In a marathon 12-show selection process, Eurovizijos embarked on a parallel journey to simultaneously identify a winning song (winnowing the selection down from 16) and pair it with a winning artist (winnowing down from 20). In the end, Lithuania’s winning combination was a singer paired with a song she wrote. Here’s Vilija Matačiūnaitė and “Attention”:
Matačiūnaitė shows a clear affinity for R&B. You feel shades of Lil’ Mo, Kandi, and Mya in the cadence and the hypersexualized themes. There is a strong musical hook which does what it says on the label: it gets your attention. Matačiūnaitė keeps your attention through syncopated rhythm changes, not unlike R. Kelly’s work. As you can gather, it’s a contemporary sound.
Where Matačiūnaitė falls short is in the vocals. Her voice has a shrill edge and her tendency, especially on the aggressive refrain, is to shout. Her other problem is–and this is a big problem considering her favored genre–her vocals lack soul. Here is a sexy, seductive song, and all I feel is a desire for her to stop yelling at me. For this number to succeed with the Eurovision juries, she’ll need to connect her performance with the emotions that initially prompted her to write the song. In Eurovizijos it was all show.