The Eurovision Song Contest is famous for its camp spectacles and political intrigues, but what about its actual music? With more than 1,500 songs in over fifty languages and a wide range of musical styles since it began in 1956, Eurovision features the most musically and linguistically diverse song repertoire in history.
Listening closely to its classic fan favorites but also to songs that scored low because they were too different or too far ahead of their time, this book delves into the musical tastes and cultural values the contest engages through its international reach and popular appeal. Chapters discuss the iconic fanfare that introduces the broadcast, the supposed formulas for composing successful contest entries, how composers balance aspects of sameness and difference in their songs, and the tension between national genres of European popular music and musical trends beyond the nation’s borders, especially the American influences on a show that is supposed to celebrate an idealized pan-European identity. The book also explores how audiences interact with the contest through musicking experiences that bring people together to celebrate its sounds and spectacles. What can seem like a silly song-and-dance show offers valuable insights into the bonds between popular music and cosmopolitan values for its many followers around the world.
From dance parties to flashmobs, parodies to plagiarisms, and orchestras to artificial intelligence, Another Song for Europe will be of particular interest to Eurovision fans, critics, and scholars of popular music, popular culture, ethnomusicology, and European studies.
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Ivan Raykoff is Associate Professor of Music at The New School in New York where he teaches courses in music and interdisciplinary arts.