02 March 2007

Controversy at Eurovision?

I ma grateful to my old friend Jimmy St James for drawing my attention to this story. Israel has chosen its entry for the Eurovision Song contest – Push the Button by Teapacks. However there is doubt that it will be able to follow in the footsteps of Izhar Cohen and Alpha Beta, Milk and Honey and Dana International and bring victory to Israel.

According to the Jerusalem Post it is possible that it will not be permitted to take part in this year's competition. Eurovision Song Contest organizers said they might ban it because of its "inappropriate" political message. The song is sung in English, French and Hebrew and seemingly refers indirectly to Iran's nuclear ambitions and its hard-line leader, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "It's absolutely clear that this kind of message is not appropriate for the competition," Kjell Ekholm, an organizer of the contest. We'll have all the delegation leaders here in Helsinki next week, and I'm sure we'll talk about this case within the EBU (European Broadcasting Union) group."

According to Teapacks, the thing that caught their eye was the lyric which refers to "crazy rulers." Band leader Kobi Oz said he was convinced others would attribute the line to Israel's leaders, and thinks all the commotion "is great…as long as they let us sing the song in the end." Oz added that he planned to continue preparing for the contest as long as he didn't receive official notice from Eurovision not to. "I'm not concerned by the whole deal because I know that the song is apolitical…the song is really universal."

Part of the song in translation goes like this:

Messages are exploding on me
Missiles are flying and also falling on me
Police and thieves are running all over me
They jump on me and feed on me
My God, my God, give me answer my God, Hashem
This nightmare is too long
When I'm barely alive and everyone is aiming at me,
Perhaps it's too early to sing
When I gave you my life
Oh, Oh - the Police
Whoa, Whoa - Rescue Unit
Here is a song without a scale
Red is not just a color, it's more like blood.

Here is the song itself:

To be honest the song is a world away from the Sugababes song of the same name but it has all the ingredients of a classic Eurovision entry: it is catchy, there’s an accordion and the band appear to be manic in silly way (Okay it's pretty dreadful, but that's what Eurovision is all about!). However, Eurovision songs are meant to have lyrics like Ding a dong, Diggy loo Diggy Ley although mentioning the “Arockalypse”, as last year’s winner Lordi did, is also perfectly acceptable. I wonder though that if the song had been entered by a country other than Israel then there would have been no controversy at all


elasticwaistbandlady said...

I didn't read the post yet but I wanted to share the exciting news that the music service I have, Rhapsody, has added some of the Sparks discography to their online listening. I promptly saved "So Important" and "Number One Song In Heaven." Then, I read Sparks' WIKI page and found out they collaborated with one of my favorite groups Faith No More and also The Pet Shop Boys. Chills. So, I read further and found out they had an appearance in the movie "Rollercoaster" after it was turned down by KISS. I saw that movie!

Emmanuel said...

His English is horrible. I wonder how his French sounds to French speakers. Other than that, the song itself sounds like a protest song against Olmert's ineptitude. At least that's how I see it.

I wish I had known someone already translated the Hebrew parts of the song into English. I wasted my time last night translating the song for my blog. :(

Anonymous said...

That's probably the worst Eurovision entry I've heard since "Boom Bang-a-Bang".

Isn't that Jack Osbourne on the accordion?

Anonymous said...

Well done, Jams, on your additional research. Looking forward to Eurovision this year. Hopefully there'll be more rock after Lordi last year & Wig Wam the year before. and some wierd stuff like Teapacks too.

Agree that would be even better if there were bands that tried to sing songs that went ding dang dong.

jams o donnell said...

Ah I remember a film with them in.. That must have been on the mid 70s wasn't it? That's all I remember about it... So are you getting into Sparks now, EWBL???

Ah Emmanuel, if only you'd gone to the Jerusalem Post! It's pretty dire eh?

Since Boom bang a bang? There have been worse since.. remember Guildo loves you by Guildo Horn, Roger??

Well Jimmy, as ever over here at casa de jams y not-wife for beer and a damned good laugh I hope! ahd funf funf in the lyrics with any luck!

Anonymous said...

I'm sure there must have been worse entries since "Boom bang a bang"... but I haven't heard them!

Life's too short to sit through 3+ hours of Eurovision!

jams o donnell said...

I have friends around and supply alcohol. It's a lot more fun when you've have company and a few beers in you!

Anonymous said...

In 1982 the Finnish entry was a very political song solely about bombs, and nobody had a problem with that. Maybe because the bombs they feared weren't Iranian but American.
Yet again Israel is singled out.
Please expose this hypocrisy.

Enclosed is a link to the (very poorly translated) words to the Finnish entry back in 1982.
The song title literally means "Sleep while bombs are falling" ie to be unaware of imminent danger and/or oversleep.
And here's the hilariously inept video for the song

jams o donnell said...

Thanks I'll look it up.