‘Not Alone:’ Armenia Enters Eurovision 2014 with Aram MP3’s Romantic Ballad
It’s that time of year again when Europeans (and a growing legion of American fans) gather around to stream their favorite songs from the musical contest that has it all. And by all I mean all the pop synth rhythms and outrageous outfits of your dreams, and of course nightmares.
Having missed 2012’s contest in Azerbaijan (war kind of sours relations even where terrible music is concerned, ya know?) Armenia participated last year with Gor Sujyan’s rock and denim-overload hit “Lonely Planet.” For 2014, the country has come back with a romantic ballad sung by none other than Aram MP3, a well known performer who gained popularity with the Armenian television show, “Vitamin Club” and cut his teeth as a stand up comedian as part of “32 Atam” standup comedy show.
He’s a favorite to win say bookmakers.
The somber yet empowering song, “Not Alone,” has over 1.2 million hits on YouTube – currently more than other Eurovision entries – has been interpreted as touching upon domestic abuse issues, which is interesting given that domestic violence is a pressing issue in the South Caucasus country. With over 760 reported cases in 2012, including five in which women were killed by their husbands, activists tried to propose legislation to amend Armenian law to include a specific domestic violence clause, but were left disappointed as the plans were abandoned by officials.
The song includes the following lyrics:
Don’t cry, don’t cry little bird
Though you are scared and you’re hurt
You’re gonna wake up
It’s only a dream
And why do dreams make people scream
While it starts off slowly, it speeds up with (yes you guessed it) synthesized beats set over a slick orchestra. As standard procedure, the video includes rain, a fog machine and an odd set of what looks like American Revolutionary-era drummer boys.
While he touches on one important social issue in his song, he’s also found himself embroiled in the controversy of another as he rises to the ranks of Eurovision’s finest. The singer has been accused of homophobia stemming from remarks he made against Conchita Wurst, Austria’s cross-dressing drag artist representing Eurovision this year.
Unzipped voiced his disappointment in Aram MP3’s remarks on his blog and he would not be voting for him, either:
I am not a big fan of his song, but good for Aram that it quickly became top viewed among Eurovision entrants on YouTube and bookmakers’ favourite. Shame for Aram’s amateurish attitude towards his colleagues and for his repeated homophobic and transphobic remarks.
I hope and wish that mixing with the Eurovision crowd will open up his eyes to diversity of people, and to the importance to respect and value such diversity.
Meanwhile, neighboring Azerbaijan enters the song contest, held this year in Copenhagen, Denmark begining May 6, with Dilara Kazimova’s “Start a Fire,” another ballad that makes much use of the woodwind instrument balaban or duduk (depending on what side you’re on in ethnic ownership department). Georgia on the other hand has entered with The Shin and Mariko’s “Three Minutes to Earth,” an eclectic, folk indie song that makes me want to drunkenly dance around a fire while sipping Georgian wine.
Watch all three entries below: