RUSSIA: Sergey Lazarev “Scream”March 25, 2019
In Eastern Europe – Sergey Lazarev needs no introduction. From being a member of pop duo, Smash!, and his 2008 Eurovision attempt (finishing fourth behind Dima Bilan with cult hit Flyer), to winning the televote in 2016 (with a suspiciously low jury vote) with You Are The Only One, his first Eurovision attempt. He is, for sure, one of Russia’s biggest superstars at the moment.
As a professional singer who has won many music awards in his native Russia, he has also appeared on numerous TV competitions (and won), been a judge on The Voice Ukraine, and has close ties to both Russia and Ukraine. He is also an animal lover, founding a business creating special cake treats for dogs in 2015, and is pro LGBTQI+ rights, publicly expressing a desire to see progress on the matter in his homeland.
Scream is produced by 1995 Russian entrant, Philipp Kirkorov, who has worked on a number of Eurovision hits, and composed by Dimitris Kontopoulos, writer of three top 3 songs, with lyrics written by Sharon Vaughn. The track is accompanied by the Moscow Symphony Orchestra, and is exemplary in its professionalism.
The theme of the lyrics a fear of the unknown, and how misconceptions can guide people’s anxiety. This generates a perception which one doesn’t back down from – due to pride, further manifesting itself into a hatred/exaggerated fear, causing the sense of a need to scream.
The music video expresses Scream's storyline through children – where the fears generate and gradually develop more and more into adulthood. The most powerful and profound lyrics come in the bridge, ‘Not so silent and innocent, Acid rain from your finger prints, Echoes rivers of loneliness, Hitting the walls of my heart’, highlighting the role one plays in a generation of fear, and how the easy way out is pushing people away through your own prejudices. The way it can be overcome is through education and compassion, ‘the walls of my heart’.
Musically, the verses contain a lot of build in the lead up to a simple chorus, with an innovative backing track that is quite remarkable. The purpose of building, generally speaking, is that you have a pretty construction at the end of it which you can look and marvel. With Scream, you feel after all the building that you have an unusual design, like Federation Square or the Opera House. One can only feel a bit confused as to whether it is a masterpiece, or underwhelming.
Time will tell if Scream becomes world renowned (like the Opera House) or widely panned (like Federation Square), but one thing is for sure - Sergey’s career will continue to go from strength to strength in Eastern Europe, regardless of his performance on the night, or the success of this song overall.
Good luck Sergey - Удачи Сергей