Earlier this week the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — headed north for Melodi Grand Prix 2016, Norway’s selection for Eurovision. Next song comes from Laila Samuels. What kind of aftertaste did her song “Afterglow” leave? Read our reviews to find out!
Laila Samuels – “Afterglow”
William: I like the chorus and it makes an impact — the first time around. But on repeat listen I get very bored very quickly. I’m not feeling the verses — she sounds Enya on barbiturates. She does loud and she does soft, but drama doesn’t come in two volumes alone. Ultimately I find the whole thing a tad forgettable.
Chris: Oh, I want to love this song so much and it’s just making it so difficult for me. “Afterglow” will need some killer staging for it to reach its peak, because somewhere in this song there’s greatness. Unfortunately, right now, it builds and builds to nothing. Laila’s voice is giving me life — please, NRK, make this work.
Robyn: I love the feeling of this song, the moody, folky feeling, an epic story told. But despite the theatricality, there’s no gripping sense of involvement. It makes me think of Iceland’s “Never Forget” — that song had the same epic Nordic feeling but it demanded the listener’s attention. “Afterglow” is strong, but it doesn’t know how to make the most of its strength.
Edd: Hello “A Monster Like Me” 2.0. Laila has a catchier melody and a more eery production than Deborah & Mørland, although she lacks the wow moment in the final chorus where all the production comes in. Conclusion: a good song that goes nowhere. If they want a safe result in May this would be a good bet, but Norway sending another ballad this year would just be a cop-out when they have such a fruitful line-up this year.
Antranig: There are so many similarities between “Icebreaker” and “Afterglow” but while “Icebreaker” is having an identity crisis, Laila knows exactly what “Afterglow” is and she owns it. This is dark, sexy and takes me on a journey for three minutes and it would have no trouble keeping Norway in the top 10 once again. I’m confident nobody can deliver Norway a better result than Laila.
Steinunn: I love this song. It’s not the best I’ve heard from Norway, but it sure is my favourite this year. It has all the elements of a good Norwegian song: an enchanting singer, a little bit of mystery, a bit of Scandinavian melancholia. I’m putting this on my playlist right now.
Renske: “Afterglow” is dark, mysterious and surprising. It wants you listen more and experience the afterglow. The chorus sounds confident, but after it’s repeated a few times it gets a bit predictable. If Laila can deliver a Margeret Berger performance, then this song will make waves.
Liam: The “A Monster Like Me” similarities are too obvious to handle, but it worked for Norway last year, so who’s to say that it won’t work this year? This is giving me Lana Del Rey vibes (I love Lana Del Rey). “Afterglow” is something I would add to my “Get ready to cry” playlist.
Sami: I have mixed feelings about this one. Laila has great voice, but it sounds little too produced in this song. The shouts in the background on the verses are very confusing and bit scary too. It’s a bit of a mess, but I don’t mind listening to it once or twice. It will obviously reach the superfinal, but there are few songs I would pick to represent Norway over this.
Deban: “Afterglow” has some great ideas but it needs more than three minutes to tell a story. The first minute, although dull in comparison, was necessary to build up to the grand flourishes at the end. Laila is a top class act, but she needs more room and creative freedom to make this entry more compelling.
In the Norwegian Wiwi Jury we have 25 jurors but only have room for 10 reviews. The remaining 15 scores are below!
William C: 9.5/10
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 4 and a high of 10.