Germany 12 Points 2022 Reviews: All Finalists

In Eurovision terms, Germany feels very much like a country which as lost its way. Since winning the contest in 2010, it has finished in the top 10 in three contests, last in two further contests, and second-last in another three. Their 2020 entry was the most promising they’ve had for a while, but alas that was not to be. I have a theory (not doubt shared by many others) that countries need to work out the best way to select their entry, and then stick to that method for several years. The Netherlands has gone with internal selections since 2013, and have only failed to make the final once in that time. Australia had success with internal selections but has committed to a national final, and this will eventually reap rewards. Germany is still going back and forth between the two, and it shows. They need to settle upon a format, and then focus on doing it well. In the meantime, we’re back to a single-show selection.

Malik Harris — “Rockstars”
Pop-ballad about self-doubt where the only problem is imagining a young man already mourning the loss of his good old days. I guess an alternate reading relates to the pressures and trappings of fame, illustrated in his Eminem-inspired rap-rant halfway through. Musically there are appropriately dramatic strings, but there’s also the drum machine sound I keep hearing in this year’s songs, and it doesn’t work for any of them. This isn’t a bad track by any means, but I keep thinking I’ve heard this kind of song a few times too many.

Maël & Jonas — “I swear to god”
Pleasant mix of pop and rock with some danceable beats, even though it’s a little low-fi. I’m not entirely sure what the lyrics are about, but it seems to be the ups and downs of a friendship maybe? I guess they at least have a catchy chorus, and even though there’s little musical variation once the main beat kicks in, I think this is a decent song — one of the better ones from this selection.

Eros Atomus — “Alive”
Lyrically, this is peppy to sickening levels. “It’s great to be alive / I love being alive”? Yuck. It’s a pity, because the singer has a gravelly voice which would do better in a less saccharine song. But with all these dramatic major chords around him in the instrumentation, he may as well just have a standard pop voice. Swallowing a swear word doesn’t do anything to help this sound any tougher.

Emily Roberts — “Soap”
Let’s start with the overall picture: this is a fairly formulaic pop song with an agreeable backing track and solid vocals by Roberts. In itself, that already puts it above most of the tracks in this selection. The lyrics are a bit weird at times, with references to washing one’s brain with soap, but they’re more in the realms of quirky rather than awkward. I don’t think this would make waves in Eurovision if Germany sent this in, but it certainly wouldn’t embarrass the country either.

Felicia Lu — “Anxiety”
This is probably the song Germany should send this year. It has an indie pop vibe and feels the most authentic of all the songs in this line-up. Lu does some nice things with her otherwise deadpan vocals, speeding up her delivery in the chorus to reflect her anxious nature and generally giving the song a nervy, jumpy vibe. This sets the track apart from the rest in this group, and while I’m sceptical about how well this would do at the contest, it’s worth a try because the staging potential is greater here than for any of the other entries.

Nico Suave & Team Liebe — “Hallo Welt”
I can’t help but make an immediate comparison with the song “Yeah, We’re Gonna Get Out of It” from the Irish national selection due to its incredible condescension. I understand enough German to get the general gist of the song’s lyrics without having to look them up, and it’s not good. We’re lectured about not being so negative by a conga line of vocalists, offering anecdotes about people who fall into the trap of impossible beauty standards. Look, I understand this is all well-intended, but you can’t read it as anything but preachy. And even though the song was written before the war in Ukraine, it looks even more inappropriate now. I guess if Germany wants to finish in the bottom five again, they can send this one.