Dia duit Éire! The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — has arrived in Dublin. After taking a walk along the River Liffey, we gathered to discuss Ireland’s entry in Eurovision 2017 — “Dying to Try” from Brendan Murray. Did we feel his effort? Or did we just want to die? Read on to find out!
Brendan Murray – “Dying to Try”
About Brendan Murray
Brendan Murray was a member of the Irish boy band HomeTown, who had two No.1 singles in Ireland before going on hiatus in 2016. Brendan was internally selected by broadcaster RTÉ and is mentored by HomeTown manager Louis Walsh, along with support from 1992 Eurovision winner Linda Martin.
Why advice has Louis given him, we asked when we caught up with him in Israel in April. “Take any opportunity you can get,” he says. “Keep grounded. Stay positive, and just sing the song.”
“Dying to Try” reviews
Deban: Brendan Murray’s endearing voice is traditional, yet contemporary. “Dying To Try” is a sweeping love song packed with a message of hope and the all-important key change. In its strength, there’s an underlying fragility which gives this package added meaning. Also, Brendan Murray’s soft intonation is an asset used well. Yes, it’s another ballad, but this one stands out for all the right reasons.
Padraig: “Dying To Try” stirs strong emotions within me. Not since Electro Velvet burst onto the scene with “Still In Love With You” have I hated a song with such visceral abandon. Everything about the package is wrong. The song itself is a big pile of syrupy gloop that’s way past its sell-by-date. And as for Brendan, I’m sure he’s a grand chap but his voice is very much an acquired taste. And it is most definitely not suited to this style of music. We’re promised great staging, but I remain unconvinced.
Robyn: Ireland and Portugal have both sent songs that are throwbacks to Eurovisions of yesteryear — the 1990s and 1950s, respectively. But while “Amar pelos dois” is sweet and sentimental, “Dying to Try” just comes across as a cynical attempt at a “Eurovision song”. Brendan is a lovely singer — and the song starts off nicely enough — but once the key change comes in, it becomes obvious that Ireland is clinging tightly to its glory years, refusing to acknowledge both the passing of time and sound of current Irish music.
Angus: The problem with hailing Louis Walsh as the saviour of Ireland at Eurovision is that his biggest hits were with 90s boybands. Which perhaps explains why Brendan Murray has been lumbered with such a clanger. Equal parts reality show winner single and boyband ballad, “Dying To Try” ends up offering Ireland by numbers: ballad, key change, competent vocal. And in a year where we have a sea of competent singers, singing ballads competently, Ireland are sunk.
Chris: “Dying to Try” is likely to be DOA in Kyiv. Brendan’s vocal may be sweet, but it’s featuring on a song that just isn’t right for Eurovision 2017. It sounds like a bad winner’s single from a talent show in the mid-noughties. Perhaps that’s where the Louis Walsh influence comes in to it. Something more in the line of Brendan’s old band HomeTown’s output would have been more suitable. As it is, the luck of the Irish seems to be fleeting once again.
William: “Dying to Try” plods through musical clichés, deliberately holding back in the hope of bringing it home when Brendan hits that high note. As nice as that moment is, it doesn’t justify the two minutes of mind-numbing boredom that precede it. The introduction of the gospel choir smacks of an X Factor winner’s single and Brendan’s high-pitched voice — while distinct and impressive — just doesn’t fit with this tune, which would better suit a gravely tenor. Earnest delivery and sweet sentiments are nice, but this fails to make a lasting impact.
Forrest: How kind of Ireland to provide an updated example of what a song sounds like when its “plodding.” Granted, after a few listens, “Dying to Try” is actually quite relaxing and, as I’ve discovered, a lovely palate cleanser between listening to far more interesting songs. Brendan’s voice is certainly the most interesting thing here, possessing a delicacy that is unique among this year’s artists. Its crispness lends itself nicely to the paired-back nature of the song, helping it to stand out from some of the heavier ballads in the competition. Nevertheless, this is not a strong showing from Ireland and is unlikely to break their run of three consecutive absences from the final.
Natalie: Thank God Ireland — we really needed a soft slow ballad at Eurovision this year! “Dying to Try” sounds a bit like the Irish efforts at Eurovision of late. Brendan Murray is for sure a passionate vocalist, and beautifully connects both the soft start and the strident end. And it’s a very nice, innocent song. But there’s just nothing more to this. There’s no sense at all that the Irish have gone out of their way to make their presence felt this year at all; it’s just another baseless entry with no memorability that isn’t going to do anything to get Ireland out of their 21st century rut. If it had a tin whistle in there, I’d be much happier – but it doesn’t.
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 1 and a high of 9.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 5.25/10
What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!