G’day Australia! The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — heads down under. After exploring the laneways in Melbourne, we gathered at a cafe and discussed Australia’s entry for Eurovision 2017, Isaiah with “Don’t Come Easy”. Did we take to the song with ease? Or was it a little more difficult to take? Read on to find out!
Isaiah – “Don’t Come Easy”
17-year-old Isaiah Firebrace came to fame in Australia as the winner of the 2016 series of The X Factor. Late last year he released his debut single “It’s Gotta Be You”, which has enjoyed chart success in Europe, including Gold certification in Sweden. Isaiah was internally selected by broadcaster SBS. His song is written by “Sound of Silence” composers DNA.
“Don’t Come Easy” reviews
Forrest: Isaiah joins the illustrious and successful list of Australian Eurovision entries with what is arguably the country’s strongest song to date. “Don’t Come Easy” is not a high energy track, but it burns with drama and intrigue and envelops the listener in its deep, piano-driven melody. Isaiah’s vocals build beautifully with the instrumentation. Admittedly, it seems slightly disingenuous for a 17 year old to be singing about “being burned too many times” in love, but Isaiah’s voice possesses such richness and maturity that it doesn’t matter.
Jason: Isaiah has the unenviable task of following the incomparable Dami Im, whose vocals annihilated the competition last year. “Don’t Come Easy” is a brooding ballad that smoulders beautifully, but ultimately lacks a spark. Australia always delivers on staging and this year will surely be no exception. This may be the first Australian entry to place outside of the top five, but is definitely amongst the best.
Deban: “Don’t Come Easy” is an emotive ballad that tries to deliver range midway, but then holds itself back from slaying. Although the production attempts to move this MOR track into 2017, Firebrace’s age remains the most youthful element in this package. However, hearing this on repeat leaves me limp. Why? It holds no spark.
Chris: Australia’s third entry comes with perhaps less of the gravitas of their previous two. Being under the radar might not be a bad thing for Isaiah though: less pressure on such a young singer can only help. His deep but smooth vocals are charming and he sells the song well. As it is, the song just feels a little too flat — but like Dami last year, his live performance may be where Isaiah turns into a threat.
Josh: Three cheers for my home gurl! It was always going to be a tough gig following Dami’s vocal annihilation in Stockholm last year, but thankfully Isaiah is able to hold his own and will undoubtedly do Australia proud in Kyiv. Isaiah’s voice is silky smooth, and is definitely giving of some serious Sam Smith vibes. This entry exudes quality, expensiveness and memorability. And I’m confident Australia could go three from three top-five finishes with Isaiah.
Robyn: “Don’t Come Easy” is a serious ballad that not many 17-year-olds could handle. But Isaiah can do it. He infuses the song with soul and delivers the grown-up themes of the lyrics with sincerity. The song’s production adds an electronic edge to the classic R&B ballad style, making it much more enjoyable than a lot of other ballads in the show this year. All that’s left is to see what Australia will do with the staging.
William: Australia has quickly established itself as one of my favourite countries at Eurovision. They consistently deliver the performer and the song. Unfortunately this year the song doesn’t quite reach the heights of the singer. Despite its smooth sound and polished finish, “Don’t Come Easy” doesn’t come easy — it plods along and has a drowsy quality despite Isaiah’s undeniable power and soul. The bridge brings the life I crave, but by then I’m already asleep. Thankfully Australia gets staging and will likely elevate this live.
Angus: People draw comparisons to Adele and Sam Smith as though that’s a bad thing. Wake up people, soulful balladry is huge and Australia has nailed it this year. Dami towered last year in her own way and this soars too. Isaiah’s vocal command is impressive. Admittedly we could do without all that finger-wagging in the music video, but Australia have a knack for turning things out on stage at Eurovision, and this should repeat the success they’ve seen the past two years.
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 3.5 and a high of 9.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 6.61/10
What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!
This song is a sleeping pill. Or a pee break
Really love this song. Isaiah has a powerful voice, looks good and deserves to do well. My favourite entry this year.
Really love this song. Isaiah has a powerful voice, looks good and deserves to do well. Definitely my favourite this year.
I am a sucker for this kind of ballads, so I have to like this… It reminds me of Adele, great vocals, a very slick production, and I particularly like the very slow start, the build up and then the polished finish. What puts me off is that the whole act doesn’t sounds genuine to me somehow. It seems to be manufactured in the candy song factory and given to the brightest wunderkind to sing, even if the lyrics are way too “advanced” in age for him. Nevertheless, for me it stands out this year, but I don’t think it… Read more »
This has grown to be my favorite Australian entry of their three efforts to date and much better than SOS to me. It could pass by without much impact at first, but the prodution values are arresting, the instrumental hook after the first chorus is rich and calling, his voice lends itself well to the song, albeit if there’s a dissonance between his look and age and the song, way more than Blanche’s or Kristian’s. It might be Australia aiming towards another safe bet, but this time it’s a strong bet regardless. that should pass by the final and even… Read more »
For me it is quite boring. The saving grace is good production and nice beats. 01 | 02 Norway | 03 | 04 United Kingdom | 05 Austria 06 Albania | 07 | 08 Bulgaria | 09 | 10 11 Serbia | 12 Sweden | 13 | 14 Denmark | 15 Moldova 16 Poland | 17 Portugal | 18 Latvia | 19 Cyprus | 20 Iceland *21 Azerbaijan* | *22 Australia* | 23 Greece | 24 Czechia | 25 Armenia 26 Netherlands | 27 Belarus | 28 Ireland | 29 Finland | 30 31 | 32 | 33 Montenegro |… Read more »
My favourite ballad of the year (only slightly behind Finland) and favourite Australian? entry. His voice is great (very Sam Smith), the song is great, all we’re missing is the staging, which I’m sure will be good at the least. I can’t help comparing it to Bulgaria: two similar songs in a similar style and genre, sung by two singers who share a lot of similarities; and Australia always wins that “fight” imo. Isaiah has the advantage of looking a bit older than 17, so I think the dissonance about him singing such a mature song is not so big… Read more »
His voices elevates the song, but besides that it’s just a regular ballad. The lyrics are very simple (I don’t want to say “cheesy”).
I hope the juries won’t fall in love with just because it’s Australia.
Australia knows how to make good music!This is a good production, a contemporary sound and a great voice! Isaiah definetely CAN SING!
I have to admit I had high expectations from Australia! I expected sth extrordinary! However, this is not bad at all! It’s a good song, probably the best male ballad together with Bulgaria!
I don’t believe it will have the same success as Dami Im, but I’m confident they will invest on the staging and we’ll see sth beautiful! This is going to qualify!
I like it!
I’ll give it a 7.5!
Nice ballad, sung well, but that’s it and I agree with Deban – I don’t feel any spark and I just think he doesn’t sing it with passion, I hope live will lift this up, but as it is I give it a 5/10 the same as Slovenia’s and Malta’s ballad, which give me some emotion, but are not as good produced.
Ireland send a ballad and they trying to relive their glory days, and they receive a really low score. But Australia send practically the same song and its cutting edge! Just because it’s Australia!
If any other country sent this (apart from maybe other ESC countries that can do no wrong, Norway,Sweden, Russia, Ukraine) it would be slated and called dull and boring, but this is Australia, how foolish of me not to notice, THEY CAN DO NO WRONG!! I’m sick of them being overhyped.
Honey don’t be so delusional. ….there is literally no comparison between this and Ireland’s song!
Musical tastes are a personal choice, you may think I’m delusional however I personally see little to no difference between both songs. Australia, Portugal (in a different language of course), and Ireland all sound almost the exact same, yet the Wiwi jury verdict has oceans between all 3
Maybe Australia is the better of the two, but realistically if you like one, you would like the other and the in a ranking, they wouldn’t be so far apart.
Australia could send a donkey with leprosy to Eurovision and everyone would still put it in the top 10.
Um no, if you like one you definitely don’t have to like the other. They are all ballads, yes, but they are NOT the same thing.
I love Isaiah’s voice and his song is vastly different from Brendan’s song.
and Portugal….is on a completely different level of both of the songs.
What you’re saying is just like me saying Sweden and Montenegro are the same song cuz they’re both pretty much pop songs about sex but they are not even close to the same.
This song has grown soo much on me.. At first, I didn’t like it. It was just a typical ballad for me. I was really disappointed with Australia, especially after sending Dami Im, last year. But, I have to say that Isaiah’s voice is nearly perfect. Considering the fact that he is not even 18, but nevertheless is so much into this game, is just beautiful. The last chorus/part of the song is great, and I already can imagine, how he will deliver that strenght of the song with his talented voice. So glad Australia is taking this serious, every… Read more »
Very nice song, well produced, again serious and respectable entry from Australia and his voice is AMAZING, especially for 17 year old. Talking about this same genre, this is the only serious competitor to Kristian in my opinion. The only thing which I don’t like is lyrics, it seems that they only serve to show his voice, not emotionally ”connected” with the song. But, I didn’t see him live, so I can’t say nothing more about performance, and would like to see Australia more involved in pre-parties and promotions this year.. I will wait to see performance, for now my… Read more »
Australia have never sent a bad song to any of these contests. Isaiah is no exception. Where my doubts lie for this is the delivery – on paper this seems like a good choice (X Factor Winner with a ballad) but it just doesn’t live up to past entries although there are redeeming qualities such as his voice. This is quite difficult to stage and has quite a bad draw – they could just miss the mark this year. I’m 50% sure that Australia will not qualify with televoters as the novelty of them participating is wearing off. The juries… Read more »
i think the song is pretty solid. he just need to sing the hell out of it during his live performance and he will rank pretty well.
A little bit of coaching from his XFactor mentor Adam Lambert wouldn’t hurt.
This is first song I really liked from Aus. Comforts everything I need from good ballad yet served in neat production that goes very easy with song, vocals and with my regular playlist. Isaiah vocals are on point, albeit I’m not sure if the same will happen live, giving his age. It’s interesting that even if he may not be connected with what’s said in song, but the voice and laid back singing disguises it for me every time. Probably my most played song from contest… Prediction: top10 at best. It’s not impactful and I can’t imagine visuals that may… Read more »
I lile this one! Dami’s song last year was so generic it left me as cold as ice, but Isaiah really does it for me. His voice reminds me of Sam Smith a little bit (and that’s a huge compliment, obviously) and I like how the song is more sober but still conveys emotions.
#8 in my ranking, and I think it should easily qualify given Australia’s appeal in the contest.
I wish our country would fully immerse in ESC: we’re in no pre-parties, we only send sony music artists- internally selected to SBS’s agenda so we don’t get a say. I wish Isaiah all the best but I’m afraid that since he forgot his words on both his X factor auditions he’ll at least be nervous in front of a live audience of 200 million. It seems we’re just like ‘oh Dami did well, let’s do the same thing but with the latest X factor winner this time’ and gave them the same song but with less impact.
Let’s hope so! Can’t wait to see him on stage 🙂
Also your points are 100% jury and no public voting at all :-/
My phone bill would beg to differ. THe aussie televote is pretty much just us Eurovision tragics though – who else would be up at 5am for it? 😉
Huh? No, we definitely vote. You can go have a look at how we voted on wikipedia haha
The best male voice by far this year.
Australia be a lot more dangerous than most people think. Even a surprise victory?
It’s a good modern ballad, nothing more to say. Juries will love it, televoters probably not.
I really like this, he has got a great voice and it is one of the strongest ballads this year. It is my second favourite in the contest this year behind Italy. However, I don’t think Australia will do as well as previous years but I do think it can creep into the top 10 in the final.
I can’t find major issues about this song. I really like it as a simple listener. Let’s see how it turns out live, if he can deliver it powerfully.
Maybe he was betrayed as a child by parents divorce, or worse (like in Kallay Saunders – Running), or maybe he was in love. How many times were you in love until the age of 17? And if is about ”sheets” it doesn’t mean it was with somebody older, maybe somebody of the same age. Teenagers have many feelings, but it seems that as soon as a person is not teenager anymore, suddenly forgets everything.
That’s a personal point of view, and that’s fine because everybody’s different.
My point was about child rights, not personal experience. If Isaiah was 18, there would be no issue. But because he’s 17, he is still a child and should have protected rights. He might have been in love and can sing about it, but he cannot be sexually objectified – this is where the grey area is. It is a matter of principal, not a matter of personal experience. I hope that makes sense.
The song is mostly based on a four-chord syncopated round, which forms the basis of every verse and chorus. There’s some variation during a middle-eight and some added definition afterwards, but that’s the only harmonic change throughout this song. The structure of this song is remarkably similar to Adele’s “Hello.” Isaiah himself is the main discussion point with this entry. He’s 17 years old, and has an incredibly strong voice, stretching into the high tenor range. What he does not have is decades of experience being “burned too many times to love easily,” and this is where this entry gets… Read more »
We agree on the lyrics issue. The song is quite nice, though. I am between giving it a 6 or 7, I’ll see till all is done. I agree that his vocal is amazing and that live will probably elevate it.
One more thing I forgot to mention is how come the worst music video comes from Australia? It’s literally only close-up shots of Isaiah’s face while he sings. So, live MUST elevate it.
I agree. Actually I think Australia are being clever with having the video stripped back; they are obviously saving their budget for a much bigger live performance. They should have waited until Isaiah was 18 though – it will get no votes from me, in principal.
One thing is having a stripped back video, but having THAT much close-ups is off-putting. If they just wanted to showcase his voice, they could have just done what Serbia did last year and have a HQ performance standing-in for a music video. If you are going to do a video, do something with it – A background story, show scenery or at least have your performer go on location. Just my taste, though, nobody has to agree.
By the way, tackling on the age issue, what do you think about contestants aged 16 and 17 being on the polls for ESC super-model? Shouldn’t that be about attractiveness? I mean, it only makes sense if some of the fans voting are also under 18. But, ultimately, ESC is about MUSIC, not looks, so even overtly-mature entries aren’t actually objecifying them in that way. However, most ‘Miss’ contests do, as 16 year-old girls are elligible to compete for the title of the most attractive woman and to wear bikinis in front of older men whose job is to rate… Read more »
Wiwi’s Top Model competition is an ongoing point of dispute that I have with William anyhow, for more reasons than just age. Why objectify musicians “for fun” when it is insulting, and why separate them by gender? – surely that’s sexism and bullying. To any reader: If you saw the disgusting comments about Claudia Faniello’s weight this year, you would boycott that “top model” contest, same as me. People under 18 have certain protected rights, according to the UN. Music doesn’t have to be objectifying, hence how entries like this year’s Belgium and Bulgaria come close to the line but… Read more »
Next Top Model should not exist at all.
Claudia Faniello was bulimic 6 years.
I believe that ‘Top Model’ is quite harmless in it’s idea, but I see it’s a platform many use to bully and insult others. I mean, what is wrong with Claudia’s weight? – She is beautiful. Don’t like her – don’t vote her, simple as that. That’s how it *should* be, but trolls love to hate on people. A feminist on You Tube said that ‘little objectification’ is perfectly normal and that we all do it in real life anyway, but it’s to the point where we are fully aware that the other person has their feelings, thoughts and is… Read more »
Interesting. Since I’m somewhat gender-neutral and bisexual, I suppose I don’t see the same definitions or attractions as you do. Everybody is human. 🙂
There’s a big difference legally between objectification of adults and that of children. On YouTube, someone commented on a Wiwibloggs video about Kristian Kostov’s sexuality – this got a backlash for many reasons, but mainly because he’s still a child. Laws and all that – y’all gotta be careful.
Thanks for sharing that, Purple Mask. You are quite brave to be able to share that, even if ESC community is on average very inclusive. I am a guy, but I do vote on both polls 🙂 And always for a person over 18, needless to say. I fully agree, contestants under 18 should only sing age-appropriate songs. I mean, Belgium’s song is also serious and heavy, but somehow it doesn’t mention sexuality at any time. It is still quite vague, unlike Australia who definitely mentions multiple heart-breaks. As for JESC, I watched it for the first time last year.… Read more »
Also, I believe that comments insulting a contestant, jury member or another poster should be deleted, along with the sexually explicit and exploitative ones. You may comment negative on a singer’s looks, as long as it includes only fashion, style and stuff that can be re-arranged. You may not insult someone’s race, height, weight, natural hair color, eye color or anything that makes then unique and is something they have no control over. That’s how moderators should do to promptly remove those who spread hate.
Indeed Colin. I absolutely agree. 🙂
Purple Mask’s concerns here about Isaiah, which are not without merit but certainly being very dramatically displayed, only appear to be contradicted by the way Purple Mask has followed and courted ‘Colin’ for many months on this blog. Frequent comments like “Indeed Colin. I absolutely agree” just look obsequious. It’s like watching a monkey try to groom another monkey, where the latter monkey is slightly oblivious to the intense devotion of the first.
@Leonidas: Haha! That’s hilarious! 😀 And completely unintentional. I was just returning Colin’s compliments from other threads.
As for being dramatic… indeed. It sometimes works.
“I was just returning Colin’s compliments”. So Colin was grooming you? It certainly didn’t look that way. For someone so concerned about ‘age appropristeness’. Actually I think the comments about Isiah are fair, because the lyric about sheets is weird coming from him, especially as these are words being put in to his mouth. On the flip side though, it’s probably quite hard to police music in this way because of course teenagers have an emotional capacity and desire to sing about love and express themselves. That’s why I’m concerned when people, like above, talk about his “mature-looking coat” or… Read more »
@Leonidas: You write very well. Perhaps it was a mistake for me to be so “absolutist” in my views on child rights when applied to the ESC and to the music industry as a whole. I acknowledge that.
However, paradoxically you have somewhat over-dramatised the dynamics between Colin and I on Wiwibloggs… I find that quite funny. 😀
I like being complimented by someone 🙂 I also really appreciate his reviews and I find myself agreeing with Purple Mask’s musical taste on many occasions. Even when we disagree, I find some merit in the way they explain the review through musical value. 🙂
PS. I am almost 30, so it’s a different subject than with Isaiah.
@Colin: Sorry, it seemed like you were saying you were 18, drawing on your personal experience.
And your writing style always made me think you were a younger person anyway.
Does this count as “fan fiction?” 😀
Look at the avatar, the are more than one Leonidas here.
Don’t feed the troll, is the person that steals names. I’m the first Leonidas, don’t answer to this name anymore.
For what purpose is this name deception? I don’t understand.
Lol!! I thought they were a couple based on the amount of Display of affection going on.
17 year olds aren’t children. They know all about sex and 17 is the average virginity loss age. So I don’t think that lyric is out of place or even “illegal” lmao
Only “borderline illegal” – I did write “borderline.” But yes, point taken. 🙂
Age of consent in Australia differs from state to state, but in his home state, New South Wales, it’s 16. So while it might be somewhat unseemly to be referring to sex, there’s no legal issue whatsoever. To be honest there wouldn’t be even if he was under 16, just a moral one – which I judge to not be relevant here personally, given he has full rights to in-the-sheets action 😛
Even from a studio version, it’s obvious that Isaiah has a great voice. It’s really powerful and controlled. The song is nice to listen to. The melody hardly does anything to establish the song as unique, but it’s quite pleasant. It’s the lyrics that are not fitting. If the song was sung by a 30 + singer (or even 25 +) these lyrics would fit quite nicely. Objectively, it’s a well written song. But having a 17 year old sing about how he had a broken heart “too many times to love easily” seems un-authentic. He sings it like he… Read more »
Last year I hated Dami’s video. She screamed and looked so cold, no smile, just a cold princess. But when she was in Sweden, we could see her real self and everybody liked her. I think will be even better with Isaiah. He will melt hearts in Kyiv with his shyness.
Hate my countries song. Hope we don’t qualify to show SBS how stupid they were for sending him.
Soo overrated….why always vote countries and not songs??
Australia above Albania and Denmark?Really?
Huh? If anything people DON’T vote for us because we are Australia… Many people vote against us in protest of us being in the show.
After Portugal’s review it’s impressive how the idiots Antranig, Sami and Tobias are still part of this fraudulent jury. Ask for resignation!
The wiwi jury is a joke.
This is far superior to Sound of Silence in my opinion. It’s so well written and the lyrics are relatable, even if you’ve never been in the situation described in the song. And for this to come out of someone who isn’t even an adult is amazing. I’ve seen the live performance and he’s really good live. I hope this qualify, it really deserves to.
A very decent modern ballad and a very strong performer. Should easily make it into the top 10 in the final. 8/10
This is so underrated! I’d honestly say that when we compare studio versions, I prefer this to Sound of Silence. I sometimes interpret the song as Isaiah rallying against the conservative Australian establishment over their failings when it comes to closing the gap between Indigenous Australia and the rest of society, rather than love.
8.5/10 at the very lowest.
Love this entry. This will be the dark horse.
Isaiah’s vocals are truly pitch-perfect, soulfully passionate, and definitely don’t “come cheap”; it’s the song that does.
Frankly speaking, there’s nothing technically wrong with Firebrace’s offering; it doesn’t have many flaws, but the one big flaw it has is staleness – The song feels like what you’ve heard a thousand times coming out of American pop charts; something that you’d be recommended on YouTube. If this was released outside of the Eurovision world, it’d do well enough. Unfortunately though, this song doesn’t hit any musical marks, and therefore; fails to impress me. Final rating : 5.8/10
Am surprised how much this has grown on me.
This is a much better song than they gave Dami last year and she came pretty close! If Isaiah can get half as much out of this live, Australia are going to do really well again.
Making a 17 year old sing “been burnt too many times to love easily” is cringe-inducing. Overall, a completely uneventful ballad that will be hard to stage. I find it impossible to make it interesting for now. It’s in my bottom 5.
How about if you were hurt deeply as a child by a person or people you loved and trusted. As you grow up you become conditioned to guard your love in any kind of relationship, for fear of being hurt again. Makes perfect sense to me because I’ve been there!
I agree, age is just a number. We don’t know a person’s story, no matter how young.
Has he, though? I think it’s too much. And if he wanted the song to be about that, he should’ve tried to equal Because of You by Kelly Clarkson.
No. I don’t want us to win. Last year almost gave me a heart attack. Nothing against Dami and Isaiah. They’re great vocalists. I just don’t want us to win.
Only part that I don’t like is the “It don’t come easy, and it don’t come CHEAP”. The word ‘cheap’ on the chorus of the song is just UGH
There’s nothing wrong with this – bad grammar aside – but there’s nothing *right* about it either.
If Australia is going to continue to participate in Eurovision, as I hope that Europe continues to welcome us, we need to move beyond the Sony deal and allow more public involvement in song selection. We might have done better, we might’ve done worse, but at least if we were to have a mid-tier song representing us it’d be our own fault. 6.5/10
10/10 for me. This song has been my favorite since it was released. <3