In pure pop terms, this was a remarkably good Eurovision Song Contest, but the staging still, well… upstaged nearly everyone. It was nothing short of phenomenal. A huge tip of the hat to the Danes and the European Broadcasting Union for an excellent show, thanks in part to the most versatile video venue yet.
Now, I’m a techie, so I love the dazzle, and pop music is in my blood, so ESC is a double helping, but early on it became apparent that there’s a burnout factor with too much flash in a row. An order determined by random draw can put a string of acts that really use the video wall back to back. The Common Linnets performance was a heartfelt, intimate performance of a great song, and by the time it came to their performance, third song from the end, the mostly static, black and white staging was beautifully simple by contrast. It made them stand out even more.
The video above is the complete playlist of the Finals performances from Eurovision’s YouTube channel. It starts with the best, the Common Linnets (despite what the voting said), so dropping the whole playlist here serves to also let you check out the performances (and the stage), if you missed it.
Oh, Conchita Wurst (the winner) won in total diva style by nailing her performance of The Best Bond Song Never Recorded, “Rise Like a Phoenix.” (Thx to Jon Steele for that perfect summation.) The novelty past, it is plummeting down the charts. The Linnets’ song “Calm after the Storm” peaked at #14, but is still in the top quarter of the charts.
Oh, in case you’d like to watch the entire telecast start to end to see how it ran, you can do that on the Eurovision Site.
Welcome to Space Station Tango’s Intervention Day Celebration. Since we’re spread all over the time track, this could be a bit baffling, depending on when you are. There’s never been so complex a holiday. Let me give you a timeline, because this will be confusing otherwise. In fact, the timeline can’t even be linear and make sense, so focus: Continue reading
Throughout the month of March, we’re periodically turning it over to Space Station Tango to give you a taste leading up to April 1st, Intervention Day, the galaxy’s biggest Earth-based holiday.
The festivities begin that Tuesday morning as the world turns, that is, at the stroke of midnight JST (Japan Standard Time), but the full production kicks in as the San Francisco Bay Area gets moving at 8am.
Listen to the live stream during our ramp-up weekend and you’ll have an idea what’s in store.
Now that the holidays have passed, it’s time to catch up. Expect the playlist to fill in the new tunes that came in while we reflected on the best from last year.
The main problem with trying to cover the hits of the entire world is time. There’s so much music, and only so much time in a day. And not only is there so much new music, there’s a whole world of classic hits, too.
There are a near-infinite number of ways to stack the same music, but what works best? What’s the right mix of regions, of new to old, and current to recurrent to classic? The best way to know is to try them out for a while, and as we roll through variants of the format, the sound is going to dance around the center on a regular basis. At its core, this is currently a world hits radio experiment. But we’re happy for you to listen in.
In fact, join in. The RadioLab is for discussions of the format of the station. For reference, the current variation will be listed in the Station Status to the left.
The thing that makes real-time music charting possible is instant communication, and the internet has given that to the people of the world for the first time in our history. We use that access to follow a lot of resources. Here’s a linked list of the principle charts we use. If you find something great, let us know.
(We’ve left out the various blogs and YouTube channels, download charts and the like—except as reflected in the major charts. Suggestions are always welcome.)
It’s always interesting to see how the winners in pop song competitions do in the “real world” and Eurovision is no different. All in all, there’s no magic bullet in it, and winning doesn’t change national music tastes enough to make the winner a sure Euro-wide hit.
That said, Emmelie’s “Only Teardrops” has Major Hit written all over it, coming as it does from the same musical vein as other hot worldwide hits like Mumford & Sons and Of Monsters and Men.
September 1 update:
As of this date, “Only Teardrops” has spent 211 days on the European charts, spread over 17 different charts.
Long before the drawn-out voting reveal was finished in Malmö, Sweden, Denmark’s Emmelie de Forest had relegated the rest of the vote count to a decision on the runners-up, Ukrainian artist Zlata Ognevich and Azerbaijan’s Farid Mammadov, thanks to a buoyant performance of “Only Teardrops,” her upbeat and catchy winning song, which we’ve moved into our top rotation. It was perhaps given an unfair advantage by the luck of the draw—it fell in the midst of a long stretch of ballads, making it sparkle all the more—but the song really didn’t need the help. Without the usual bloc voting by the Eastern Europeans, it would have been a rout.
We’ve been running non-stop for a week now, checking the play frequency of the songs in the airplay format. It’s really eight different three-hour format blocks, the clock’s “hour hand” moving into a new Earth Region block to coincide with that region’s peak personal internet hours, from 6-9pm. Approximately three-quarters of the format is the same mix whatever the block, for station consistency. The remaining three or four songs per hour are made up of extra new and classic tracks from the focus region.