What’s this? “Hellfire”, Norma John’s long awaited follow-up single to “Blackbird”.
When did it drop? March, but we were a little distracted by national final season.
Tell us more: The title is somewhat of a misnomer. Because while “Hellfire” might sound dark and brooding, it’s actually a delightfully uplifting mid-tempo pop number. Co-written by Leena and Lasse, it cleverly subverts the traditional image of hell’s fires. Rather than torture, these flames light up the dark. However, they also keep the singer trapped. Thankfully, there’s a way out “Only you can set me free”.
This rousing anthem to love is completely unlike “Blackbird”, yet remains every bit as powerful. And it’s the perfect vehicle for Leena, showcasing her deliciously smooth vocals to brilliant effect. Hell never sounded so bright.
Norma John “Hellfire” (Official Audio)
And the music video? The single was initially released as audio only, and at this stage a music video seems increasingly unlikely. However, Leena and Lasse did perform it live during the pre-show for this year’s UMK final.
The pared back performance sees the duo dressed in casual attire as they sing before a number of leather couches and a collection of empty champagne flutes – in stark contrast to the OTT high jinks of the night’s leading lady, Saara Aalto.
Norma John “Hellfire” (Live at UMK 2018)
Norma John at Eurovision: Hotly tipped to take Finland back to the grand final after a two-year absence, Norma John just missed out in Kyiv. The pair — consisting of pianist Lasse Piirainen and vocalist Leena Tirronen – finished 12th in their semi-final, falling short of qualification by a mere 23 points.
However, “Blackbird” remained a firm fan favourite – the entry would have qualified if the power lay solely with the people. Here’s what our William had to say in the 2017 Wiwi Jury:
“I hated the studio cut. And then, when chairing the UK jury in the Finnish final, I awarded it my 12 points. This song comes to life live, owing to Leena’s resonant vocals which carry pain and longing so well. The staging — all smoke and dark lighting — creates a stirring atmosphere that demands silence, even as Leena’s voice soars. From all the darkness she still gives us light. The song becomes a meditation on love, loss and moving on. I adore it.”
According to Norma John, the song is “about respecting nature, celebrating and appreciating its diversity. Take a moment of silence and think about how beautiful our mother nature is”.
What do you think of “Hellfire”? Is it a worthy successor to “Blackbird”? Let us know in the comments below.
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