In just over five weeks, 43 acts will take to the stage at Altice Arena in Lisbon, Portugal. But only one act can win Eurovision 2018 and follow Salvador Sobral’s path to victory. The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — has been listening to, reviewing and ranking all 43 competing songs.
We kick off the Wiwi Jury 2018 with Denmark‘s Rasmussen and his Viking epic “Higher Ground”. Did we want to join him on his adventure? Read on to find out!
Rasmussen – “Higher Ground”
Antranig: I wasn’t keen on “Higher Ground” in the national final but in the aftermath of its victory, this has become my secret obsession and cemented a spot in my top ten. Clearly the best musical composition of Eurovision 2018 — the dark Viking influence is everything. Pump up the staging, make it a bit darker and more eclectic and you’re looking at the dark horse of Eurovision 2018. This will make a mark and leave it hanging there — it’s all kinds of amazing.
Bernardo: Bring on the Vikings! The mysterious instrumentation of “Higher Ground” paired with Rasmussen’s distinct look and vocals transports me from Earth to Westeros. Yes, it’s a bit cheesy but it also is different from everything we have in this year’s competition. Apart from it, it follows the usual Eurovision formula — verses, chorus, verses, chorus, key change, chorus, the end. It can go very well with televoters but it can also be obliviated.
Bogdan: When I heard Denmark’s song for Eurovision, my first thought was, “We have the first non-qualifier of the year.” I have been going back and forth on this thought, but eventually, after listening to all the other entries of semi-final two, I think that Rasmussen will stay there. The song does pick up in the last minute, serving some serious “Game of Thrones” realness (the snow is a nice touch), but it’s too little, too late.
Chris: The overwhelming issue with “Higher Ground” is its theme. Whilst the lyrics focus on the idea of the “pacifist Viking” legend, the staging seems to be going for stereotypical Viking motifs. It’s dark, they look moody and vaguely aggressive — it’s almost a direct contrast. The song reaches its crescendo too early as well. More frosty reception than stone-cold winner.
Jovana: I have a feeling that this song was written to appeal to the fans of Viking culture and of the very popular TV series “Vikings” – which includes me. I love the dramatic instrumental background and the dark edge that the song has, especially when the choir joins in. However, I am not a fan of the lyrics. They try to be inspiring and hymn-like, but they are just bland and destroy the atmosphere of the song.
Robyn: Vikings are cool and Rasmussen is delivering a modern Viking style. The strength of the song is in the vocal work, with Rasmussen’s band of backing singers delivering strength, depth and texture. The only problem is that the song sounds like a television theme song, designed to establish but never overshadow the show itself, the sort of song that would be at risk of the “SKIP INTRO” button on Netflix.
In the Wiwi Jury we have 20 jurors but only have room for six reviews. The remaining scores are below:
We have removed the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. This is to remove outliers and potential bias. We have removed a low of 3 and a high of 10.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 6.17/10
What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!
Didn’t care much for this when my country selected this but I’m ok with it now. I still dislike the hipster vibe of the styling but I see what they are doing. In my top 20.
I guess we stand out so we should make the final from the weaker semi final. And with a bit of luck do… middeling there?
This definitely isn’t what I was expecting from Denmark, but I would be lying if I said I was not pleasantly surprised by this song. It’s very cheesy and sentimental, but the strong chorus and viking theme are what keep it unique and exciting. The live performance is also very well executed and, in my opinion, better than the studio. Will it qualify? Not guaranteed, but I reckon it will.
IMAO, absolutely the best Nordic act this year. 10/10.
Good luck Denmark, from sweden!
Ni måste bara komma till final. Villken låt!
Clearly the best song in the Danish NF. However, the more I hear it the more annoyed I am. It feels dated to me now.
For me Starlight and Music for a road was better then Higher Ground. With Starlight they will be in TOP 5, with Music for a road they wili be in TOP 10, with this in final and in final from 11 to 16 place.
If this song was playing on the radio I would immediately switch off. It tries to be epic, but just drags along for 3 minutes. There’s nothing mysterious or particularly interesting here. PLUS the Viking theme doesn’t appeal to me at all. Sadly i know Denlark will qualify & will most likely finish in the TOP10.
My rating: (3/10)
God, this is full.
I absolutely love this song! It’s my number 1 this year and while I understand that it’s not the song for everyone, I’m simply blown away by vocals (not only by Rasmussen, but also his backing vocalists). Too bad I can’t vote for it in the semi-final 🙁
Overall, I like this song, but I wished it were even more “extreme” in what it tries to be (deeper sound, darker atmosphere etc.). It feels like the creators just didn’t dare to take the final step in creating an actual “folk metal”/”medieval folk rock” song so they ended up with something quite tame (which is also reflected in the lyrics). We’ve got quite a few “medieval sounding” music groups in Germany and they sound far more spectacular than this so I can’t help but drawing comparisons. It’s still an enjoyable entry. My personal ranking: 7.5/10 (20th overall) My prediction:… Read more »
One of my absolute favourites this year! 10/10
No, it’s not good at all.
It brings me back to everything that I used to love about Eurovision growing up. The real question is…has the contest moved slightly past these sort of entries? Musically, it is pretty flat, especially in the verses…and the chorus does not quite pop as it should. Rasmussen as a vocalist does not elevate the song, the big notes lack that power they need. The overall atmosphere of the song/staging is excellent and it is memorable. It should qualify and pick up some televote points in the final.
Lets be real , this song is lucky that its in a very weak semi , it will Q , but its hard to see it on the left side of tue scoreboard. Its a solid 15-20 place song in the final.
I understand. “Higher Ground” is a bit repetitive, yes. But just wait until we get to Australia’s song “We got love”. (We got love, we got love, we got love: we got loh-oh-ohhhhve!) 😀
My cousin likes it too.
Looks like I’ll have to pre-warn readers before I post Australia’s review: “Lovers of this song, don’t read this review.” 😛
Will wait if that mixture in pot will glow from toxicity 😀
Imagining a cover is not necessary. Here is one: https://youtu.be/CWB_2D6hpqk
The piano cover really made me respect much more the melody of the song. It’s hard to notice that when there’s so much going on. Including, of course, the chicken sounds.
I tried to watch it several times but that girl lying in a poodle put me offf!
Another awful one ….
Meh it’s ok. I don’t hate it. But, I struggle to get through the full 3 minutes.
In any case good luck Denmark!
Wow… So the WiWi Jury started the top43
with my #1 favorite! <3
Fantastic epic song!
Rasmussen can definitely claim Denmark's 4th victory in the EuroVision Song Contest!
10/10 ~ 1st/43
Shocked to read all these negative reviews & too low scores of the WB Juries!!!
Absolutely no way i was expecting these harsh undeserved reviews!
Here we go again Wiwi Jury! My second year at this:
The first thought it may lead to on first listening – Vikings, but I assure you, apart from the theme and visuals, there’s nothing else “nordic” about this song. It’s just a “feel-empowered” type of song that is supposed to keep your strands up. Perhaps its weakest point are the lyrics, which sound bland and over-repeated; and would probably fare much better in Danish. The music itself still holds some promise though, but it doesn’t quite hit the mark.
Final rating : 5.5/10
Feminism is not a political movement!!
And UK’s song is being interpreted by anti – brexit people as being about solidarity….. It’s not about immigration or even about brexit
ESC is already political.
Running order for the 2 semi-finals will be out on the 3rd of April. Lets see who Christer Björkman will favour this year. But to be honest, he has improved the running of the show, the diversity of the running order has been pretty consistent since he’s become in charge.
Not last year. That limbo between Croatia and UK was a big toilet break.
Overall though it’s a much-improved show than the years where we had ballad after ballad or uptempto numbers all congregated. Give Christer his due, I’m not a fan of his either but some things you have to acknowledge that he does right!
Where did you get that date from?
I think it will qualify, as semi 2 is relatively weak, but totally flop in the final. Juries will hardly vote for it (with the exception of Scandinavia and some other Western nations). Televotes will be better- some Game of Thrones/Vikings fans, underage ESC fans who passed their bedtime, Scandinavian brothers and possibly white supremacists will vote for it, and at the end it will narrowly beat the shouting exercise from Anja Niessen (and it should because Anja was grotesque). However wiwijury score of 6 sounds fair. I give it a 5.5, and I predict it will end up around… Read more »
guys croatia will be DQ for plagiarism.. we will have 42 countries
What are you going on about??? No news about that. I hope it’s not true.
check this song…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YeP3liZhoU it s already a scandal
Ouch! This song has 90% of the same instrumental. One of them is definitely a copy. But which one? If it’s Franka’s I am sad to admit it has to be disqualified. If it’s the other one, I hope they sue them for the last penny. Either way, someone is playing dirty. One production house, the other, or at least someone sold the rights to two of them. Someone is playing unfair!
To quote escJackMK on YouTube: “I think what’s happened is they’ve bought the backing track from someone who’s made it. But the man who made the track has sold it too many people.”
I loved this song right from the start. The first time I heard it I got goose bumps and was like ”Yes! This is a winner!” and that’s the way it is supposed to be. A song has to click with you right from the beginning and has to stay in your mind until the end. I think Music wise there are better Songs, but it doesn’t matter because Denmark delivers that Moment. The viking theme could be executed way better on stage and I think Rasmussen should give more power into his Performance, but the whole package and the… Read more »
I agree with you. Nice to see another 10 for this song. 🙂
Oh, I still have some 10/10s to give, I think you might agree on some of them aswell ^^
I can’t wait!!! 🙂 Yeah, I love this year too and gave 5 or 6 10s. Plus 4 or 5 9.5s. I think the best songs are really strong this year.
I agree. I have goosebumps everytime I listen to it! I don’t get how people think this is repetitive but at the same time like Sweden and/or Australia. The message is nice too, it isn’t generic.
Staging is good but I don’t personally get it. The vocals are good but they totally do not suit his look or the theme they’re trying to achieve. With good production in Lisbon this may qualify but won’t go too far in the final I’m afraid
For the song itself, it has got a great chorus but there’s not much else. I like the stage performance and I expect it to be pretty much a copy/paste job for Lisbon. Giving that it’s in the second semi, it will likely qualify but will be in the lower end of the table in the final.
Fine if it qualifies, fine if it doesn’t. Not a song I’d stick my neck out for, but it has grown on me a bit. Very vanilla, in spite of its intensity. I give it a 6.5/10.
This song is not particularly unpleasant. However, I can’t ignore its flaws. It’s very cliché and cheesy, especially the part after the chorus is cringe. Also, a different voice would fit more. He seems to be struggling with the high notes. Big off-grower for me and I can totally see why it was rejected in Sweden. With a very Viking-influenced performance it could stand out and manage to just qualify since Semi-Final 2 is weak. Still not decent though.
I honestly don’t know how I feel about this song. What I will say is this though, Kudos to Denmark for sending something that represents the history and culture of the region. Something that other countries, particularly the Scandinavian ones are shying away from.
Songwise, it’s not the best and I can help but think that this song would fit perfectly in a West End show about Vikings.
I think it would totally slay if it was sung in Danish though. 5.5/10
One of My Favorites from the beginning, its in My 11th spot Now. This is one If the many really originaliteit entries of SF 2 and I hope and think This Will qualify (save points from Norway and Sweden). He has a great style and performance and a fenominal song.
This songs is my one of the favorite!!!
Just don’t forget that the backings in MGP probably have been pre-recorded and that’s not the case at Eurovision. It might sound a bit different when we’re goig to hear it in lisbon
If the screeching vocalist from last year isn’t coming back, then it should work well I guess.
This is a good point, Christian. They need that choir effect harmonizing with Rasmussen to make the song work properly.
I’m completely indifferent about this song. If it qualifies, it will probably finish on the right hand side of the scoreboard. I also don’t think many juries will appreciate the whole viking theme they’ve got going.
No matter how people feel about this song, it’s going through to the finals. Not necessarily because Denmark is an unstoppable Eurovision powerhouse, but because the other songs are so weak. Moldova, San Marino, Georgia, Malta, Serbia, Montenegro, Poland, Slovenia. There, there are 8 songs weaker than Higher Ground that I can be pretty confident won’t make it to the final (except, maybe Poland) so Rasmussen would have to give an awful vocal performance
for Denmark to fail to make it.
Hmmm Denmark didn’t qualify in 2016 and their results are not so good all the time so….
They barely qualified last year
Denmark kind have taken a step back in terms of musical quality since they last won and hosted. Hosting ESC in Copenhagen in 2014 almost bankrupted the broadcaster and it’s obvious they don’t mind not winning for a bit again since as the quality of their songs has dropped a bit. Before Emmelie won in 2013, Denmark was always sending quality entries.
hei wiwi i wait your article about croatia song song plagiarism scandal https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YeP3liZhoU
For me 5/10. It’s a song that’s good in the moment however after its passed I forget that I’ve listened to it. Also, I like the viking theme it harks back to the old eurovision.
This, for some reason is my number 43. I just can’t stand it!
VERY GOOD DENMARK ON MY TOP 10.
When people try to predict the result a song can get on Eurovision, many times they fall on a trap by forgetting that most televoters probably will be listening to them for the first or second time. So it doesn’t help that much if a song grows after a while as it doesn’t hurt if it gets repectitive. I must say that “Higher Ground” has lost impact on me after listening to it for more than 5 times. So I try to go back and remember what I thought about it when I heard the studio version for the first… Read more »
Thank you for your elaborate review, Sabrina. 🙂 It was nice reading it.
A wonderful review. Thank you Sabrina. 🙂
Thank you Colin and Mask, you’re always very kind 🙂
I also agree that that was brilliant.
Thank you Nick! Let’s hope the next song reviewed is one of the many we agreed on haha
Similar to other ‘impact loss’ experiences this is what it could get in contest: fine in semi, midtable or bombed in final…
Over the recent years, Denmark has constantly disappointed me with boring, bland or just anonymous songs, and just seemed to never get it right. Then this year came and,while they came close of disappointing again with Anna Ritsmar, this song reigned supreme. I was in awe when this won, since Viking-themed pop is usually incredible and this is not an exception. Bold-sounding and bold-looking, not seen before, catchy and heavy with lore, Higher Ground is Denmark’s real return to ESC. The impression has withered a bit with me, but overall it’s the best Denmark has sent in a long time.… Read more »
And you really find dance you off not boring?
Wiwijury how many reviews are you gonna post per day ?? Just curious…
Juries will not like this but the televote will love this.
Just remember How this jury rated Portugal last year ??
Thanks Robyn, but I am still having technical problems when copying and pasting text to here from other sources. The website will let me paste pieces of the text through, but it seems to screen out some sections and I don’t know why. It’s most frustrating, and it seems to be happening really badly this year compared with previous years. I will do what I can to work around it, but this year you may find that my reviews arrive in pieces of different comments. Nothing I can do about that at this end. 🙁
I will try to convert the next review to plain text and see if that works. However, I also experience the same issues when typing directly into the comments box, and when typing from my phone, so I don’t think it is just a formatting issue alone.
This has happened to me a lot of times and I usually type my whole messages here on the comments. Sometimes I use Windows’ notepad, and the same happens. I really can’t see a pattern. I tried avoiding quotation marks, I tried avoiding using some words and not repeating them too often but I haven’t figured out what was going on.
Thank you Robyn! Good to know about the revamp, we can handle this for a little longer then. 🙂
Should qualify from Semi 2 with flying colors, but that’s not the biggest compliment. It’s a quality entry, no hate, just doesn’t do anything for me. 6/10 feels appropriate.
Lyrics comments: [These won’t paste in, and I don’t know why.] Basically, I find the lyrics to be outdated and silly, although technically sound.
Music mark: 7.5/10
Lyrics mark: 5/10
Overall mark: 12.5/20 = 62.5%
Or, if you want the same format of the overall score, it’s 6.25.
Or, if I want, I’ll imagine dedicated commenter making a love-pot for each song, where amount of it poured is measured in those whatever-you-choose points 🙂
Dunno where that feminine pre-bawdry came from, I used to be a grown ass man.
I mean, your elaborations and musician perspective is amusing, so maybe a link from some blog platform would be really more comforting? And gladly main link is allowed to be always presented in a nickname.
It just seems like technically site platform is a ‘stiff’ bloke.
That’s part of the “brand” though. 😉
A blog platform would help indeed, maybe for next season.
Music comments: The music is okay, and the arrangement of it is very good in places. I particularly like the strong bass line throughout, and the “tribal chanting” sound that happens every now and again. The melody of the song is pretty anthem-like, but it’s not quite stirring enough to get me standing up waving a flag to it. Bonus marks for the harmonic development towards the end, and especially for a wider-than-usual key change. The raise on the key to A minor lays down the challenge to the lead singer to hit those top notes, or else be made… Read more »
As expected, the reviews I wrote will not straight copy & past in here. I will do what I can to edit them down. If that doesn’t work, I will just have to start my own website. Sorry Wiwibloggs; you need a better comments section!
A final edit that works. (Hopefully…) Denmark – Rasmussen: “Higher Ground” Keys: F-sharp minor, A minor Time Sigs: 4/4 Song structure: Verse 1 – Short Instrumental – Chorus – Verse 2 – Chorus – Extension – Instrumental – Bridge [+ Key Change] – Reprise – Extension – Coda Harmony: Developments around the relative major of the two keys. Influences: Pop, Folk Music comments: The music is okay, and the arrangement of it is very good in places. I particularly like the strong bass line throughout, and the “tribal chanting” sound that happens every now and again. The melody of the… Read more »
I feel you Mask. I wrote many times about Piçarra’s song for Festival da Canção and I haven’t been able to post any of it. The worst thing is that we don’t know why this happens. I hope they can solve that for the next Eurovision season. This blog deserves a better comments section.
“Wiwibloggs, you need a better comments section!”
Honestly, your reviews make the comment section better. 🙂 (Of course, not in the technical way!) They make my unfulfilled dreams in musical theory feel a little more fulfilled. I quite enjoy reading them, it’s a nice diversion from all that nationalistic crap that seems to dominate the comments section lately.
7/10. Amongst the stronger ones in semi 2
I disagree with whoever wrote this will not qualify.
I gotta say that he is so lucky he is in SF2. If he were in SF1, I can almost positively say that We will not see Denmark in the final.
I enjoyed it when I’ve heard it for first time, but then picked up finessin soul-rnb by KARUI that got me struck by its studio quality.
Later on I’ve realised that positive content in this song (lyrics, thematic approach) is killed by bleak melody and lack of peak that alongside with song’s pace makes it too saccharine and monotonous. Perhaps edgier vocals are the ones that could enhance its punch.
Since it’s on your own to draw up evaluation criteria, this year I’m with 0-5-10 (simply, irritated-indifference-beloved) panel where I start from standart 5 then evalue on my own details I’ve noticed and impact that both serve or discard song quality and appeal to me. Found it playful since this is not really good year for me by songs and selections’ winners.
Thanks, that’s interesting. It might mean that if you get a lot of negative reactions from songs this year then your scores are going to be slightly lower than other’s averages. Colin below was talking about the “Gaussian curve”, and it will be fascinating to see how your approach will affect it. 🙂
That’s a cool subject about Colin’s mention of that line just from visual perspective. For me I guess line will generally coincide with preferences.