Review: “Hashir Shelanu La’Eurovision 2021” (Israel)

Eden Alene has been internally selected to represent Israel at Eurovision 2021.
Previously, she had won “Hacochav Haba La’Eurovision” and therefore should have represented Israel at Eurovision 2020 with the song “Feker Libi”. Last year, the song has been chosen through a national selection.

220 songs were submitted by various writers and composers for this year’s national selection.
In the first round, 9 songs have been suggested for voting:

La La Love
Coming Out
Can’t Stop a Hurricane
Rise Up Today
Set Me Free
Ue La La
Spilling Magic

The Israeli public voted for their top 2 songs, while the jury panel gave a wild-card to another song. Eventually, the 3 finalists songs are: La La Love, Ue La La, Set Me Free.
The 3 of them have been revamped and recorded by Eden. The official video will be released before the national final show.

In this post, we will review the 3 songs that will presented in the final selection:

#1. Set Me Free

The song is opened with electronic processed keyboards playing. It gives the song a unique dimension of modern music. Afterwards, Eden is starting to sing with a stable and clear voice that overcomes the melody. The electric keyboards effect can still be heard, but it is becoming weaker (in a sense of volume) while we can hear violins playing and a gentle rhythm.
Eden is singing the second verse in a quick rhythm, the beat is changing but it is becoming more uniform as the song continues. The violins and the beat define the song as dance-pop, but it in the same way, we can definitely recognize some middle-east ethnic music elements.
The chorus is performed in 2 languages: English and Hebrew. The melody in the chorus is based on the dance beat, while we can hear strong violin strumming in the end of the lines.
Each part of the chorus is opened with “Oh, oh oh” that reminds me the style of Bruno Mars.
The next verse is being performed even faster. There are dominant male backing vocalists that are warping the structure of the verse. The last minute of the song was added while revamping the song (considering the demo-version that was released earlier). Eden is starting the last part of the song with ethnic vocal improvisation, but we can still classify that part as dance-pop. In the “C-part” of the song, she is finally showing her wonderful vocal abilities. There is a modulation that create an interesting breaking of the song’s frame and structure.
Generally, it is a catchy song with non-trivial structure and decent production. However, I feel that some parts of it have been written too quickly with not too much effort on it, I namely relate here to the lyrics choice.
The use of violin with contemporary vibes reminds of Clean Bandit music.

#2. Ue La La

The song is opened with an instrumental Urban music. The first words to hear are “I don’t need a boy, I just need a man, there’s no one like me, looking for my superman” – the main character draws herself as a woman with awareness, high confident and assertiveness. The first verse is being built on a cyclic rhythmic beat. The second verse is a Rap – R&B section that is being performed in Hebrew and English. The melody is quite basic, while the beat is the integral part of that section.
The bridge that comes after is a sassy pop piece with lyrics in French and Hebrew.
The chorus is catchy, simple and repetitive, but the lyrics in it are annoying me. At some point, it seems like the lyrics have been decided in order to combined well with the melody.
The Urban sound form the beginning is returning in the verse after the chorus. Eden is singing in a higher voice in which she sound better than the rapping. There are some affects in the vocal improvisations that remind me of the chicken sound in “Toy“.
I like the part when the tense in the song reaches to its peak , but the singing isn’t that fast.
The beautiful moment in the song arrives when Eden is singing in French, while she is getting accompanies by several female backing vocalists. One can be wrong and think that we are listening to a ballad. Nevertheless, a few minutes later the familiar beat comes back with full-power.
The last 30-40 seconds of the song are starting with the backing vocalists singing “Ue la la Ue La La Ue Le”, while Eden herself is singing with a higher voice in an ethnic style.
The song is being closed with the singer singing the bridge part “Ue la, ue la, ue la la/ Mon chéri איפה אתה? / כולם מדברים אז מה? / Un, deux, trois, mwoah”.
My main issue here is that the match between the singer and the song isn’t perfect.
I see Eden as modest person that can be classified as the neighbor’s’ daughter – a good girl.
However, the song requires a sassy singer with a high self- esteem.
Vocally, Eden has to sacrifice her advantages in order to perform the rapping part. I’m a little bit disappointed of the editing the has been done here, because Eden‘s natural voice is blurred.
In my opinion, a proper and justified judgment will be possible if we can hear and watch a live performance of the song.

#3. La La Love

It’s a pop song with elements of electronic drops. The song is starting with an instrumental section.
Eden is singing the first verse with a gentle and soft voice. The lyrics are probably about the whole Covid-19 pandemic that made us being in a lock-down: “Haven’t seen many people around me / Didn’t take off my pajamas for a week now /I ain’t gonna live forever
/I know it’s about to get better
“. The bridge includes a basic melody that is controlled by the production itself. We can also hear an affect of “choir” singing. Eden proves she is a good vocalists in this song. The lyrics include an unnatural combination of English and Hebrew: “Margarita Le’Haim” , “Dance With Me Motek” which sometimes bother me. The main element in the song is the oriental violin playing. The chorus is more rhythmic. It includes fast guitar strumming with a gentle production that elevates Eden’s singing. My main problem is the choice that has been made with the lyrics. In a world where we haven’t overcame Covid-19, writing the words: “Cause love is my disease / I don’t need no medication/ I want it to infect my generation”, may be kind of inappropriate and not funny at all.
The instrumental breaking help with transforming the song into dance-ability piece that can be played at parties (when the Covid-19 will be over). Thereafter, the song becomes more rhythmic and the oriental side in it shines. However, it seems like someone has duplicated the first half of the song and just changed is into something rhythmic.
In the ending, Eden is singing “La La La” with a higher voice, that unfortunately doesn’t fit the other parts of the song.
The production reminds me of Netta – “Bassa Sababa”.
My problem with the song is that eventually we receive here nothing special – it’s a generic pop with elements of electronic drop and oriental violin playing. I’m afraid that the song is just too generic and therefore it isn’t competitive.

My prediction:
I’m almost sure, we will see Eden performing “Ue La La” at Eurovision 2021 .

My personal ranking:
#1. “Set Me Free”
#2. “Ue La La”
#3. “La La Love”

To sum up, “Set Me Free” is my favorite in the line-up. However, I suspect that “Ue La La” can be more effective as a song in contest like Eurovision. In addition, I think that none of the songs is strong enough. Eden is a talented singer, but I don’t feel that each of the 3 songs can help her since they lack of the required “kick”.
Israel will have a tough time with qualifying for the final of Eurovision 2021.

What will be Israel song for Eurovision 2021?
We will find out on Monday the 25th of January 2021.

Israel will compete in the second half of the first semi-final 1 at Eurovision 2021

Doron Lahav is 30-year-old, who lives in Israel. Doron has been watching the Eurovision Song Contest since early 2000s. Doron works as a Data Scientist and shows interest in singing and writing.

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