Yesterday the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — travelled to Ireland, where we stopped by the hallowed halls of the Trinity College Library in Dublin. We found a quiet corner and got down to some reading as we discussed Nicky Byrne and his song “Sunlight”. Were we basking in the light? Or did we seek some shade? Read on to find out!
Nicky Byrne – “Sunlight”
Angus: Like a true showman, Nicky Byrne never fails to put a smile on your face throughout his performance and it is difficult to avoid willing him and Ireland to succeed. “Sunlight” itself isn’t incredibly innovative, but when you have a boyband vocalist who has sold 50 million records behind it, it doesn’t need to be. “Sunlight” serves up Celtic rock and I’m happy to chow down.
Robyn: “Sunlight” is better than anything Ireland has entered in the post-Jedward years, and it comes with the hope that Ireland won’t sabotage their chances with ill-conceived staging (e.g. oily drummers, thuggish Irish dancers, or a broken old piano). Nicky Byrne isn’t the greatest singer, but he is an experienced performer and has Westlife fans past and present to draw on for support. I really hope it’s enough for Ireland to qualify.
Bogdan: Yes, “Sunlight” is upbeat and catchy and Nicky Byrne is eye-candylicious, but the truth of the matter is that the song is weak, predictable and cringeworthy, just like the lyrics. (By the way, do the songwriters know the meaning of “loverboy” in human trafficking terms?) To make matters worse, Nicky may be an experienced performer, but, let’s face it, he is an incompetent singer, which many viewers – and jury members! – will pick up on from the get-go.
Edd: There’s no other song this year that makes me feel happier than Nicky’s. An anthemic chorus, delicious harmonies and endless little touches in the production to make you smile. And yes, the lyrics are pure cheese, but that just makes me love it even more. If he can bring the party on stage, then he should really stand out from this year’s overload of dramatic ballads.
Forrest: If you want an example of a technically perfect pop song, look no further than “Sunlight.” The problem with technically perfect is that it’s not very interesting. There’s just enough variation in the long build towards a foreseeable key change to prevent the song from falling flat but, simultaneously, there is no wow factor. This is a respectable entry from Ireland but, at a time when Sweden is right on the heels of equaling Ireland’s record of seven victories, I can’t help but want something much better than just ‘respectable’.
Luis: This needs a Common Linnets-like performance to stand out. When this was first released, I thought it would grow on me, but two months after that, I still can’t see this song taking flight. Nicky is a decent performer, and the song is okayish, but that’s all. Overall, “Sunlight” is an inoffensive song with a bit of an annoying hook (I want to stop it after the fourth sun… light). The funny part is that I can’t see it staying in the semi, so Nicky better find a palatable show that is worth performing twice.
Tobias: The gorgeous hunk of this year, Nicky Byrne, is competing for Ireland. He is eye candy but sadly the song isn’t as sweet as Nicky himself. It’s a quite flat song and it’s not as strong as I first was hoping for when I heard that Nicky would compete for Ireland. I like Nicky and his music a lot, but “Sunlight” is not bringing the best out of him. I hope they go to the final at least.
Padraig: An eight win is highly unlikely, but “Sunlight” should comfortably see Ireland return to the final. The track possesses just enough oomph to stand out and Nicky’s star power and natural charisma should attract enough votes to bring them to safety. Unfortunately, it’ll almost certainly stall in the final. The lyrics are completely lacking in personality, while the song itself is pop by numbers. And while Nicky might have a twinkle in his eye and lovely shiny teeth, his vocals are far from glossy. Clever staging and arrangements should hide a multitude of sins.
Deban: Nicky Bryne’s entrance marks the launch of his solo career, and hopefully, Ireland’s return to the finals of the Eurovision Song Contest post-Jedward. “Sunlight” is serving rays of contemporary europop upbeat realness. Familiar yet different, “Sunlight” will draw new fans, and leave old ones with a memorable hook. Ireland knows that in order to retain their lead on the highest number of victories, they need to change their tactic. Nicky Bryne is a living testament to that.
William: Charisma, charm, likability — Nicky Byrne deserves a 10! His song, however, does not. While I appreciate that it’s radio-friendly and geared toward a mass market, it’s felt increasingly generic and middle-of-the-road since its release. I like his voice, but he really needs to sort out his backing vocalists ahead of Stockholm, as the harmonies frequently sounded off during his debut performance. The sun is shining for sure — I just hope we don’t get bored and go inside.
Steinunn: When I heard that Nicky Byrne had been chosen to represent Ireland, I totally fangirled my knickers off. He might not have been the most noticeable Westlife member in the past — or the one with the most vocal capacity — but I always thought he was the cutest (or at least my 14-year-old self thought so). When it comes to the actual song, I have mixed feelings about it. It’s not really good, but at the same time it’s not all that bad. I think it would be a perfect theme song for the TV show Geordie Shore: “Just touch who you wanna/Kiss who you gotta” is a pretty good description of the show’s content. But just like Geordie Shore is a guilty pleasure for me when it comes to tv shows, “Sunlight” sure will be one of my guilty pleasures on the dance floor in Stockholm this year.
In the Wiwi Jury we have 40 jurors but only have room for 12 reviews. The remaining 28 scores are below.
William C: 5/10
The highest and lowest scores are dropped prior to calculating the average score. This is to remove outliers and reduce potential bias. We have removed a low of 2 and a high of 9.