In the early ’10s, Moldova was a mainstay of delightfully weird at Eurovision; SunStroke Project and Olia Tira’s 2010 entry, for example, spawned an epic worldwide meme. Even if “Run Away” wasn’t particularly successful in terms of votes, it did set the right trajectory for other artists to finish just outside the top ten for the next three years with “So Lucky,” “Lăutar,” and “O Mie.” A last-place entry in 2014 killed the Moldovan momentum machine, and they haven’t qualified out of the semi-finals since. Can SunStroke Project recapture the energy and get their country back to the Final stage?
Let me get two things out of the way. First: while I am thrilled to see Epic Sax Guy’s new Running Man dance move, that leg thing has got to stop. I can’t tell if they’re teaching horses to count, getting rid of the owie sprinkles, or what. Second: I have listened to this song an almost infinite number of times and I still don’t know what it’s about. Is the narrator an actual good guy? A garden-variety predator about whom Mamma has real reason to be worried? A narcomancer who steals women’s dreams while they sleep at home? All seem plausible. I have yet to find a set of lyrics on the internet that look 100% correct, but even the lines I’m pretty sure about make no sense. What does “she’ll be back home ’til sunrise” even mean?
That said, nothing diminishes my enjoyment of “Hey Mamma.” I’ve listened to it an infinite number of times because it’s really good, bringing a sound that invokes both Aminata and Ed Sheeran, and personifying everything about this contest that brings me joy. Superfluous LED instruments, questionable choreography, bad lyrics, brides singing into bouquet … I challenge you to describe a more perfect Eurovision entry. I’m confident that the parts that need work will get it, and will remain hopeful the voting audience is as excited about this song as I am.