Early this morning the Wiwi Jury—our in-house panel of music unprofessionals—headed to Amsterdam to enjoy fried food served with cream. Then we sat down to review The Common Linnets’ Eurovision 2014 song “Calm After the Storm”. Did it induce relaxation and serenity? Or nausea and vomitting? Read on to find out.
Update: ‘Wait, did you guys really give “Calm After the Storm” 4.4/10?’
Yes, we sure did! Here’s some context.
The Wiwi Jury reviewed “Calm After the Storm” in early April 2014. At this stage, all we had to go by was the studio recording, the music video, and a couple of live acoustic performances. The Common Linnets performed the song competently, but there never seemed to be much chemistry between Ilse and Waylon.
Most importantly, there was no hint of the spine-tinglingly brilliant staging, incredible chemistry and electric atmosphere that the Netherlands were to bring to Copenhagen. And remember – they surprised everyone with this and their odds shot up only after the first semi-final.
The members of Team Wiwi who were on the ground in Copenhagen soon had their minds changed after seeing the rehearsals. William wrote: “I wasn’t a huge fan of this song until I saw Ilse and Waylon rehearse,” with even more positive comments after the second rehearsal.
This is all part of the magic of Eurovision. Sometimes a song that can seem really flat and ordinary in its studio version magically comes to life when it’s performed on stage at Eurovision.
The Wiwi Jury can’t predict the future (if we could, we’d have made some serious money from betting), and we’re never going to adjust the Wiwi Jury reviews and scores after the competition. The jury reviews are not intended as some sort of scientific prediction – it’s just how the Wiwi Jury members feel about a song at the time they listen to it.
So what do these reviews tell you? That in early April 2014 we weren’t so impressed by “Calm After the Storm”. But as you now know, we were very happy to have our minds changed.
Now let’s take a look at The Common Linnets’ incredible grand final performance, that earned the Netherlands a very well deserved second place. Goosebumps, y’all.
The Common Linnets – “Calm After the Storm”
“Calm After the Storm” reviews
Bogdan: I’m sorry, but I agree with drunk Anouk. Ilse has no personality. And Waylon is even worse, he’s like Ilse’s shadow, both as a voice on the song (you could barely hear him on the acoustic performance) and as a character. Plus, Waylon has said that he isn’t interested in winning, but just performing for a large audience. The song may be okay, but come on, the Netherlands deserves better than just okay. The Dutch deserve a winning entry, and “Calm After The Storm” is a big step back after the triumph that was “Birds”.
Wiwi: So I’m not familiar with meteorlogical patterns in the Netherlands. But where I come from storms knock down trees, blow out windows, and leave dogs soaking wet. And in the aftermath you can hear people rebuilidng their houses and dogs barking like mad. Unfortunately for Ilse and Waylon, the calm after their storm is more akin to the silence after a nuclear holocaust. There is no life at all. I appreciate the subtlety, the meloncholy, and the blending of their voices. But a song this calm makes me question whether they have a pulse, let alone any shot of making the final.
Angus: There was always going to be a breaking point in folk fever and The Common Linnets were the straw that broke my back. There’s a reason a song has never been written about the aftermath of the storm: nothing’s going on. Literally nothing – and that’s basically what happens for three minutes in the song. Someone murmurs and someone else clears their breath and then it’s over. Definite toilet break opportunity in Semi-Final 1.
Billy: “Calm After The Storm” is a lovely entry and quite slow, but it features beautiful music. The Dutch could work magic with this on stage and give a good song some great lift. Their voices work well together. I just wish the whole thing wasn’t so sleepy.
Deban: When two superstars team up to form a power duet, and then postpone the release of a three minute pop song for weeks, what do you get? Stratospheric expectations that only divinity can match. Bluegrass is good, but hues of it would have worked better. These two have taken me out of Denmark to the Deep South. The visual treatment exhibits strong veins of film noir, making it decidedly European. I’m sold on the sophistication and the artistry, but amid all of this, lies a hype that rings hollow. The Common Linnets in my view are the Emperor’s new clothes.
Padraig: Anouk’s successors were always going to have it tough. Not only did she restore Dutch pride in the contest, she also set the standard against which all their future acts will be judged. So it’s unsurprising that The Common Linnets’ effort has been met with varying degrees of shade. That’s a pity. “Calm After the Storm” may lack the pazzaz and bombast of some of the other numbers, but this is exactly what makes it special. In terms of both lyrics and music, it is probably one of the year’s most delicately intricate songs. And after an evening of madness and melodrama, I for one look forward to being enveloped in its blanket of tranquility .
Katie: The Common Linnets are definitely a sophisticated duo. Their country song with their black and white music video (not to mention Waylon’s hat!), but honestly we expected no less from these fabulous Dutchies since they were announced as this year’s representatives. There’s really not much to say about the song, and that’s what worries me. It’s all a bit too safe. Great voices of course, but I doubt such a mellow song would stand a chance next to the crazy Twin Twin and the unique Conchita, for example. It’s certainly not a boring song, but it’s an acquired taste and I can’t imagine it will go down well with the people who watch Eurovision for the sparkles and glitter. “The Calm After the Storm” could go two ways, it could bounce into the top 10 like Anouk’s “Birds” or it could become a forgotten toilet-break song that doesn’t make it past the semi finals, like Joan Franka’s “You and Me”.
Mike: The hardest thing about making your personal TOP37 or being on the Wiwi Jury is having a fair opinion about your own country’s song. But to be honest, the song is such a disappointment I can put all bias aside. When they start with their Oooooh you think it’s the moment the real song will start, but it never does. One tip for those countries who think sending artists who do great in their own country is the best idea: first pick the perfect Eurovision song, and after that a singer who can handle it!
Sami: So. Boring. I don’t see why anyone would vote for a song like this. It could be nice to listen to on a long car ride but for Eurovision, it’s one of those toilet break songs. I didn’t like Birds that much either, and this is just 10 times worse than that. I really think this won’t have any chance to reach the finals, even if they are professional singers and sound good together.
Vebooboo: Now resident in the Netherlands, I’m bound to be biased in favour of this tiny trading nation. But to be honest I cannot think of a more appropriate title for this song, because it is exactly that — an utterly boring calm after the storm that was Anouk’s “Birds”. I would write more, but I feel like I’d need something to react to…and to be honest, there ain’t much to grasp onto here. Quality vocals alone do not a winner make. Shame on you, Netherlands. Shame!
All 19 members of our jury rate each song. However, we only have room to share 10 written reviews. Here are the remaining nine scores.
James L: 5/10
Maxim Montana: 6/10
William C: 5.1/10
The highest and lowest scores are removed before calculating the final score. We have dropped a low of 2 and a high of 9.
The Wiwi Jury Verdict: 4.4/10
You can check out our latest Eurovision 2014 reviews and rankings on the Wiwi Jury page. You can keep up-to-date on the latest Eurovision news and gossip by following the team on Twitter @wiwibloggs and by liking our Facebook page.