Alexander Rybak - 'Fairytale'
OMG you will not believe this, right, but according to a TV show I watched over the weekend, 'Fairytale' is officially the best song in the whole of Europe. I know this will come as a shock to some of you, especially if you were hoping for a late surge from the Dizzee Rascal camp. It seems there's been some kind of competition, and lots of songs were considered - although not that many of our recent chart hits, I couldn't help but notice - and this one is the best. It may sound crazy, but you can't argue with democracy.
OK, OK, so that's possibly not the best word to use, given the accusations of political voting from certain countries, although you'll notice there's not as much moaning about this as usual, given that the UK didn't do as badly as we have in recent years. I could go into why, but we've already reviewed the Jade Ewen single, and it's madness to take Eurovision too seriously. And besides, it's all very well beating the rest of the continent, but the real test of a great song - as any fule kno - is the ChartBlog review.
(Here's the video. Always nice to have a little fiddle when you're onstage, right fella?)
Now, from a UK pop perspective, there's a bit of a problem with songs like this, and it's to do with 'authentic' folk music and what we tend to think about it. Put simply, we tend to like folky music when it sounds like it's coming from the back room of a pub, either far away or in the past. We tend not to like folky music when it sounds like it was recorded properly in a studio with lots of digital polish on it, so that it becomes pop music. That's the point at which the dreaded r-word comes into play - Riverdance.
There again, the Eurovision Song Contest is no place to look for roots. The klezmer bounce and wailing violin of this song is about as close as you'll get in any case. It may even count as a refreshing change from the tiresome balladeering and over-blown pyrotechnics of some of the other entries (were it not for the three cossack-kicking dancers. Isn't that more Russia than Norway?).
As a song, it's kind of cute, silly, and tells an odd story of a couple who only fall in love when they're not getting on (or something like that, anyway). Alexander has quite an anonymous voice, for all that he's clearly a decent violinist, and looks not unlike a picture of Zac Efron aged 14, as drawn by a pavement artist with a nostril obsession.
Bit of a mixed bag all round, then.
Clapham Omnibus says: "Norway's song is rubbish but Alexander is alarmingly cute and a good performer "