The Lithuanian selection is hotting up, and with just 24 acts remaining in the competition from the initial sixty, our editor James reviewed the remaining contestants from the first semi-final. Which acts should make it through to the final of the competition?
Twosome – 1000
James – 2 – Apart from the guy who sounds like the Crash Test Dummies singer, this song is a hot mess. The rapper, who also does beatbox vocal effects, is particularly grating. The key change is particularly clumsy. And like a crashing clown car, it is appropriate this song ends with honking horns. The chorus is just “whoa-oh-oh” all over again. This is obnoxious forced indie pop “quirkiness”.
Emilija Gogolyte – Riddle
James – 6 – “Here’s out first “Toy” homage of the night, though in the chorus of a cool jazz number. But seriously, the obvious pandering to Netta’s winner is off-putting. The track is not very distinctive as jazzy numbers go, so to bootstrap a message that someone else made unique just makes it seem like you’re trying to get to Tel Aviv purely by riding coattails. Emilija’s a decent singer, and they can make lyrical changes at this point. Otherwise, if you’re thinking of someone else’s song during your own, then your song’s in trouble.”
Migloko – Rozes
James – 3 – “I get what she’s doing with her voice with that staccato delivery, but it just sounds like someone shouting at me over a metronome. Migloko is a great singer but the song is basic. This might work in the basement of a coffee shop, as I imagine the intimacy of that setting would help. But in Tel Aviv, in that conference hall, this would have all the charm of a Sham-wow salesman at the North American Dealer Association trade show.”
Jurgis Bruzga – CTRL ALT DELETE
James – 1 – “This is a catastrophe. The lyrics are an abomination. “I found a password for connecting with you!” This is one of many “gems” here. “We’re not at the races, so just let it go!” What? This is not a translation issue, it’s that the lyrics make no damn sense in any language! And it’s tacked onto a horrible basic pop track. The distortion and the bridge and the warbled singing there are terrible. I thought his Robin Bengtsson knock-off “4 Love” last year was bad. This is far worse.”
Cheri – Again
James – 6 – “Again” has potential, but it sounds unfinished. It’s a decent R&B effort and you can’t fault her singing, except for a rough start to the Heats performance. Instrumentation wise, there’s little going on besides a keyboard and a basic beat. Granted, one of the biggest problems with Eurovision entries is that they’re usually too busy, but this one is too basic and too chill. A bit of a redo and you could have a powerful R&B contestant on your hands.
Glossarium – Anyone
James – 8 – “Looks like one of the twins from Brandi Carlisle’s backing band trying his hand at Phil Anselmo-esque hard rock. Great riffs, slick solo, and hedonistic and dirty lyrics you’d expect from a Texan hard rock act, not a Lithuanian band. This is meat and potatoes hard rock that people who are not fans of the genre should enjoy, even if the lyrics are about a guy on a gambling bender so drunk and strung out (“I want to abduct you but…”) he can’t trust anyone. Chug some Jack and Coke and rock out to this.”
Justina Budaite-Juna – Strength of a Woman
James – 6 – “Thematically plays in the same area of “Toy,” but doesn’t outright reference the lyrics like Emilija. It’s an aggressive track, but nothing special. Juna herself is a great singer and pulls off the aggressive posture and style the lyrics demand. Juna is a Voice of Lithuania graduate, and like most of those, she gets paired with a bog standard hip hop template. And lyrically it is a bit confused – it sways from the general (the anthemic “Strength of a woman”) to particular relationship issues unique to Juna, and I don’t know if they’re bridged well.”
Lukas Bartaska – River of Hope
James – 8 – “Really old school jazz with a harmonica bridge (and a good passionate “air” harmonica as EBU rules will forbid him from playing it live). A great soaring chorus, and it’s clear this genre is this young man’s passion rather than a passing fad as with other musicians. And extra credit for the flat cap and waistcoat.”
Saules Kliosas – Laiko masina
James – 6 – “Slow, retro funk of the variety that was in the charts in the early to mid 1990s. It sounds like it belongs to the soundtrack of an erotic thriller from 1993 starring William Baldwin. And that’s it problem – it’s more of a mood setter than a gripping song in its own right. I’d listen to an album by this band, but I fear this would get lost in the shuffle in Tel Aviv.”
Henry & Tommy Modric – Neverpart
James – 2 – “The lads from Gravel changed their names to Modric (from Sinicki, and presumably in honor of famous footballer Luca Modric because why not?) and here we are with a hipster faux-jazz novelty song. The lyrics make no sense, but probably for the sake of not making sense. This is one of these too clever by half entries and they can fully f%&$ off.”
Edgaras Lubys – To The Sky
James – 7 – “Is “Edgaras Lubys” how you say Depeche Mode in Lithuanian? It’s got the harder synth edges of Depeche Mode but with a vocalist who sounds like Erasure’s Andy Bell. Perhaps his high notes don’t quite work with the backing track, and his style change between verse and chorus could be less jarring, but that can be worked out in a revamp. This is a full-on ‘80s retro pop song, and it’s fun, which is first and foremost what you want.”
Monika Marija – Light On
James – 8 – “This is the Judges 12 and Televote 12 entry by Monika Marija, her other being “Criminal,” which will be featured in Semi-Final 2. This very Sam Smith-esque (particularly “Stay With Me”), though lyrically, I do find it a bit odd that someone younger than 21 is having an existential crisis. I usually cringe at downbeat songs, but this one has an active, though reluctant narrator reaching out into the void (“leave a light on for me!”) for help. It has a memorable hook, sing-along and almost anthemic chorus. I think this will do well with the under-30 set, and Lithuania already loves it.”
Do #YOU agree with James’ verdict on the songs competing tonight, and will Lithuania decide the same? Find out later this evening when Eurovizijos Atranka continues!
Who do #YOU want to represent Lithuania in 2019? Share your thoughts with us on our forum HERE or join the discussion below and on social media!