Despite not denting the European charts since “Fairytale” won the Eurovision Song Contest back in 2009, Alexander Rybak remains a big deal, particularly in his home territory Norway. So we weren’t surprised to see the ladies screaming when he unveiled his latest track “What I Long For” on NRK’s “The Hit” on 10 October. We just wish we could share their excitement.

Norwegian singer-songwriter Elisabet Mjanger penned the song with Rybak in mind. It attempts to re-create the highs of “Fairytale”, but does so in a way that reads as repetition. Rybak’s fiddle, which stood out as distinctive back in 2009, feels more rusty in 2014. Five years on his hairstyle and colour pallet remain the same as well. It appears that although the world has moved on, Rybak remains frozen in time.

“What I Long For” epitomises what no one wants. It’s a pop tune that feeds on the nostalgia of a one-hit wonder. Yes, “Fairytale”‘s record for the highest tally of votes at the Eurovision Song Contest remains unbeatable. But that was then. “What I long For” is now.

Rating: 2/5

 Alexander Rybak at Eurovision 2009

 

WHAT I LONG FOR LYRICS — Alexander Rybak

This is what I long for more in life, that’s what you bring.
Passion, full compassion. You’re the one who takes me in.
I’m jumping around. Diving in. Coming around.

Closer, so much closer to the place I’m longing for.
Heated, no more coldness. Sun is shining, there is more.
I’m jumping around. Diving in. Coming around.
I’m holding on. Heart is heart together.
Love within, brightening all the darkness.
And I realize: You’re the one that fills my day with joy and relief.
Makes me whole. You’re all I see. Yes, I believe.
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Melissa J
6 years ago

I actually really like this song. Upbeat and a little jazzy, it’s a nice complement to other songs Alexander has released recently. It’s not everyone’s thing, I’ll give you that, and Eurovision blogs tend to be pretty harsh towards Alexander I’ve noticed. But in my opinion, I love his music and the work that he does. It’s different from what is the norm these days and it features the violin!

Hebbuzz
Hebbuzz
6 years ago

I prefer Ryak while playing his violin over his voice.
This song though I like. I think the composer could be very satisfied with this interpretation of her song.

HKD
HKD
6 years ago

I really like this. It’s simple, catchy and has his trademark violin sound. He’s made some good pop songs since Fairytale and this is another.
So what it may not be the most original or “hip” tune out there? From a Eurovision perspective that’s hardly pre-requisite for most songs!

Alex
Alex
6 years ago

No need to write reviews like Pitchfork. Just focus on the music by itself rather than getting caught on the surrounding time period or commonality with past discography. It seems like everybody expects songwriters to hop on the dubstep/electro bandwagon nowadays and get that “new” sound, but why can’t artists just stick with a more traditional sound if they want to? I like the verses a lot. The chorus is a bit unremarkable on its own, but taken together with the whole tune, it’s definitely a grower. He -is- evolving as a songwriter, with a more poppy tone than he… Read more »

Anna
Anna
6 years ago

I totally agree with positive comments about Alexander here. I love the violin sound in his songs. This versatile artist should never resign from that, no matter if it’s in pop, jazz or other genre. It’s one of the things which makes him unique not rusty or frozen. Besides I like his hairstyle. Why should he change something what is very cool?

Zander
Zander
6 years ago

I quote this ” It appears that although the world has moved on, Rybak remains frozen in time.” A person doesn’t need to be somebody else but be himself/herself and so that’s Alexander’s personality is. You must not ask a person to change just for your satisfaction but have a satisfaction for who a person is. And I think you’re the one who doesn’t move on and froze in time because your review centered in comparing Alexander “Fairytale”. Among ESC winners Alexander is one most active in all field of music works and a note worthy artist not just a… Read more »

Jason Ranford
Jason Ranford
6 years ago

I quite like it. I wouldn’t say it reminds me of Fairytale apart from the obvious fact that it is Alexander Rybak performing it who has a very distinctive voice and trademark violin. Good luck to him and the songwriter. I’d like to hear more from him.

Ranting Ruby
Ranting Ruby
6 years ago

What’s so bad about the song? OR Alexander? They’re both great – love it!

Marianne Saietz
Marianne Saietz
6 years ago

@nancyp please, dont make me laugh! You would love Alexander to put the fiddle down for a couple of years? Do you know anything about this artist at all? He is a VIOLINIST, for Gods sake. Trained and educated since he was 5 years old. This is his instrument so yes, everything he does includes the violin, on which he masters all genres from difficult classical pieces to pop-music. If you dont like his violin-play, I think you better find yourself other artists to follow.

Rasa
Rasa
6 years ago

Wonderful song! I love it! <3

Moi
Moi
6 years ago

The song is very catchy and very good! You can hear his nice voice and understand it is him. That is what is common with fairytale. Love it!

Bogdan Honciuc
6 years ago

I actually agree with Deban. I like the jazzy sound of the violin solo, but that’s about it. The rest is a pale copy of “Fairytale”, which is a pity. Performed by anyone else, this would have been dubbed plagiarism. Performed by Rybak himself, it’s a déjà vu.

Marijke
Marijke
6 years ago

The song is so catchy. Love it!
Frozen in time? Alexander Rybak? Alexander has never sit still. He is a versatile musician, working on so many projects. Making lovely music all the time.
One of his projects is a wonderful music-video for Dreamworks. Enjoy!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DiVWvrt6jKw

Ana
Ana
6 years ago

I think it’s a good song, maybe the lyrics are not genius, but it’s an amateur composer who made it, it’s normal!! Composing is like this, always doing better…

nancyp
nancyp
6 years ago

@marianne: i can’t speak for maxine, but i can speak for myself: this song sounds really 1980s cruise ship. i’d love it if alexander put the fiddle down for a few years. the fiddle sound just makes all his songs sound the same

danka
danka
6 years ago

I just wonder why do you use “we” and “no one wants”, stuff like that. You write your own opinion and you have full right to do it. Just, do not generalize, I do not think THAT can be your right, okay ? 😉 I wish you all the fun and joy with artists and music close to your heart and soul, honestly! Just, accept my right to have all this with Alexander´s music (or music performed by him) … and his violin … and hair 😀

Vladimir
Vladimir
6 years ago

A quite cynical review, I’d say. Alex Rybak has composed and performed many songs completely different from “Fairytale” and has really shown versatility and talent. The fact that the review article doesn’t know that shows that he/she hasn’t been following at all what Rybak has been doing. He is not only big in Scandinavia, but also in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Baltics…

Marianne Saietz
Marianne Saietz
6 years ago

Maxine, just curious: Why is the song BAD? Is it the lyrics, the music, the performance, the rhythm or something else? Have you played the video and listened to it or did you just read the review here and decided to agree?

Maxine
Maxine
6 years ago

Lisbeth–learn to accept not everyone shares your opinion. This song is BAD BAD BAD

Lisbeth Dalby
Lisbeth Dalby
6 years ago

It seems to me, your review tells more about you than about this eminent artist..
He performed a catchy, pop/jazzy song in a brilliant way in my opinion. But some people (who have not explored his versatile music after ESC 2009) will always attach him to Fairytale. And that’s sad, because he has so much more to show for! In all genres. But he still performs Fairytale at concerts – because audiences all over the world want him to 🙂

Marianne Saietz
Marianne Saietz
6 years ago

There is nothing wrong in being critical – if you know, what you are talking about! Those who might wish to learn more about Alexander Rybak and all the VERY different things, he has been doing since 2009 and his ESC-victory, will find lots of information here http://www.alexanderrybak.com/

Jamaraqueer
Jamaraqueer
6 years ago

Alex is talented but I agree with Nancy. This is same old, same old. Zzz zzzzz

Mary-Ann Hansson
Mary-Ann Hansson
6 years ago

It’s unbelieveable everyone still compares everything Alexander Rybak has done with Fairytale. If you bother to do some research you will learn he has done so much more than that. I wonder who is “frozen in time” here…

Marianne Saietz
Marianne Saietz
6 years ago

I disagree completely. The song is catchy, jazzy and joyful and it has nothing to do with Fairytale. Rybak has the same hair-style as 5 years ago, but who hasn´t – and is that a crime? The review gives an impression of a reviewer, who decided what to think, even before he listened to the song – if he listened to the song at all. The song is not written by Rybak. The point of The Hit is, that amateur songwriters compete in getting their songs chosen and interpreted by wellknown artists. Therefore, Elisabet Mjanger could not have written her… Read more »

nancyp
nancyp
6 years ago

the song is fine, BUT WE HAVE HEARD IT ALL BEFORE from him. he needs to team up with a vici and sort his sh*t out!

Dar
Dar
6 years ago

i taught this was good . enjoyable and had a nice rhythm ..