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Wednesday, 29 January 2014 21:02

MESC 2014: Reviewing 'Until We Meet Again'

In 2014, the Public Broadcasting Services, responsible for Malta’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest decided to conduct a national final with just twenty (20) entries, rather than the typical twenty-four (24) which many had become accustomed to in recent years. Promotion is always vital, and escflashmalta.com has sent each entry to a professional panel of individuals in the music industry, who have in turn passed on their comments. This year, we have asked the likes of John Scott from the United States, Martin Isherwood from the United Kingdom, Sharon Vaughn from the United States but based in Sweden, Stano Simor from the Czech Republic and Greig Watts from the United Kingdom to do the honours. Today’s review is centred on Until We Meet Again composed by Elton Zarb to the lyrics of Matthew Mercieca with vocals provided by Deborah C.

Deborah C, a female vocalist who has always shown determination to succeed in the music industry, obtaining her first ever results through the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza, obtaining the tele-voting award on three (3) occasions, and finally winning the competition with the track Jekk Nużaw Moħħna in 2012. Her entry into the Malta Eurovision Song Contest was actually a couple of months later with the song You Make Me Go Uh Uh featuring the vocals of Leila J. She followed it up, with yet another participation in 2013, this time with a song entitled Love-O-Holic written by songwriters who have collaborated with Fabrizio Faniello on countless occasions. At the moment, Deborah C is one of the resident singers of the weekly show, Ħadd Għalik produced by WE Media and hosted by Angie Laus. There she is joined by Kevin Paul, younger brother of former representative, Kurt Calleja as well as fellow semi-finalist this year, Franklin.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dApJEVrUMg

Elton Zarb and Matthew Mercieca, a song-writing team who have taken the local music industry by storm in just twelve (12) months, having had the opportunity to work with Davinia during last years’ edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest with the track Betrayed, finishing in a credible third (3rd) place. Just months later, the collaboration continued to achieve successful results, writing the winning entry of the 2013 edition of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest, The Start with Gillian Attard of La Voix Academy and Gaia Cauchi, having been directly engaged by the Public Broadcasting Services. This is the second entry with which they are competing with in this years’ edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, alongside Brand New Day by Davinia. Both Matthew and Elton had other entries in the second phase of the competition with other respective songwriters including Carlo Gerada and Rita Pace but without any success.

The Critics Speak Out

Rating: 63%

John Scott: Nice performance and the song is pleasant. But it doesn’t go anywhere and leaves no impression at all.

Martin Isherwood: Good voice but sounds like in a difficult key for her. Don't want to say goodbye because I know it's not forever' is a bit confusing given the song meaning - 'Until we meet again'. Sort of a Motown / S Club feel. Could benefit from better production. Brass and strings sound a bit like not very good samples.

Sharon Vaughn: Too cute, too little, too rhymie. For me, the "happier" the track, the more intense the lyric should be to make it interesting and to cut the sweet.

Stano Simor: I must say, I remember Deborah from last year, having an extremely good interpretation and perfect camera work by the Public Broadcasting Services. An artist has three (3) minutes to take his camerawork and I could see Deborah benefitting from this easily. Fingers crossed, as this is a really good song for her.

Greig Watts: Nice happy intro, and keeps going up to the chorus, but for me the chorus doesn’t hit as big as I want it to, I expected more, its not bad at all, but not as good as others I have heard so far.

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q4cz0RWKSw

Published in Editorials
Tuesday, 28 January 2014 19:30

MESC 2014: Reviewing the track 'Ten'

In 2014, the Public Broadcasting Services, responsible for Malta’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest decided to conduct a national final with just twenty (20) entries, rather than the typical twenty-four (24) which many had become accustomed to in recent years. Promotion is always vital, and escflashmalta.com has sent each entry to a professional panel of individuals in the music industry, who have in turn passed on their comments. This year, we have asked the likes of John Scott from the United States, Martin Isherwood from the United Kingdom, Sharon Vaughn from the United States but based in Sweden, Stano Simor from the Czech Republic and Greig Watts from the United Kingdom to do the honours. Today’s review is centred on Ten composed by Paul Giordimaina to the lyrics of Fleur Balzan with vocals provided by Corazon.

Corazon, known to many as a singer/songwriter is partaking in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest for a third (3rd) consecutive year, having previously reached the final with Mystifying Eyes and My Stranger Love in 2012 and 2013 respectively. It is fair to say that the vocalist has achieved most of her success in her mother tongue, competing in the prestigious L-Għanja tal-Poplu festival on five (5) occasions, and being crowned winner three (3) times with the tracks Hawn Jien (Here I Am), Tal-Aħħar (The Last Time) and Mill-Għajnejn ta’ Tifla (Through the Eyes of a Girl). She wrote both the music and the lyrics to those songs, and most recently showcased her own work in a debut album bearing the name of her first successful song, Hawn Jien. Apart from being a vocalist, Corazon has shown outstanding qualities in the entertainment sector, having hosted L-Għanja tal-Poplu back in 2010 and also given the chance to host the daily television programme, TVPM on Television Malta.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdKP2gg4bXU

Paul Giordimaina and Fleur Balzan, known to be experienced songwriters in the local music scene, and having already been granted the opportunity to pen a representative entry for Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest, that being One Life performed by Glen Vella in 2011. Nevertheless, their success at the selection stage of the competition is unprecedented, having finished as the first runner-ups on at least three (3) occasions, kicking things off with Take a Look performed by Olivia Lewis in 2004, moving onto Someday sung by Eleanor Cassar in 2009 and ultimately finishing off with Just a Little More Love by Glen Vella in 2010. Paul, also a singer, took to the stage on behalf of Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest alongside Georgina back in 1999 as they galloped to sixth place with the song Could It Be composed by Paul Abela with lyrics by Ray Mahoney.

The Critics Speak Out

Rating: 46%

John Scott: Nice performance and the song is pleasant. But it doesn’t go anywhere and leaves no impression at all.

Martin Isherwood: Ok voice - not particularly strong. Nice idea of counting up from 1 to 10 but it doesn't really come off, as the references to the numbers are flimsy at best: e.g. '8 is a message of hope - nine the end of a hurdle'? The chorus is ok but nothing special. She may be aiming for Ten, but I doubt she'll get anything like it in this competition

Sharon Vaughn: In order for a song like this to work, it has to be Paul Simon brilliant. This one didn't approach that level for me.

Stano Simor: Corazon, that type of artist who immediately draws you in. She has an extremely pleasant and teenage colour in her voice. The chorus is infectious and the backing vocals do their bit brilliantly. The lyrics sit the song and performer well and the transposition at the end was very good indeed.

Greig Watts: Feels a little too ordinary again for me, doesn’t have the impact of some of the others in the song or production, the singer delivers it well, but for me this is falling into the just ok category.

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsjCB5pChVY

Published in Editorials
Monday, 27 January 2014 18:24

MESC 2014: Reviewing the track 'Take Me'

In 2014, the Public Broadcasting Services, responsible for Malta’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest decided to conduct a national final with just twenty (20) entries, rather than the typical twenty-four (24) which many had become accustomed to in recent years. Promotion is always vital, and escflashmalta.com has sent each entry to a professional panel of individuals in the music industry, who have in turn passed on their comments. This year, we have asked the likes of John Scott from the United States, Martin Isherwood from the United Kingdom, Sharon Vaughn from the United States but based in Sweden, Stano Simor from the Czech Republic and Greig Watts from the United Kingdom to do the honours. Today’s review is centred on Take Me which was written by Boris Cezek with vocals provided by Pamela.

Pamela, a female vocalist who witnessed the move of venues between the Mediterranean Conference Centre and the Malta Fairs and Conventions Centre throughout her previous seven (7) participations with tracks including none other than Play On (2005), Reachin’ Out (2006), All About a Life (2007), Whispers (2008), Loved By You (2008), Before You Walk Away (2009) and Hold On (2010). Despite being away from the competition in the past four years, Pamela has still been involved either as a backing vocalist during the selection process or at the Eurovision Song Contest, having joined Thea Garrett and Glen Vella with their respective entries My Dream and One Life in 2010 and 2011. At this point in time, Pamela has been working exclusively with Paul Giordimaina and Fleur Balzan, releasing a collection of songs entitled Whispers back in 2008 for public consumption.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63QkiTKtwro

Boris Cezek, responsible for writing both the music and the lyrics of Take Me will be making his solo song-writing debut when it comes to the Malta Eurovision Song Contest. At last years’ competition, Boris in collaboration with Dean Muscat was responsible for three (3) entries in total, those being; Perfect Day, Us Against the World and eventual winner, Tomorrow. The latter succeeded on an international level, garnering eighth place at the Eurovision Song Contest and also breaking through the music charts in Germany, The Netherlands, Ireland and the United Kingdom. One has to keep in mind that prior to 2013, Boris Cezek had never written any songs for the international competition, working with the likes of Kristina Casolani and Miriam Christine on their music releases, intended for radio.

The Critics Speak Out

Rating: 78%

John Scott: Very nice voice. The song builds musically really well. It has a big anthem feel to it. My only negative is I would like to have heard a vocal bridge instead of the “la la la” part.

Martin Isherwood: Nice husky folky voice. Not sure what's it’s about: 'take me to that sycamore tree …. before we say our goodbyes'? The lyric is probably too personal to be universally understood. Great melody. Quite Cher like in some ways. Nice production. Nice middle folky section.

Sharon Vaughn: Love her voice, it fits this nice Celtic vibe and she manages to not over sing in spite of this slightly over worked track.

Stano Simor: This song could be used as the soundtrack for Disney fairytale. The song is very well written, both music and lyrics and one could denote the bridge as impressive and contagious. Pamela has an incredibly nice colour of voice, especially when singing low tones.

Greig Watts: Another ballad with a kind of Celtic feel that can appeal to the Irish! I like it again, slightly less traditional than Love will Take Me Home, but has a similar feeling. Nice and simple again and I can remember it. Also has a good extra hook with the la la la part, I like it, definitely in my top 5.

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DR20g11n7Hg

Published in Editorials

In 2014, the Public Broadcasting Services, responsible for Malta’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest decided to conduct a national final with just twenty (20) entries, rather than the typical twenty-four (24) which many had become accustomed to in recent years. Promotion is always vital, and escflashmalta.com has sent each entry to a professional panel of individuals in the music industry, who have in turn passed on their comments. This year, we have asked the likes of John Scott from the United States, Martin Isherwood from the United Kingdom, Sharon Vaughn from the United States but based in Sweden, Stano Simor from the Czech Republic and Greig Watts from the United Kingdom to do the honours. Today’s review is centred on Some Kind of Wonderful which has written by Wayne William who is also the vocalist.

Wayne William, a male singer/songwriter who definitely knows the confines of the competition pretty well, having already been a part of the showcase on no less than six (6) occasions; Take Me Back Again (2003), It’s up to You (2005), Where You Belong (2009), Save a Life (2010), Everybody Sing (2011) and Time (2012). Despite not being a part of the competition as a vocalist in 2013, it is worth pointing out that he co-wrote two (2) entries; No One’s Home performed by Petra and Wonderful Today sung by Richard and Petra. It was an extremely busy couple of months for Wayne, following his marriage to Emily and also finalising his debut album The Parade, one which includes several new tracks as well as two which had been previously published and have now been re-mastered.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s466FB_lSHc

In recent months, Wayne has adopted a stage name, rather than making use of his surname Micallef and having had a chat with the singer/songwriter, it made a lot of sense noting that the foreign audience was finding it extremely difficult to pronounce his surname. Whilst Wayne is an accomplished vocalist, his songwriting skills have yet to be tapped into with regards to other artists noting that he has only worked with his family members; Michelle Mifsud and Richard Edwards apart from Petra whom at the time of the competition was dating his brother and thus made logical sense to join the illustrious Micallef clan. Just a couple of weeks back, the editorial team at escflashmalta.com had the pleasure of reviewing The Parade which we urge you to purchase through iTunes as soon as possible.

The Critics Speak Out

Rating: 62%

John Scott: The singer has a very nice voice. The song is decent, but not the most memorable. I also don’t like the way the singer pronounces the word “wonderful”.

Martin Isherwood: Nice voice but nothing stand out. Interesting title and although deliberately vague in its use of 'some kind' it makes it hard to know what the song is about. Decent verse although the chorus doesn't jump out. Starts like an Oasis track mixed with Christian Rock. Competent but uninteresting, not really a Eurovision song.

Sharon Vaughn: Nice song, good singer, but no chills and no sparkle dust.

Stano Simor: Great radio friendly song. Wayne has a nice colour with good technique of the voice. Authors of the song have worked hard and wrote a song with a nice text and music. The band behind the singer makes a good atmosphere.

Greig Watts: Seems like a nice building acoustic pop/country ballad, Performed well and builds nicely throughout, feels like a nice song, but not sure it’s strong enough to have a big impact in Eurovision. Nice but maybe Nice is not enough!

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75P-QdLeqq0

Published in Editorials
Saturday, 25 January 2014 02:10

MESC 2014: Reviewing the track 'Safe'

In 2014, the Public Broadcasting Services, responsible for Malta’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest decided to conduct a national final with just twenty (20) entries, rather than the typical twenty-four (24) which many had become accustomed to in recent years. Promotion is always vital, and escflashmalta.com has sent each entry to a professional panel of individuals in the music industry, who have in turn passed on their comments. This year, we have asked the likes of John Scott from the United States, Martin Isherwood from the United Kingdom, Sharon Vaughn from the United States but based in Sweden, Stano Simor from the Czech Republic and Greig Watts from the United Kingdom to do the honours. Today’s review is centred on Safe, composed by Mark Scicluna to the lyrics of Emil Calleja Bayliss with vocals provided by Miriam Christine.

Miriam Christine, a singer/songwriter whose talent was quickly unravelled, having been selected to represent Malta in the Eurovision Song Contest with the track In a Woman’s Heart composed by Paul Abela to the lyrics of Alfred C Sant. Reaching a respectable tenth place, Miriam continued to build on that experience and went onto give concerts in Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Turkey, Luxembourg, France and the United Kingdom. She then entered the studio on countless occasions working on three (3) studio albums; Smile ‘n’ Shine, L-Emigrant and Little Zee, the latter of which garnered considerable promotion and airplay on both local and foreign airwaves. In the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, Miriam is making her fifth appearance, having also taken part in 1995 with The Way You Are, in 1996 with In a Woman’s Heart, in 1998 with It’s up to You and in 2009 with Mama. The participation comes on the backbone of the upcoming hosting duties on the programme Poppins set to air on Television Malta.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lpGuNN8QAg

Mark Scicluna and Emil Calleja Bayliss, a song-writing duo who are fast establishing themselves in the local music industry, especially when it comes to competitions. Prior to their debut participation in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, they made the finals of three major song festivals; L-Għanja tal-Poplu with the track Għal Dejjem sung by Marie Claire Attard Bason; Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza with the song Riflessi performed by Karen DeBattista and most recently the International Festival of Maltese Song with Mark Tonna and his entry Poeta Bla Kliem. The latter was first runner-up to Olivia Lewis’ Hawn Mill-Ġdid missing out on the top spot by three (3) points. Seperately, both have reached success in L-Għanja tal-Poplu and the Konkors Kanzunetta Indipendenza with tracks such as Pupazz (Rita Pace) and Tal-Komma Twila (Grecia Bezzina), penned by Emil Calleja Bayliss as well as Virtwali (Estelle Imbroll) and Eternità (Janice Mangion) composed by Mark Scicluna.

The Critics Speak Out

Rating: 66%

John Scott: She has a great voice and the song builds very nicely. The chorus is instantly memorable.

Martin Isherwood: Lovely voice. Safe is a good title but the lyrics don't do it justice. Lots of distant descriptions, but not much personal feeling - 'this emotion can never be explained' strange mixed similes and metaphors - 'A flame that burns like fire' - genius!. ‘Safe like a child - mother's arms' 'this love has no restriction' all a bit confusing. If it's a romantic song the mother simile doesn't really fit and sounds a bit weird.

Sharon Vaughn: A lovely sentiment and she makes me believe her.

Stano Simor: Safe has an extremely strong chorus, one which could easily be remembered, and something which proves to be vital in such a competition. The music is well done, seems that there was a lot of effort but what really shines for me are the lyrics, clearly one of the best. Miriam has managed to master an excellent song.

Greig Watts: A lovely Piano intro again, and the verse draws you into want to listen to the song, for me it reaches the chorus at the right time and the chorus lifts you again. I still want a little more and am searching for this second hook in the chorus (maybe I am wanting the impossible as the songs are required to be short and I think the ballads suffer with this). It’s a good song and is performed well and builds in all the right places.

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExwLb4xqXGA

Published in Editorials

In 2014, the Public Broadcasting Services, responsible for Malta’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest decided to conduct a national final with just twenty (20) entries, rather than the typical twenty-four (24) which many had become accustomed to in recent years. Promotion is always vital, and escflashmalta.com has sent each entry to a professional panel of individuals in the music industry, who have in turn passed on their comments. This year, we have asked the likes of John Scott from the United States, Martin Isherwood from the United Kingdom, Sharon Vaughn from the United States but based in Sweden, Stano Simor from the Czech Republic and Greig Watts from the United Kingdom to do the honours. Today’s review is centred on Pin the Middle, composed by Peter Paul Galea to the lyrics of Debbie Stivala with vocals provided by De Bee.

De Bee, one (1) of the five (5) artists who are making their debut in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, and one which is also very much a newcomer to the local music scene in general. As a matter of fact, her experience in the entertainment industry has always amounted to spectacular one off events, some of which are held every other year including Voices and others which take place once in a blue moon such as Xirka Rock and What the Funk?. De Bee, whose real name is Debbie Stivala aims to visit as much countries in the world as possible, whilst also hoping to help those in need, hence her participation in a number of charitable causes. In 2013, she released her debut single Just Like You co-written with Wayne Camilleri prior to leaving for Australia where her entry for the Malta Eurovision Song Contest was actually written.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXL8WMQq6GE

Peter Paul Galea and Debbie Stivala, songwriters of this entry in particular are putting their creativity alongside each other for the very first time. It is worth noting that Peter Paul is known to the local music scene as a musician and songwriter of the group, Tribali. The world music group have amassed great popularity both on a local and an international level, having had the opportunity to tour Australia on more than one (1) occasion. Debbie Stivala is also the vocalist, albeit making use of a stage name, something that is being done on a frequent basis by artists in Malta who also happen to be songwriters. This is her second songwriting credit, but nevertheless, performing your very own lyrics is just astonishing especially due to the fact that no one else can give them the same depth.

The Critics Speak Out

Rating: 71%

John Scott: Very original and unique. I think it’s pretty catchy. Not sure how it would translate in a live performance. Definitely a unique choice.

Martin Isherwood: Nice smoky voice. A bit cabaret - as in 30s Berlin. Pin the middle - sounds like a knitting pattern instruction. Not a clue what the song is about. Nice major minor inflections. Sort of druggy influence off it feel. Almost more-ish. Very strange introduction with eastern flavours then slips into a Herman's Hermits, Calamity Jane. Country, 1960's pop thing. With fiddle! Altogether a bit cracker.

Sharon Vaughn: Intriguing! She reminds me a bit of Edith Piaf and is exotic and sultry while singing about butterflies... not an easy thing to do. Special.

Stano Simor: Very unusual structure of a song for this kind of competition where the main instrument is the banjo. Yes, even country feeling may be just what the jury and the audience support! Lyrics sit well for this style of music though. Still, I believe that De Bee should have opted for a typical ballad rather than this country sound.

Greig Watts: Interesting introduction again, leaves you wondering whats coming and does feel different to what I have heard so far. Has a little bit of a 60’s pyschedelic feel to it. Again a nice singalong and memorable melody, not the obvious Eurovision one but sometimes the different ones work better and stand out.

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lpE_4_Av9gc

 

Published in Editorials
Thursday, 23 January 2014 14:15

MESC 2014: Reviewing the track 'One Last Ride'

In 2014, the Public Broadcasting Services, responsible for Malta’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest decided to conduct a national final with just twenty (20) entries, rather than the typical twenty-four (24) which many had become accustomed to in recent years. Promotion is always vital, and escflashmalta.com has sent each entry to a professional panel of individuals in the music industry, who have in turn passed on their comments. This year, we have asked the likes of John Scott from the United States, Martin Isherwood from the United Kingdom, Sharon Vaughn from the United States but based in Sweden, Stano Simor from the Czech Republic and Greig Watts from the United Kingdom to do the honours. Today’s review is centred on One Last Ride, composed by Stephen Rudden to the lyrics of Lawrence Peter Bridge with vocals provided by Daniel Testa.

Daniel Testa, one (1) of the five (5) artists who are making their debut in the Malta Eurovision Song Contest, yet not missing any experience in the music scene, both on a local or an international setup, having successfully represented Malta at the Junior Eurovision Song Contest in 2008, finishing in a highly respectable fourth (4th) place with the track Junior Swing which he co-wrote. Since then, Daniel has undergone several projects, such as hosting the Junior Eurosong in 2009, as well as partaking in the series, D.R.E.A.M.S, a phenomenal success story on Television Malta. When it comes to music, Daniel has been waiting for the opportune moment, although the original material he has released thus far could be found on iTunes, having been published by a German Record Company. At the moment, he is a resident DJ on 89.7 Bay, one of the most popular radio stations in Malta, henceforth, his interaction with the public is somewhat made easier.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3ILmzNJeWo

Stephen Rudden and Lawrence Peter Bridge, unknown to the local music scene, but have already garnered fame on a continental level, at least where Stephen is concerned, having successfully co-written and also performed the track Love City Groove at the 1995 edition of the Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of the United Kingdom. The genre of that song in particular was hip-hop infused pop, one which was thought to be somewhat too modern for the mid-noughties. Nevertheless, it managed a respectable position, one which Frances Ruffelle had obtained the previous year, but nowhere near their first runner-up finishes of 1992 and 1993. Whilst the song did not win the Eurovision Song Contest, it was considered a commercial hit, peaking at number #5 on the Official UK Charts, one of the top five largest markets in the world when it comes to music.

The Critics Speak Out

Rating: 67%

John Scott: The song is very catchy and he has a nice voice. My concern is that it sounds like just like Of Monsters and Men’s song “Your Bones”. I also feel like he is a little too animated in his performance. His stage performance needs to be better to sell the song. This is the sort of record that could really do well in the contest, but I am concerned that the melody is so close to the other song. Otherwise, I would have ranked it higher.

Martin Isherwood: Good voice. Not sure what he's really after here one last 'ride' or one last 'dance' - make your mind up son, mixed messages are not going to clinch this deal. If you're after sex, just say it. A zillion clichés in here. Sounds Irish and oriental at the same time which is interesting. Confusing production - the dance track seems to sneak in out of nowhere.

Sharon Vaughn: Very formulaic, OK but not thrilling.

Stano Simor: Unique hit factor song full of energy, specifically written for the Eurovision Song Contest. Daniel clearly has a big future ahead of him! The songwriters paid careful attention in the creation of this track, counterbalancing the ballad stanzas with the energetic choruses.

Greig Watts: Ooh, I was surprised when the kind of oriental riff comes in at 53 seconds, feels to me like it could appeal to the Eastern Bloc type countries, It does take a while to get going, but I like it when it does and the beat comes in with the main hook and riff together. Would have liked it to hit the full beat more often though, but then again could be something that appeals across the board. I can definitely remember the simple sing-a-long chorus and the oriental type riff really push’s that home, could be an obvious one for Eurovision.

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0E73LISsfg

Published in Editorials
Wednesday, 22 January 2014 16:39

MESC 2014: Reviewing the track 'Oblivion'

In 2014, the Public Broadcasting Services, responsible for Malta’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest decided to conduct a national final with just twenty (20) entries, rather than the typical twenty-four (24) which many had become accustomed to in recent years. Promotion is always vital, and escflashmalta.com has sent each entry to a professional panel of individuals in the music industry, who have in turn passed on their comments. This year, we have asked the likes of John Scott from the United States, Martin Isherwood from the United Kingdom, Sharon Vaughn from the United States but based in Sweden, Stano Simor from the Czech Republic and Greig Watts from the United Kingdom to do the honours. Today’s review is centred on Oblivion, composed by Philip Vella and Chris Grech to the lyrics of Gerard James Borg with vocals provided by Chris Grech.

Chris Grech, lead singer of the band Twenty-Six Other-Worlds which is definitely the comfort zone for the male vocalist considering that it encompasses a rock/metal genre, which best suits his vocal chords. The Eurovision Song Contest on the other hand, is completely different and something which Chris has decided to give a shot due to the massive exposure it is known to give to the participants. Kick starting his campaign just last year with the song Never Walk Away, he left a long lasting impression by virtue of winning the Public Award offered by escflashmalta.com and finishing in third place when it came to the public vote behind eventual winner Gianluca and runner-up Kevin Borg. Music is in his blood, and in his veins and Chris will stop at nothing to get his voice heard by the masses as seen in a variety of events, amongst them Rockestra where he teamed up with Ludwig Galea in 2013 and Teatru Unplugged.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nheEDnXsrhQ

Philip Vella and Gerard James Borg, the most successful songwriters in Malta, having been given the opportunity to represent the country in the Eurovision Song Contest on no less than five (5) occasions, all of which came in the past decade; kicking things off with Desire in 2000, and moving onto 7th Wonder in 2002, On Again .. Off Again in 2004, Vertigo in 2007 and Vodka in 2008, respectively. It has been six (6) years since their last victory and whilst they have been close, most notably with Claudia Faniello and her entry Pure back in 2012, they are yet to head over to the international competition for a sixth (6th) time. Apart from being a successful combination on a local level, it is well worth pointing out that they have also achieved national final success in Norway and The Netherlands where their entries managing third and fourth place, respectively.

The Critics Speak Out

Rating: 54%

John Scott: He has a great voice, but the song is pretty generic to me. It doesn’t quite become the anthem sort of song that it needs to be for a rock song.

Martin Isherwood: Super high notes worthy of 'The Darkness'. ‘Judas kiss' and 'nest of worries' in the first verse! I'm scared to continue! Good melodies in chorus. There are unfortunately, many singers and songwriters of gloomy songs who know exactly what musical oblivion feels like. Some great moments. Stops rather than ends - feels like a clumsy edit of a longer song.

Sharon Vaughn: The artist is remarkable. The song is too far off topic to be moving. Sadly, the topline melody doesn't match the changes in the melody of the track. 

Stano Simor: Chris is a rocker and demonstrates clearly its distinctive voice. His voice surpassed energy of the entire musical background. This is evident especially in the chorus. But the track in this version does not have the required potential. I would certainly download it to an MP3 player in my car as I travel between Belgium and the Czech Republic.

Greig Watts: For me just feels like an ordinary rock song, nothing different or special jumps out to me to make it above the others. Nice song but as I said previously nice is often not good enough.

Source: Public Broadcasting Servicesescflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KvPzCTTDs4

Published in Editorials

In 2014, the Public Broadcasting Services, responsible for Malta’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest decided to conduct a national final with just twenty (20) entries, rather than the typical twenty-four (24) which many had become accustomed to in recent years. Promotion is always vital, and escflashmalta.com has sent each entry to a professional panel of individuals in the music industry, who have in turn passed on their comments. This year, we have asked the likes of John Scott from the United States, Martin Isherwood from the United Kingdom, Sharon Vaughn from the United States but based in Sweden, Stano Simor from the Czech Republic and Greig Watts from the United Kingdom to do the honours. Today’s review is centred on Now and Forever, composed by Vinny Vella Jnr to the lyrics of Karl DeBattista with vocals provided by Andreana.

Andreana, the most experienced vocalist in this years’ edition of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest with seven (7) previous participations; Listen (1998), Theresa (2002), Angels (2003), 24/7 (2004), Let’s Make a Change (2005), So Good (2006), Fired Up (2010). Despite being away from the local music scene and competitions in recent years, she has not been away from the spotlight, having had the opportunity to host two (2) television programmes on Television Malta; L-Ispjun and Min Imissu. Away from music, Andreana is a teacher of Integrated Science and Biology at St Martin’s College in Swatar and an interesting fact is that she has successfully passed on her knowledge to no less than four (4) of this years’ Malta Eurovision Song Contest participants including none other than; Sophie, Daniel Testa, Corazon and Davinia.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5aQzkltWF4

Vinny Vella Jnr and Karl DeBattista, working as a songwriting duo for the very first time, albeit having worked with other partners in the past to varying degrees of success. Karl, the lyricist is known to be the former husband of Andreana with whom she has remained closer friends and considers to be an inspiration in her music career. Together, they reached the finals of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest in 2002 and 2003, achieving success when it comes to the tele-voting portion of the competition. Vinny, the composer has also made it through to the final of the Malta Eurovision Song Contest on another occassion, that being in 2006 with the song Waves performed by Nadine Axisa. Despite not racking up the public vote, it was considered to be different and original, obtaining the interest of individuals who do not recognise themselves with such an event.

The Critics Speak Out

Rating: 57%

John Scott: Her voice and performance is very good. I think the hook is really great. Very classic, but also very depressing! With a full orchestra it could be a show stopper.

Martin Isherwood: Smoky attractive voice. Ok melodies but not distinctive. Liza Minelli meets Tom Waits, meets Nena (99 red balloons). Never gets going and just stops.

Sharon Vaughn: She has the perfect storyteller's voice. Unfortunately, there were some inconsistencies in the text that could have been tweaked a bit to strengthen the message. It was a bit hard to follow.

Stano Simor: Now and Forever, the perfect example of a song that whilst not being commercial might still have a hit fact. At the end of the track, I would have given another chord in order to increase the emotion of the lead vocal. Andreana has a specific colour which I love and thus makes her instantly recognisable.

Greig Watts: Sorry I don’t like this one really!, Its not strong or powerful enough compared to a lot of the others, just drifts along, I think the singer doesn’t really carry it either  and lyrics are very simple, too simple for me and the last chorus doesn’t have an impact that it needs. Sorry to be brutal!

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvKOndA_j4c

Published in Editorials

In 2014, the Public Broadcasting Services, responsible for Malta’s participation in the Eurovision Song Contest decided to conduct a national final with just twenty (20) entries, rather than the typical twenty-four (24) which many had become accustomed to in recent years. Promotion is always vital, and escflashmalta.com has sent each entry to a professional panel of individuals in the music industry, who have in turn passed on their comments. This year, we have asked the likes of John Scott from the United States, Martin Isherwood from the United Kingdom, Sharon Vaughn from the United States but based in Sweden, Stano Simor from the Czech Republic and Greig Watts from the United Kingdom to do the honours. Today’s review is centred on Lovetricity, composed by Magnus Kaxe to the lyrics of Gerard James Borg with vocals provided by Christabelle.

Christabelle, a female vocalist who decided to focus on releasing material onto radio, rather than competitions, going onto release six (6) singles; I Wanna Know, Flame, Naturally, Everytime I Bleed, Everything About You, Say and Fall For You, all of which made it into the top ten on 89.7 Bay. At the Bay Music Awards, organised by the aforementioned radio station, Christabelle has been successful on seven (7) occasions, going onto win the Best Solo Artist four (4) times (2008-2009, 2011-2012), the Viewers Choice Award in 2008 and the Best Song Award in 2009, respectively. Apart from working on a series of singles, Christabelle has been given several opportunities pertaining to her talent, having been the opening act for Laura Pausini and also got chosen to perform with Gigi D’Alessio during his nationwide tour back in 2009.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LLroXihdd00

Magnus Kaxe and Gerard James Borg, the individuals behind this song in particular have managed to build a respectable discography between them, having successfully worked with Dorothy Bezzina, Richard Edwards and Klinsmann on their most recent submissions for the Malta Eurovision Song Contest including; Autobiography, Starting from the End, Fall Like Rome and The Remedy. Magnus Kaxe from Sweden, has incredible experience in the field, having successfully collaborated with the likes of Celine Dion and Clay Aiken, a former winner of the Eurovision Song Contest and American Idol runner-up. In the meantime, Gerard James Borg, is the most successful lyricist in Malta, having songs selected to represent the country on five (5) occasions, and making national finals in France, Romania, Iceland, Norway, Spain and Belgium. Together they are becoming a formidable team, and their approach this time round is a tad different as they have submitted a dance song.

The Critics Speak Out

Rating: 61%

John Scott: The production is more modern than most of the dance songs. And the post-chorus part is nice. But I think the hook is not strong enough in the end for the song to stand out.

Martin Isherwood: Nice voice if a little processed. Can't really make out the lyrics though. Chorus strong melodically but I'm clueless as to where 'lovetricity' fits in or what it is, but it sounds painful! Throws in a few dance tricks, but never really sounds authentically club like.

Sharon Vaughn: Hate the name, gimmick, gimmick, gimmick. She struggled but couldn't make anything of this over-used approach.

Stano Simor: Surely one of the best productions of the year. This is a pop dance song, which is somewhat up-tempo and has melodic choruses. It works well! Christabelle has a very good attitude in front of the camera and the tracks fits her like a globe. I will keep my fingers cross that this gets through to the Saturday show.

Greig Watts: A good song! It builds nicely throughout and the chorus hits you well in the track, for me the first part of the chorus melody is good but what hits me most is the secondary hook with the La Lovetricity that is definitely the memorable bit. I thought Second chorus was too long and therefore was waiting for this part to come in, but I expect this is due to the 3 minutes rule, so the writers/producers needed to decide whether to have a short chorus and mid section (bridge) or just a long chorus. They opted for the long chorus here; I personally would have done the same but brought the la lovetricity hook in earlier. 

Source: Public Broadcasting Services, escflashmalta.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwa0PwX-AFU

Published in Editorials
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