We’re an open church here…


Never let it be said that we don’t encourage contra opinions. Reader John Abrams clearly didn’t like my review on Croatia so he wrote us this …

“After reading the article on this site regarding the Croatian entry for 2017, I must object quite strongly.

Far from being a ‘crime against music’, it’s rather a masterpiece for the Eurovision stage. It crazily weaves slices of cheese with a cunning mix and match of opera, lalaland pop and Stylistics soul.

In a year of dire grim beige mediocre ballads there are a few points of light. Croatia’s Jacques Houdek being one of them.

I first heard it after attending a free Haydn symphony concert at the Royal Northern College of Music. It has a spacious ‘lounge area’ to sit and ponder the music and, of course, use one’s phone.

Up flashed the reveal lyric video for Croatia, and I was eagerly getting onto the WiFi. As soon as I started listening, my mouth was agape with the sheer brazenness of it all. My head getting round the bold and masterful structure. I was so amazed, I stuck it on repeat six times and had to hear it once again while standing in the lobby until I had to turn off the WiFi to return home. I simply didn’t want to let it go.

Fittingly enough (as I was in the concert hall) it starts with some classical violin before some cheesy voice-over about miracles which flows into a seventies soul tune reminiscent of the Stylistics. This is over-layered with a couple of Bocelli like operatic refrains before the main anthem kicks in over-layed by more opera over-lays and then the ‘my friend’ finish of the first section.

The next section has a short Paganini-like violin section that segues into lalaland musical pop more opera that is resolved by a second rendition of the anthem yet more operatic overlaying and the final coda as a prolonged `my friend` section topped off by a tiny violin fragment at the end,

Brave, cunning, knowing, special. Croatia knows what its doing. Straight through to the final!”

In response, we say it may well qualify – and it will light up Saturday with its epic silliness, but that doesn’t make it good.

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