It’s early May and once again the party ship we call the smow song contest is ready to set sail……
First staged in 1956 in Lugano, as a small, essentially regional, event, the smow song contest has grown as the smow family has, and now enjoys a popularity far outwith smow’s geographic heartland. A fact acknowledged by the addition of Sydney to the competition in 2015: our antipodean cousins having long adopted the spirit of smow.
Yes, some, ill informed, never happy’s, oafs quite frankly, see it as kitschy trash, the lowest form of entertainment for the lowest form of intellect, and a disturbing confirmation of society’s blindness to the latent geopolitical tensions of our age. Yet for the enlightened many it is a celebration of our cultural diversity, marks the banishing of winter’s harshness, and sees us sail, all masts unfurled, into the ease and frivolity of summer. And has also achieved an important place in many a social calender: a popular modern tradition being smow song contest parties where guests come dressed (stereo)typically for the various locations, and bring traditional food and drink. The time of the year being as it perfect for a fresh Frankfurt green sauce, new season Erzgebirge fratzen and all washed down with the latest vintage Stuttgarter Mönchhalde.
As the rules dictate, the entries for smow song contest are selected by an independent, international jury, and for 2017 are all songs who’s title mentions the respective smow city. And only the city. Be that in any of the three official smow song contest languages: French, English, or German.
The 2017 smow song contest also sees the launch of the smow city playlists: city specific collections featuring songs about that city, by artists from that city or which are inextricably linked with that city.
All playlists can be found at the smowonline spotify page
The winner of the 2017 smow song contest will be decided at a gala ceremony in the concert hall at the smow Blog HQ on the evening of Saturday May 13th. But here the entries:
Berlin – Lou Reed. Few cities evoke a hopeless romantic idealism quite like Berlin, and thus few have as many songs dedicated to it as the German capital. Lou Reed’s ballad to Berlin has that idealism, but is disjointed and distracted enough to be authentic.
Düsseldorf – Teleman: Host of the 2011 smow song contest, Düsseldorf is home to an enviable music tradition, is however being represented in 2017 by London based jingly-jangly, staccato guitared, indie popsters Teleman. Brave? Or lunacy?
Frankfurt – Rio Reiser: It’s a rare privilege when the König von Deutschland represents you, but that is the enviable situation Mainhatten finds itself in. The story that the song was inspired by the 1957 smow song contest aftershow party, being one of the more enduring legends to surround the competition.
Karl Marx Stadt – Kraftklub: A genuine liebeslied to the town on the banks of the River Chemnitz, if one from that School of Love which insists that looking in the mirror is about honesty rather than narcissism. And a song based on a cutting, brutal, sarcasm few would credit a German capable. Far less a Chemnitzer.
Kempten – Neurogami: We’re not entirely sure how an avant-garde electronic musician from Scottsdale, Arizona, came to compose a tune about a town in southernmost Bavaria. But James Britt did. And while guaranteed to help with the imminent Almauftrieb, we fear is a lot less likely to encourage the cows back down again in September.
Köln – Lucy Rose: One of the major differences between Eau de Cologne and other perfumes is the rose – a central component of the latter, absent in the more citrus based former. But what happens when you ignore convention and infuse Kölnisch Wasser with an english Rose…….?
Leipzig – Matthew Herbert: Irritatingly out of tune and although it captivates your imagination, forces you to interact with it and follow it, you neither understand it nor can explain the fascination. In many ways a perfect musical embodiment of Leipzig
Schwabing – Julian Wassermann & Oliver Deuerling: Schwabing is much older than Munich. And much more refined. When one compares 19th century Bohemian Munich with Paris, Vienna or Budapest, you’re really comparing 19th century Schwabing with its contemporaries. And thus a tune a little more considered than the Bierkeller bawling popularly associated with the Bavarian capital.
Stuttgart – Scooter: Although not about smow Stuttgart there is something about the transition from the third to fourth movement which is very evocative of ascending the Sophienstrasse staircase, disarmingly so! Hyper Hyper!
Sydney – Keegan Joyce: Most songs titled “Sydney” are about people of that name rather than Australia’s most populous city and state capital of New South Wales. And thus not eligible. Even if by Puddle of Mudd. With Keegan Joyce we have not only a song about the city, but one composed and sung by a Sydney native.