21 May 2015

Austria #1: Let's rock on!

In the celebration of the Eurovision Song Contest 2015, I want to write a blog post about Austrian music. Eurovision Song Contest is this year being held in Austria's capital city Vienna, thanks to Conchita Wurst's victory in the last year's contest. Since I want to keep my blog in the Eurovision theme this week when the semi-finals and the final are being held, writing about the music of the host country felt fitting. Today is the day of the second semi-final.

Wikipedia: Austria

I am not very familiar with Austrian music, besides from one artist of whom I will talk about next and obviously the past Eurovision representatives (from the years I have watched). To be completely honest, I did not find too many singers or bands that I liked, when I was searching into Austrian music. With such a big role in the history of music, I kind of expected Austria's music scene to be bigger too. Maybe I just need to keep digging more deeper... But I did find couple new acts I like and more songs from old favourites. In this post I will some of them with a rockish theme.

My favourite Austrian singer is Christina Stürmer. Christina was born in the Austrian state called Altenberg bei Linz, which is located in the upper parts of the country. She started her professional career in music when she was 20 years old back in 2003. Back then she took part in a singing competition called Starmania and placed second. Just as an interesting fact because of the Eurovision week I need mention that many Eurovision competitors have took part in this show too: Austrians former representatives Nadine Beiler, Eric Papilaya (who will also be featured in this post) and the last year's winner Conchita Wurst as Tom Neuwirth, and also Macedonia's this year representative Daniel Kajmakoski.

But back to Christina Stürmer. I got to know her already years and years ago, perhaps in 2004 or in 2005 at max. I came across her song Ich Liebe somewhere online. Ich Liebe, which means I'm Alive, was Christina's debut single in 2003 and perhaps her most successful one. It charted number one in Austria and remained in the spot for eight weeks. The song was successful also in Germany and Switzerland.

Ich Liebe is a pop rock song. This was a bit different kind of song that I was use to listening to back when I first heard it. But I still immediately liked it. I forgot about this song for a while and when I listened to it again it was still as good as before. I find the song very catchy and a bit of drama. I have no idea what she sings about, but it feels meaningful. The mood feels strong, a bit sad yet determined.

After the success of Ich Liebe, Christina released other highly successful singles too. According to Wikipedia, she has sold more than 1.5 million CDs around the Europe and is a very famous name in the German-speaking Europe. She has received many awards and so far has released total nine albums, of which most charted number one in Austria. 2006 was her most successful year.

The next year of that, Christina released her single Scherbenmeer. According to Google Translate the title means Shards Sea, and with what little of German I understand, plus the single cover art, this translation could be correct (but as usual, do not quote me on that). This song is darker than Ich Liebe, which was pop rock when Scherbenmeer is rock. The single charted nicely, including number six at Austrian charts.

This one is one of my favourites from Christina. I love the dark atmosphere of the song. Yet again I do not know what she sings about, but the emotion I get is desperation. It feels like there is lots of feelings put into this song. And it makes me feel emotional too, which is fairly rare and I take it as a sign of a great song.

This last song from Christina Stürmer is called Fieber and it was released in 2008. When I first heard this song I felt like this should be a theme song for some sport event and watching the music video made me realize it actually probably was. Wikipedia confirms me this: Fieber "is the title of the "Austrian Song for the UEFA EURO 2008"". So football, it seems. I myself dislike sport games highly, but usually the songs related to them are good. They tend to have a high and happy atmosphere, that can make anyone feel enthusiastic.

Fieber is a song just like that. Fieber obviously means Fever, and I go assuming she might sing about a football fever or something. The songs is very upbeat and in a happy mood. Christina's vocals and the rock style give it interesting shade, when comparing the usual sports theme songs, which tend to be bright pop songs. So overall this song has that enthusiastic sports theme song feel combined with Christina's rock style. A very working combination, in my opinion.

Ich Liebe can be found from Christina's 2003 debut album Freier Fall. Scherbenmeer is from her 2006 album Lebe Iauter and Fieber from 2008 album Iaut-Los.

Well, that was quite a lot about Christina, but she is my favourite Austrian singer and also the first Austrian singer I heard, so she deserved a special spot in this blog post. Moving onto other artists...

and Eric Papilaya is up next. Eric comes from Laakirchen in Upper Austria and was born about 37 years ago. He is of Austrian and Indonesian origin. Like I mentioned before, Eric participated the Starmania contest, its third season to be more exact, and he finished fifth. For more wider audience Eric is known for representing Austria in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2007 with his song Get A Life - Get Alive. I really like this song and hoped to see him perform live in the final, but unfortunately he was eliminated in the semi-final. Eric is signed to Universal Music.

Continuing on the theme started by Christina Stürmer's Fieber; Eric's song Ready To Move was also a theme song for a football event. I believe the event in question was Austria's national football league, but since I know nothing about football nor speak German, I can not be sure. Something about football anyway.

I always plan my blog posts a week or more in prior to writing / publishing them. Whenever I looked at my notes or thought about this Austrian music post, this song popped in my head immediately. It is just so catchy. Ready To Move also has that common sports theme song feel to it; it feels enthusiastic and happy. It is very fast paced and powerful. It makes me feel jumpy for that reason possibly. Well, since Eric tells us to get ready to move, the song of course must make us feel like moving. Which it certainly does.

I do not believe Ready To Move is part of any album, but please correct me if I am wrong.

Last up is a band called SheSays. It is a rock band formed in Vienna in 2004. The current members are the singer Gudrun Liemberger and the guitarist Andy Liu. I am not actually entirely sure if this band is still together or not, since the English information I find on them is very lacking, but from their German Wikipedia page I get that they possibly have broken up in 2009. At least they have not released music since 2008, as far as I know. Well, however it is, nothing stops us enjoying the music from a disbanded group either.

In 2006 SheSays had very good success with their debut album SheSays and their debut single Rosegardens. The first charted number one and the latter number two in the Austrian charts. They could be considered as a one-hit-wonder, I suppose since their other singles did not do all that well. I am quite surprised that their 2007 single Save Me charted 37 in Austria and 11 here in Finland. Since their other songs prior to that had not charted anywhere besides Austria, the sudden charting in Finland is interesting.

I definitely can see, or more of hear, why Rosegardens did so well. I really fancy this song. It is dark and dramatic. The song feels emotional and sad. I have been into this kind of music lately and I really like this one. The music, singing, everything works nicely together. And I also like the music video a lot. The end kind of creeps me out, but it is very interesting and also fits the song very well.

Rosegardens is from the album SheSays.

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