I cannot be objective about Eat Your Salad. They have been at the top of my personal scoreboard for months.
Yes, MONTHS. I have loved this song since this tweet from January:
And yet, despite opening with a lyric about cunnilingus, Eat Your Salad is performed by a bunch of happy-go-lucky, colour-coordinated, stage-diving Latvians who have enough energy to host children’s television (or babysit Blanco during Eurovision week.)
If you can watch that without wanting to dance, congratulations! You’re officially a stick in the mud!
I’ve been a vegetarian for a long time, with periods of veganism, and that’s how I know from sticks in the mud. My vegetarianism came at a time when the most common vegetarian recruitment tactics were shakily filmed videos of slaughterhouses.* There seemed to be a hard line between vegetarians and meat eaters – one group who was sanctimonious and holier-than-thou, and another who seemed eager to shove their dietary preferences in your face. There’s nothing like sitting in a college dining hall listening to people make jokes about slipping some meat inside your dessert, or talk about what steakhouses I should try when I got over this phase. Just existing as a vegetarian was a deeply threatening concept, like my personal life choices meant that I was judging them. (I mean, I was judging them, but it was about their horrible music choices, not their diets.)
And although there were people like the Post-Punk Kitchen or The Secret Society of Vegans who were all about making fun things like cupcakes vegan, there was still a culture of shaming non-vegans, as evidenced by Eurovision hopefuls We All Poop just a few years ago.
So to see a group of goofy men make vegetarianism seem fun is still a huge deal. And from that exceedingly memorable first line to its last fading sax note, Eat Your Salad is 100 percent fun. It makes me want to hop on my bike and pedal through the streets of Riga with a (solar-powered) boombox affixed to the handlebars, spreading the gospel of environmentalism through funk.
The best part is that it’s having an impact – Eurofans have organised their own challenge to become better environmentalists and give up meat from now until Eurovision:
So, as a longtime vegetarian, I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful that of the millions of young people watching Eurovision, a few will be influenced by the message that environmentalism is cool and fun and a great way to meet people (again, promising to perform cunnilingus doesn’t hurt.) It may just seem like three minutes of crazy Latvians running around on stage with a joke song, but it also shows that vegetarianism and environmentalism aren’t about a hair shirt lifestyle – they’re things that can be incorporated into a normal and happy life.
Also, to be clear, this song bangs. It’s second in the semi-final one running order, and to go from Ronela Hajati to this is like going from Darude to Diplo in Ibiza** – the party is just NOT STOPPING.
* Side note: I became a vegetarian not because of PETA recruitment videos, but because I got sick of eating baked chicken breast, which was the regular weekday dinner at our house. It was easy to cook, but it was also bland and dry and I needed any excuse I could for getting out of it.
** Look, I’m a vegetarian who is fun but too old to be cool, so please forgive my references of what I think normal people would identify as “a good night out.”