Selecţia Naţională (Romania) 2022 Reviews: Roberta Maria Popa and Romeo Zaharia

Roberta Maria Popa — “Indigo”
While I’m not necessary someone who insists on precisely categorising music, you’ll notice I’ve done this a lot in these reviews, primarily in order to give some framework for my commentary. However, this time I almost want to create a new sub-genre of pop (as it doesn’t seem to exist as far as I can tell) to explain this track. If this was a metal song I would immediately categorise it as symphonic, because the chord structure and the vocals suggest this. However, we have a pop balllad on our hands, and it doesn’t quite fit into the goth pop category, or something more ethereal like new age. At times the sound is like that of a musical, but more often images of a swords and sorcery fantasy novel come to mind, with the main character undertaking a great quest. All the pondering is probably distracting attention from the fact that Popa delivers a great vocal performance and deserves to be in the semi-final regardless of whatever genre this belongs to.

Romeo Zaharia — “Until the Fight is Over”
Classic power ballad which is, unfortunately for Zaharia, fairly outdated both musically with its kitschy 1980s keyboards and very earnest vocals. There’s a sudden key change in the last minute which is accompanied by some backing vocals that sound so shrill I’m wondering whether their addition was an accident the producer forgot to clean up later. You can’t fault Zaharia on his commitment to the song — I’m sure he gives it a good go on stage, but this is probably not the kind of retro appeal that listeners are looking for these days.