Earlier today the Wiwi Jury—our in-house panel of music un-professionals—headed to Amsterdam to buy some wooden shoes and to review Anouk’s Eurovision 2013 song “Birds”. Did her song fly into our hearts? Or was it more like one of those pigeons that drops an unwanted surprise on your shoulder? Read on to find out…
Bogdan: When I reviewed Norway’s entry, saying that it doesn’t get any better than this, I hadn’t listened to Anouk’s song. “Birds” is, unquestionably, one of the best things to come out of Eurovision in recent memory. Even if it doesn’t win, frankly I do not care. I am happy to have been introduced to a rare Eurovision song that surpasses its condition. “Birds” is not only a wondrous melody, it’s not just gorgeous lyrics, it’s poetry; it’s art in one of its purest forms. I only hope that Anouk will also be in top form at Eurovision and that she will blow everyone away with a fittingly memorable live performance of her killer song.
Vebooboo: The Netherlands has some of the funniest people. Unfortunately the Netherlands has also turned Eurovision into a huge joke over the past years, and as a result has become a laughing stock within the ESC community. Until now. Anouk is a big name, and she is also a big drama queen. Both of those are things that we at wiwibloggs love. I was a bit surprised to hear such a slow melody from punk-rocker chick Anouk, but it works. While France’s diva song is my favourite, I think this will do better. The melody naturally stands out and that’s what Eurovision is all about. With a good start position and a bit of luck in terms of the number of female ballad singers that make it to the Final, this could actually win.
Wiwi: This song is sophisticated and meaningful, and Anouk has some of the strongest vocals in the contest. I know I’m supposed to love it and orgasm when she comes on stage, but I’m just not that turned on. The dreary mood reads as suicidal, even if the lyrics speak to self-empowerment and the right to be yourself. Staging will be crucial. If Anouk brings something pared down and dramatic it could elevate the song. If it’s as rubbish as her preview video above, Ima ask for a refund. Anouk has the name and the voice. I just wish she had brought a song more aligned with her rocker roots. (Update: I just watched her first rehearsal and she is amazing. Love the staging. And now I love the song. Pass the towel as I might have that orgasm now!)
HK Dick: I grew up during the era of Stock, Aitken and Waterman but loved Bananarama, Rick Astley and Sonia. People mocked me for my cheesy musical taste. I started to listen and appreciate more “grown up” music yet knew my heart was back on the dance floor with Kylie and co. That’s also my story with the Netherlands. I love cheesy Holland. I love Glennis, Edsilia, De Toppers and Joan Franka though they have had as much success at Eurovision as the Reynolds Girls in the global pop market. So it’s time for the Dutch to grow up and send something far more sophisticated, and that song is “Birds”. It has a sound befitting of a Hitchcock movie. Surely this time the Netherlands will qualify (if not it’s time to give up), and if they do they will probably continue to be more serious for years to come yet my heart will always have a yearning for a little “Sha-La-Lie”.
Alexander: In stark contrast to previous years, the Dutch entry is one of the favorites to win this year. I have to admit that I think the hype around “Birds” is a little undeserved. Is this a strong composition? Yes. Are the lyrics poetic? Yes. Is Anouk an amazing singer? Yes. Is this a masterpiece that should win Eurovision? Well, not really, in my opinion. This is by no means anything original–just watch any black-and-white movie from before 1950 and you’ll hear something similar to this. It’s also extremely old-fashioned, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The jury will definitely rank this high. If it wins though, I think Eurovision will lose some of the mainstream appeal that “Euphoria” brought it.
Mr Häggkvist: “Birds” is so beautiful. It brings a new kind of melody to Eurovision, though I’m not surprised. After the release of her single “Stardust” back in December, I knew her Eurovision entry was going to be this type of song—very Adele, Lana del Rey. Of course, a song can be amazing, but if the staging sucks, I don’t think people will remember anything about the song. And the Dutch broadcaster hasn’t released a proper video or a decent live performance, so I’m kinda disappointed that we have 38 great videos, and then Anouk singing in a radio show. This is not 1964, and one of the main parts of Eurovision are the visuals. “Birds” is good but, not amazing. Anouk believes in the power of her song. I hope she can convince us next week.
Deban: When Anouk was asked to rescue her country from the doldrums of poor ratings and miserable failure at the Eurovision Song Contest, she said yes—on the condition that she could do it her way. She influenced the revision of the EBU rules, reworked a gem in her archive and will be using it as the vehicle for her 9th upcoming album, Sad Singalong Songs.
Clever move! The Netherlands has failed to advance to the final for 8 consecutive years, and if Anouk, their biggest star, cannot break this losing streak, I doubt anyone ever will. “Birds” is one of the most hotly anticipated entries this year, and it holds up to the hype. Anouk oozes film star persona, and pure sophistication in her vocal delivery. The dreamy nuances on the track nod to the vintage quality that shapes today’s emerging pop stars like Lana Del Rey, Bat For Lashes, Lykke Li , and Anthony and The Johnsons. Anouk is not disposable. She is an artist with integrity, credibility, versatility and sustainability. “Birds” is possibly the most well-crafted entry in this year’s contest, and it deserves a place in The Top 5.
Wiwi Jury Verdict: 8.36/10
Wiwi Jury Final Ranking: #1 out of 39 contestants