Gamarjoba! The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — have landed in Tbilisi where we’re currently downing gallons of delicious Georgian wine and tons of khachapuri, a traditional dish of cheese-filled bread. In between courses we’re also reviewing Tamara Gachechiladze and her Eurovision 2017 song “Keep the Faith”. Are we able to do that after hearing her ballad? Read on to find out.
Tamara Gachechiladze – “Keep the Faith”
About Tamara Gachechiladze
Tamara “Tako” Gachechiladze won Georgia’s national final in January, coming out tops in a field that included 25 songs spanning traditional folk, EDM and balladry. Tamara has had Eurovision in her sights for years, having competed at the Georgian national final in 2008 with the song “Me and My Funky” and again with Stephane & 3G, who were chosen to represent Georgia at Eurovision 2009 with “We Don’t Wanna Put In“, before it was disqualified for political content. Speaking to wiwibloggs in Israel in March, Tamara said she wasn’t particularly surprised to have won. Can she keep the momentum going at Eurovision?
“Keep the Faith” reviews
Chris: At the Georgian national final, Tamara heaped drama on top of a song already full of it with her staging. Since then, things have looked a little more casual — which is probably for the best. The song’s revamp hasn’t done much to change it, but perhaps it didn’t need too many tucks and tweaks: this is about Tamara’s message and her voice, after all. Nothing stunning, but Tamara has a good chance of deservedly reaching Saturday’s final.
Robyn: “Keep the Faith” seems written to hit very obvious emotional cues, with both the lyrics and the “James Bond meets gospel choir” sound. But as the song progresses, that’s all we’re left with: “Keep the faaaaaith” repeated ad nauseam over a variety of musical tricks. By the time the song ends with the big orchestral fart, my faith is well and truly lost.
Josh: One of the more dire entries in the contest this year. It’s a shame that during the Georgian national final they had to resort to such drastic imagery in an effort to get the message of the song across. It seemed in poor taste. Tamara has a great voice, and boy can she deliver the power. But without a memorable hook and — for now — some unsettling staging, I’m confident this will be staying in the semi-finals.
William: Don’t you let them steal your dreams, Tako! But please do recognise that this is better suited for the West End or Broadway than for Eurovision, where we frequently praise songs by saying, “Thank God it’s not another woman singing a ballad.” I cannot fault her vocally — she’s got it, she nails it, she sells it. I just cannot cope with this song, which makes me feel like I’ve survived a nuclear explosion — replete with horns and percussion.
Dayana: To be honest, this type of song only sounds good in the studio version — performances don’t usually capture everything. Tamara’s stage appearance is powerful and her vocals are on fire, but the ordinariness of the song worsens the quality of the whole entry.
Mikhail: It’s a passionate and powerful anthem, but it’s just not contemporary. But there is something I adore about this song — the last couple of notes and that epic ending. I don’t know why, but it makes me laugh. But not even that can save this song, which ultimately feels too Soviet.
Deban: The refrain that loops throughout the song is unforgettable and seems pertinent during these trying times. “Keep the Faith” highlights the need for personal strength, tenacity and perseverance. Tamara’s song may have been banned in 2009, but she’s bounced back this year with a more powerful message and added sophistication.
Sinan: The song is actually pretty nice but something is missing — even as Tamara totally kills it with her vocals. When I heard that Swedish composer Thomas G:son would revamp it, I thought he’d probably make it very cool but the result is something much truer to the original sound. This has a strong chance of advancing to the final.
In our Wiwi Jury, we have 38 jurors but only room for eight 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 0 and a high of 10.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 4.31/10
What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!