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Eurovision 2010: Malta

May 15, 2010

Musically, I can quite make up my mind about this song largely because of what happens on the first beat of the second bar.

One unexpected yet satisfying chord leaves me thinking either “ooh, that’s nice, I like that – is it promising something for later on in the song” or, “ooh, that’s nice, I like that – have you handed out your best stuff too early on?”

Although that same chord comes back in the return phrase before the second verse,I’m disappointed the rest of the song doesn’t deliver on the promise of that unexpected chord.

The middle eight provides some different material and there is a suitably balanced build to a climax, but really come the end of the song it feels a little like I’ve listened to a collection of ideas loosely held together by a click track.

There’s also another thing which is playing on my mind. Aside from their most recent and ever so slightly painful up tempo number and nauseatingly repetitive I Do from supposed heartthrob Fabrizio an and the excrutiating “Loving you gives me vertigo” from 2007, Malta feels like it’s synonymous with tragedy.

This might be in part because they haven’t won. It may also be because the slightly better presented ballads have a tragic after-taste to them in part because of the songs themselves and also because of the diva-esque impression some of their interpretators leave on screen.

Most recently the rubenesque Chiara singing the adorable Angel in 2005 showed clearly how Malta’s TV production team clearly understood that simple is best on the Eurovision stage. That song came second and continues to hold up well on repeat listens.

Chiara’s appearance at Eurovision four years later with the slightly less satisfying song What if We was similar in execution (and showed Chiara’s vocal technique had improved immensely) might indicate that Malta has jumped the shark with this style of song. What if We languished in 22nd place after the voting in 2009.

It’s that more successful and simple style of presentation – repeated in their 2010 song – which looks a little tired.

If they don’t do well this year, Malta may need to come up with an entirely different approach, one considerably different from their last change of direction – the indescribably awful Vodka from 2008.

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