Ladies and gentlemen, after a long, arid summer – musically speaking, of course – it's my pleasure to announce the official opening of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest On Season. And what better way to kick off proceedings than with Moldova's perennial prince of darkness, the great Sasha Bognibov.
Many regular commentators of the early stages of Eurovisionism feared that he may never have been able to top last year's masterpiece, Wounded Swan. And indeed, while Alone doesn't rise to quite that level of gloomy majesty, it feels like he's attempting to move things off down a slightly different track this time around.
Beginning with a slightly chilling children's xylophone, Sasha's familiar haunted vocals soon poke through the dark atmosphere, as he wonders, in song, whether he'll ever find his true soul mate. And then, quite suddenly, the tempo pumps up to true Europop levels, and we're led in to classic ESC territory.
It's no world beater, this must be said, but his songwriting is maturing year-on-year, and one of these days he's going to find himself on stage in that tiny Chisinau studio, competing for the crown that he do dearly craves. Could this, finally, be his year?
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