France Picks a “Requiem,” But They’re Not Dead Yet

The last decade of Eurovision results have been pretty dismal for the French. Rumors of their demise may have been greatly exaggerated.

Alma will represent France at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv. (Screenshot: YouTube) Alma will represent France at the 2017 Eurovision Song Contest in Kyiv. (Screenshot: YouTube)

I don’t know what it is about France’s recent Eurovision entries; when I enjoy them, they end up in last place, or very nearly last place. When I think they’re just meh, they do really well. After a decade of poor results, and hoping to build on their success in 2016, France opened up what had been a closed internal selection process for public submissions. Their ultimate choice, newcomer Alma, will sing a song written by Nazim Khaled. He also wrote “J’ai cherché,” which ended up in sixth place last year in Stockholm. How does “Requiem” stack up?

This entry is closer to meh than wow for me, which I suppose bodes well for France’s chances. “Requiem” is danceable, with a Middle-Eastern sound that keeps it from trending sugary-sweet. The melody is easy enough to follow, and the break in the middle keeps the beat from becoming too repetitive. It’s generic enough to have come from any number of French-speaking countries, and while I prefer entries that show some cultural flair, a broader appeal is smart for gaining votes.

There aren’t any major areas of improvement needed in the music, and we don’t have any idea as to how they’ll stage this yet. The dancers in the video are a nice touch, even if I rolled my eyes at the unnecessary green-screen trickery, which felt very “uhhhh, where can we fit these people in the frame, OH I KNOW, we’ll put them on the side of the building.” Overall, I guess I like it? I don’t hate it. And that’s something.

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