Ciao, Italia! The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — has landed in Rome. After eating gelato in front of the Trevi Fountain, we slipped into our finest gladiator outfits and had a sword fight before sitting down to review Francesco Gabbani and his song “Occidentali’s Karma”. Did we dance along with him and his naked ape? Or did we call the zookeeper instead? Read on to find out..
Francesco Gabbani – “Occidentali’s Karma”
About Francesco Gabbani
Singer-songwriter Francesco Gabbani, 34, rose to fame last year after winning the newcomers’ section of Sanremo with the song “Amen”. This year he stepped it up and won the Sanremo Music Festival 2017 with the song “Occidentali’s Karma”, and subsequently agreed to represent Italy at Eurovision 2017. As a result, Italy has become the hot favourite to win the contest and “Occidentali’s Karma” looks like the song to beat in Kyiv. Discussing man’s progression from ape to Chanel shopper and the dumbing down of society through Internetology, the song has won plaudits for mixing contemporary sounds with a deep message. Speaking to us in April, Francesco said he was overwhelmed by the positive reaction from the crowd at the London Eurovision Party. “I am moved,” he said. “I didn’t expect such a warm welcome from fans. It was a beautiful evening”.
“Occidentali’s Karma” reviews
William: “Occidentali’s Karma” ticks so many boxes — I need several pens and one very large scroll to evaluate it. Contemporary yet somehow throwback, its digital opening gives way to an orchestral sound accented with drum and guitar. The chorus is an ear worm of the first order and, despite the explicit social critique, the song remains uplifting and radio-friendly. Perfectly pitched and delivered with unrivalled charisma, it’s a light song with a weighty message, and it speeds by in a whoosh of smiles and tapping feet. A deserving and likely winner.
Robyn: Every time I think I’m sick of this song, I watch it again and it always puts a smile on my face. It’s a really smart song, but it comes with feel-good joy. Francesco is a hugely likeable performer and I feel like half my points are going to his his smile alone. We know this song works perfectly on the relatively bare Sanremo stage, so it should have no trouble transitioning to Eurovision. And it’s about time Italy won Eurovision again.
Zakaria: “Occidentali’s Karma” is like nothing we’ve ever heard in the contest and Francesco is such a charismatic performer. The composition of the song is very subtle and clever, and the whole concept and stage presentation are pure genius. All in all, this song has all the right elements to make one of the best winners of Eurovision of this era.
Deban: “Occidentali’s Karma” stands tall partly because of its singalong appeal, and the gimmicks that help in binding it together. Although I like it, I’m not in love with it. Francesco Gabbani is a charismatic performer. His charms will appeal to girls, boys and their mamas too.
Bogdan: Rampantly Italian both musically and lyrically, “Occidentali’s Karma” is at the same time devilishly clever and catchy af. Like an art-house film that becomes a box office mega-success, Francesco’s song hits all the right notes. Aided by the singer’s irresistible charm and sex appeal — not to mention the breakdancing naked ape — Italy’s entry does look and sound like the song to beat.
Josh: I was immediately captivated by “Occidentali’s Karma”. The ape was an interesting addition, Francesco is a handsome man and it was a fun, feel-good song. All the criteria for a winner. It’s been some weeks since this won San Remo, and I’m a bit sick of hearing it now. However, the immediacy and the danceability of the song will do wonders for Italy in the final. This is the best chance Italy has to win this decade.
Chris: It’s very rare for a song like this to come along at Eurovision or in general. Every time that it comes on, it fills you with such joy. “Occidentali’s Karma” is remarkably clever when you look deeper at the lyrics, but it doesn’t require you to understand them to enjoy it. Francesco covers any vocal limitation with infectious enthusiasm. Any time I wonder if I rank or score it too high, the song comes on and I’m reminded why it’s there. Undoubtedly successful with or without the Eurovision win it deserves.
Antranig: Whether or not “Occidentali’s Karma” should win Eurovision is debatable. But what is clear is that this is the most memorable song of Eurovision 2017. The song is full of life, Francesco is full of energy and the ape stands out. This is a very clever entry by the Italians and it is poised to end their Eurovision drought. A shining light in a sea of ballads.
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 5 and a high of 10.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 8.96/10
What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!
Celebrate Italy in the song contest with a namaste gorilla shirt or phone cover, an “Occidentali’s Karma” naked ape shirt or double naked ape shirt with cartoon Francesco, or a “Celebrate Diversity” phone cover or t-shirt.