Earlier today, the Wiwi Jury – our in-house panel of music unprofessionals – climbed to the top of the spire of Hallgrimskirkja cathedral in Reykjavik. The beautiful city views inspired us to review “Again”, Arnar Jónsson and Rakel Pálsdóttir‘s entry for Söngvakeppnin 2017. Did we want to listen again?
Arnar Jónsson and Rakel Pálsdóttir – “Again”
About Arnar Jónsson and Rakel Pálsdóttir
Arnar and Rakel have consistently been involved in Söngvakeppnin in one way or another over the years. “Again” was composed by Hólmfríður Ósk Samúelsdóttir, and most of us can remember her and Rakel from the 2014 happiness bomb “Eftir eitt lag”, which was performed by Hólmfríður’s sister Gréta Mjöll.
Robyn: Rakel and Arnar’s voices sound brilliant together — those harmonies! They capture the power and emotion of the song and guide it to the uplifting conclusion. This promises something magical during the live semi-final performance. However, the song tends to drag in the middle and feels much longer than three minutes. I’m feeling hopeful but cautious.
Jason: “Again” represents everything that you can expect from an Icelandic entry: raw emotion, drama, atmosphere and great vocals. Arnar and Rakel’s voices go together seamlessly, and I hope they can create magic on stage. However, there are quite a few contenders in Iceland this year, so Arnar and Rakel need to bring their very best.
Chris: This feels like the Disney version of “A Monster Like Me”. Rakel and Arnar do go really well together and I’m sure that will translate live. But it all feels a bit too junior for me and by the end, I’m already kind of done with it.
William: Atmospheric but dated, emotional but somehow bland — this song encapsulates so many of the “moody” entries in Iceland’s national selection. It would work great as background music in a movie, but it’s not high-impact enough for the three-minute make-it-or-break-it moment at Eurovision. Nice voices, though.
Bernardo: This song was made for a big arena. The studio version may not conquer you but the staging will lift this up. I see this song creating a mood, both in the national selection and Eurovision — and we all know what happens when a song creates a mood — hello Jamala. Despite not having a similar message to “1944”, Arnar and Rakel sound beautiful and engaging from the very first note.
Forrest: As tends to be standard in Iceland, this is a pleasant duet with some lovely harmonies. “Again”, however, just seems to plod along for three minutes, sounding nice but not really going anywhere. It’s the kind of music that quite easily fades into the background…which is exactly what I expect this song to do at Söngvakeppnin.
Patrick: Another cute and simple ballad for Iceland, but unfortunately it’s one of the weaker ones. Their harmonies are beautiful and fit the melody of the song. However, “Again” is very very simple and my main concern is that it is forgettable. It is nice, but nice is not enough to make thousands of people vote. I hope they don’t flop too badly but I wouldn’t be surprised if that happened. Maybe next time guys.
Antranig: “Again” is deep, and powerful, but ultimately, it is quite forgettable. It takes you on a compelling journey for three minutes but when it’s over it doesn’t sell you a return trip. Having said that, there is potential for some memorable staging — think Common Linnets but darker. The staging will make or break this song. Additionally, it sounds more compelling in Icelandic.
In our Söngvakeppnin 2017 Wiwi Jury, we have 20 jurors but only room for 8 reviews. The rest of our scores can be found below:
Before calculating the average score, the highest and lowest scores are dropped. This is to remove outliers and reduce potential bias. We have removed a low of 3 and a high of 9.