Norway, Carl Espen, 1

This morning the Wiwi Jury —our in-house panel of music professionals — touched down in Bergen and took a ride on the Fløibanen funicular to take in spectacular views from the top of Mt. Fløyen, before visiting the Bergen Aquarium and seeing some ruul, ruul cute seals. But then we remembered we had a job to do, hopped on a train along the Bergen Railway to Oslo, admired the Hardangervidda plateau and soundtracked our trip with Norway’s entry this year – Carl Espen and his song ‘Silent Storm.’ Were we blown away by the silent storm or was it just a blow out? Read on to find out!

Vebooboo: Whereas Moldova’s Cristina should be sued for false advertising something “wild”, a marketing team really needs to get behind Carl and up the hype factor. For a song entitled “Silent Storm”, this number is ruul ruul moving. Watching this the first time I couldn’t help but have a Susan Boyle reaction. I mean, a punk-looking guy appears on stage, and suddenly he has the sweetest tenor tone out there. I ain’t generally a huge fan of slow songs, but this one is so moving that I can’t really complain.

Score: 8/10

Wiwi: Carl’s voice carries meloncholy well, and any imperfections actually work in his favor. The occasional cracks and warbles fit with a performance about human frailty. Unlike so many Eurovision ballads, “Silent Storm” doesn’t rely on Carl singing louder and louder. His emotions are real. He drives the song with sincerity. Over the course of three minutes he ferries the audience through sorrow and pain, disappointment and despair. It’s an emotional tour-de-force and deserves to finish near the top.

Score: 9/10

Carl Espen Silent Storm 1

Angus: Carl Espen would make a terrible meteorologist. A storm this is not. It’s more like drizzle – not the worst thing that can happen but persistently annoying. Minimalism with Anouk was quite beautiful last year because I felt an intensity and passion from ‘Birds’. Somehow I can’t connect as well to ‘Silent Storm’ – it’s just way too angsty and depressing. It’s as if Carl set out to drain all the warmth and enjoyment from the Contest and instead depress us about his problems. News flash honey – your three minutes on stage are not to tell us your life story. Move along.

Score: 2/10

Bogdan: Carl Espen has many things working for him, including the fact that he looks nothing like what you’d imagine a sensitive crooner to look like. He is a tattooed, bearded, gentle giant singing – with flawless vocals, in a subdued but at the same time powerful manner – about his inner, tumultuous quest for peace, at the same time contemplating the possibility that only death could bring it eventually. Last year, Margaret put a knife against my back and slayed me, but this year Carl flat out stabbed me in the chest and ran away with my heart.

Score: 10/10

Deban: In 2012, I was moved by Suus. Last year, it was Birds, This year, Silent Storm is shaping up to be my masterpiece. Espen’s composition hits my core in a way only a few songs can. His voice brings an awareness to a painful human condition and commandeers the listener’s undivided attention. ‘Silent Storm’ shape-shifts on every listen, whilst bearing the hallmark of a timeless classic.  Although it’s lacking in glitter and caricature folklore, there’s beauty to be found in this year’s Norwegian entry. Furthermore,  Espen’s entry is another reminder that the Eurovision Song Contest continues to offer a platform for diversity, musicality and true artistry.

Score: 10/10

Billy: Despite the fact that ballads are really not my cup of tea, I love this one. Carl’s voice is amazing, it nearly moved me. I like this entry, its rhythm, music and lyrics, even though it is quite slow. The piano suits perfect to the song, and here is one recommendation: please bring on stage a piano and/or a couple dancers, things which will uplift this entry even higher than it will in fact be.

Score: 9/10

Carl Espen Silent Storm 3Katie: This song is so good. Definitely Eurovision 2014’s ballad of the year. Carl has such a sleek, elegant voice and “Silent Storm” is the perfect example of how to do a ballad. When I was reviewing the song at NRK Grand Prix stages, I told Carl to cheer up. Actually Carl, don’t cheer up. You’re at you’re best when you’re miserable. He’s the male Adele, so I really hope he’s able to stand on stage and silence everyone in Europe with his beautiful song and beautiful voice.

Score: 10/10

James L: I’m not normally a fan of slow, pensive, emotionally mature songs, but this song gets past my Eurodance-loving superfice and makes me want to be a better person who thinks about sadness and life and meaning. On repeat listens it wears me down to a raw core of feelings I never knew I had. When watching the Norsk MGP with friends we definitely talked through the other songs, but for this one we were all absolutely transfixed, staring open-mouthed into emotional depth of this bearded Norwegian man. If that happens to all of Europe on May 10, we might just be looking at another Scandinavian ESC next year.

Score: 9/10

Padraig: I initially overlooked “Silent Storm”, wrongly writing it off as yet another monochrome ballad. But as I listened to it again, I began to discover levels of depth and feeling not present anywhere else in this year’s competition. This is simultaneously the most personal and universal of all the entries, for who amongst us can openly admit to not having some sort of inner turmoil while presenting a calm exterior to the world? It may be just a slight niggle or a major stress wreaking inner havoc. Either way it feels as if Carl is singing directly to you. Just like Gotye conquered the world with the stylistically and thematically similar “Somebody That I Used to Know” in 2012, I predict that “Silent Storm” could be the sleeper hit of Eurovision 2014.

Score: 8/10

Jacob: Before Norway had their national final, they were already the favourites to win the contest: The bookies thought “Silent Storm” was gonna win a home and then abroad. But when it actually did win, Norway dropped to third. Hmmm. I am not too convinced by this. It’s a bit strange at first listen. He doesn’t look comfortable on stage, he’s not very charismatic and his voice is not amazing either. The song itself reminds me a bit of Norway 2010, except Didrik was very good looking and could actually sing. Or we all thought so until the final anyway. Norway has had horrible results lately with bad singers (2011, 2012) and one very good one (2009). I can easily see this one not reach the final. If it does, I think it will be compared to the Belgian entry, which is slightly similar The only catch is that Axel is a very good singer.

Score: 5/10

All 19 members of our jury rate each song. However, we only have room to share 10 written reviews. Here are the remaining nine scores.

Anthony: 6/10

Mario: 8/10

Mike: 9/10

Francheska: 1/10

Ramadan: 10/10

Zach: 1/10

Patrick: 8.5/10

Sami: 10/10

William C: 8.7/10

The highest and lowest scores are removed before calculating the final score. We have dropped a low of 1 and a high of 10.

The Wiwi Jury Verdict: 7.72/10

You can check out our latest Eurovision 2014 reviews and rankings on the Wiwi Jury page. You can keep up-to-date on the latest Eurovision news and gossip by following the team on Twitter @wiwibloggs and by liking our Facebook page.

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Alexander
Guest

Yea yea great song, aquired taste bla bla yadda yadda. Whatever. Yea the truth is it’s boring and meowed. Let’s say the studio version has some appeal because the vocals sound in a certain way. I was horrified by the live performance though which sounded like someone was squeezing his balls. In a bad way.

MoMo
Guest
MoMo

I’m with Leon. The song didn’t move me. At all.

Chesco
Guest
Chesco

Beautiful voice but the song sounds facile and almost childlike…also, a bit dreary

Leon
Guest
Leon

Didn’t hold my interest for long. I gave the benefit of the doubt from the jury’s enthusiasm for it and read the lyrics. No change, too slow and definitely not uplifting. 4/10

Dan RO
Guest
Dan RO

@ Deban: Suus was way better than this one in my opinion! A totally differrent class!!!!

Dan RO
Guest
Dan RO

What an 180 degrees turn from last year’s Norwegian entry!!! ‘I feed you my love’ was undeniably one of the best (my number 3) and it still is one of the most played mp3’s on my phone from the last 2 and a half years (since I bought the phone; it keeps a list of the most played songs – Margaret is at no. 6, while Zlata is at no. 2). Back to 2014, I like this song, but I’m sure I would even love it with a different singer. It’s not about his vocal abilities for me; it’s about… Read more »

straycat
Guest
straycat

I was so bored listening to this song. So. Bored.

Really don’t get what the Wiwi jury is seeing here.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

Is it just my imagination, or does he remind anyone of the lead singer of the 1980s U.K. group ABC, especially when he tries to hit some of those notes during the chorus segments?

GVFLONDON
Guest
GVFLONDON

Dislike both the song and singer.

Margaret
Guest
Margaret

Beautiful song, i love it very much. Thanks for the high rank, Wiwi & Jury! I can’t wait for review of “Not Alone”, “Children of the Universe” or “Dancing In the Rain”.

Aaron
Guest
Aaron

Azerbaijan shut up. What’s with you Azerbaijani spammers. This is about Norway, not your hell-hole of a country. So go take your spam somewhere else, please.

Daniel
Guest
Daniel

What kind of idiots would give this song more than 5? It’s a dull, boring song, and the performer is one of the worst this year!

Armond
Guest
Armond

I would pay for a female vocalist to sing this song. It just doesn’t sound right with Carl.

Alex
Guest
Alex

Carl proved again in Amsterdam that he needed to work on his singing technique. It’s true that he’s fine during the louder parts. Unfortunately, he has a tough time controlling his voice in the softer, more delicate parts, and he frequently misses the higher notes.

Hopefully he sings better in Copenhagen – with all the practice, he should sound better by now. The song is wonderful, no doubt.

AZERBAIJAN
Guest
AZERBAIJAN

Norway always send bad song “!! WHY ?!!!..He is boring “!!

you come Baku next year !!!

Azerbaijan 2015

MF
Guest
MF

I have to admit Carl has moments when he sings quite well and some moments when he sings not that great, but overall I like the performance. I definitely like it more than Sweden’s entry…

eurana
Guest
eurana

if the contest was not in Denmark this song will not achieve the final never ever

Fatima
Guest
Fatima

I like the song, but I agree with Jacob, he didn’t look comfortable even from the tiny 38 second clip available to us civilians. People aren’t going to vote for discomfort. Not qualifying.

CookyMonzta
Guest
CookyMonzta

I actually wanted Linnea Dale to win the MGP Norge, because I thought her song carried the same elements and intangibles that Margaret Berger’s song carried to last year’s ESC (the old if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it concept). But since I started evaluating this year’s entries (twice already), Carl has been at the very top of my board. With one final go-round with the entries this week, I doubt very much that my scorecard will change much; and Carl will stay on top, because his video sells the song extraordinarily well.

Easpag
Guest
Easpag

Silent Storm is one of those songs that if the artist is good, the song itself will be good, but if the artist is bad, the song as a whole fails. Unfortunately, Carl cannot handle the song. I don’t care what anybody says, his voice strains badly at those high notes. And it doesn’t really make it feel more emotional, it makes it feel hard on the ears. I loved Suus because Rona Nishlu could hit those high notes, but Carl cannot hit his relatively lower notes, and it has the opposite affect on me. The most over-rated song this… Read more »

Ryanireland
Guest
Ryanireland

Could be a dark horse that swe arm hun azer email etc wont see coming. I expect it to be top 5 outside winner. Expect to hear a good few 8s 10s and 12s for this

Woz
Guest
Woz

sorry: to shoot off some haters` mouth

Woz
Guest
Woz

Probably the best song in the competition. But anything can happen. It can sink in the board or it could be the surprise of the night. Norway already made it in 1995 with a similar approach. This is a kind of winner that eurofans need to shout some haters mouths these days.

T
Guest
T

This is sooo overrated. It will obviously pass through the final, but I don’t think it will reach the top 10, it might not even reach the top 15. If Norway failed 2010 with ”My Heart Is Yours” why would this do better? It’s the exact same thing, just 4 years later. ”Silent Storm” is a song that needs a great artist and sadly, Carl Espen is not the right man for it. He don’t have enough confidence to make this song justice.

There’s so many better ballads this year so I personally think this will be forgotten among those.

Thiefo
Guest
Thiefo

Since I heard it for the first time I knew it was great, which goes against the very nature of these kind of songs, which usually are an acquired taste, you need to listen to them several times to fully appreciate them, but in my very personal case I liked it from the first listen. I’m convinced it will be the Suus or Birds from 2014, just as Deban mentioned. It’s one of those songs people easily dismiss, but give a surprise at the end. Will it win though? I highly doubt it, but would indeed be a great surprise… Read more »