The Community


We’ve often heard people asking for a good off-topic page and so it’s finally here! As we say in our editorial, The Eurovision Times is a blog about the Eurovision Song Contest that values the sense of community most of all. It’s fine if you’re just reading us for the news and we’re glad we can provide it (most of the times, we’re not really the first up to date for the people working on this do it on their free time and are very busy in general). A few times, we provide games and contests (TEKO and Fridas) that are original and fun and have helped build a sense of community. Most of all, comments by regular readers who became regular commentators on Eurovision articles made us recognize one another, value and respect each other.

So, naturally, we often went offtopic here and there, just because we enjoy chatting with each other. A lot of people have recently asked us for an offtopic page. Here it is! You can talk about anything here except… Eurovision! That’s right, Eurovision is still the main topic about this blog, so any offtopic news or talk for Eurovision can still go on the news articles. On the other hand, sports, politics, culture… are all welcomed on this new page. The regular rules for the blog remain: only English so that we can all understand one another, no personal insults, nothing too graphic on violence and sex. We trust you to be respectful!

Now comment away, and let’s see when we’ll reach 50 comments, 100 comments, our new record 1000 comments soon?

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138 comments on “The Community

  1. Ego-centric me wants to be the first. So… first! :P

  2. Will be interesting to see what topics will be talked about !

  3. Yes, new community are open now! I wish nothing but the best for this community and whole page as well! With lots of love from Finland! ;) @ http://jake.suntuubi.com/

  4. So would anyone happen to know what the “truest” brand of Greek yogurt is? I’ve been trying a few different brands and, while I like some of them, I’m more curious to get the most authentic experience.

  5. Since I’ve been asked to move it here, do you have any more questions about the Deep South, Eulenspiegel?

  6. Okay, folks: here is my and Patrick’s discussion about Southern US.

    Eulenspiegel: I’m overall curious about the Deep South and its culture. What’s typical for Southern mentality? What differs a typical guy from Deep South from f.e. New England when it comes to manners?

    Patrick: Okay. Southern manners is stuck in a time warp with the rest of the United States. What I mean by that is that there is a definite code of politeness that doesn’t necessarily exist in New England or California For example, it’s still expected that people say “thank you” to somebody for doing a service, even if that service is entirely expected. I know that I say “thank you” mechanically to the bus driver, the few times that I do use our bus system.

    “Sir” and “ma’am” are common terms of politeness for one in authority. “Miss” and “young man” are common when elders refer to youths.

    Okay, the South is also the area that stuck in gender roles. Men are expected to be fairly masculine to take care of women, who are still discouraged from being too much more than a homemaker. You can ask more about that if you want, but I’m not sure what else to add here.

    And of course, cities are different altogether.

    All that being said, Niclas, the Deep South is no longer the place that was depicted in footage of the Civil Rights movement. It’s not a progressive place, and I don’t think it will ever be a progressive place, but it’s a pleasant place to live if you’re okay with a slower-paced lifestyle.

    Eulenspiegel: I’m the oddball. I live in one of the most informal countries in the world, where we are all “du” to each other. I wouldn’t actually mind using more titles and phrases day by day for a change.

    But the grass is always greener on the other side. (a)
    I would like to live in the Deep South for a month just to feel the atmosphere, I think. To live there in the long run would maybe not work for me, :p

    • Here, Argentina, is divided like that. Basically, anything that’s not Buenos Aires, it’s exactly like Patrick described the south of US.

    • It’s surprising how applicable that a to where I live (Far West Texas/New Mexico, the American Southwest). FYI, it’s almost exactly the same here, just with half the dialogue conducted in Spanish.

      • Eh, the Southwest is a little more liberal with their application. When I lived in Texas, the ideals of “sir” and “ma’am” were a lot more muddled and a lot less expected. If you said it, it was considered a great compliment, but if you didn’t say it, you didn’t get dirty looks. New Mexico and Arizon are pretty different to me, enough that Arizona was a bit of culture shock when I was there last year (many people too casual about how they treated others, weird slang, the food [duh], and the general pace of life. It’s a lot faster in the Southwest.

        I was born in New Mexico, and I remember living in a small town outside Albuquerque as a child. Catholicism had more influence in the Southwest, while the South is very Protestant. And that makes so much more of a difference than you would think

        • Yeah, there’s a lot of emphasis on tradition and rules here that probably comes from Catholicism. Granted, my family is religious in the sense that we go to church on Easter and Christmas Eve only, so I’m probably not the best source for that. :P

          I guess you’re right, but there were a few grumpy people who expected us to give them their titles. Mostly older Hispanic people but it only happened a few times. The general rule I’ve seen is the further west you go, the less formal it gets.

  7. No “what’s your favorite song” question?
    I’m disappointed. I’m curious xP.

    • What the hell, I’ll bite. :P Sorry to disappoint, but I have no one favorite song. I can give you a pretty comprehensive top three, however. In no particular order:

      “Family” – Super Mario Galaxy Soundrack (Composer: Koji Kondo)

      This is the only song to have ever made me cry. I love, love, love it, especially its combination of hopefulness and grief, ultimately creating a musical mirror, if that makes sense.

      “Lovers in Japan” – Coldplay

      Honestly, this spot should be filled by “Life in Technicolor” since it was the song that introduced me to modern music and started to help build my taste, but this song has that same feel of “LiT” but I love “LiJ” more.

      “Kedvesem” – ByeAlex

      Along with being my all-time favorite ESC song, it’s also the song that helped me kick my depression that I was suffering from last autumn.

      That’s mine. Yours? ;)

      • Every time I’m asked that question, I go blank =P, however, I would say these are the ones I like the most:

        Most of the song I like are on the same genre =P.

        I enjoy most of Kajiura’s music. She makes music for several groups and singers. She doesn’t sing, only composes. I love the feeling this one gives. Most of her music is in “fictional language” but she makes it work.

        And epic music, man I love that genre. This one is probably the one I listen to the most.

      • Oh my gosh the super mario music is so beautiful :) I always liked music from video games in general. Have you played Kingdom Hearts ? This is my favourite video game song, from this game :

        • KH has so many beautiful songs. Shimomura is a great composer. The piano edition of the most popular songs is so good.

          Another great composer is Shoji Meguro. Have you ever played a Shin Megami Tensei game?

          • No I don’t know them to be honest. My relations with the japanese gaming industry go as far as the Final Fantasy series (which I adore and consider the best series of all times) but I am closer to the european/american RPG philosophy mostly (Elder Scrolls, Baldur’s Gate, D&D style in general etc).

            But I will look into them and the music now if I get the time ;) The japanese know how to incorporate music in their games for sure.

            • Ah! Well, I’m mainly a jrpg gamer =P, sadly last generation saw a lack of decent jrpg games for consoles, most were for psp/ds/3. Dark Souls and Demon souls were the saving grace of the generation tbh.

              I think I’ve played most FF, at least I’ve played from 1 to 13, minus 11. Then a couple of sub series.
              FF suffers from having too many hands and quantity>quality. I thought FF13/13-2/LR were horrendous, but FF Type-0, which came our around the same time as 13-2 was a so damn good.

              And you should give Megaten games a try, they’re very good and with very interesting plots.

            • My favouritr FF is definately 12. This game has immense depth and I reallyl like the battle system. It provides a challenge as well.

              FF 13 is controversial in the gaming community indeed. Indeed it was very linear in the first part but I enjoyed it nevertheless to be honest.The whole “job” system during battles made them quite fast paced and I liked that.

              I haven’t played them all, especially the old ones, just 4 and 9 before the 10th one. I did not enjoy 9 much.

              On the souls series : I haven’t put myself to that torture yet but I an intrigiued to try, especially now after the release of DS 2. I know its a punishing game but I’m up to the challenge :) !

              I’ll try them out ;) The jap game plots tend to get me.

            • I have 12 as my favorite too. I liked a lot being able to get good weapons at low levels via farming materials. Some of the ways to get weapons were really creative, like the dagger on the crystal.

              I couldn’t get over the plot of 13, it was just so lolwtf were they thinking. It became worse afterwards. The ending of the final game is so so hilarious.

              9 was fun for me, not on the level of 4, 6 or 12, but fun.

              Souls series aren’t hard, really. You just need patience.
              They give the impression of hard, because even the very first enemies you fight, can kill you at max level in a few hits. It just a game of being careful and playing it smart.

    • Of all time? Well if we strictly talk about songs (as in 20th century music with lyrics), I’d have to go with: Pink Floyd “High Hopes” (I know, it’s one of the late “not as good” ones, but it’s my favorite) or Nina Simone’s “I’ve Got Life”.

      • With or without lyrics. Tbh, I’m more of a instrumental music fan. My mother used to buy classical music cds when I was very young, later I started playing games and I loved getting the OSTs.

    • If we talk of all music of all time, then I’d go with Berlioz “Symphonie fantastique” :)

    • An interesting question and I suppose you are asking outside the esc frame.

      Well my number one favourite song is pretty clear for me but then I have trouble picking.

      But my no.1 song, the one that I feel describes me as a person, that really gets deep in my soul and speaks to it, the one that can make me really almost cry every time by how mmuch it represents me has to be this one :

      It’s not a musical masterpiece of course, I know that. But it doesn’t need to be imo, it’s my life song.

      My all time favourite french song is this one :

  8. It is titled: Diodia (road tolls). Sung by Stavros Siolas (tis arnis to nero) and Fotini Velesiotou:

    Now you’ll see the colours changing
    And the mountains gathering together one by one
    Angels will embrace you like mortals
    And your enemies will be talking to you loving words.

    Now I’ll drink water from your glass
    And everything I don’t have will be yours
    I’ll push some sky into your window
    And everything I couldn’t stand I will bear.

    Now I’ll get a home in paradise
    A piece of land for free by the sea shore
    I’ll put on a love’s shirt
    And I’ll win without wearing an armour.

    Now you’ll see inside the basements of soul
    A table with bread, water and salt (on it)
    Now that there will be no road tolls
    Now that love is falling down like warm rain.

  9. I am a total sucker for all traditional Gregorian and Byzantine chants. I say traditional, because cross covers where “gregorian choirs” are singing pop ballads like “I will always love you” or “Tears in heaven” are mostly awful and out of touch. There is such an indescribable feeling and sacredness in these pieces I simply can’t do anything else but love. It’s also the ancient breeze they’re giving; the feeling that it’s something ancient, untouched and true in it all. Something that has been kept its own way throughout the centuries.

    As for popular music, I’d like to mention the dear Sofia Karlsson. She is only doing covers, so maybe she shouldn’t count as a “real” singer, but the way she’s interpreting old Swedish classics is breathtaking. At least for me.

  10. I can see UK ending up performing in the first half of the final now, its just our luck, although it maybe better suited to the first half really, I would have Italy, France and us in the first half then Germany and Spain joining Denmark in the second half. I really hope Germany end up in the second half this year because there song is really good, but having Italy or France in there would be a disappointment, really I think the big 5 should just get assigned final half allocations along with the semi finalists, and not have half of them in one half and half of them in another.

  11. This is Ace Wilder’s last single before her MF entry. I’ve had it on repeat for two days now.

    • This is spooky and very intriguing…She knows what she is doing.

      • She reminds me of Miley Cyrus if Cyrus was actually interested in what she was doing, outside of being a manufactured product trying to tap into this niche. Ace’s stuff just comes off as so much more authentic and well-constructed. I absolutely LOVE it. I wish her MF entry had more shades of this, although I doubt it would’ve been as successful if it did.

  12. I don’t know but, has this one got unnoticed by Alex? ;) :P

    • I love that video. The girl’s not that bad either. ;)

      • I like the video too; very…minimalistic :D
        On the other hand, I simply love the song. In my top10 of the entire esc season.

    • It’s World Poetry Day today. Shall we continue where we stopped last year? :)

      • You rule, mate ;)

        Although I remember posting sth this day last year, but don’t recall what exactly :)

        • I’ll be back soon. But I’ll just re-post my contribution from last year: Näcken (The Neck) by Stagnelius, one of the big names of Swedish Romanticism.

          The golden clouds of the evening wreath the firmament
          The elves are dancing in the fields
          And the Neck crowned in leaves
          Plays the fiddle in the silvery brook

          A little boy among the willows at the shore
          Rests in the vapor of violets
          Hears the twang from the source’s water
          Cries out in the silent night:

          “Poor old man! Why play?
          Can it ease your pains?
          You might live free in the woods and fields
          A child of God, though, you will never be!

          The moonlight nights in Paradise
          The flower-crowned fields of Eden
          The Angels of Light in the highest
          Your eye shall never see them.”

          Tears wash the old man’s face
          He dives into his wave
          The fiddle gets quiet. Nevermore the Neck
          Plays in the silvery brook.

      • Just found it ;)
        Näcken, the one you posted was great too :)

        • Well, the night is young so I’ll keep posting. ;)

          This is the lyrics from the “Jag väntar” (“I wait”) song I posted above in this thread. The lyrics are written by Dan Andersson, one of the first working-class poets in Sweden. Much of his poems, like “Jag väntar” deal with the tough, hard-working life of the “Forest Finns” in the deep Northern Swedish forests.

          I wait by my fire as the hours pass
          While the stars wander and the nights go by
          I am waiting for a woman from roads far away
          The dearest one, the dearest with eyes of blue

          I thought of a snow-covered wandering flower
          I have dreamt of a trembling shadowy laugh
          I thought I saw the most loved one come through the wood
          Over the heath on a snow heavy night

          Gladly I would carry her that I dreamt of in my arms
          Through the scrub to where my hut stands
          And raise a cry of joy to my dear one:
          “Welcome, you who I have waited for these lonely years”

          I wait by my charcoal clamp as the hours pass
          While the woods sing, under chasing skies
          I am waiting for a wanderer from roads far away
          The dearest one, the dearest with eyes of blue

          • “working class poets”, that sounds very interesting.

            “I thought of a snow-covered wandering flower” …just so beautiful!

            • So glad you liked it. The lyrics are great enough, but it’s Sofia’s lovely performance that makes them soar. Björn Ulvaeus of ABBA did a version of it in the 60’s, but it’s not half as beautiful as Sofia’s imo.

              Now, it’s your turn. ;)

            • Yeah, loved that video.

              Speaking of working class poets, Kostas Varnalis would be the most prominent case in Greece http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGNUNqYSvRw

            • Good ol’ Theodorakis again. :)

              I found the poem to be rather witty in some way, despite of that pessimistic, harsh and empty scenario being presented.

              But I didn’t really get the “At Palamidi the son of Mazis / The daughter of Yiavis at Gkazi”. Is it a reference to famous characters in Greek folklore / mythology / literature or something?

            • Palamidi used to be a very infamous prison in the Peloponese long ago. So, probably he is referring to the suffing all those people in there must have been through.

          • I consider myself enormously priveleged that I had this conversation with you tonight, mate. Thank you; I really enjoyed it. ;) :)

            Have a great weekend, Eulenspiegel!

            • Thanks to you too! It was great to share some poetry with you. There should be more World Poetry Days imo. ;)

              Happy weekend to you too, Oxi. I’ll end this with a Medieveal ballad, performed by Swedish folk band Garmarna (from MF 1997).

            • Excuse my language, but this is …fucking awesome!!!

              I wonder, is there a chance that we ever hear sth like this stuff from Sweden in esc…*sigh*

              Thank you so much :)

            • You’re welcome. :)

              “I wonder, is there a chance that we ever hear sth like this stuff from Sweden in esc”

              Well, never say never. Garmarna went to MF in a time when Eurovision was going through an ethnic music period. If it returns to that somewhere in the future, then maybe. On the other hand, we don’t have many famous folk bands in Sweden to begin with. Except for Nordman, who does some folk/rock style, but they have already done MF twice and I doubt they’ll do it again.

            • “never say never”

              Agreed and signed :)

  13. my new ranking (hopefully this will stay the same now until the rehearsals/semi finals):

    1st Norway- The lyrics in this song really speak to me at the minute, I’ll always end up been single all my life :(
    2nd Germany
    3rd Denmark
    4th England & Wales
    5th Finland
    6th Sweden (lowered because of grammar and been a stereotypical ESC power ballad)
    7th Greece (hoping to move this up if the live vocals are better than what they were in the national final)
    8th Hungary
    9th Armenia (diction isn’t great and the start drags on a bit too long for me)
    10th Israel
    11th Poland
    12th FYR Macedonia
    13th Azerbaijan (poor diction only concerns me)
    14th Spain (Over does the live vocal performance a bit, and the lyrics aren’t exactly anywhere as good as Pastora’s entry)
    15th Ireland (live vocals were weak, but I love the composition and lyrics)
    16th The Netherlands (This entry is starting to grow on me :) and it isn’t as bad as I thought now.)
    17th Italy (becoming slightly dull and repetitive for me, and the live versions aren’t excellent)
    18th Estonia (messy choreography, diction/english is poor, and lyrics aren’t excellent, but I really love the composition/sound of the entry)
    19th Montenegro (This could possibly go up higher I think)
    20th France (renders on joke act with pointless lyrics, so I lowered it)
    21st Ukraine (not a fan of the new version its similar to the old one, and the lyrics are poor, I expect her English and diction wont be great either in May)
    22nd Romania (trashy composition, poor lyrics, problems with diction and English)
    23rd Lithuania (actually a reasonably good Lithuanian entry compared to the past 2 years, may overtake Romania and Ukraine in my rankings)
    24th Portugal
    25th Austria (could possibly drop, same with Portugal)
    26th Switzerland (could be higher if diction is improved live)
    27th Russia
    28th San Marino
    29th Malta
    30th Slovenia
    31st Iceland (gone up, since they will be singing in English, thus making the message of the song more credible and more easily communicated across to the audience, still hate the dated, and tacky image of this band though)
    32nd Moldova
    33rd Belarus
    34th Albania
    Joint 35th and 36th Belgium and Georgia
    37th Latvia.

  14. Although it’s a pity that comments here do not appear on the answers feed I will post it here :

    I am looking for the best recordings/renditions of Orff’s Carmina Burana (and the other parts of Trionfi for that matter), does anyone have any suggestions ? :)

    • For me the best recording is this from 1968 with that very cover on the CD http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8L1S3GHA6U
      But of course that’s only my personal opinion.

    • Carl Orff: Carmina Burana,
      Gundula Janowitz, Gerhard Stolze, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
      Chor und Orchester de Deutschen Oper Berlin,
      Dirigent: Eugen Jochum

      recorded by Deutsche Grammophon.

      • Thanks a lot :)

        • I hope it helped you a bit.

          • It did.

            A close friend owns this recording on a vinyl record. I should have thought this would be considered among the best, Deutsche Grammophon always had top quality recordings.

            I think it’s this one :

            • I agree, Deutsche Grammophon is top class when it comes to this stuff.

    • dont worry, the page is slowly kicking off and some of us check it out regularly (i believe this will come more handy once the esc season cools off, so that we dont have a lot of posts to post, but people will still want to talk with one another :))

      • Morgan, did you vote in today’s municipal elections? In which arrondissement do you usually vote, may I ask? :)

        • I have voted, yes, and it’s a scary election with still a stronger extreme right here in France. But I have no worries for Paris which will remain in the left. The thing is, almost all big cities here are left now, so the majority of people, but then all the small towns and the rural regions are very conservative, even to the extreme in the South-East of France… :(

          • I see. I sort of made a little research and came up with this re: Paris (you live in Paris, right?) It seems that according to the results of the second round of the presidential elections in 2012, there is an imaginary line that divides Paris into east (arrondissements #1, 6, 7, 8, 15, 16, 17) and west (2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14,18, 19, 20). East Paris tends to vote for the right (Sarkozy in case of 2012; maybe the voters there are more of middle or upper class, right?) while the west leans towards the left-Hollande). Do I get this right? :)

            • Actually, it’s the other way round: East for the left, West for the right :P :)

            • yes it’s the other way around and it’s because the wind of pollution in the XIXth industrial century was pushed from the Atlantic towards the continent, so that the rich would live on the West and the poor and middle class in the East… even though Paris itself is very bourgeois and rich, it’s also very liberal in its thinking and voted left every election since Bertrand Delanoë was elected Mayor in 2001 (first openly gay elected official in France)… he vowed then to only present himself twice, so since he was reelected in 2008 he isnt running anymore and his deputy during his mandates, Anne Hidalgo is the candidate and could be the first woman to preside Paris. There’s no doubt Paris will vote left but all the suburbs in Paris are very divided between the North and East, wich are communist or socialist, and the West and South, which are conservative. To the extreme: in Montreuil (East), the left is credited 88% total (between Communists, Socialists and Greens) whereas in Neuilly-sur-Seine (Sarkozy’s home town to the West), the right is given around 85%… I live in a conservative West place myself, but am a socialist and hope one day we can have the whole capital at least :D

            • Yep, I know the case of Bertrand Delanoë. Thank you so much for all the info :)

  15. Yuzuru Hanyū, who became Olympic champion 2014, became World champion 2014! He’s grace itself, I really love him!

  16. Since Morgan and I had a little discussion about video games the other day, and that I see there’s already been some posts about video game music, I’ll post some of my favourite pieces from “The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time”, the most epic game ever! :)

    Gregorian imitation, but oh, how beautiful. <3

  17. If anyone’s curious, I’d like to share some of my contact info. :)
    Skype: nprovenghi271
    Twitter: nprovenghi15
    Tumblr: thesouthwardbird
    Eurovision Family: nprovenghi271

  18. Finally a glimpse of light from russia :


    Of course the ruling will face fierce legal battles from now on but I have began to build a certain trust and confidence in certain parts of the russian judicial.

    This would not be possible if people outside russia did not financially help these legal battles of russian lgbt activists though :)

  19. Toulon 29-14 Leinster
    the last two European rugby champions face to face in quarterfinal and Toulon, the 2013 European champion, wins at home against Leinster, 2012 European champion and 2013 Amelin winner!

    Now semifinals will see the same 4 teams this year than last year, but not the same matches: this year it’ll be Saracens-Clermont and Toulon-Munster (it was Saracens-Toulon and Clermont-Munster last year)… I hope for another 100% French final like last year with the glorious Clermont 15-16 Toulon!

  20. AvatArmenia, I would love to go to Armenia. Is English a widely spoken language there? French? Is it safe to drive around? I love mountain lakes.

  21. Since Morgan asked, I’ll (try) to move it here.

    I’m going back to San Diego. It’ll the be the first time without my family which I’m excited about since that means I’ll get to try new things. :)

    • lol looks like a dead case, the problem is we don’t see “recent posts” in the community so no one thinks of it :-(

    • I will never get used to this community page … LOL

      I hope that you’ll have a great time exploring San Diego without family. This reminds me of my first holiday without parents. I was 16 and went to Tunisia with my sister (who was 18 at the time) for 4 weeks. One night, we wanted to go to a club in Sousse, and when the doorman asked me how old I was I gathered all my courage to come up with a lie … I said “17” … and he said “only 18+” … LOL I should have known but then I have never been a good lier or a … well, practical person. Finally I managed to sneak in though because my sister came up with all her seductive skills and got the guy distracted. Well, she has always been much more practical than me. Awwww, sweet memories. :)

      • Thank you! My first trip without parents was to Italy when I was 13. I was with one for my sisters on the flight there and we met another sister in Italy for two weeks. Such fun! :D This is thee first time I’ll be traveling totally alone.

        And you sound just like me in your nightclub story. Even our sisters sound alike. :D

        • It is good to have a hands on sister if you are the quixotic ivory tower guy …

          Btw, that trip to Tunesia will remain one of my favourite journeys ever:

          1. We had rented a small two room appartment at Port El Kantaoui Marina but when we arrived in Port El Kantaoui, the place was overbooked. We got a 10 room penthouse overlooking vast stretches of the coast instead. My sister immediately started to arrange things and put signs up. She put our hair drier in one room, and up went the sign “Frisierzimmer” … she put her guitar and my accordion in the next room … “Musikzimmer” … and so on.
          2. This was the time before mobile phones and e-mails and we never thought that our parents would try to get in touch. (In those days you were away when you were away …) Halfway through our holiday, we booked a 7 day Sahara tour, and while we were away on a fantastic excursion, our parents called the reception because they wanted to tell us that we should take a cab from Stuttgart Airport to our granny’s house because they would be away on a business trip on the day of our return. When we returned to our appartment, we found police and CSI there …
          3. My sister had a holiday affair with a Tunisian jasmin vendor (they sell the buds everywhere). But then a really dishy French guy arrived and she naturally dumped this guy. A few days later I met him at the marina and he called my sister several ugly names … He might have had a point but I pushed him into the harbour basin anyway. That was the only brawl in my life … and I won! :)

  22. Here I have made a translation of an essay about “Waterloo”, posted on DR some days ago:

    “There were two very serious things hitting the European tv viewers when ABBA sang “Waterloo” at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 – exactly 40 years ago tomorrow. First: without having taken a closer look at the winners from the previous years, I bet it was about standing in a fixed posture in front of the microphone wearing a fine dress or a suit. Most of the singers were even doing it as soloists. Until then, no group had ever won the Eurovision!

    And then, suddenly those glam rockers from Sweden were standing on the stage in their colourful clothes, truly exploiting the possibilities of colour tv. And they were simply singing: rock! Ok, in 1974 rock music had been produced in more than 20 years, so a whole generation had rock records in their shelving. Still, it must have been a revolution for the Eurovision viewers. No doubt about that.

    Second: ABBA’s “Waterloo” is not just rock. It is rock using dirty tricks. In other words: one piece of damn good musical craftsmanship!

    The song starts with a clean major chord: “My my”. But already in chord number two, ABBA proves that the song has been written by God:

    ‘My my (dum dum), at Waterloo Napoleon did surrender’.

    The chord under “at Waterloo” is a so called ‘enlarged chord’ – which is never used in varieté music, like traditional Eurovision. It’s a chord coming from the Central European tradition of church music.

    Such a thing has – by God – an impact on us. The viewers in 1974 must have thought: I don’t know what it is, but I can hear that it is very big and that it is 2000 years old.

    The rest of the verse also uses a lot of delicate, classical chords – a trick that Björn and Benny are using billions of times in ABBA’s career. But as we reach the chorus and the hookline: Waterloo, ABBA hits the listner in the diaphragm.

    Here the song is simply turning into an ordinairy 12-bar Missisippi gospel blues: the most basal thing you can do in pop and rock music. Basal and always effective. It is unquestionably cool.

    So: in a simple pop song Björn and Benny are giving us the blood of Jesus Christ, the classical repertoire of Bach, Beethoven and Mozart – and at last they are throwing the Missisippi delta in. All together done in a way where the listener doesn’t notice it but are thinking: damn, this is good.

    All that was obviously what was needed to kickstart and international career.

    … or, that is: Actually it is not entirely true that ABBA went from succes to succes on the charts right after Eurovision. At first they looked like a one hit wonder as the succeeding singles flopped. Fortunately, Benny, Björn, Agneta and Anni-Frid had enough patience to release an “S.O.S.”, their next big hit, with not connection to Eurovision.

    But even if their carrer had ended with “Waterloo”, the winner from 1974 will still be seen as the best Eurovision song ever, up to this day.”

    (Red: Please note that this article is solely the opinion of the writer, not of DR)

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