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Thread: POLAND 2016 - Michał Szpak - Colour of Your Life

  1. Administrator escYOUnited's Avatar
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    #1

    Exclamation POLAND 2016 - Michał Szpak - Colour of Your Life





    Michał Szpak "Colour of Your Life"

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    #2061

    Re: POLAND 2016 - Michał Szpak - Colour of Your Life

    Quote Originally Posted by revallsay View Post
    John stop it, there is no point in arguing with him.
    He's quite funny as hell, when he's starting to debate with you.
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    'But in the end you're standing there, you're the one who always cares.'
    -I Stand, Gabriela Gunčkov

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    #2062

    Re: POLAND 2016 - Michał Szpak - Colour of Your Life

    Time for me to review this year's Polish entry

    Michał Szpak - Colour of Your Life
    Status: So great! Cheers!

    Song: I've always felt like Poland was a perpetual chrysalis in Eurovision, it's a big country with numerous artists with big potential and talented composers, yet they've been sending meh to ok songs a lot imo. TVP particularly had a fondness for unadventurous ballads, which kind of became Poland's trademark for me. Since I started following the contest closely in 2009, I liked "Jestem" (2011) whose car crash performance has been one of the most frustrating wasted opportunity of the 2010's imo; I applauded their genius entry "My Słowianie" (2014) which has been considered a trashy gimmicky song unfortunately; apart from these, I loved "Legenda" (2010) that I think is the dark twin of Rybak's Fairytale; and I completely despised the rest (2009, 2015), which was part of the middle-of-the-road ballads I mentioned earlier. When I heard that a cheesy dated ballad won against the Polish Rihanna (aka one of the most hyped act of the year), I was like: have they done it again? Have they sent another middling song that will probably be forgotten among the other entries? Thankfully no, their 2016 effort was nothing like their past beige ballads. "Color Of Your Life" is the kind of power ballad one doesn't hear often in Eurovision: it is a mixture between timeless ballads one could hear in the 70's - due to its retro arrangements - and the distinctive features of musicals (very melodious, theatrical, cinematic arrangements) which are still very popular in Central Europe (mainly in Poland and Czech Republic). The lyrics are dealing with reflections on existential questions: finding the strength to go through difficult times in life by putting one's situation into perspective; finding a meaning to one's existence and being at peace with one's true self to choose the life one wishes to live; as well as turning away from superfluous things to focus on what truly matters to be happy. I think the lyrics - that pretty much include all the concerns and reflections that resound in each of us young and old - are very moving because they are true. I'm aware that nowadays, lyrics in mainstream music most of the time don't tell anything worth paying attention anymore, and people seem to be fine with that, however - between some people talking about partying till the world ends and others who can't help shouting how swag or hot they are from the rooftops - a message about the struggle that is life is refreshing, to say the least. As the televotes proved it, I guess I'm not the only one to relate to those existential subject matters, which I found well adressed in so few lines. Musically, the song has no introduction, it starts immediately with Michal's voice and some "misty" strings: the atmosphere is set in a few seconds, one gets from the beginning what's the point of the song and how complex the composition actually is. The heavy drum beat - which is introduced during the chorus - sets the pace of the song, a piano (almost like a bass line) adds more depth to the melody and some additional drum sounds - characteristic of 70's ballads - give that retro feel that people either find lovely or out of fashion. Each to their own of course, I don't know whether that retro feel was intentional or not in the end, personally the song is so great that it sounds timeless to me, tbh I'm not influenced by the diktat of so-called modern arrangements: if the song genuinely moves me, I don't care about how "2016" it sounds, whatever that means (San Marino 2014 is another example of that). So the chorus is composed of a mix of vocalized "oh-oh" lines and lyrics; unlike "J'ai Cherch", I feel like the hooks are well measured out in terms of repetitiveness and inclusion with lyrics. This is of course very easy to remember and anyone can sing along at first listen. I would even say that - like "If Love Was A Crime" - the chorus is stadium-material, I could totally imagine a stadium full to capacity sing the song loud during a concert and it is at such moments that I realize an orchestra and real instruments would have given a whole other dimension to the song. The second verse keeps the arrangements of the chorus (drums, piano, strings) but the main interest of it is of course the vocal variations going on, it is so good. During the second chorus, I guess some discreet backing voices join the instrumentation. The piano/synth notes/voice/strings bridge is also interesting because it seems to use the same rhythmic and melodic patterns, yet it brings changes unheard before and highlights the lyrics. The chorus is repeated once with slight vocal modifications and the song ends on a key change and the last line of the chorus. While I think key changes in Eurovision "aged" really badly and are often associated with eurotrash (since they're often way too dramatic, not cunningly introduced and are an easy way to end a song), I don't feel like it's out of place or distasteful here, on the contrary, it just gives the right amount of power needed to end this anthem-like entry. The main melodic lines sung by Michal are very melodious and unusual in "standard" pop music - such poignant and tuneful phrasings, chord progressions and harmonies are usually found in musicals - and their complexity is emphasized by Michal's rich interpretation. Like with Gabriela's "I Stand", I have here a case of synaesthesia: while "I Stand" makes me think of endless ice shelves and sheets and vast extents of Antartica, "Color Of Your Life" would be pictured as a grey overcast sky in a motionless rural or urban scenery wet due to the rain that has just stopped falling, that very moment when heavy rain stops and everything in the surroundings seems to be silent and asleep, as if water had washed sounds of life and nature away for a few minutes... A few minutes that are ideal for contemplation. I'm sure some people know what I mean. I didn't expect such a well-crafted song from Poland: it's original, accessible, as catchy as a ballad can be, and meaningful too. Guys, you ticked all the right boxes for me!

    Voice: As I said, I love the song due to the effort put in the composition and lyrics, but Michal's interpretation elevates the song even more. Michal has got a voice with a rich tone and he masters it live to fully make the most of each phrasing. He literally extracts every bit of emotion available out of every word. He is very intense... and again it may not appeal to some people who prefer more mainstream/conventional ways of singing (Australia or Israel for instance), personally I'm totally into both his performances, that I found really great. Well done mister Szpak!

    Staging: Poles opted for a simple stage and I guess it was the only way to go as the song is strong enough to stand on its own. That way, people could focus on what should matter the most in this contest: country names pretty faces starting positions visual gimmicks music, interpretation, and meaning in this case. Michal stood at the center of the stage behind a microphone stand, some white spotlights were pointed at him, the lateral pools of light turned blue and the backdrops displayed something I failed to determine (was that glass breakage? was that a stone?). During the chorus, lines of spotlights located above the stage created moving waves of red light, the LED floor seemed to look like more or less dark tiles and it began to snow in the background. At that moment, one might notice Michal was accompanied by three violonists, a cellist and a pianist: I'm not sure these people were necessary tbh, thankfully one didn't see them a lot on camera because the song didn't demand visible musicians imo (a mistake Norwegians did in 2014 with their song "Silent Storm"). I really like the colour scheme: red, white and black went well together and the dynamic of the spotlights was both nice to watch and enough to bring the stage to life. The line "What Color Is Your Life" was displayed in big white letters on the backdrops each time Michal sang it during the chorus, which was clever to make people remember both the song title and the main line of the chorus. During the bridge, all the spotlights turned white before going up and letting the snow and waves of red light appear again. I don't think the performance needed much more than that tbh. Michal, apart from sporting glorious hair (damn he looked great!), wore a classy/fancy outfit: black trousers and shoes, a partly translucent high-collared black meshed top, a red jacket with black epaulettes, golden and silver buttons and adornments at the front, on the sleeves and collar... and last but not least: black nail polish. The colours matched the colour scheme chosen and fashion-wise, I appreciated his outfit, he looked like a character from the 18th century.

    Outcome: Poland qualified for the final and placed 8th out of 26 countries, since juries ranked them 25th (WTF?) and people ranked them 3rd (!)... I don't know if we will ever see such a huge discrepancy between both parties tbh, Michal ended up being the dark horse of the televote, not only placing 3rd but also beating Australia, which I guess no one would have imagined. First, I have to say that I'm very offended by the second-to-last place and 7 points awarded by the juries to the song, I really don't understand why they disliked it so much while they favoured ballads of questionable better quality according to them (Australia and Israel). Michal was vocally spot-on, no way he deserved such a bad placing. I knew people would like him, but I'm half surprised that he managed to enter the top 3. I say "half surprised" because - like a lot of people it seems - lots of my relatives and friends liked the song instantly while they aren't related in any way to Poland. Polish diaspora - if there is one in Eurovision - didn't contributed much to the success of the song, no one can be top 3 with diaspora votes; "Color Of Your Life" was appreciated almost everywhere and by people of all nationalities who happened to be in tune with it on that particular night. The moment when Poles received their 222 points was priceless, I swear I was reading Michal's mind saying to juries: "what color is my middle finger?". I'm happy for their 8th place because they didn't deserve that treatment, for some reason Poland has been bottom 5 material three years in row with juries. I find that really strange tbh... Anyway, "Color Of Your Life" is ranked 3rd of out 42 countries (like in the televoting) in my personal ranking: I love the song, which has become my favourite Polish entry ever since I started watching the contest. I still love "Legenda" a lot but that one gives me life even more. Thank you guys for your 2016 contribution, now I realize that you made the best decision by preferring Michal over Margaret and Edyta, and I see why he received so much support from you. Congrats for your top 10, after meh "In The Name Of Love", you got me this time. Looking forward to your next year entry, good luck to you in Ukraine!

    P.S.: I just forgot to say that producers probably thought Poland would be forgotten by placing them right before Australia, but I actually think it was the only thing NOT to do To me, Poles stood out even more because the level of emotion and genuineness between both acts was totally different.

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    #2063

    Re: POLAND 2016 - Michał Szpak - Colour of Your Life

    Don't if this was already posted:
    ~signature coming soon~

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    #2064

    Re: POLAND 2016 - Michał Szpak - Colour of Your Life

    Michal Szpak was my number 1 last year (not counting Zoe) and his new song "Tic Tac Clock" is my new number 1 on my list
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    Antes de ti s existi cansado e sem nada pra dar

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    #2065

    Re: POLAND 2016 - Michał Szpak - Colour of Your Life

    And Michal has just become the coach in the 7th edition of The Voice of Poland
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    ~signature coming soon~

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    #2066

    Re: POLAND 2016 - Michał Szpak - Colour of Your Life

    I will watch it because of him
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    #2067

    Re: POLAND 2016 - Michał Szpak - Colour of Your Life

    Back then I hated this Song, but since a few Days its in my Top 5. Finally I can understand what the Televoter saw in this Song.
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