Initial Review: “Eat Your Salad” by Citi Zēni (Latvia)

Well, they did it — Latvia ended up picking the song that had heads turning and eyebrows raising ever since its release with that opening line. It was either Citi Zēni or 2015 Eurovision alumni Aminata when it came down to the final vote, and while the only two times Latvia has made it to the final since 2008 (namely, 2015 and 2016) were with songs either performed by Aminata or written by her, this is probably the best chance Latvia have of breaking their drought. If the only way they can qualify is with an Aminata song, then the Latvian music industry has serious issues. Not that it’s going to be easy for Citi Zēni, though — the first semi-final has some big players alongside a few countries currently punching above their weight.

To the song, then: “Eat Your Salad” is an upbeat, irrepressibly catchy tune which unfortunately has that contentious lyric. The singer has taken to just not singing the word, which means the crowd undoubtedly will, thereby presumably resolving the issue of whether track falls within EBU rules. I’m not sure if that will be the end of it, but we’ll see. Most of the rest of the track is about sustainability and eating more of a plant-based diet, something which on a personal level I am all for (and practice in my day-to-day life), so you won’t hear complaints from me in that area. Some more adult references pop up in the second verse, but they don’t seem to be bothering people as much. Musically this is loud and brash, with a saxophone and the usual set up of guitars/drums/keyboard you’d expect from a pop band. It is a song that even without that opening line goes from zero to one hundred in a few seconds and doesn’t let up until the final notes.

So, I’m a bit torn about this. On the one hand, I really enjoy a lot about this song and would like to see it qualify to the final. I wish they’d thought up a different lyric for the first line because I think it distracts from the overall message of the track, but I guess there’s no going back on that now.