Moldova is the party song capital of Europe. They’ve given us Sunstroke Project, Zdob si Zdub, and Do Re Dos. Even when they give us ballads like Aliona Moon’s O Mie, they manage to do something zany with them.
So why does Pasha Parfeni’s Soarele Si Luna feel like such a letdown?
There are many reasons to like this song. It’s got perhaps the most poetic lyrics of any Eurovision song this year. These read like some undiscovered Moldovan myth about a hapless farmer who crosses the wrong river and ends up in love with some wild deity. And music is really catchy as well. It’s a solid ethnobanger, and has a hook that people can sing along to even if they don’t speak Moldovan.
If this were from any other country, that would be enough. But it’s from Moldova, and they try to go over the top with staging and…..well. It all feels very “dropping acid at the Ren Faire.”
And what makes it even worse is that this aesthetic isn’t just something that they pulled together for the National Final. It’s one that appears in the official video of the song as well:
And the whole wackiness of it just detracts from the song – especially when Parfeni himself can’t commit to it. He’s over here in a kimono jacket and some tracksuit bottoms, while everyone else around him is doing the uncomfortable work of wearing the chain mail and iron masks and antler heads.
It’s not often that I say this about a song from Moldova, but I would like this so much better if they just left if to stand on its own as a song. Ethnobanger staging doesn’t need to slather the stage in dry ice and moss and deer holograms. Moldova, you’re known for being different – why not think creatively about how to showcase what is otherwise an excellent song?