While the voting for the fourth annual esctoday.com Awards is taking place, we take the time to introduce the nominees in the 21 categories. Today, we take a look at the Song of the year category.
- You can vote in the 2009 esctoday.com awards here.
1. Fairytale (Norway)
The Norwegian entry was written by Alexander Rybak, who also performed the song. He had already taken part in the second edition of the talent search Kjempesjansen, a Norwegian TV showthat is looking for young talents in music and dance, in 2006.He could win this show with his own composition Foolin'.He later won the Anders Jahres award and became a conductor for Norway's most famous orchestra of young musicians. He also wrote or co-wrote most of the tracks on his debut album Fairytales.
Fairytale is a mid-tempo song that mixes pop music with traditional folk music and it faces heavily on the violin in the arrangement. The lyrics are were inspired by Alexander's first love and his contradictory feelings after the break-up: "Every day we started fighting/Every night we fell in love/No one else could make me sadder/But no one else could lift me high above."
The song won the Norwegian national final by a landslide. It would also went on to win the second Eurovision Song Contest semi final and the grand final clearly ahead of the runner-up entry from Iceland. The song was also a commercial success. It had already entered the Norwegian single charts before the national final. It reached the number one position, where it stayed for ten non-consecutive weeks. After the victory in Moscow, the song became a hit all over Europe. It reached number one in the single charts of Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Greece and Belgium and it was also a top ten hit in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom and even Austria, although the country did not take part in the Eurovision Song Contest.
2. Is it true? (Iceland)
The Icelandic entry was written by Óskar Páll Sveinsson, Christopher Neil and Tinatin Japaridze. Óskar Páll Sveinsson, also known as Oskar Paul, has produced a series of successful albums in Iceland, but he is also a well-known name in the international music scene having worked for acts like Robbie Williams, Mike and the Mechanics, Seal, Depeche Mode and Secret Garden. Christopher Neil is just as successful all over the world as he served as a producer and occasional songwriter for singers and bands including Céline Dion, Cher, Bonnie Tyler, a-ha and Rod Stewart. Tinatin Japaridze is a singer and songwriter, who has just launched her career. She was named as "one of the fresh faces to keep an eye out for" by US American Billboard magazine. She also recorded the demo version of Is it true?.
The song is a classic pop ballad. Through the lyrics of the break-up song, the singer asks her companion if the relationship is really over (which is more of a rhethorical question) and whose fault it was that it did not work out: "Is it true?/Is it over?/Did I throw it away?/Was it you?/Did you tell me you would never leave me this way?".
Is it true won the Icelandic national final with almost twice as many votes as the runner-up entry. In the Eurovision Song Contest, the song did almost equally well and won the first semi finalbut dropped to second place in the grand final behind Norway. It is the best placing for an Icelandic entry in the history of the contest along with the 1999 entry All out of luck. The song was also a commercial success. The song reached the top of the Icelandic single charts but it also peaked at number two in Sweden, at number three in Norway and at number four in Finland in Greece. Furthermore, the song entered the single charts Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Ireland, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Slovakia.
3. Always (Azerbaijan)
The Azerbaijani entry was written by Arash, Robert Uhlmann, Alex Papakonstantinou, Marcus Englöf, Johan Bejerholm, Anderz Wrethov and Elin Wrethov. As a songwriter, Arash is probably best-known for writing or co-writing most of his own material. He frequently works with Robert Uhlmann, Johan Bejerholm and Anderz Wrethov. The latter has also competed in Swedish Melodifestivalen as a songwriter for Günther & the Sunshine Band. Alex Papakonstantinou and Marcus Englöf have already written and produced Helena Paparizou's hit song Mambo, which was performed during the 2006 Eurovision Song Contest. Elin Wrethov, who co-wrote the lyrics, has also worked with Dutch band Ch!pz.
Always is an up-tempo pop song with an ethnic flavour to it. The lyrics are a declaration of a love that is so big that it is almost an addiction: "I believe I'm addicted to you/In your eyes I see dreams coming true/Finally I have found you and now/I will never let you go – no".
The song was chosen internally to represent Azerbaijan in the Eurovision Song Contest. It finished second in the second semi final behind Norway and it came third in the grand final behind Norway and Iceland. So far, it is the most successful entry for the country, which only debuted in 2008. The song was also a commercial success being a number two hit in Greece and a number three hit in Sweden. It also entered the Charts in the Czech Republic, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, Slovakia and Turkey.
4. Düm tek tek (Turkey)
The Turkish entry was written by Sinan Akçil, Hadise and Stefan Fernande. Sinan Akçil has contributed to album tracks of many Turkish artists as a songwriter, producer and arranger with Düm tek tek being his biggest hit so far. Hadise is known for writing or co-writing the lyrics of most of her songs. This time she collaborated with Sinan Akçil and Stefan Fernande.
Düm tek tek is an up-tempo song mixing pop music with some folkloristic elements. The lyrics are a declaration of love and in fact, the singer tells that she is so much in love that it makes her heart beat like a drum: "Can you feel the rhythm in my heart?/The beat's going düm tek tek/Always out it like there's no limit/Feels like there's no way back."
The song was chosen internally to represent Turkey in the Eurovision Song Contest. It finished second in the first semi final with only two points behind the Icelandic entry. In the grand final, the song finished fourth with 177 points. It is therefore the third most successful Turkish entry in the contest along with the entries of 2004 and 2007.
5. It's my time (United Kingdom)
The UK entry was written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Diane Warren. Andrew Llyod Webber is probably the most successful muical composer ever. He scored 13 musicals to date including Jesus Christ superstar, Evita, Starlight Express and Cats. Many of the songs also had an impact on the popular music scene such as Don't cry for me Argentina and Memories. Diane Warren is one of the most successful composers and lyricists of pop music in the United States. She holds various records on the US charts; among others she is the only songwriter who had songs by seven differents artists on the charts at a time and she also composed the song that stayed in the top 100 the longest. She wrote songs for acts such as Céline Dion, Cher, Meat Loaf, LeAnn Rimes, Barbra Streisand and Whitney Houston.
It's my time is a classic pop ballad with musical influences. The lyrics are about finding one's place in life and achieving whatever you want. According to Diane Warren, it can be seen as a reference to a person but also to a whole country: "I've got the will, I've earned the right/To show you it's my time tonight/It's my time, it's my time/My moment, I'm not gonna let go of it".
The song was provided by the songwriters, who had been chosen internally to write the UK entry. In the Eurovision Song Contest, it finished fifth making it the highest placed entry for the country since 2002. Commercially, it was a minor success in some countries peaking at number 27 in the United Kingdom but also reaching the charts in Switzerland, Germany and Sweden.
6. Rändajad (Estonia)
Rändajadwas written by Sven Lõhmus. He has worked with many Baltic music acts including Vanilla Ninja, who later represented Switzerland in the Eurovision Song Contest 2005. He also wrote the song that represented Estonia in the 2005 Eurovision Song Contest; Let's get loud finished 20th in the semi final. Sven Lõhmus has his own record label in Estonia.
Rändajad is a mid-tempo song mixing electronic music with an acousticstrings arrangement. The lyrics are in Estonian and they tell the story of some nomads who are making their way through the desert (which should be interpreted in a metaphorical way): "Soon the night unfolds its wings/There is only the wind to guide the nomads/It is the way/They follow it as the days go by".
Despite not being the favourite of the televoters in the first round, Rändajad won the second round of the Estonian national final with overwhelming 88% of the votes. In teh Eurovision Song Contest, it was the first Estonian entry to qualify from a semi final since system was introduced in 2004. After a third place in the second semi final, the song came sixth in the grand final making it the fifth most successful entry for the country so far along with the 1999 contribution. Commercially, the song is probably the most successful entry to date. It reached number three in the Estonian single charts and was also a top ten hit in Finland in Greece. It also reached the charts in Swedena and Switzerland.
7. Et s'il fallait le faire (France)
The French entry was written by Fred Blondin and Anse Lazio. Fred Blondin published some songs as singer-songwriter in the 1990s before working for other acts. Among them are Frédéric Lerner, Johnny Hallyday and Yannick Noah. Lyricist Anse Lazio has also written songs for acts such as Tina Arena.
Et s'il fallait le faire is a classic ballad in French. Unusually for a modern Eurovision Song Contest entry,it is not divided into verses and a chorus. Through the lyrics, the singer tells her lover that she would do everything if it had to be done, so that she is still loved and the tone seems to be both passionate and desperate: "I really want to give everything if you just believe in it/My heart really wants to bleed if you just see it/Until it is nothing more but the shadow of your nights".
The song was chosen internally to represent France in the Eurovision Song Contest, where it finished eighth in the final. It was therefore the best palcing French entry since 2002. Commercially, the song was only a minor success peaking at number 41 in the French single charts. It also reached the charts in Belgium.
8. La voix (Sweden)
La voix was written by Fredrik Kempe and Malena Ernman. Fredrik Kempe is a singer and songwriter who has worked for various different performers in Sweden and he is known for his frequent Melodifestivalen contributions. In 2008, he had already won the Swedish national final for the songwriter with the song Hero performed by Charlotte Perelli. It finished 18th in the final. Malena Ernman co-wrote the lyrics of La voix making it one of her rare appearances as a songwriter.
La voix is an operatic dance song performed in English and French. The minimalistic lyrics are a declaration of love: "Can you make a promise?/Can you make a promise?/Stay forever true/But I'm forever yours".
The song won the Swedish national as the favourite of the televoters despite being among the lowest-rated entries of the jury. In the Eurovision Song Contest, it finished fourth in the first semi final but dropped to 21st place in the final making it the lowest places Swedish entry since 1992. Nevertheless, the song was a hit in Sweden reaching number two on the single charts. Outside Sweden, it also reached the charts in Finland and Norway.
In 2006, this award went to the Romanian entry Tornerò, which has finished fourth in Athens. The year after, the award was taken by Serbia with their winning entry Molitva. In 2008, the winning country was Portugal for the song Senhora do mar, which had finished 13th in Belgrade.
The complete results of the previous awards:
The hall of fame:
Tomorrow, we will introduce the nominees for Performance of the year.