The ghost of Edgar Allan Poe is set to haunt the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest.
We’ve been a tad slack with our coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest – the world’s most eccentric and outlandish musical event – in recent years, in part because the event itself has been a bit more sedate, lacking the bizarre musical numbers from small and enthusiastic nations that made it such a delight (at least at the semi-final stages, before the bores of national juries voted them out of the contest)… and partly because we no longer receive the official Eurovision CDs, which not only gave us a sneak preview of all the tunes but did so without the benefit of the visual accompaniment, meaning that we could judge each track solely on its musical qualities. Just why we’d want to do that is a question to be explored at some other point.
But as we approach the 2023 event – taking place in Liverpool, UK because last year’s actual winners Ukraine are still too busy fighting the war that propelled their entry to the winning spot in the first place – I feel that we should be checking out some of the more jaw-dropping entries as they make their way online. First up – and frankly looking hard to beat in simple batshit-crazy stakes – is Who the Hell is Edgar?, the Austrian entry performed by Teya and Salena, who you will probably be unsurprised to hear do not have a long and storied career as a professional singing duo, having first met two years ago and mostly performed on various singing contest shows.
Now, I hate to throw out spoilers – but the answer to the titular question is Edgar Allan Poe. Because of course it is. I mean, what screams 2023 pop more than a song about a female songwriter – a pop songwriter, mind, not the lyricist for some doom metal band – who is possessed by the ghost of the writer of The Pit and the Pendulum and Masque of the Red Death and so on the fast track to fame and fortune? Poe’s spirit has been the subject of many a horror tale – but this is on a whole ‘nother level.
The music is fairly standard Euro dance pop with vocals rapped with all the verve and authenticity that you would expect from such things. I’m guessing – but can’t be entirely sure – that it’s all tongue in cheek and I suspect that the nagging “Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe” chorus has the potential to be unpleasantly earwormy – whether that’s enough to propel it through the semis and into the main action is anyone’s guess and may well depend on what sort of extravagant stage show they have planned. Still, I’ve heard this twice now and it has progressed from being disagreeably awful to sort of annoying, so who knows how it might do given enough pre-event exposure? Odder things have won and although I suspect that the Ukranian sympathy vote may still be too strong for anyone to beat this year, I wouldn’t bet against this doing better with the public – all giddy on whatever intoxicants they take to see them through the several hours of the final – than you might expect.
More numbingly awful/glorious mad/unexpectedly brilliant Eurovision 2023 entries as we come across them.
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PiL’s Hawaii was far too maudlin to make the cut. What a bring-down that would have been on the night. You know, when you can hear a hum of voices coming from the bar that threatens to drown out the music, rather than a pin-drop rapt holding-of-breath? It reminds me a lot of Moonlight Mile as well, with a less satisfying melodic progression. Still pretty good though.
When I read that the chorus is “Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe Poe” I was rather hoping that this would be a none too subtle reference to the German “Po”, slang for backside, which presumably comes from posterior. Unfortunately, after hearing the song, I doubt whether this is the case. An opportunity missed, I fear.
And if it’s bizarre musical numbers you’re after, look no further than the suspiciously named Mister Fisto and their entry to the German contest to decide who would represent them in the 1986 Eurovision finals. Seemingly inspired by the Cadbury’s Smash Martians and preempting Daft Punk, they only managed to finish eleventh from twelve, thus denying the rest of the world the glory that is Rein und Klar Wie’s Früher War:
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