The Wiwi Jury Reviews the Netherlands’ Joan Franka with “You and Me”

During our recent trip to Amsterdam, the Wiwi Jury ran through the Red Light District—and avoided the pot brownies—so we could stay focused on our task: reviewing Joan Franka’s Eurovision 2012 entry “You and Me.” Wiwi and Deban came to blows, while Meows Kitty and Vebooboo kept it consistent. Here’s what we had to say….

Wiwi: I have no doubt that my fellow jury members—and, for that matter, many Eurovision fans—will mock the staging and the headress and the folksy sound of Joan Franka’s “You and Me.” But if you listen to the thoughtful lyrics of Joan’s song, you’ll realize that unlike the vast majority of Eurovision artists she is actually telling a story.

“You and Me” touches on love and loss, the innocence of childhood and the cruelty of growing up. The opening bars describe the close relationship five-year old Joan shares with a neighbor, and the wonder with which they approach the world—and each other. “You looked just like an angel/ You looked up and saw the skies/ Saw the birds and wondered why/ They can fly away so high.” In subsequent passages they “grow up all in love,” but unfortunately that love “couldn’t handle time.” By the end of the song Joan still sees her old friend walking by, and her heart yearns to understand what went wrong. She doesn’t specify how much time has passed, so she could now be looking back as a teenager—or as an elderly woman who regrets living her life without him. Regardless, the pain resonates. Joan’s voice carries it beautifully.

As for the staging, the headress isn’t meant to mock Native Americans. It’s part of a costume she wore as a child, when she was still young enough to love without reserve.

I love this song.

Score: 9/10

Vebooboo: The tone of this lady’s voice is out of this world…just like the crazy and random Native American outfit she dons. The Dutch haven’t done all too well in recent years, but with 3 million viewers helping to select this song I think they might have finally booked a ticket for an opportunity to hear their song on Saturday in Baku. It stands out from the slower ballads and crazy dance tunes out there, and the beat of the tamborine will naturally get the crowd clapping along.

Score: 7/10

The headress: A symbol of childhood?

Meows Kitty: There’s something really sweet about playing the guitar live on stage, as well as the fact she doesn’t care how weird her posse looks in their Flinstones outfits, or the fact Native American Indians do not play country music. Her ignorance is actually endearing but I don’t know whether Europe is ready for her quirk… having said though that her voice does remind me of Lena before she became a mainstream sellout so who knows, maybe Joan will get there. After reviewing a string of tragedies over the last week, I must say this has somewhat restored my faith in Eurovision 2012. But maybe I am just desperate for some Eurovision validation?

Score: 7/10

Deban: The Netherlands is listed in the ESC handbook as one of the most successful countries in the Eurovision Song Contest. The country has had four victories, since its debut in the very first Eurovision Song Contest in 1956. However, the last time the Netherlands was in the final was in the 2004 contest. The country has failed for seven years in a row to qualify from the semi-final round. As a result of this failure, The Netherlands has created another Eurovision record. Joan Franka in my opinion helps in maintaining this record of failure.

Sounding like a ménage of Delores O’Riordan and Lena to the backing track of Texas Lightning, this song is having many conversations. The added twist is the Cherokee costumes and the all-female backing troupe. All these elements are helping in one way or another to confirm their fate of failure. In a bid to appeal to everyone, this song ends up speaking to nobody.

Production aside, it is a radio friendly minor hit that grows on you with every listen. Unfortunately, it’s also highly forgettable. A bit like one of Natalie Imbruglia’s B Sides. Regrettably, this doesn’t translate into an ESC victory. My advice is that if you’re not going to progress to the finals, give me something memorable like “Ik Ben Verliefd (Sha-la-lie)“—the 2010 Netherlands entry by Sieneke.

Score: 3/10

The Wiwi Jury Verdict: 6.5/10

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