Bonjour! The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — has landed in Paris. We are ready to sink our teeth into a baguette filled with camembert, but also into Alma‘s Eurovision 2017 song “Requiem”. Does her “Requiem” give us life…or just scream “dead on arrival”? Read on to find out…
Alma – “Requiem”
Alexandra Maquet (28), known professionally as Alma, is a French singer and songwriter who has signed with Warner Music France. She was internally selected to represent her country at Eurovision 2017 with the song “Requiem”, which was penned by Nazim Khaled, the same writer who is responsible for the 2016 French entry “J’ai cherche”. Somewhat controversially, she decided to sing a bilingual version for Eurovision, adding juste un petit peu d’anglais to a part of the chorus. “My song is really about enjoying every second that you have, ’cause we’re all mortal, life passes by really fast, and I think what’s saved me through the dark moments that I’ve been through was love, and my boyfriend, and my family and friends,” she told us in London in April. “This is how I live my life. I love people so much that I’m happy.”
Jason: “Requiem” proves that France is one again on form. Alma’s sexy yet sweet vocals flutter over the beat and transport the listener to a chic Parisian bar. The revamp sounds clunky to my ears, but the inclusion of English ultimately makes the track more accessible. Alma’s live performances have greatly improved, so France has every reason to be hopeful this year. Bon travail.
Chris: The charm and sophistication of the original, wholly French version has been stripped away in an attempt at appealing to a wider audience. Does that work at Eurovision, though? In some ways, it’s better to be the number one of some than the number five of many. I suspect that live, the stop-start transition to English won’t be as jarring. Alma is a talented performer who seems to be growing in confidence. I still truly like this entry, but I wonder what could have been.
Robyn: “Requiem” is exactly the sort of song that ends up in the French singles chart — and all going well, it will appeal to more than just French listeners. But as much as I enjoy listening to it, it’s just not especially memorable. I struggle to recall its chorus in either language. “Requiem” has an enjoyably breezy style, but I’d love something a bit more substantial.
Padraig: Indila might have ruled herself out of Eurovision long ago, but, by sending Alma, France are giving us the next best thing. Like her compatriot, Alma weaves a pop spell that, while breezy, leaves a lasting impression. There’s a lightness of touch that allows her to swerve effortlessly from the foreboding instrumental intro to the uplifting English-language chorus. Despite lacking the instant appeal of “J’ai cherché”, France should still expect a respectable result. Essentially, whereas requiem is traditionally a word associated with death, “Requiem” gives me life.
Deban: “Requiem” is light, breezy, and packs a surprising punch. Alma’s vocal delivery is effortless. Distinctly French yet so relatable, France is proving yet again that it’s taking Eurovision seriously. Clearly the strongest of the Big 5, and perhaps one of the most commercial entries this year, “Requiem” is the love song that deserves to peak in the top ten.
William: Intoxicating from the first note until the last, “Requiem” is high art with a pop sensibility. Alma’s breathy vocals ooze sweetness and light, yet have a sexy edge that sets tongues wagging. The philosophical lyrics accept that life is fleeting, but recognise that love and its memory live on — encouraging us to make the most of the time we share: “Tonight I’m finally not afraid, I know that I will still love you when the world is turning no more.” And I, Alma, will still love you and your song.
Antony: France is definitely heading in the right direction at Eurovision with another quality song. The rhythm in undeniably French and Alma has a gentle voice that makes the song quite catchy and pleasant. The music video is captivating and if it can be remotely replicated on stage in Kyiv, it will serve the country well this year.
Forrest: “Requiem” is remarkable in that it manages to be both dramatic while retaining an almost summery feel. The revamp did well to add a bit of weight with some heavier strings, but the song remains light, fresh with a wonderful feel-good vibe. The offbeat instrumentation can be a bit jarring at first, but “Requiem” quickly develops a rhythm of its own, and Alma’s vocals wind through the track as elegantly as the music video’s dancers up the side of Parisian buildings. This simply oozes class and will undoubtedly provide France with another strong showing in Kyiv.
In our Wiwi Jury, we have 38 jurors but only room for eight 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 6 and a high of 10.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 7.92/10
What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!