Last night the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals — caught the Eurostar to the northern French city of Lille, where we explored the cobbled streets of the old town, Vieux-Lille. After finding a cosy little café, we got to work reviewing France’s Eurovision 2015 act Lisa Angell. Did her song “N’oubliez Pas” stir our emotions? Or is it something we’d rather forget? Read on to find out…
France’s Eurovision 2015 song
Reviews: Lisa Angell with ‘N’oubliez Pas’
Angus: “N’oubliez Pas” is a double history lesson – never forget the First World War and never forget the mighty French chanson. Lisa Angell has the true grit of a chanteuse and she puts emotive intensity front and centre. It is a startling demonstration of vulnerability which resonates on every listen.
Bogdan: I love this song. Maybe it’s the fact that I speak French and the message resonates with me. I also like the instrumental, which elevates the melody. It grows spectacularly towards the end and it keeps it there, like a trophy. And I know that Lisa Angell will deliver “N’oubliez Pas” beautifully live, hopefully winning a lot of points from the juries. It’s time to bring France back to the left side of the scoreboard!
Sopon: Remember the last time France sent a middle-aged lady with way too much class for a show meant for cheese? They got eighth place, of course! So what’s the difference between Patricia Kaas and Lisa Angell? Patricia’s song was dramatic, intense, and had us on the edge of our sofas. Lisa’s song is something I would go to a run-down café to hear her pluck out on a guitar in the background while I have a casual dinner. Although last year’s Twin Twin arrived at the bottom of the scoreboard, at least “Moustache” was fun and enjoyable. This is boring, unmemorable, but sweet.
Chris: Much like the UK, you get the feeling that France is a little bit over Eurovision at this stage in the decade. After last year’s underperformance, they’ve turned to an act with little to no real commercial success bringing a song from the 1980s. To her credit though, Lisa Angell performs the song beautifully live and I think that will be its one saving grace. She has a good – not great – voice, but it conveys the emotion of the song well, which will probably charm some jurors enough to spare France’s blushes this year.
Deban: Not what I’d normally gravitate towards, yet Lisa Angell’s vocal expression gripped me from start to finish. “N’oubliez Pas” combines the merits of a eulogy, and in the same token marks a celebration. Like quality French wine, “N’oubliez Pas” appreciates with every listen.
Robyn: If there’s one thing France would really like to oublier it’s last year’s deux points. “N’oubliez pas” is going back to what France does well – a strong, emotional chanson, with stirring lyrics in memory of the First World War. Amongst all the ballads this year that are asserting how powerful the singer is, it’s so refreshing to hear one with a scope bigger than just the singer’s personal journey. This song is so different from the rest of the competition that it’s difficult to know how it will fare, but it will be a welcome part of the final.
Marek: For me, this is the best song this year. I didn’t think this way initially, but listening to it more and more has made it my winner. This song isn’t simple, nor does it repeat the word “love” over and over. This traditional chanson has a strong message about survival. The title, meaning “Don’t Forget”, is very appropriate for this song. Although it may be related to the events in Paris this past January, I personally see the history of my homeland in this song. Us Poles did not have our own state for more than a century, but we did not forget any detail about our culture. No matter what country this song is written for, the song is universal. Each of us can be the village that Lisa croons about. I feel this quote in the song – “You know who you are and you can’t forget this” – describes my thoughts perfectly.
First reaction to “N’oubliez pas”
William: Every time Lisa sings, and Angell gets its wings. I adore this diva from the French Riviera. She oozes natural soul, but not in an over-the-top pop star way. Her authenticity shines through and when she sings “I am here” I am feeling every note. One of the most powerful — and underrated — songs of the year.
Kristin: The return of the French chanson! I welcome it. I’m loving Lisa and I’m loving this song. I’m also very well aware that France will most likely be underrated yet again. But whatever… I’m gonna sing along, and express my love (some call it obsession) for everything French. Viva la France!
Padraig: When this was first released, I wrote it off as a sub-chanson dirge. In hindsight I was a tad harsh. Yes, the song is dated, formulaic, and something we’ve heard countless times before, but Lisa’s live performance does elevate it substantially. There’s little chance of it winning or even sneaking on to the left-hand side of the scoreboard. However, a repeat of last year’s (undeserved) last place is equally unlikely. No longer a dirge, just distinctly average.
Our jury consists of 29 people, but we only have room for 10 written reviews. Here are the remaining 19 scores.
William C: 4/10
To reduce potential bias, we drop the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. We removed a low of 1.5 and a high of 10.