Yesterday the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — travelled to Greece where we visited the Parthenon. As we reflected on the history of modern civilisation, we discussed Argo‘s song “Utopian Land”. Did we believe in their utopian fantasy? Or did we crave something more gritty? Read on to find out!
Argo – “Utopian Land”
“Utopian Land” reviews
Deban: Strong elements of folklore are woven into “Utopian Land”, creating a fusion of promising moments, and pure tragedy. Set against a backdrop of quality entries this year, I can’t see this advancing! I applaud Greece for being daring, and sampling a breath of different sounds in its participation history. However, this time they’ve sacrificed their taste level in favour of experimentation.
Angus: Greece used to set the pace for each year’s contest and now they’re the unfit kid at the back of the pack struggling to keep up. “Utopian Land” tingles with all the elements that defined Greece’s glory days, but is lost beneath a dodgy vocal, which I actually find more offensive than the rap. This is just totally outclassed by the rest of the competition.
Patrick: Greece brings music to Eurovision that people either love or hate. The same again this year. I’m really conflicted about this year’s entry. When the song starts, I fall into a Greek dream of traditional music and folklore. The rap then kind of destroys the dream and I fall into a shock. It is surely not the worst song and surely not the best but it has something that I like about it. And let’s be honest, it is Greece — qualification with good staging is granted!
Bogdan: What a mess! Instrumentally flawless and vocally a disaster, “Utopian Land” reflects the conflicting image Greece has today, after the economic crisis and refugee crisis: a beautiful country with a lot of problems. I wouldn’t be surprised if Greece misses the final this year. The video is good though, too bad they can’t send it without the music.
Anthony: Greece’s top 10 streak is becoming a distant memory, so this feels as if they grabbed bits they had previous success with and crammed it all onto “Utopian Land”. The rapping elements from “Watch My Dance”, various instrumentals from “Opa” and the uptempo pop Greece dished out for years before last year’s ballad. You’ll get the hang of this after several listens, but Argo will need to pull off a memorable first impression on the night.
George: When I first heard the song I really thought Greece wouldn’t qualify for the final this year. On second listen, though, I found out how meaningful the lyrics are and how strong the music is. The rap part, though, kind of destroys the whole thing and thus, the song may not do that well at Eurovision, but I can still say Argo really are “the rise in the rising sun”.
Josh: “Utopian Land” does not take me to Utopia. This is by far the weakest Greek entry since I started following the contest in 2010 and I’m confident that Argo will cause the qualifying streak for Greece to come to an end. No diaspora voting could save this. Bye girl, bye.
Maria: At first, all I enjoyed about “Utopian Land” were the lyrically undisturbed Pontian beats. Then I realised hidden in the never-ending rap verses and the strong dialect, are some nonsensical, actually fun lyrics! I am hoping for more of these surprises on stage to elevate the entry’s mood because the chorus alone doesn’t do it so well.
Padraig: “Utopian Land” comes across more as a cultural showcase rather than a competitive entry in a song contest. Apart from its ethnic eccentricities, there’s little going for the track. The female vocalist sounds disinterested, while the rap is unlikely to win over new fans. Greece have often sent below-par entries, but they’ve always had some element of fun. “Utopian Land” is a chore to get through, and Argo are going to need the diaspora to come out en masse if they’re to see the Saturday night lights.
Robyn: It’s easy to talk about how rap songs never do well at Eurovision, but Greece qualified for the final with a rap song in 2014, so I’m sure they’ll do ok with “Utopian Land”. Their 2016 entry is enjoyably bleak, with an (ironically?) upbeat chorus that contrasts with the darker verses. It’s an unusual entry, but it has so much more to offer than the shouty lady ballad of 2015.
William: Greece is one of my favourite countries at Eurovision – which is why I’m so disappointed by this. The opening is ethnic, enticing and promising. But then the male vocals come in and I’m dead. The chit-chatty sound isn’t inspiring and when the female vocals re-enter they start to grate. If this is utopia, then order me a big old chunk of dystopia asap. Greece deserves better.
In the Wiwi Jury we have 40 jurors but only have room for 11 reviews. The remaining 29 scores are below.
William C: 3.5/10
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 1 and a high of 8.