Today the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — met up and rated the six songs of the first heat of Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu (UMK) 2016, Finland’s selection for Eurovision 2016. First up is Saara Aalto with “No Fear”. Did we love Saara’s new, oriental sound or run away in fear? Read to find out!
SAARA AALTO – “NO FEAR”
“No Fear” Reviews
Antranig: “No Fear” is edgy and anthemic and Saara Aalto brings the Bollywood realness to UMK16. This would be pure heaven on a Eurovision stage with some very similar choreography to the music video. “No Fear” is just about the best song in all national finals so far and if Finland want their best result since Lordi, they’ll be sending Saara to Stockholm.
William: If we could look inside Saara’s head, we’d see a battle unfolding between a Finnish pop diva and a schizophrenic belly dancer who got on the wrong flight from New Delhi. They’re both great on their own, but put them together for three minutes and it can’t end well. Throw in a producer obsessed with dance tracks and you get this disaster. Had Miss Aalto developed any of these ideas more fully this would feel cohesive. As for now it feels rather cut-and-paste.
Edd: A very promising, stripped-back start slowly boils up into a hot mess. Her voice sounds so cheap and vibrato when she sings “no fear” (about 700 times!), and her happy facial expressions/dancing looks so ridiculous against (what’s trying to be) a serious song. I love the sitar, but it just feels out of place when there’s no other attempt to make the song sound ethnic. Despite all that, it’s at least contemporary and memorable.
Sam: I normally love Saara Aalto (“You Had My Heart” is, in my opinion, a better breakup song than any junk Taylor Swift could put out), but this is just weak. I don’t understand what compels her to sing in this fluttery Snow White style, but I’d prefer her belting it out. Belting comes off much stronger and less nasally than what she’s doing now. It’s a certain qualifier due to the name recognition Saara has in Finland (she dubbed Anna in Frozen, after all), but “No Fear” has only a few redeeming qualities.
Luis: Indian sounds for Finland? Do I have to remind you how the Persian sounds ended for Norway? I’m concerned that this song can’t actually find its way: the mix of Indian and modern sounds is totally forced, like an amateurish mashup of random music, and Saara’s overly sweet voice ends up sounding like the dragons from the Simpsons’ episode where they visit China. Too much bad stuff in just three minutes.
Robyn: I like what’s going on here. Saara’s delicate voice is given the perfect setting – a quiet ballad opening with Orientalist styles slowly coming in before it erupts into a mighty chorus that she handles like pro. The music video suggests really strong staging – Saara and her Bollywood-influenced girl posse. If the impact can be carried to the live performance, this song could do good things for Finland.
Kristin: I’m torn with this one. On one hand I’m digging the wacky Bollywood sound and the beat, but on the other hand, Saara’s voice kind of irritates me. But something about this is haunting. However, I think that Saara will take this home without trouble, and if she delivers this on stage with energy and attitude, I’m more than willing to change my mind and up my score.
Sinan: Wow! What a great song “No Fear” is! I most like those parts where she sings ‘No feeeear’ and when the background sounds like an Indian melody.
Max: Ethereal and elegant whilst also being catchy, “No Fear” is a well-considered entry from Saara Aalto. Out of nowhere the song transforms into a dancefloor anthem, perfectly ripe for a high-energy dance routine on the Stockholm stage. I can see why some people find Saara’s vibrato on the title phrase slightly grating, but I think the strength of the song makes up for any annoying vocal quirks.
In the Finnish Wiwi Jury we have 17 jurors but only have room for 9 reviews. The remaining eight scores are below!
The highest and lowest scores are dropped prior to calculating the average score. This is to remove outliers and reduce potential bias. We have removed a low of 2 and a high of 10.
WIWI JURY SCORE: 7.3/10