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Let’s Get Weird—All World All Time Best Song Competition: Ukraine

Slava Ukranian songs.

Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar Visits Kyiv Photo Clodagh Kilcoyne - Pool/Getty Images

Feel free to click on the first Global Song Competition post in which we determined “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” was Australia’s best ever contribution to music to learn the rules of this game. In short, we didn’t want to talk about the aftermath of the last regular season baseball series, so I started a distraction contest to...

...determine the greatest song of all time, based on my limited knowledge of music and other countries.

First, we’ll go with the smattering of countries I can accurately point to on a globe and spell correctly—sorry, Kyrgustan (nope: it was Kyrgyzstan)—and then, we’ll go state by state in the good ol’ US of A.

*Note: Feel free to disagree with my choices violently, and suggest better songs in the comments. I will not listen to you, nor will it affect the outcome of this ridiculous distraction contest, but I want you all to feel both seen and heard, even though I don’t know what most of you look like, nor sound like, but I want you all to feel effectively placated.

Calypso Rose’s “Calypso Blues” won Trinidad and Tobago on a tie-breaker vote by the President Pro-Temp (yours truly). It was the best song of the group, and she has a truly transcendent voice. That said, that song Will Ferrel and Chris Kattan listened to in horrid nightclubs whilst being coked out of their minds in that recurrent SNL sketch (“What is Love” by Haddaway) almost took it down, as a lot of you just want to see the world burn.

Regardless, today we turn to the plucky underdog nation that’s currently destroying the myth of Russian military superiority. Of all the post-soviet block coutries, this is the one you should be rooting for. No Putin-run puppet- government here—looking at you, Lukashenko in Belarus, Kadyrov in Chechnya, et al. Rather, the guy who played the President on a Ukranian comedy show turned out to be one of the strongest-willed and bravest leaders in the world today. It’s really quite something, and something I did not see coming after his election. It’s as if Julia Louis-Dreyfus went straight from Veep to the Oval Office, turned into a Voltron of the four ex-presidents on Mount Rushmore overnight and started kicking the crap out of, I don’t know, Darth Vader. The odds are literally incalculable.

But here we are.

Anyway, this is a contest about the songs, not the geo-politics, and Ukranian songs are... fucking wild, man.

The Songs

1) Потап и Настя - Чумачечая Весна (Potap and Nastya - “Chumachechaya Vesna”)

This song is the love-child of a woman with the voice of an angel and Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job! Nastya is the one with the voice of an angel. Potap and his band of horridly coiffed and nightmare-fuel-mustachioed men are basically Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim if they were Ukranian LMFAO. I know that sentence makes no sense. Click the link, watch the video, and tell me if it does not capture it perfectly. No, I am not high right now.

Also, I love when foreign songs effectively break Google Translate. “Ah yes, I know what ‘Chumachechaya Vesna’ means,” I say, in the same way I nod and smile whilst the auto mechanic spews nonsense about car parts and services that will rid me of over a grand and/or when I was in middle school and wore a hat that was apparently a surfing company, and then was accosted at summer camp in the vein of, “Tell me everything you know about surfing” and/or “Oh, you like music? Name infinity songs” bullying that happens exclusively in middle school and—wait...

...wait... Ukranian Eric Wareheim tearing an accordion in two and going full The Who in a hotel room right now in this song?

Okay, I love this.

Oh, and because I lied about this part of the article being truly devoid of geo-politics, Potap and Nastya once accepted a Golden Gramophone award in Russia, and then Ukranians boycotted them for years. They appear to be back in the good graces of the Ukraini now, as they’ve embedded a “every click on this song results in a donation to the war effort” type thingy in this youtube video, but yeah, don’t think Ukrainian justifiable loathing for all things Russia (and really all things Putin) is a recent development (and also don’t think Russia invading and killing Ukrainians is a recent development, either).

*Note: After doing this whole write-up, I thought, “I wonder what happens if I type the non-Russian Cyrillic alphabet version of this song title into Google Translate?” Well, “Chumachechaya Vesna” translates quite easily to “Freaky Spring,” which... fits.

2) Tina Karol - “You’ll Always Have Time to Surrender”

Holy fuck, that song title was from nine years ago. Again, see my earlier geo-political notes and remember not to fuck with Ukrainians.

Here, the impossibly gorgeous Tina Karol sings a somber love song to crushing her enemies.

The song itself isn’t exactly memorable, but the title reads as if, say, Shakira, started doing covers of Finnish death metal. The video also sucks, as it’s just B-roll from Snowpiercer and/or Money Train. It’s just Tina Karol on a train, I’m saying.

*Note: It could also be about “surrendering” to love, but I don’t speak the language and prefer my version of Tina Karol to be a beautiful militaristic destroyer of enemies. Come to think of it, I would also prefer Shakira to be that.

3) Onuka - “Vidlik”

Now is the time on Sprockets when we dance.

Now THIS is what I expected from Eastern European music—nihilistic trash electro pop featuring emotionless Sprockets German style dancers and a minimalistic modern art installation. Like if you asked a fashion designer to make a line based on the aesthetics of the film Hellraiser done to the soundtrack of Run, Lola, Run.

I hate this.

Oh, and “Vidlik” translates to “Readout.” This doesn’t help.

4) Воплі Відоплясова - Чіо Чіо Сан (Vopli Vidopliassova - “Chio Chio San”)

Oh I hate this one, too, but it also haunts me, like all white people doing Kabuki theatre. No idea what “Chio Chio San” means, so I’mma assume it’s either oddly racist or a Ukrainian Chia Pet (which, you know, 6 in one hand; half dozen in the other).

Again, I am not currently high.

Vote in the Poll


Which song wins Ukraine?

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    Potap and Nastya - "Chumachechaya Vesna"
    (5 votes)
  • 38%
    Tina Karol - "You’ll Always Have Time to Surrender"
    (5 votes)
  • 15%
    Onuka - "Vidlik"
    (2 votes)
  • 7%
    Vopli Vidopliassova - "Chio Chio San"
    (1 vote)
13 votes total Vote Now

Up Next


Which country should we do next (starting with the letter V)?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    (4 votes)
  • 7%
    (1 vote)
  • 46%
    (6 votes)
  • 15%
    Vatican City
    (2 votes)
13 votes total Vote Now