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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 4 and a high of 10.