On the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, Genealogy pretends its entry isn’t political. After a strong 2014, can Armenia keep its momentum going?
Song Title: “Face the Shadow”
Semi-Final: First, Position 2
Last year’s entry: “Not Alone” – Aram Mp3 (4th Place)
Armenia is one of the most recent additions to the Eurovision Song Contest, having joined in 2006. Except for a small skid in 2011 (missed the Grand Final by one point), 2012 (did not participate), and 2013 (18th place), Armenia has been a mainstay in the top ten. Last year’s entry, “Not Alone” by Aram Mp3, spent a good part of the pre-Contest buzz as a favorite to win before eventually landing in 4th place. Can Armenia keep the momentum going for a return to top-ten glory?
First, a quick update: after Mike’s great breakdown of the geopolitical situation surrounding this song, the EBU “suggested” that Genealogy change the name of their entry in order to remove any suggestion of political intent.1 While I’m happy this song is now vague enough to appease the powers-that-be (and am also pleased Turkey will not be present at the Contest this year to wreak havoc) I’m thoroughly unconvinced this isn’t a political entry. Armenia has conformed to the letter of the ‘law’ here, but not the spirit.2
From a musical standpoint, I am a fan of this song. I like that each of the six singers gets a solo opportunity so we can hear the differences in their voices, and how powerful and lush it is when they all sing together. I like that the middle and end sections sound like a super angsty Broadway number. I love it when the percussion switches up the beat, and the guitar wail at the end. There’s a lot of great threads being woven together in this power ballad. But….
In the music video for this entry, we don’t get any sense of the singers’ gracefulness on stage. Armenia is using all of their allowed stage performers for vocalists, leaving nobody to provide visual interest and interpretation through movement. The same is true of Hungary this year (well, five vocalists and a guitar player sitting on a stool), but theirs is a traditional ballad that calls for a quieter setting. We haven’t yet seen the Eurovision stage, but it’s possible that Armenia could be taking a cue from last year’s performance by Aram Mp3, which cleverly used lighting and CGI (and fire and wind machines of course) to collapse and then expand the stage as necessary.
If Armenia can figure out what to do with six singers onstage, I think they’ll easily make it into the Grand Final. Beyond that? It will be hard in such a strong and crowded field to best last year’s finish or crack the top five, but I think another top-ten finish is a real possibility.