Svala Paper

Earlier today, the Wiwi Jury – our in-house panel of music unprofessionals – gathered in Reykjavik, where we gorged on hrútspungar, before discussing the contestants participating in Söngvakeppnin 2017, the national selection for Iceland at Eurovision 2017. Today we turn our attention to Svala Björgvinsdóttir and her song “Paper”. Will she make the cut?

Svala Björgvinsdóttir – “Paper”

About Svala Björgvinsdóttir

Svala composed the “The Wiggle Wiggle Song”, which made the Icelandic semi-final in 2008, and was performed by Haffi Haff. Although it didn’t make the finals, the song was a major hit in Iceland and is an evergreen for Icelandic fans. Svala fronts the band Steed Lord, a well known band in America and Iceland, and is currently a coach on The Voice: Ísland.

“Paper” reviews

Robyn: Svala brings the drama! “Paper” has R&B sass mixed with a minimalist electro production. The verses are inviting, but the chorus really explodes in the right way. It feels like modern Iceland, cool and self-assured. Svala is a fashion designer, which suggests she’ll bring a strong aesthetic to the live performance. “Paper” is shaping up to be the song to beat.

Score: 8/10

Jason: “Paper” sounds like it has been cut and printed specifically for Eurovision. However, I felt the same about “Hear Them Calling” and “Unbroken”, and they didn’t exactly end well for Iceland, did they? Whatever happens, I still love the 80s/Bonnie McKee vibe that Svala gives off. “Paper” brings drama, and Eurovision needs drama. Also, I can totally relate to Svala, as I too sometimes feel like paper.

Score: 9.5/10

Chris: The second the chorus hit, I did a little fist pump. The clash of Svala’s light vocals with the electro drama in the chorus is sublime. “Paper” does not disappoint, even if the lyrics do make me feel a little like I’m in an arts and crafts class. The English version is also clearly superior here.

Score: 8/10

William: Plan rhymes with man rhymes with understand — that’s cute. But it doesn’t help this live up to all the pre-contest hype. Yes, there’s sleek Nordic production and Svala’s voice works perfectly for the electro-ballad genre. But ultimately this is boring and monotonous, and more background music than main event.

Score: 5/10

Sami: When I think of Iceland, I think of this kind of music. “Paper” has a very strong chorus, great production and Svala really owns the song. I prefer the Icelandic version over the English one. On the English version Svala comes off slightly aggressive, while when singing in her native language she sounds more confident.

Score: 8/10

Kristin: I am prepared to buy myself a hat and eat it if Svala doesn’t represent us in Kyiv. “Paper” is THE song to beat this year. Strong, catchy and modern without being cliché, it’s fab and Svala herself is the epitome of cool. I’ve been waiting since 2008 to see her give Söngvakeppnin another try and I even put her on my Wishlist from last year. The time has finally come for Svala. Of that I am certain.

Score: 9/10

Matt: This sheet of paper has got the vocals going on, but it is filled with blanks and doesn’t meet my expectations. It is quite forgettable and doesn’t have the right elements to make it a worthy Icelandic entry.

Score: 4/10

Dayana: Svala definitely stands out from all of the other entries. First of all, her voice sounds totally unique to me and it is the first thing that grabbed my attention. A touch of electro makes the song more interesting and spellbinding, but not as much as desired. P.S. Paaaaaper got stuck in my head.

Score: 7.5/10

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:

Antranig: 10/10

Bernardo: 6/10

Deban: 8/10

Florian: 9.5/10

Forrest: 6/10

Jordi: 8.5/10

Josh: 7.5/10

Luis: 8/10

Mikhail: 8/10

Patrick: 8/10

Sinan: 8.5/10

Steinunn: 9/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 4 and a high of 10.

Wiwi Jury Verdict: 7.89/10

SEE THE FULL LIST OF SÖNGVAKEPPNIN 2017 RANKINGS HERE

READ MORE ICELAND EUROVISION NEWS

15 Comments
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Thomas Vogt
Thomas Vogt
3 years ago

For me this song is perfection! Female singer with an electronic hit is pretty much my preferred kind of Eurovision entry, so for me this gets full marks ???? I can understand some of the criticism – but when I’m thinking of the performance on stage, I’m not thinking ‘Unbroken’, I’m thinking Aminata. I think it also has a bit of a Rykka vibe too which might sound a bit worrying, however I think Svala’s amazing vocals, edginess and also great staging will elevate this to be a definite qualifier! Please choose Svala, Iceland ? P.s William – 5/10?! Sort… Read more »

AngieP
AngieP
3 years ago

Maybe it’s my favourite song in the Icelandic NF!
But it’s tough to be in the 1st semi, whatever happens!

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
3 years ago

Maybe I’m being a bit harsh, but this song seems paper thin to me. [You knew that was coming. Here come some more puns…] If this were in my songwriting portfolio, I would consider “tearing it up” and starting again. The song shouldn’t just be “filed away” because you think it’s sufficient – expand on the melodies a bit more, write down a few more interesting lyrics, change up the tempo and the arrangement… there is still time before the March 12 deadline. It also feels a bit “recycled” to me – okay, so it might be environmentally-friendly, but is… Read more »

Leo M
Leo M
3 years ago

This is proabbly the best song Iceland have but we already have so many songs like this in the first semi-final, it would just blend in with the crowd. If Hear them Calling can’t reach the final, then I don’t have high hopes for Iceland this year

#Sorry
#Sorry
3 years ago

This reminds of “Unbroken”. That’s not a good sign.

Ilja
Ilja
3 years ago

She’s not the lead singer of Steed Lord anymore. Her new band is called Blissful.

Polegend Godgarina
Polegend Godgarina
3 years ago

I agree with William, it’s a very regular pop song. That type of song people enjoy but won’t vote for because there’s always something more impressive. Sure, in this weak Icelandic selection it does stand out.

beccaboo1212
3 years ago

Svala has GOT to win! Who knows? She might record a bilingual version of “Ég Veit Það”, with the last chorus in English! 🙂

KYLLITO
KYLLITO
3 years ago

I am with @Paul, although not willing to bet a tenner, but it is a very strong song. This could be a wonderful moment in the SF/Finals. I loved UNBROKEN from 2015 although it was a bit hard to listen to the live version. And Greta Salome’s performance was really distracting with her dodging all of the birds. If Svala is a fashion designer, seems like it would be a given that her staging is great, thus further elevating the song. This would be one that I would look forward to seeing. Good Luck Svala!

Marc
Marc
3 years ago

Typical entry that is always overrated by fans.
This will not appeal to ordinary people for sure (play it to your friends or family and you’ll see the reaction).
It’s boring and predictable. Specially the” Paaaaaaaaaapeeeeeeer”, such a great melody and composition here hahhah. Even it sounds exactly as “Uuunbroooooookeeeeen”. XD
I hope Icelandincs will go for something different (with some melody in it) after two non-qualification. They have a good selection.

Cambell Grace
Cambell Grace
3 years ago

@Paul

Wouldn’t go as far as saying Iceland would win with “Paper”, but it’s their best song in the selection. After last year though, unsure if it would be a qualifying song for them though.

Paul
Paul
3 years ago

“Paper” made me put a tenner on Iceland to win the whole thing

Rich
Rich
3 years ago

I am liking the live acoustic session.

“Paper” is already stuck like glue in my head.

I would be happy to see this talented singer go to Kiev.

(J)ESC Fanatic
(J)ESC Fanatic
3 years ago

It does sound a little ordinary and I’m not sure how she would do at Eurovision, but I like it, it sounds well produced. She is 4th in my top.

7.5/10

Colin
Colin
3 years ago

Great song indeed! I am glad one of the top Icelandic entries got a deservingly high score. My top favorites are Aron Brink and Rakel/Arnar duo, but I love Svala’s song too and would gladly put her high on my list.