2016 Reviews – Ukraine – Jamala – 1944

Ukraine returned this year with quite a serious number, titled 1944 and sung by Jamala, who previously has entered into the Ukrainian national final with a very, very different style of song. 1944 has a very depressing kind of undertone to it, and it’s easy to assume that it is a politically fuelled song – although it has been cleared by the EBU, so obviously not political enough to be kicked out! Not all the songs in the contest have to be happy, so in a sense this is quite refreshing to hear.

The backing music is quite simplistic throughout the song, however this gives you a chance to really focus on the uniqueness of Jamala’s voice, which is quite unlike any others this year. In addition to that, her voice is on point throughout the whole song, it’s just that some people aren’t going to take to her tone of voice. The emotion throughout the song is incredible, it’s as if her voice is crying and it’s hard not to be at least slightly taken aback by that element in this song.

This is another song this year, along with France, which really transitions from English to native language really well. It gives audiences a taster of what the song is about, but also allows the true emotions to come through in native language.

I genuinely can’t believe how different this is to her previous entry into the Ukrainian national final. Her previous song Smile was just so happy and upbeat, however this song is a better song to be taking to the contest. Media outlets across Europe, and even Australia have discussed the song and whether it’s political, and as they say, any publicity is good publicity. It’s meant that the song has been noticed, and this will help them come show time.

Ultimately, I think this song is a piece of art, more than anything. Personally, it’s not my favourite – it’s a song that I’ll happily enjoy once, but won’t feel the need to listen to it over and over. The impact factor is strong, and I think juries and televoters alike will pay attention to this song and rank it relatively high. The stage performance will most likely be very simple, well at least, that’s what I anticipate. It will make audiences focus on the song, which should be appreciated for its merits.

I’m going to give it a 7/10. Even though I haven’t really got anything negative to say, and obviously I enjoy the song, it’s just not up there with the list of songs I will listen to over and over and never get bored of… ever. I do hope it’s appreciated, and being the second semi, I think this will qualify.

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