Olly Alexander's "Dizzy" review: A controversial resemblance to the UK's Eurovision entry raises eyebrows

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Olly Alexander's "Dizzy" review: A controversial resemblance to the UK's Eurovision entry raises eyebrows
Perhaps the more realistic Dizzy could have been created by AI. After all, what if the Pet Shop Boys competed in Eurovision?

The UK's relationship with Eurovision is peculiar. We nominate focus-grouped losers (which may be "Joe and Jake") and then become upset when they eventually fall short. Fans have often proposed that we follow the rest of Europe and submit a real pop artist, but that has never happened for whatever reason. Most likely, it's because the stakes are bigger and it would be even more embarrassing for a well-known figure to lose. After managing celebrities like Lana Del Rey, Ellie Goulding, and former Dua Lipa, Tap Management took over in 2022 and led the UK to its highest ranking since 1998 with Sam Ryder. However, Tap Management left after Mae Muller finished second last year, returning control of the rankings to the BBC.

Come on over. Olly Alexander is a very likeable musician who occasionally seems to be employed by the Beeb to oversee lavish events like New Year's Eve celebrations. Leaving the Years and Years moniker behind, his entry, Dizzy, is his debut song under his own name, giving the impression that there's more on the line for him than just winning Eurovision. After his friends quit, what was once a band—on 2015's lighthearted Communion and 2018's more intricate Palo Santo—became a de facto solo endeavour, and 2022's Night Call fizzled out. He was widely—and falsely—rumored to be the new Doctor Who after his outstanding performance in Channel 4's 2021 drama It's a Sin. However, he hasn't acted since. His music, which has gloriously complex queer aesthetics and aspirations stifled by very sanitised, crowd-pleasing synth-pop, sometimes seem to be caught between two impulses: it's almost like a CBBC Perfume Genius. There is a feeling that we have to work particularly hard in this era.Dizzy also appears to be torn between opposing urges. It was created with Danny L. Harle, previously of PC Music, who has collaborated with Charli XCX, Caroline Polachek, and Yeule on some of the most experimental pop music of the past ten years. Sadly, it is not a cover of Vic Reeves's Dizzy. While off-its-charts pop fantasies like "What If the Pet Shop Boys Won?" are easily entertained by Eurovision, Dizzy satisfies a more grounded vision that you could easily assume was the product of AI. If there was anything sly about Dizzy, it would be a knowing wink to the Channel 4 show and Alexander's prior work with Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe. Dizzy opens with a blatant repeat of the chords that open their 1987 single It's a Sin. The sparkling verses sound like the last ten years of Stuart Price-era PSB, the middle eight's monotonous spoken-word portion is straight out of Tennant, and the chorus is reminiscent of It's a Sin, down to the church bells. It pales in comparison to the PSB in 2024; Loneliness, the 60s return single, is significantly more vibrant and energetic than Dizzy.

The lyrics, which sound almost 1950s housewifely, about being made "dizzy by your kisses," are also at odds with references to another British synth-pop group that rose to fame in 1984. Alexander sings, "Will you take my hand and spin me / Round and round until the moment never ends," evoking the amazing song You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) by Dead or Alive. In contrast to Alexander's delivery, which is a little workmanlike and supplicating and lacks the vaulting falsetto and darting come-ons that characterised his best work, Pete Burns sounds like he's riding a bucking bronco and loving it in that song, which is boisterous, passionately queer, and never passive. Beyond its incredibly literal and nauseatingly topsy-turvy video, Dizzy is a perfectly excellent tune, but it's far too safe to send anyone reeling.