Today the Wiwi Jury – our in-house panel of music un-professionals – we touched down in Denmark and spent the morning relaxing on picturesque Funen – the birth place of noted author Hans Christian Anderson. After spending the morning as culture vultures we moved on to Copenhagen and over cocktails in the harbour listened to Basim’s ‘Cliché Love Song’. Where we won over by his charm or underwhelmed by that hair? Read on to find out!
Angus: After a few listens I definitely skuba duba dubda didi-don’t want to suffer ‘Cliché Love Song’ again. Bruno Mars’s songs are tiresome and an imitation of one is even worse. Basim has charisma and a killer vocal but the parody’s so painful it’s difficult to put him or the song anywhere above mediocre. Despite an amazing draw and the recent jump in the betting odds I’m betting ‘Cliché Love Song’ is going to stay in the mid-table right where the Danes wanted it. After all if they were actually interested in winning they’d have picked one of the good songs from their national final wouldn’t they?
Billy: Overrated. Denmark’s entry this year is nice, happy, with lots of energy. I like the group atmosphere and the general style of the song. Its presentation is also satisfying. What I find really disturbing is the style of Basim, something simillar to the amazing Bruno Mars, although Basim is (as regards talent) as close to Bruno Mars as I am to the moon. This “skuba duba dabda didida” is really annoying, and generally, to me, this song doesn’t deserve the top-5 on the night. It’s just overrated.
Bogdan: Basim has an inspiring success story back in Denmark, as the son of Moroccan immigrants living in a housing project who somehow became a pop star and went on to represent his country at Eurovision. I just wish his song was better. It’s not exactly bad, but it resembles a bit too much the music style of an American superstar who I’m not going to name because I’m sure everyone else is. However, his “Cliché Love Song” is delivered with gusto, the live performance at the DMGP final was impressive (despite a rather flat staging) and the rhythm eventually becomes quite infectious, in a good way. I find myself saying “I don’t like this” but my feet are dancing under the desk. Hm!
Deban: The Dansk Melodi Grand Prix is a tough competition to bag. Basim’s entry betrays original composition, choreography and musical delivery. However, the clue is all in the title- It’s a cliché love song! This Moroccan Dane jams up a pastiche of Iyaz’s sound, whilst firmly duplicating Bruno Mars’ swagger and performance style. Although everything I’ve learnt about music tells me to hate this, I have to admit, it’s achieved the opposite effect. I can’t stop tapping my toes to my favourite guilty pleasure.
Wiwi: It’s true the number takes inspiration from Mr Mars. It’s a toe-tapping ditty that mixes reggae, soul and R&B. But it does so with flair and style and without any pop pretence. Basim, who appeared on stage looking like a slightly disheveled cherub, is too adorable to be despised and too normal to cast as a superstar. He’s a Joe Schmo who happens to be able to sing. It’s all rather endearing. Lyrically the cliché comes off as witty and fresh. He puts a mirror in front of all the gooey sentiment of love songs, has a giggle, but ultimately accepts there is a lot of truth beneath the sugar.
Katie: With a song that opens with “Scooba-dooba-dab-dab-dibi-day”, I can’t deny the resemblance to Bruno Mars, you’d be mad not to see it. But at the same time, so what? It’s hardly plagiarism and it’s good little song no matter who’s the inspiration. Isn’t Basim just the cutest thing? So happy and smiley, you just want to put him in your pocket! Oh yeah, and his voice is great. The whole thing is one big falsetto and he’s one of the most talented singers at Eurovision this year. I will be very disappointed if I don’t see everyone smiling and those slightly strange dancers in May. Good luck to him, I hope he does well.
Mike: The Danish people are very clever people, also when it’s about Eurovision. When you listen to Danish songs from the past years, there was always this beat, lyrics or last year’s flute that makes you having the song in your head for a whole week when you hear it, and this year’s Scoobidoobidaptapdiditai is nothing different! This together with the fact that most of the songs from the host country always have a good staging and atmosphere I think this song could place really well! But please Denmark work on that, cause Basim’s staging was almost as boring as Robin Stjernberg’s last year…
Vebooboo: The best way to describe this song is that it’s “cute”. Basim is cute, as are the little whistles in the song, and the whole stage presence. However, where this song fails is in the middle. The first minute is amazles, then it takes a big dive as the composer clearly struggled how to entertain us for three minutes. Then all of a sudden it pops again and confetti falls from the ceiling. While I’m usually awakened by random stage tricks, I fear that some more educated and sophisticated viewers will actually expect the song itself to carry for the full three minutes, constantly building throughout. We will have been two years in a row on the Oresund Bridge, but I don’t think we will be a third next year.
Padraig: Emmelie de Forest’s shoes were always going to be next to impossible to fill (and not just because of her aversion to footware). Sensibly Basim has distanced himself from the reigning queen, opting instead to mimic the boy next door charms of Gianluca Bezzina. As with Malta’s most famous doctor, Basim is pedalling an inoffensive, safe and instantly familiar sound. But take a closer look at the lyrics and you’ll realise that Basim is decidedly more risqué. He sings of how his girlfriend is like the “I Kissed A Girl” era Katy Perry, she even tastes of the other lady’s cherry lip gloss. Now I’m not an expert on women’s lip-care products but I’m fairly sure a brief peck isn’t going to linger on the kissed lips for very long. So does that mean that Basim, his girlfriend and her friend are all together in the same room at the same time? Hmmm…skuba duba dabda dididaj indeed.
Francheska: I have a theory about host country entries: they overcompensate when the Contest is in their home turf. Sabina overcompensated with theatricality, Robin with the dancers, and now Basim with the catchiness. He’s a Bruno Mars rip-off (and I don’t even like Bruno Mars), shamelessly mentions Katy Perry, and is trying to engage us in a tongue-twister sing-off (whenever I try to sing the chorus, I somehow always end up saying “Scooby Doo”). It’s definitely an ear-worm, and I will attempt to dominate the dance moves, but, Basim, hon, you’re trying too hard. Basim and Norwegian goat cheese have one thing in common: they need to mature a lot.
All 19 members of the jury review each song, but we only have enough space to share 10 written reviews. Here are the remaining nine scores.
Maxim Montana: 8/10
James L: 6/10
William C: 6.1
The highest and lowest scores are removed before calculating the final score. We have dropped a low of 1 and a high of 8.5.
The Wiwi Jury Verdict: 6.36/10
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