Musical Content in Junior Eurovision 2019: Part 1

Starting from today, we shall go through a brief musical analysis of all 19 songs in Junior Eurovision 2019 in alphabetical order. These 19 songs will perform in Gliwice-Silesia on 24 November, and voting starts on 22 November.

Albania

Song (and any titular translation): “Mikja Ime Fëmijëri” (My friend, childhood)
Artist: Isea Çili
Lyrical themes: Growing up and cherishing childhood memories
Official video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8DONoWif4c
Song credits
Writing: Jorgo Papingji (songwriter for “One Night’s Anger” (ESC 2014))
Composition: Saimir Çili (Isea’s father)

Musical analysis:
The song has weak cadential motion, and while the melody strongly suggests B major, the F♯ major chords most often resolve to a G♯ minor chord, particularly outside the verses. This is a piano-heavy ballad with a half-time feel in the percussion, where the percussion sounds like it plays half as fast as the rest of the song. An example that includes half-time feel is Ian Fraser’s cover of “Hyperdrive” by Devin Townsend. The most recent version, which features Anneke van Giersbergen, is linked for contrast. Vocal Line’s version of “True North” also featured this feel near the ending, as mentioned in this previous article. The chorus features many tresillo rhythms, a 3+3+2 pattern that also features in Armenia’s song, as previously reported. The drum part before the second chorus, starting at 1:35, juxtaposes groups of three drum hits over two beats, a polyrhythm that was also discussed when discussing how to count “Arcade”.

Armenia

Song (and any titular translation): “Colours of Your Dream”
Artist: Karina Ignatyan
Lyrical themes: Painting the canvas of the world with our dreams and making them reality
Official video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Up_ZZSKRapE
Song credits
Writing: Avet Barseghyan (lyricist for “Jan Jan” (ESC 2009)), Margarita Doroshevich
Composition: Demchuk Taras (writer and composer of “Wings” (Russia JESC 2017 winner))

Musical analysis:
A short analysis of the song has been mentioned above, and the music video has just been released. In addition to what was mentioned previously, there are quite a few triplet figures throughout, particularly in the 3 beginning notes at 1:19 and each repetition thereafter, as well as in the plucked instrument line at 1:27.

Australia

Song (and any titular translation): “We Will Rise”
Artist: Jordan Anthony
Lyrical themes: Finding hope and strength from within and those around in order to rise from times of trouble
Official video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSY1jj2R3Gc
Song credits
Writing and Composition: Jordan Anthony (artist), MSquared (Australian production/writing studio credited with work on Anja Nissen and Isaiah Firebrace’s Eurovision 2017 songs for Denmark and Australia, respectively)

Musical analysis:
This piano ballad is in B♭ major and features a clock ticking, similar to what producer Zedd has often done. A tresillo rhythm persists through most of the percussion parts. The song’s melody is heavily syncopated, meaning that if the numbered beats in the song were counted, the beginnings of most of the words (and more) would not fall on the numbers.

Belarus

Song (and any titular translation): “Pepelny” (Ashen)
Artist: Liza Misnikova
Lyrical themes: Looking at things from different angles to spark interest in what otherwise seems mundane
Official video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14iR78vNMX0
Song credits
Writing: Natalia Tambovtseva (writer of several Belarusian Eurovision national final songs), Liza Misnikova (artist)
Composition: Kirill (Yermakov) Good (frequent collaborator with Tambovtseva, Belarus Eurovision NF 2016 and 2018 finalist)

Musical analysis:
This song is clearly in A minor, although its usage of an E minor chord instead of the V chord E major may suggest Aeolian mode more strongly than actual tonal function (major/minor). There is a constant bass ostinato, or repeated musical phrase in this context. This ostinato persists even through the bridge around 2:21 in the studio version, when the percussion is performed in half-time feel before returning to normal tempo.

France

Song (and any titular translation): “Bim Bam Toi”
Artist: Carla
Lyrical themes: Falling in love for the first time and processing related emotions
Official video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWT_U6mEadQ
Song credits
Writing, Composition: Igit (competitor in Destination Eurovision 2018), Barbara Pravi (known for a bilingual collaboration with Britain’s Got Talent alumnus Calum Scott)

Musical analysis:
The beginning starts like a twisted music box with the chords C+ (C augmented: C, E, A♭ – there is a G played at the end of the four notes that may suggest that the chord was just a major triad instead), G♭, then A♭. All these chords are arpeggiated – the higher notes are played one at a time. The guitar and vocals come in during the same measure, and the guitar has overdrive and significant tremolo, which causes the sound to come in and out quickly. A one-hour demo of similar isolated sounds can be found here. While there is a IV-V-I in D♭ major in the verse, the key is ultimately F minor. The chorus continues with the highly chromatic nature of the song, taking chords D♭7 – C7 – B♭m7, which for the most part contain notes outside the key of F minor. Despite the bass jumping down to the tonic note (the most settled note in a key) in the chorus, it never feels settled in part because only some of the phrase-groups (musical phrases with repetitions. In this case, they end with the lyrics “qui tourne”, “je comprende pas”, and “c’est ça”) end with the actual tonic chord. There is a marked draw toward the tritone, which in folklore was “banned” in church music.

If this song wins, it can definitely get deeper analysis.

Come back next week for an analysis of the next five songs!

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