#4107 – Aivaras – Happy You
(CD single, 2002) (Discogs tracklisting)
“Watching the sunrise, beautiful red skies, hoping this day will never end…”
My memory of “Happy You” is forever anchored to a specific place and time: a taxi ride at dawn through the streets of Tallinn, complete with spectacular red sky, returning to my hotel from a long night out that had begun with the 2002 final of the Eurovision Song Contest. How apt it seemed to my booze-addled brain.
This, the Lithuanian entry, was the last of 24 songs to be performed on the night. A late place in the draw usually guarantees a decent result, but the hapless Aivaras finished in 23rd place, much to our surprise. Here’s what I had to say about it on Troubled Diva at the time.
Well, we liked this one, even if nobody watching at home did. There is no clearer illustration of the difference between the forgiving nature of the amplified vocal sound in the echoey hall, and the merciless nature of the microphoned sound coming through Europe’s television screens. In the hall, we merrily dance and sing along to one of our favourite little ditties. Across Europe, a hundred million viewers clasp their hands to their ears in horror. Hey, how were we to know that Aivaras could barely hit a note? Or maybe we were just seduced by all that gorgeous Lithuanian knitwear. Yes, that was probably it.
I can’t make any great claims for “Happy You”. Its appeal is mostly context-specific, of course – but even fourteen years later, its winsome good cheer takes me to a happy place. As for the rest of this promo CD, given to me in Tallinn by a friend with press accreditation, “Honey” is a pleasant enough companion piece, while “Rock Me, Lithuania” is best forgotten about – particularly its rock-based, needlessly extended “Oldies” version.
The fate of poorly performing Eurovision finalists is not always a happy one, as I discovered when reading Tim Moore’s unexpectedly poignant Nul Points, in which the author tracks down some of the contest’s zero-scoring performers. Thankfully, Aivaras emerged from the fiasco unscathed, completing a philosophy doctorate in 2005, and taking up a position as Senior Fellow at the Lithuanian Culture Research Institute. I guess that’s taking the “philosophical in defeat” concept to its logical endpoint. Good for him.