The Wiwi Jury—our in-house panel of music unprofessionals—were tearing up some pickled herring this morning. That’s because we were in Finland reviewing Hukka ja Mama‘s #umk14 song “Selja”. That means “Elder” in Finnish. Did the number leave us feeling old and decrepit? Or did it leave us tapping our feet like we were some hot young things? Read on to find out…
Angus: The popularity of guitars in UMK this year means eventually a string has to snap and with Hukka all my strings pinged off one after another. I normally like folk and country but this is just middling. Nothing happens for 3 minutes except Hukka sings in tune and we all fall asleep. Definite toilet break material.
Bogdan: “Selja” might sound better for Finns because of the words. As pretty as the language sounds, the fact that the rest of Europe does not speak it means that it would miss out on an important quality of the song. Unfortunately, the folk tune, although alert, is rather uneventful and merely serves as a bed for words. Which, again, fall flat on my ears. I highly appreciate the use of the native tongue in Eurovision, but in such case the melody should be stronger.
Deban: Beth Ditto has a Finnish twin, and she is the female lead singer of Hukka Ja Mama band. Selja is a playful pop tune. The band’s energy is alive and the musical efforts of the instrumentalists gets its much-deserved spotlight. I like this song. It kept me intrigued for three minutes. I wish it ended on a high note though.
Katie: Although the singer looks slightly scary, her voice is as timid as a mouse and is drowned out by the band behind her throughout the whole song. This being said, the song does have quite a nice tune. I can’t imagine it would appeal to many people in Copenhagen considering country never does brilliantly and it would have the great Ilse De Lange and Waylon from The Netherlands to compete with.
Padraig: I’m a right sucker for a good dose of Scandi folk pop. And based on the success of NONONO and Of Monsters and Men it would seem so are a lot of other people. But whereas both those acts make me want to rack up the volume and jump around the room like a mad man, Hukka ja Mama leave me feeling indifferent. They have all the necessary elements – lead female singer, backing male vocalist, instruments… but there’s something crucial missing. It’s like when you’re expecting wine but someone gives you grape juice instead.
Sami: I love Martina (“Mama”) as a singer a lot and I think she should sing the whole song on her own. The dueting part is not that good in my opinion. The Finnish language sounds beautiful in this song and they use it well, even if some of the words don’t fit the melody that well. I don’t think it would have a chance on the ESC stage, but I like it as a song a lot.
Wiwi: This song showcases the beauty of the Finnish language. I imagine that the lead singer would do rather well in a spoken word contest. Unfortunately UMK is all about the music. This is nice, but forgettable. I’d happily play this in the background during dinner, but I’d be focused on my smoked herring. To go to Eurovision you need to be the main course. This is just a nice canape.
The Wiwi Jury Verdict: 5.42/10
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