11 February 2014

Eurovision 2014: Italy: La mia città

Emma Marrone By Spartacus91 [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

In a departure from Italy's usual way of picking its Eurovision entry (the San Remo Song Festival), Italian broadcaster RAI has instead decided to make its selection internally and will send Emma Marrone and the song La mia città (My City) to Copenhagen. 

Emma Marrone (or simply, Emma) has become one of Italy's most successful singers of recent times within her own country. Four Italian chart-topping singles, a number replicated on the album charts, has pushed her into superstar status. Schiena, which was her last platinum album release, cemented her place as the best-selling Italian female artist of 2013. It is from that album that La mia città is taken. 

The track is characterized by power drumming, rock guitars and an orchestration driven by Emma's voice. In many ways, it harks back to the power-pop days of the 1980s: Pat Benatar vocals mixing with guitars that sound as if they could have been lifted from a Duran Duran track. Those first few chords do sound very familiar...

Nonetheless, the entire production is a demonstration in how to separate yourself from the crowd. La mia città is obviously not a song written with Eurovision in mind and, to this end, is quite possibly too good for the competition. The same was said of The Netherland's entry last year. While Birds did well - Anouk's track did not characterize the typical Eurovision song - it ultimately failed to bring home the win.

Similarly, Emma's power-pop does not have an immediate hook and will require several listens to really appreciate it. Unfortunately, as one of the Big 5 countries, it will not benefit from repeat plays so a memorable staging is a necessity.

As I write, it's my favourite and I'm hoping that it does well. The energy and drive of some pop-rock will at least shake up the Contest, but the fear remains that it may not appeal to Eurovision's core audience. 

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