Our whistle stop tour of Ireland has ended. But before we left the Wiwi Jury – our in-house panel of music unprofessionals – had just enough time to hear Can-Linn & Kasey Smith’s trad infused Eurosong entry – “Heartbeat”. Were we dancing jigs ‘n’ reels or did we make a run for the hills? Read on to find out.
Padraig: When I asked Kasey about Can-Linn and their sound she described it as “modern urban style pop fused with traditional Irish elements”. That’s certainly different, but does it all work? I could nit-pick and criticise the lack of lyrical depth, but to be honest why bother? I’d much rather sing its praises, from the foreboding opening notes to the bodhrans and fiddles, the whole thing is fantastic. It maintains a unique sense of Irishness without falling victim to the “diddly-eye” clichés. And as for the vocals, well I don’t know how anyone can hear that last heartbeat and not feel the emotion. #YesWeCanLinn
Angus: Yuck. This song is literally painful to listen to. The production on the song is too heavy and the vocal is extremely distorted. There’s an effort to underscore it with some traditional Irish instruments through the chorus but it doesn’t come off at all. This is a poor effort and I don’t know why they’ve even bothered including it in Eurosong.
Katie: This one isn’t so bad. The singer isn’t the best in the world and the start of the song is a bit weird, but the chorus is quite good. It’s still nothing special though. They could do with cutting out the violin solo towards the end, as it does not blend well with the pop beat, and it’s nothing on Rybak.
Zach: I really like the eclectic vibe the song has due to the modern pop mixing with the traditional Irish folk in the background. I bobbed my head along to it, and I can remember it well after a listen or two. The only mark I have is for the vocals from Kasey. They sound like she’ll pull off the live performance, but they NEVER go anywhere, she’s kind of emotionless in her delivery. If she spices things up and adds some flare to her voice I see this being a really good Irish entry.
Patrick: Ladies and gentlemen – we have a winner. What a fantastic song – totally my favourite. Her voice is brilliant and the Irish influences make the song perfect. The traditional sound shows the heart and soul of Ireland. The beginning is really dark and demands for more. The chorus is a jam, which many people will remember. It will crash the public votes and I think the jury will love it too. If this wins the Irish National Final then Ireland could be back in the leader’s position. Well done!
Anthony: Out of the five Eurosong 2014 entries, this is probably the one I’d recommend to the Emerald Isle. And before it all starts kicking off, I understand the Eurovision fans’ comparisons between this and Emmelie de Forest’s “Only Teardrops”. But I can only hear a very minor similarity due to the use of traditional instruments (obviously minus the flute). Overall, “Heartbeat” is more of a pop song with a slight hint of folk thrown into the mix.
Sami: I like this so freaking much, but I think I may be disappointed after the Irish final. Sure the song mixes almost everything we’ve seen in past Eurovision successes, but I just can’t help loving it. I love the traditional Irish instruments, as well as Kasey’s lovely voice (although based on last year I’m not so sure how it will sound live). I’m certain it could do very well in Eurovision, but first I have to put my trust in the Irish public.
Deban: Kasey Smith tasted success as one fifth of the girl group, Wonderland, back in 2008. Despite releasing a top 10 album, Mercury Records dropped the group, and a series of pregnancies have prevented the group from re-forming on their own. Kasey went solo, and flourishes on this attempt. “Heartbeat” pushes her in a new direction. It’s punchy, dancey and current. I like the folky key change. This track pops the right fizz.
William C: This song is absolutely spectacular. It grabs you from the first moment you hear it, and gets your heart pumping. It has a nice beat, melody and vocal. However, we know from experience that this can change in the RTÉ Studio, which is quite worrying. I reckon this would make the top 5 if chosen for Copenhagen, so come on Ireland make the right choice. I will vote for this on the night and encourage y’all to do so too.
Wiwi Jury Verdict: 7.44/10
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Photos: Can-Linn & Kasey Smith