entry is nowhere near as scary:

In the meantime here are my thoughts on the Australian entry:

And here’s Albania…


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