Yesterday afternoon the Wiwi Jury—our in-house panel of music un-professionals—grabbed our flotation devices and drifted North to Iceland to review Eyþór Ingi Gunnlaugsson’s Eurovision song. Did “Ég á Líf” warm us up? Or did it leave us as cold as a penguin without a partner? Read on to find out.
Bogdan: I am baffled. How come Iceland, who produces titans of music like Björk or Sigur Rós, managed to send this yawnfest to Eurovision? “Ég á líf”, with its three-note chorus, is a disgrace to music, the laziest form of melody imaginable. Unless it’s a lullaby, or an Icelandic translation of the song “I am cow” (by the way, the only points this song gets are for keeping it in the original language), I don’t see how this even qualifies as a song. It certainly shouldn’t qualify for the Final!
Deban: Last year’s Icelandic duet started off as one of my least favourite entries. Remarkably, after several language and structural changes, I fell in love with it in Baku. This year, Iceland is picking up the pieces of last year’s Estonian entry “Kuula”. Eypor’s vocals are crisp, and although he looks like he’s straining hard some of the time, his delivery is pitch-perfect. Iceland should be applauded for showcasing different musical styles at the contest. Although “Eg A Lif” isn’t re-defining any genre, it’s a well-crafted ballad that softens the guttural intonations in the Icelandic language. In an ideal world, this song should remain in its original format.
Wiwi: This is a lovely song. The opening bars remind me of Rufus Wainwright’s “Hallelujah”, and the lyrics tell a story of perseverance which we can all relate to. But this simply doesn’t belong at Eurovision. It’s like showing up to a funeral in pink, or bringing bloody sausages to a vegetarian sleepover. If you’re going to be all serious then I need you to be more anthemic like Serbia 2007. After the first minute I’m already thinking about who is performing next and wondering what shampoo Mr Gunnlaugsson uses to keep that mane so shiny and silky. Great song. Wrong contest.
Mr Häggkvist: I LOVE THIS SONG SO MUCH… peaceful, beautiful, pure, simple, emotional, honest, human. Eyþór really conveys the essence of the song and it’s just perfect. It would be a shame to see this out of the final.
Alexander: Iceland has a beautiful ballad this year. Yes, it’s a bit boring in the first half and the lyrics are somewhat weak (it’s good that they’re in Icelandic). But overall, this is a very relaxing and tranquil piece. The last minute (the bridge and final chorus) are quite strong. You know Iceland isn’t playing around when they send Thor to Eurovision!
Vebooboo: How such a small nation can consistently produce quality singers is beyond me. There must be something going on over there with the shark fins, sheep and geysers. This isn’t one of my favourites this year, but this song really embraces the spirit of Eurovision in the classic sense. Iceland has sent a great vocalist to sing a song in the country’s obscure language in an attempt to share part of their culture with the rest of Europe (and the world). That in itself is heartwarming. But while I’m happy to give away cheesy congeniality and spirit awards to this song, I will not vote for it to win. As a male ballad singer in a field of females, Eypor will stand out a bit…but he ain’t gonna be raising a trophy any time soon.
H.K. Dick: Is the economy in Reykjavik that bad that the Icelandics can’t afford a trip to the hairdresser? Like Eybor’s hair, this is a real grower and I really hope it makes the cut. The song has a Gaelic feel and the beauty of it is captured in the native Icelandic tongue and would make a great choice of theme song if they decide to do a remake of Titanic in Iceland.
Wiwi Jury Verdict: 5.64/10