Halló, velkomin til Reykjavíkur! With Söngvakeppnin 2017‘s first semi final just around the corner on February 25, the Wiwi Jury – our in-house panel of music unprofessionals – decided that it was time to give our expert opinions on all of the competing entries in Iceland‘s Eurovision selection.
So today we gathered at the Gulfoss waterfall on the Hvítá river in the southwest of the country. We could barely hear each other, but still we managed to discuss Linda Hartmanns and her entry “Obvious Love”. Was it a bit too obvious? Read on to find out…
Linda Hartmanns – “Obvious Love”
About Linda Hartmanns
On Twitter she describes herself as a singer/songwriter who has gone from “choir singing to a hip hop group to an all girl lesbian rock band.” The mother of three found time to write a song about obvious love, as well as competing on The Voice: Ísland.
“Obvious Love” reviews
Robyn: “Obvious Love” is the best ballad in Söngvakeppnin 2017. Linda has a versatile voice, effortlessly moving from delicate to strong. The strong has good progression, and the electronic edge saves it from sounding too traditional. But at the same time it feels formulaic, like a calculated Eurovision ballad. Weirdly, the song seems to suddenly end, making it sound like a longer song clumsily cut short for Eurovision.
Jason: “Obvious Love” is quite formulaic and well, obvious, in its approach. However, in this case, it is not necessarily a bad thing. This is like Eurovision ballad 101, but done very, very well. Linda’s voice is pure and strong, and she knows how to sweep us up and take us on a journey. With another singer, “Obvious Love” would not be as good. My only dislike is the super abrupt ending.
Chris: Linda’s voice is obviously the star for the majority of the song. She does just enough to get me to around 90 seconds in and then I’m ready to check out. The final chorus finally changes things up, but by then it’s practically just damage limitation. I think this is actually one of the songs that really would benefit from using the Icelandic version, simply to be “different”. Otherwise, it’s too obvious for its own good.
William: Another day, another woman in pain howling into a wind machine. We’ve heard it all before — and frankly we’ve heard better versions of it. Linda has a great voice — no doubt. But if you’re going to bring a ballad it needs to stand out. This just fades into the chorus of shouting starlets.
Kristin; This is such a nice song to listen to and Linda’s voice gives it just the right amount of feeling, without overdoing it. “Obvious Love” might not be the right choice though. I am fairly certain that 2017 will be the year of ballads with female vocalists, and this would probably get lost. But for a ballad maniac like myself, this ticks all the boxes. Beautiful, just beautiful. But not a winner.
Forrest: If 2017 is going to be a year of ballads, this is a solid example of how they should be done. “Obvious Love” almost seems to assemble itself in front of you, each verse and chorus building beautifully on what came before. Linda’s stunning vocals give the song a solid core from beginning to end. I do wish, however, that the finished product of the final crescendo was shown off for a bit longer, rather than ending in such an oddly abrupt fashion.
Dayana: The beginning of the song is really promising, but then it turns into a dull ballad. Thankfully Linda’s magical voice improves the overall impression and makes you want to listen to “Obvious Love” until the end. All in all, it’s a great entry for Söngvakeppnin, but not such a great entry for Eurovision.
Deban: Linda’s magical voice harbours a wide range of emotions. Her mature take on lost love is what elevates this from a clichéd Eurovision ballad into a richly textured pop number. Unfortunately, the abrupt ending robs all the aforementioned merits.
In our Söngvakeppnin 2017 Wiwi Jury, we have 20 jurors but only room for 8 reviews. The rest of our scores can be found below:
Before calculating the average score, the highest and lowest scores are dropped. This is to remove outliers and reduce potential bias. We have removed a low of 3.5 and a high of 8.5.
@Polegend Godgarina: One can sense the joy and excitement to hate on a ballad claiming it sounds like so many others just to prove the point that you can’t stand songs below the your hyperactive personal level … sadly you fail to listen how so many rubbish uptempo stuff sounds also all alike … but go down on the Ecstasy and the vodka because you are too driven by beats and not listening to anything whatsoever. Desperate for more Russian old grannies? Desperate for another operatic queer-wannabe to sing in falsetto dance crap dressed as a woman? Desperate for more… Read more »
Dana International won this in 1998 … but 19 years later fans still have a strong allergic issue with the word ballad that seems to be traumatizing … or are they in denial about maturing and enjoying music that goes beyond beats, dance routines, lack of vocal skills and pure bubblegum? Anyway … This is a nice ballad but … when there is someone named Norma John and a song called Blackbird exists, the whole meaning of melody, emotion and musical power regain a whole new meaning that more common ordinary Beyonce-esque ballads can’t even surpass. I expect something with… Read more »
Another round of reviewing the songs of a national selection!Thank you @William Lee Adams! Let’s go to Iceland! Some comments first: @Chris said in his review that this song can benefit from using the Icelandic version and I agree. It can make the difference among the other ballads and also have a good staging. @Kristin I am a ballad maniac too. Such an emotion in ballads. (or at least the good ones). Some comments on the song: It’s a classic ballad, beautiful voice, nice change of the beat. I don’t know, maybe it’ll be lost with the other ballads at… Read more »
The icelandic is full of good songs, and this one is no exception
@Polegend Godgarina – I believe the word ‘ripoff’ is used way too often. Yeah, there are similarities between ‘I’ll Be Gone’ and ‘Undo’, and the first one is possibly influenced by the second one. However, many songs (most, really), draw inspiration from somewhere. I’ll Be Gone doesn’t break the four cords rule. Besides, if I’d never heard Undo, I’d still love I’ll Be Gone as a separate song. How do you think that Georgia 2013 ‘tanked’ for being a ‘ripoff’? They DID reach finals, and that is a good result for everyone except The Big Five and the host. IMHO,… Read more »
Lol, this is actually my favorite in Iceland, although it’s probably not the right choice for Kyiv.
Obvious Love… Or Obvious Ballad?
Not bad, but so “obvious” for me.
Not my cup of tea.
I think it’s a very good ballad. Yes, generic, but I enjoy it, especially the verses.
By the way, “It’s My Life” was horrible in my opinion and the juries were right to put it so low.
@ Colin – people really thought It’s My Life wouldn’t be in the final in 2013? Lmao it came 1st in the semi’s televote! (As for Play, I was the only one saying it’d come dead last in the semi, I couldn’t believe the Eurofans loved it so much but I guess I got it right…) As for the Icelandic songs, I loveee Hypnotized. It’s the only song I’ve been listening to, but it also sounds like the typical song one will mess up at the Eurovision with a tragic performance, so I won’t get too hyped. I’ll Be Gone… Read more »
This is closer to the type of ballad I like to see at Eurovision, pretty nice but for that genre it’s not a standout performance.
Also on a unrelated note can someone explain to me why Crisalide is so loved it’s pretty nice but the key change seems jarring and ham-fisted
@Polegend Godgarina – I guess so 😉 For me, few of the songs are outstands (as in could win or end-up in top 5) – Again, Hypnotized, I’ll Be Gone, Get Back Home and Make Your Way Back Home. The rest are also quite nice. I am convinced that Iceland will send something *deserving* of finals. Note, neither of us is a clearvoyant, so we don’t know if a good song will get left behind (like Crisalide, Play or Same Heart) or a bad song ends-up in finals (e.i. Romania 2013 with It’s My Life). But yeah, tastes are different… Read more »
@ Colin – we’re never going to agree, are we? 😀
I’m convinced that whatever Iceland decides to send this year will stay in the semi, because there’s simply nothing outstanding (unless accompanied by a shocking performance). It’s just mostly harmless songs, as well as a few terrible ones with far too many tonight’s in their lyrics (hint hint).
Ohh we’ve started Iceland, I’m gonna have fun here 🙂
Obvious Love is nothing special, understanding the (basic) lyrics takes all the magic away. The Icelandic version of miles better – it has much more charm, and I can’t tell if the lyrics are tragic or not.
I’m SO IN LOVE with this song.
Well, we started reviewing Iceland! 😉 I thin that Songvakeppnin 2017 is so far the best national finals. I like all 12 songs. The ONLY finals in which I can say that whatever they send will be fine at least. Obvious Love may not be among my top favorites in the section, but it is good, so I am glad we are starting this on a good note.