Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and you can’t deny that Margaret Berger’s ‘I Feed You My Love’ bears striking similarities to Maria Haukaas Storeng’s ‘Hold On Be Strong.’ There’s the obvious stuff – they’re both female solo singers, both offering slightly speedier-than-normal-ballads and both delivering terrific Top 5 finishes for Oslo. But beneath that level they’re both vocally on point, both are commanding and both convey the same message: reassurance.
For Maria, it’s about clarifying that there’s someone out there for everyone. You can’t lose faith or give up, in love or in life – you have to keep on trying and make sure that you get there. It’s a sweet message, although looking at her enviable curves you have to think that Maria hasn’t been alone that often in her life. Margaret’s reassurance is altogether darker and laid over a dirty electro-production. You push Maggie hard and she’ll come back at you. You try to hem her in and she’ll burst out and put you back in your place. This is a bitch you don’t mess with in the green room peeps, and it’s a value she wants to instill in everyone. Not much dents this lady’s outer armour and she wants you all to be strong enough to face the world.
It’s a vocal victory all around. Maria nails the theatrical qualities of ‘Hold On Be Strong’, and sells her brand of reassurance with aplomb. She even crowbars in a few sultrier notes to jazz things up. At times she oozes real old school glamour in the song, navigating a lethal minefield of cheese to deliver a fairly serious, yet equally empowering anthem. It’s also fairly hard not to give yourself over to the simple but memorable choreography, all that twirling and swaying just bends over backwards to achieve audience participation. Who can resist that rhythm?
Margaret on the other hand doesn’t deliver a few sultry notes. This song is all sex y’all. For a start she’s got the drop on Maria’s conservative dress with a tight-fitting, stark body-con number that screams sex appeal and shirks 50s glamour for 80s dance-floor diva. Aided by the immediacy of her song’s dark mystique, Margaret doesn’t have to resort to choreography to elevate the song’s impact, peppering her performance with a few well-moulded hand movements and commanding camera contact. ‘I Feed You My Love’ isn’t vying for attention, it commands it. It’s pretty hard to miss the dress, amazing strobe light intro at the beginning and that ominous, building beat, like a far-off thunderstorm drawing ever closer.
‘Hold On Be Strong’ is a fabulous song, confidently delivered and styled out by Maria, as though she’s a 50s club circuit singer, offering a power-house vocal and oozing retro glam. Unfortunately ‘I Feed You My Love’ blows the good ship Maria out of the water. It’s impossible not to be mesmerised by Margaret when she’s on stage. That dress. Those strobes. And the song. My goodness the song! It’s just such a left-field play for Eurovision. The neo-noir lyrics and production are phenomenal and deliver the powerhouse punch that Margaret needs to knock Maria out of this match resoundingly.
Tenacious as you might be Maria, there’s no way you’re holding on and being strong through Margaret’s all out audacity assault.
What do you all think? Are you willing to chow down on Margaret’s love? Are you holding strong for Maria? Vote in our poll below and then let us know your thoughts!