Yesterday the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — travelled to Belarus, where we stopped by the historic Nesvizh Castle. Deep within its dungeons we discussed IVAN‘s song “Help You Fly”. Did his song make us feel ready for take-off? Or did we want to run away? Read on to find out!
Ivan – “Help You Fly”
“Help You Fly” reviews
William: You could be forgiven for mistaking the howling wolf in the intro for a constipated singer. IVAN has the kernel of a good song here, but he never pushes it out. After the first chorus you’ve gotten everything you’re going to get. IVAN better hope the EBU lets him appear naked and with his wolves. The potential of them taking a bite out of his manhood is the only thing that could possibly make me pay attention to this in Stockholm.
Angus: I was always #TeamJacob, so the promise of lycanthropy should enthral me but IVAN still isn’t winning me over. The screens are straight out of a 2008 Black Eyed Peas video, the vocal and lyrics sound like a bad Kevin Rudolf song and that falsetto note teetering on the brink of meltdown. “Help You Fly” isn’t a bad song, but it isn’t spectacular either.
Padraig: At the risk of sounding like a broken record, IVAN is a poor man’s Nickelback. And no one likes Nickelback, at least not openly. Nonetheless, the band were confusingly popular about ten years ago, so I can see why IVAN has some appeal. In fact, as the Eurovision season has progressed, I’ve developed a grudging appreciation for “Help You Fly”. The heavy use of synth distinguishes it from other rock entries and it’s polished up nicely in the revamp. I’m still a long way from calling myself a fan, but it’s better than “Cheesecake”.
Bernardo: At the time of the Belarussian national selection I really hated this entry. A few months later, my feelings towards it are the same. I struggle to make a connection with his voice and the message of the song itself. The falsetto is really impressive but that’s about all that caught my attention in three minutes. Probably half a point is a very harsh judgment but in comparison with other entries, this appears as one of my least favourites. I don’t predict a bright future for IVAN in Eurovision, but the staging in Stockholm may elevate this a bit.
Chris: Lord help me, I used to think this song was good. Maybe, in essence, “Help You Fly” is a good song, but the huge elephant in the room is IVAN himself. With all these stories of staging gimmicks, it’s clear that the Belarussian team are trying to do as much to distract from IVAN’s vocal troubles as possible. The high notes at the end of the song really are excruciating. There’s some promise in that song, but unless IVAN’s improved massively, I can’t see this qualifying – no matter what gimmicks it has.
Bogdan: “Help You Fly” is one of those songs with good verses but disappointing choruses. Moreover, it reeks of mothballs, despite the modern production and revamp. The lyrics are tedious. Even IVAN’s vocals are jarring, nobody sings like that anymore — thankfully. No, I’m afraid it’s not my cup of tea, and the cardigan isn’t doing IVAN any favours either. (Although please, do put something on!)
Deban: This song is all about letting go. Taking these wise words into account, I found myself forgiving its shortcomings on first listen. Instead, I took a liberal approach to appreciating music. “Help You Fly” underscored that moment, and at its peak, I soared! The revamp grafts the original composition with ritualistic energy and wild nature sounds. Sounding primal at times, ” Help You Fly” bears echoes of ’80s rock, but its moral tale is timeless.
Liam: I’m fairly indifferent about this song. There’s nothing wrong with it, however it lacks substance and is overshadowed by entries that are simply more memorable. That’s the case with a lot of Belarusian entries, and this one doesn’t break that pattern.
Sinan: I like the chorus, but that’s all. I don’t think this song will qualify to the final in Stockholm. Last year’s song was better than this.
Luis: “Help You Fly” basically passes unnoticed. While it’s not exactly bad, there is nothing about this song that makes it worth having two performances at Eurovision. Which is a pity, because IVAN really feels what he is singing, and he’s overall a competent performer, if we except the shout in the end, which I found a bit cringy. Unless Belarus manages to throw a “wow” performance, this will not help them reach the final.
Maria: IVAN can hold a note really well and shows it off in “Help You Fly”, he can gaze head-on for the camera pretty well too, and went along with the decision to be filmed naked with wolves. I get that he’s serious as a competitor, but it’s just a shame that other than a catchy chorus, the song is fairly average. I’d like to see Belarus qualify this year. It’ll really boil down to how memorable the performance will be amongst the others.
Robyn: “Help You Fly” is a decent pop-rock track but it gives me a very strong feeling of Eurovision 2012 and I’m not sure I’m ready to feel nostalgic for four years ago. As experienced as IVAN is, he and Belarus will really need to lift their game beyond the “Heroes”-inspired wardrobe and black and cyan graphics (and by that I don’t mean a naked IVAN and real wolves). There’s a lot of potential here and I’m hopeful that Belarus will realise it.
In the Wiwi Jury we have 40 jurors but only have room for 12 reviews. The remaining 28 scores are below.
William C: 3/10
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 0.5 and a high of 8.5.