One of the entries in the UK’s national final for Eurovision 2019 has found further success months after its release. Jordan Clarke‘s version of “Freaks” has found a surprising new audience and has clocked up over 5.8 million streams on Spotify.
Jordan Clarke’s “Freaks” was one of the six competing entries in Eurovision: You Decide — and one of the two versions of “Freaks” in the 2019 UK national final. But it was Jordan Clarke’s version that made it to the superfinal, where it competed alongside Kerrie-Anne’s “Sweet Lies” and Michael Rice’s “Bigger than Us”.
And while Michael Rice’s take on “Bigger Than Us” that won the ticket to Tel Aviv, “Freaks” has been enjoying a second life after the national final.
The song has clocked up an impressive 5,813,297 plays on Spotify. This makes it one of the most popular UK Eurovision-related songs ever, with only two other UK Eurovision entries having more plays.
Gina G’s 1996 dance classic “Ooh Aah… Just a Little Bit” has 8.9 million plays, while Buck Fizz’s 1981 winning song “Making Your Mind Up” has clocked up 6.6 million plays.
“Freaks” has recently overtaken Katrina and the Waves’ Eurovision winner “Love Shine a Light” (5.2 million), and it is bigger than “Bigger Than Us” (4.4 million).
Not all former UK Eurovision songs are available on Spotify, but even some of the older songs are proving to be enduring favourites on the streaming platform. Sandie Shaw’s 1967 winner “Puppet on a String” has clocked up 2.9 million plays.
“Freaks” also has more Spotify plays then several high-placing Eurovision 2019 songs, such as Sergey Lazarev’s “Scream” (4.7 million), Chingiz’s “Truth” (5.3 million) and Tamara Todevska’s “Proud” (2.7 million).
Why is Jordan Clarke’s “Freaks” so popular?
Back in April — two months after the UK national final — a nightcore-style remix of the song was released. This essentially took the original version and sped it up, accompanied with a lyric video that has since amassed almost 5 million views.
The song’s message — of a utopian land for freaks to unite — resonated with listeners. Teenagers especially related to the song’s lyrics of high school troubles (“I’ve been locked in the locker/I was picked last in soccer”) and felt boosted by the chorus, which invited them to “Come to the land of the lost and lonely/Don’t be afraid, we’ll be one big family/Of freaks like you and me”.
The original version of the song has also been uploaded with unofficial lyrics videos, getting supportive comments like “i love this song with all my heart, me and my friends are a group of freaks and proud”. It has also inspired edits from Gachatubers, who combine the song with visuals from the Gacha Life video game.
So it seems that the song has found exactly the audience its lyrics were aimed at.
As well, “Freaks” has a familiar, classical structure. It is based on Canon in D, the 17th-century piece by the German composer Johann Pachelbel. The piece of music has been used in many modern pop hits, including Oasis’s “Don’t Look Back in Anger” and Vitamin C’s “Graduation (Friends Forever)”.
More recently, Canon in D formed the base of Maroon Five’s new single “Memories” — a resemblance that “Freaks” fans have also noticed.
The popularity of the song does not extend to the You Decide performance. The BBC’s official video has only 188,559 views.
United Kingdom Eurovision songs – Spotify plays (top 10)
- 1996: Gina G – “Ooh Aah… Just a Little Bit” (8,949,314)
- 1981: Bucks Fizz – “Making Your Mind Up” (6,690,908)
- 2019: Jordan Clarke – “Freaks” (5,813,297)
- 1997: Katrina and the Waves – “Love Shine a Light” (5,283,515)
- 2019: Michael Rice – “Bigger than Us” (4,453,408)
- 2018: SuRie – “Storm” (4,392,125)
- 2017: Lucie Jones – “Never Give Up on You” (3,585,706)
- 2015: Molly – “Children of the Universe” (3,522,333)
- 1967: Sandie Shaw – “Puppet on a String” (2,907,307)
- 1976: Brotherhood of Man – “Save Your Kisses for Me” (2,742,669)
There won’t be another chance for a break-out hit like “Freaks”. Earlier this year, the BBC announced that they had cancelled the You Decide national-final format. Instead, the broadcaster will internally select their act for Eurovision 2020, in conjunction with the music publisher BMG.
What do you think? Which other national final songs derve a second chance? Tell us your thoughts below!