New Yorker journalist Anthony Lane has written a swinging attack on the Eurovision Song Contest and the nature of European music as a whole. Lane says that rather than being written by musicians, Eurovision songs sound as though they're written my a 'cultural subcomittee of the European Union' in a back-room somewhere in Brussels.
He also describes Eurovision output as 'syrupy', 'generic' and even 'inbred'. Whilst I and many fans of Eurovision might find Lane's article a little offensive, and in a wonderful brash, american way it certainly is, Lane raises some interesting points. In some ways actually, I would accept that some kind of 'inbreeding' has happened with Eurovision. Whilst we all realise that there is no longer a type of 'Eurovision song', the winners of the past few years have really not been typical 'boom-bang-a-banging' Eurovision songs, but there are certain signs that a song might perform well.
Certain things that one might bare in mind when writing for Eurovision. Let us not forget, that the very basic format means that a Eurovision entry needs to pack a whole lot of punch in a very short time, this means often a whacking great big key change, or a memorable chorus repeated time and time again, because it has to make quick impact. For me, Lane's article is just a great example of an outsider, who has come in (probably with prejudgments) and not quite understood the nature of the contest. Yep, some entries and cheap and terrible (as a British citizen, I can vouch for that...) but every now and again Eurovision throws out a real blinder of a song, maybe in the context of the contest, but also sometimes outside those perameters.
Eurovision can be cheap, it can be crazy, but it can also be wonderful and reflective and special. The bottom line for me, is that Anthony Lane simply doesn't understand the nature of the contest, if perhaps he just dropped his predjudices, and danced to the funky music, he might just enjoy himself. I personally vote for clubbing together, and paying Carola to give him a housecall.