Wednesday, October 19, 2016

EUROBAND-This Is My Life (2008)


ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: October 19, 2016

As much as I try to keep up with all of the Eurovision Song Contest goings on year in and year out, it is often a daunting task to keep track of who's representing which of the respective countries and who's making it big once the competitions have concluded, Yet somehow, from within the multitude of artists hailing from the various countries of the European Union, I've managed to stay close to a select few whom I'm particularly fond of. The Icelandic pop star Friðrik Ómar is one of those select few, and I had the joy of being entertained by him and fellow Icelandic pop star Regína Ósk—together posing as the duo EUROBAND—on their collaborative effort entitled "This Is My Life". THE most thrilling thirty-three minutes of Eurovision pop I've ever enjoyed! It's a short ride, but the trip is worth it! ' I don't wanna change a thing, all the pain, all the joy you bring, all through the years, what will be, will be ': the lyrics featured on the album's opening title track are like the perfect anthem of self-motivation! Recalling that the Eurovision entries max out at around three minutes of running time, I was happy that this album not only included the original Eurovision version of "This Is My Life"—which is already an awesome dance jam by itself with all of its naturally Eurovision arena-pleasing energy, and even reminds me of all of those other dance hits with the glitzy production and the super-cool video effects performed by the likes of Swedish phenom Mans Zelmerlow and my favorite Russian pop star, Sergey Lazarev—but also the even cooler four-minute 'Credheadz Remix', which has a distinctively different electronic rhythm that gives the song a much more smoother feel along the borderline of ambient/downtempo trance. Looks like the dance music bug is gonna stay in my system for a little longer, because besides the trio of version of "This Is My Life" infusing me with an energetic charge, there's the equally entertaining Eurovision-quality "Don't Leave Without Me Now". This time, Regina shows off on lead vocals, and her earnest words of rising above the stars and the clouds and living together forever comprise the big hook that gives this song its dreamy and epic, "NeverEnding Story" feel. My next high-energy charge came with "A Bani Bi"; no idea what the title means, but grateful that the lyrics are in English once I heard Friðrik delivering the words. And thanks to the EXTREMELY catchy and bouncy dance beat, I figure this is something I'll need to add to my 'Energy Mix' playlist. DEFINITELY needs to be remixed, extended or whatever else a producer can do to make it an even bigger listening experience! That goes double for the mellow gem called "Hold Me Now", which is much too short for my taste, as the music zings by and doesn't last on the dance floor very long! Yet I'd have to say that the most magical moments offered by this Icelandic pair consist of Friðrik's solo, "In My Dreams" (the light acoustic guitar and the slowed-down rhythm make this into the really nice listen that it is, becoming even nicer when pitch taken up in final movement and the lyrics that go 'come on, come on, come on, love is all over me' become more prominent); Regina's own slowed-down solo, "By Your Side" (an instantly alluring tune that gracefully flows and sways along while comforting the senses; there's almost a theatrical stage feel about it); and the majestic song of burning passion that is "Fire" (love EVERYTHING about this song—from the mellow chords and the soft, woodwind accompaniment to the infusion of the edgy rock guitars and the grand ending with Friðrik's soaring vocals delivering the final words of 'how wonderful love's gonna be'). Then there are a couple of gems that are just pure pop fun: "Thinking Of You", thanks to its VERY groovy piano beat, and "Vid Sigrum Ad Ari (Making Your Mind Up)", whose classy, throwback dance rhythm perks me up an makes me think about all of those other classic goodies from the jukebox 'malt shop' era. Absolutely no idea what words are being said on this one, but Friðrik and Regina sound so wonderful singing in perfect unison together:

1. This Is My Life [Icelandic ESC Entry 2008]
2. Don't Leave Without Me Now
3. In My Dreams
4. A Bani Bi
5. Hold Me Now
6. By Your Side
7. Fire
8. Thinking Of You
9. Vid Sigrum Ad Ari (Making Your Mind Up)
10. This Is My Life [Credheadz Remix]
11. This Is My Life [Final Version]

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