…or, to sum up my long post below, Why I Likely Won’t Bother to Stream the A Dal Semi this Weekend.
Antal Tímea feat. Demko Gergő – Kedves Világ!
First of all, it’s pretty ballsy to start a song with a snippet of another song played on the radio, so automatic points to Antal Timea. Secondly, Timea is one of the few women allowed to play in the A Dal lineup, so she also earns respect for getting through what seems like a pretty male-dominated system.
The only downside to this entry is the song, which is pretty but doesn’t really go anywhere. I was more intrigued by the song we heard at the beginning of the video, and I wish the whole entry focus on that. (Yes, I probably know that it’s some famous Hungarian song that I’m ignorant of, but it’s still more interesting than the main body of the performance.)
Oliver Berkes – Világítótorony (or Lighthouse)
Oliver Berkes (along with Zavodi) is responsible for one of my favorite A Dal entries (the terrifically emotive #Hatterzaj), so I was excited to see that he was back in A Dal with a new entry. And then I heard Lighthouse.
Oliver, you are possibly the slow jam king of Hungary. Your voice is magical. You are capable of a diva trill. You look like a younger, nearsighted Phil Collins and yet are still incredibly attractive because of the suggestive nature of your voice.
WHY are you hiding your talent with a basic man ballad? The extended version allows you to let out some gruff bellows, but it’s really not a challenge for you at all. Please, come back next year with a song that tells the audience exactly what you’re going to do us when you get us home.
DENIZ – Ide várnak vissza
And it’s on entry three that I start to get a little peeved at A Dal.
Look, the reason I’m down on A Dal being so male dominated is that not only do I have to listen to a lot of mediocre songs by male vocalists, but the contributions of female vocalists is simply ignored, including the woman in this song who provides at least a quarter of the effort. She’s important enough to stand back to back with Deniz and be a major part of his video, but not important enough to be a formal part of the act. I wish I could tell you her name, but we don’t know it! She doesn’t get a ‘with’; she doesn’t get a ‘featured’; she doesn’t even get A NAME.
Deniz, you’ve managed to fail the Bechdel test in a genre the Bechdel test doesn’t even apply to. Go home and think about how you should give proper credit to your female colleagues, especially because she’s the only thing that makes this song even half-listenable.
Hamar Barni – Wasted
A DAL. ARE YOU PROGRAMMING A HEAT JUST TO ANNOY THE FEMINISTS IN THE AUDIENCE?
I hate this song. I hate the fact that the singer calls himself a ‘pussy’ in the first five seconds. Pussies are powerful, you asshole. And then he talks about needing copious amounts of alcohol to talk to a woman, and then he berates the woman for being with another man and drinking and enjoying herself. It’s like an incel anthem over here. Ugh. No no no no no no no. I did not come to A Dal for a toxic masculinity pity party. It’s a good thing it’s awful enough to get nowhere near Eurovision.
Konyha – Százszor visszajátszott
Okay, so even though we’ve got an all-male grunge band up next, it’s still a positive sign, right? I mean, I’ve run their lyrics through Google translate and nothing overtly sexist came up, and at this point in the sausage fest that is A Dal, that’s about all I can hope for. (The song itself is kind of meh.)
Nomad – A remény hídjai
And here we have our second grunge-influenced band in a row (and surprise! yet another all male lineup). Nomad are more melodically interesting than Konyha, but overall, it’s much of a muchness. I could do without that creepy whisper at the very end.
Gergő Oláh – Hozzád bújnék
Okay, here we have our wholesome family ballad. It’s a tried and true Eurovision formula that’s executed competently here by this (male of course) singer. The most memorable thing about this three minutes is his choice to pair a pink polo shirt with a pink bow tie. It’s not a good look. (The tie overwhelms the collar, and makes him look like he’s a grownup in children’s clothes, which, you know, might be case because it’s a wholesome family ballad, but still! Not a good look on anyone.)
This has potential for some soul in the live performance, but at the moment, it’s the schmaltz entry every NF needs.
Rozina Pátkai – Frida
Seven acts in, we finally, FINALLY, get our first female solo performer, and I really like this song. It’s unpredictable, moving from electronica to traditional ballad and back again. But will the judges go for the obvious autotune effect in what’s ostensibly a singing contest? It’s risky – but memorable!
Széker Gergő – Madár, repülj!
WOW. For the winner of the heat, I have to go for this unexpected banger. What starts off as a powerful, plaintive folk song ends up becoming a rap song and then a ballad and then a singsongy ballad again, all underlaid by synth effects. It’s a fantastic updating of what sounds like a traditional Hungarian song into something more modern – and it’s even got a build and crescendo like the best Eurovision songs have, but which so many of the NF entries lack.
If this doesn’t win the heat, it’ll be due to an inability to translate the studio impact to the live stage. Thanks, Széker Gergő, for reminding me of why I sit through all these Eurovision NF heats – it’s to find amazing songs like this.
Váray László – Someone Who Lives Like This
So imagine if you had the Leonard Cohen of Hungary but he had a really cliched song with the sparest backing track. Yeah. You’ve got this song. It’s like something you’d hear at a college open mic night except with more unnecessary scatting. About the only thing it has going for it is that it’s not overtly sexist, and I’m afraid that’s not enough to get a song into the final of A Dal.
So let’s recap: In this heat, we have 10 acts, consisting of at least 14 men, only 2 women, and one woman who doesn’t even get a name but provides some killer vocals. And the gender balance in the second heat doesn’t look much better.
Is it too much to ask to get more female musicians competing, A Dal? Women currently dominate pop music worldwide, and yet you’re still rehashing grunge with mediocre male vocals singing songs that are stuck in tired genres with nothing original about them. DO BETTER.