They were the first act to be announced for Eurovision 2020 back in October last year. Now, after four months of waiting, Belgium’s Hooverphonic have finally debuted the song that they’ll be performing at the contest in Rotterdam this May – “Release Me”.
The song was premiered on radio station MNM this morning and will be subsequently presented at the headquarters of Flemish broadcaster VRT. It will also be played across several other radio stations over the course of the morning.
Hooverphonic debut Eurovision 2020 entry “Release Me”
Hooverphonic previously mentioned that their Eurovision entry would keep their vintage sound and include lots of string instrumentation. And “Release Me” certainly ticks all those boxes.
The song has a slow, moody feeling, not unlike a classic Bond movie theme song. It tells the story of a woman caught in a troublesome relationship, who seeks an end to the doomed situation. It could be about a romantic relationship, but there’s also a sense that something deeper is going on.
There’s a hint that the singer perhaps doesn’t quite want things to end just yet. Lead singer Luka Cruysberghs delivers a sultry vocal, purring “All the lies and all the pain, only you can make them go away”
Hooverphonic will perform “Release Me” in the second half of the first semi-final on 12th May.
Hooverphonic’s search for their Eurovision 2020 song
Speaking with our Esma in January, the band told us a little about their approach to picking a suitable entry.
Right after their participation was announced, it was also revealed that the Flemish broadcaster VRT had actually asked them to take part three times before. However, the trio always declined; they only wanted to go with “the perfect Eurovision song”:
For me, there are only two ways: either it’s a song that is really emotional, that can give people goosebumps, or it’s something very energetic, something very in your face… We wanted to do something very vintage Hooverphonic and then we need strings. There is no way around it.
What do you make of Hooverphonic’s song for Eurovision 2020? How do you think they’ll fair in May? Sound off in the comments below!
I think the song is an enthralling rendition.
sorry I took a nap during the song
Another non qualifying year from Belgium. This is going to put people to sleep. Not to mention they are in a brutal semi final. Imagine this song next to Lithuania, or Norway, or Destiny from Malta. Last year’s Belgium song was actually pretty great only the amateur singer freaked out.
The song’s instrumentation with it’s slow and broody nature just makes me sleepy, but not in the good way. It’s too repetitive and goes nowhere. There’s no oomph. I liken its effect to Latvia 2019. I’m bored after about 30 seconds. Because after hearing 30 seconds, you’ve heard the whole song.
I liken it to Slovenia 2015, not in the same context as you. Release Me should finish at least 14th as well.
Best song ever for Belgium! So much quality and Luka has a great voice! Without no doubt…they will qualify for the Final!!
One day later, it’s falling in place for me.. Great record, like it a lot!! Go Belgium
Wowww…I like this James Bond vibe.
Going through the comments here, I really think that Eurovision has had a toxic influence on many. People compare this song to Arcade (?), Amar Pelos Dois (??) and Fai Rumore (???)… (1) I think it’s pretty sad that the only musical references that come to mind when hearing a somewhat low-tempo song is other Eurovision songs which, while low-tempo, have nothing at all in common. Also do you seriously feel like all artists write their music with a Eurovision playlist in mind? (2) There’s more to music than Eurovision. There’s more to music than a girl dressed as a… Read more »
While I agree that there are some narrow-minded and sometimes childish comments about the music from the ESC fandom, Tibor is also correct on his point 3. You have rather unwisely criticised the entire fandom. That is disproportionate. There are many on this site and elsewhere who neither fit your descriptions nor deserve to be put down.
I did say “Going through the comments HERE”: I clearly did not target the entire fandom but a subset of it, who can’t even imagine live music without a man running in a hamster wheel anymore. And you seem to agree, based on your comment.
I read people here saying that this was “part II of Arcade” or that they wanted to recreate Amar Pelos Dois… For these people, it’s like the world starts and finishes with Eurovision: they hear a song and the only thing they can do is compare it with other Eurovision songs (that are conpletely different, lol). As for Hooverphonic, it’s pretty obvious when you listen to this song that it’s “their sound”… so no they have not written that with Eurovision in mind. It’s less “fireworky” than your average ESC song and that’s why it feels refreshing. There’s a place… Read more »
most basic eurofans only like basic bores such as irrelevant fuego copies, and they ignore real music
Worthy effort but not a winner.
This feels very Kadebostany-esque. I don’t know how to feel about it, though.
I feel the need to comment that I find it extremely hillarious reading all these comments trying to compare this or other competing songs to songs from previous contests. It’s like the whole musical universe starts and ends in Eurovision Song Contest, lol! Hooverphonic have some experience in producing good songs and for me they’ve done it again. Will everyone like it? Of course not. But hey, that’s how music is, people. Enjoy the things you like and let others do the same!
I tend to agree. I’ve already seen (too) many compairing Lucie Jones to Ulrikke Brandstorp although it’s two very different ballads. In terms of predicting how well a song will score, I do think that some comparisons are fair because there could be tendencies in the voting for certain genres throughout ESC history.
You’re right Tibor, it’s not surprising but it’s a little disappointing to read people bashing or completely dismissing songs because they just don’t like the genre or the style of a song. After all we have different music tastes and we like and dislike different things and this extends beyond the Eurovision bubble. To give an example I strongly dislike trap, but I would never bash Armenia’s ‘Chains on You’ just for that. Instead I try to critique the things that I don’t like and especially the ones that I think that can be improved, e.g. regarding the performance. I… Read more »
We agree in principle Tibor, we are just pointing out to different aspects of an attitude that I personally consider has the same roots. It’s not just about being reasonable and civilized, it’s about being constructive. After all we are all here because we love this contest and we want to make it better. I think you’re right about both sides of your argument and I’ll try to reduce my use of exclamation marks, although I tend to use them in my personal life too!
Seems like a paenda-situation
I dont see this qualifying.. sennek and eliot had better songs. This is a downgrade
eliot was a loser with a awful song and a troll staging
this is a step up from last year
What a disappointment!
All I want now is something, ANYTHING from San Marino. This time last year, we’d had about a month to get our heads ready for Serhat’s return. The anticipation is killing me!
Don’t act like you aren’t waiting too!
Na. Na, na. I’ll cross my fingers but I’m not holding my breath 😛
Serhat and Valentina Monetta in powerballad. That’s what i want
San Trollino, serhat can stay away from our ahoy, no more of that trollish mess please
I’ve really given it thought, and I realize I kind of adore this song now. Might be second or third place for me now. Holy crap.
YAS Belgium is serving trip hop!
Release Me reminds me Mad About You – live version at Koningin Elisabethzaal
The dude who wrote the song (hes the guy without the hat) said this in an interview: “In the circus of bad taste there is also place for a pearl. Its our mission to be different.”
I’d imagine he’ll say dismissive comments about how people just don’t get him, instead of just owning up to the fact that hes just not on the level of other artists.
I’m not so sure you’re right about that. He seems like a self-reflective kind of guy. He knows how Belgium have screwed up before.
And so right he is. Remember another artist that said something similar, not very long ago, and what the result was?…
I don’t care what most people might say, but I love the song. It has this nostalgic melancholic vibe that many Hooverphonic songs have, but manages to stay contemporary and relevant at the same time. I know that I might not be objective, because I’ve been a big Hooverphonic fan in the past, but I’ll be listening a lot to ‘Release me’ before the contest. Not sure if it will do well enough with the televoting, but this should definitely go very big with the juries.
Feel like I’m saying this alot so far this year… but I don’t love nor do I hate this. It reminds me of Latvia&Slovenia last year, very chill and vibey. I get the Bond theme similarities as some people have pointed out. Anyways good luck to Hooverphonic and Belgium at Rotterdam.
Bad? Sad? Flat ? Boring ? Blank? Horrible?… Why? Because it’s not another half-naked girl or boy singing another ethno-latino-dance-uptempo song with dancers all around? Because it’s not another woman singing another power ballad, holding the horses until last chorus and screaming out loud with fireworks all around her at the end?…. Eurovision needs diversity and not always same kind of formated songs again and again… Well done Belgium! Classy, different, moody, great!! Your song is EVOLUTION!
Don’t. underestimate. esc. fans.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. I find ‘Kemama’ extremely boring for example. It’s always a matter of taste you know.
norway’s song is lifeless, and Ulrikke is a cheater
Rhythm inside and City lights are one of the best entries of the decade my friend….. Besides what’s your problem with Belgium, did we ever do something wrong to you? Or are you one those idiots seeking for attention, in that case you are a very sad person!!!!
He’s obviously looking for attention, so why do you give it to him? Just let the downvotes roll. 😉
Wiwi commenters seem to prefer the tackiness of a czech 30-year-old who pretends he is 15 to the true class of an established band. Seriously “Release me” bothers you but “Kemama” doesn’t?
Why? KEMAMA is bottom in almost everyone top
thats true…its always in the bottom
Until now a dull year, but more than 25 entries will follow. Belgian entry one of the better ones, ´cos solid. If good live on stage, it will B ranked high, but it doesn´t permit any mistakes. Like Paenda last year, who at the end didn´t deliver and touch. Or Sennek 2018. LITHUANIA 7/10 CZECHIA 6/10 promissing live, good vibes BELGIUM 6/10 might grow ITALY 6/10 solid, but not really touching LATVIA 6/10 love the mess, fresh NORWAY 5/10 great handycraft, but doesn´t touch, not cold enough FRANCE 4/10 okayish, bland, but good voice AUSTRALIA 3/10 could B special, but… Read more »
It’s allright. I’m bit disappointed, but I’m not mad. Haven’t thought I’d say that but I prefer Sennek’s song
I exactly think the same, I just keep listening to a matter of time now and I’m being jealous of that song cuz the live will probably be better now but the song sucks
Guys for once and for all: VRT does not care about Eurovision, never have and never will…simply because they don’t have the money/won’t take the risk to have to organize! This the best thing that could happen to the network: fans finally have one of their big names to represent Belgium and highly likely fail horribly! So afterwards they can say: “See even with our biggest name it won’t work, so we might aswell quit”…mark my words! Belgium is on their way out… The fact that this is just a snobbish attempt of Hooverphonic to try and copy Salvador Sobral… Read more »
So far I am a bit disappointed by the quality of the songs this year. Let’s just hope Sweden and Russia will save us all because I can’t think of any other country that would.
Ehm what about Malta, Bulgaria, Romania, Azerbaijan?
We know absolutely nothing about Azerbaijan this year so either their entry is going to be amazing, meh, or bad. Bulgaria and Romania this year could be good purely based upon the profiles of the artists but the same applied to artists in the past who seemed interesting on paper but in the end fell flat with mediocre songs. Also all of the hype surrounding Destiny in Malta is purely because Eurofans remember her from Junior Eurovision.
Russia is always awful and Sweden also
I wonder why no expects something good from Greece. I think Kontopoulos is getting unfair hate, he has had more hits than failures and his latest effort scored a 3rd place for Russia. Even Aysels song wasnt bad, she was just in a deadly semi. He only dissapointed me with Demy, but I expect a bop this time!
exactly Dimitris is very experienced now in ESC, he knows what can be a hit, he knows what can flop, so it was a wise choice by Stefania asking him to be on her composer team
How many Duncan copies about broken/toxic relationships this year?
These are not copies. He hasn’t invented this type of song. There has been many songs about this theme before him. To name just a few Serbia 2016, Latvia 2018, Croatia 2018 and so on… even last year we had in the mix also Romania 2019 and Armenia 2019…
All not as good as Arcade
Agree to disagree. Its subjective and i didnt even implied they were better. Although Arcade is good i doubt its the best song about toxic relationship. Besides theres thousands of these type of songs outside Eurovision. I may be in the minority but i personally love Ester Peony – On a Sunday. It may not be the best for most people, but i have it even as a ringtone. Yeah, that much i love it.
Beautiful song. This reminds me Sennek’s song in a way. Its almost like a movie soundtrack.
There are too many “Release Me”s in the lyrics though.
I really like the song, it’s true that it misses a climax, but honestly it doesn’t bother me that much in this case. I hope they will finally qualify. It’s exactly what I expected from them
Also a lot of people complain that this year there are only boring songs. But keep in mind that there will be still thirty songs (really a lot) reveiled in only three weeks. And usually more songs have been reveiled around this time. So I’m still optimistic
Beautiful song! 🙂
Boring! Same problem as last year. Starts promising but it’s very monotone throughout and doesn’t go anywhere. Might be a grower but first reactions is disappointing
Ladies and Gentlemen, This is music!!!
From now on, it can come what may. Eurovison 2020 is already a musical success with this masterpiece!
Beautiful song from Belgium , bravo, very different than what their original music was like and that was very good too.
Excited for Malta/Destiny, Sweden/The Mamas, Israel/Eden, NL/Jeangu, and to see what the big reveal is for Azerbaijan, the UK, Russia, and Germany.
Hope you’re right about Sweden.
Ja it’s so fun I really enjoy their song and performance. If it was on Spotify I would have it on a lot, I’m sure it would be my top. So far, my most played ESC songs of 2020 are:
2. Boys With Emotions
3. Don’t Break Me
4. On Fire
6. Make Me Human
I think if Duncan had entered this year with Love Don’t Hate It he may well have won again.
You forgot San Marino 😛
I know nothing except I’m pumped. Their YouTube channel just posted an interview with Valentina Monetta, and tragically it didn’t seem to confirm or deny that she’d be coming back for 2020.
I had such high expectations for my country. Unfortunately, the song is flat and doesn’t build up to anything. There are too little tempo changes. Sometimes i feel like there should be more of a pause between the chorus and the verses. I think it needs a little revamp and a little less ‘release me’. Moreover, am I the only one who thinks of The Wallace Collection- Daydream when hearing the background bass?
Yup. It’s that famous trip hop bassline from Isaac Hayes’s “Ike’s Rap 2” (and Portishead’s “Glory Box”)
I listened to it and then wanted to listen to other Bond songs, like No Time to Die, Skyfall and A Matter of Time. There’s clearly a genre here. I don’t want Belgium to fall into the same problems and presumptions that saw Sennek bomb out in the Semi. It’s well-crafted and highly polished but is it competitive? Hooverphonic will need to really perform this on stage.
This is so much better than Sennek. And it doesn’t strike me as Bond theme at all
It’s not a criticism. I like the song. And Bond songs are very effective and highly successful. To my ear, there are a number of musical similarities in this song to other Bond themes.*
*Maybe someone with more musical experience and technical language can explain it better.
Purple Mask? 🙂
Somehow comments here disappear all the time, wtf. Okay, here we go again. It’s a bit sad that a band that used to have such range — i mean, we’re talking drum’n’bass here (“Battersea”), dark synthpop (“Dictionary”) and slick Depeche Mode covers (“Shake the Disease”) — sticks to that tired trip hop bassline that we heard so many times (courtesy of Isaac Hayes, by the way — it’s from “Ike’s Rap 2”). All in all, it sounds even more old-fashioned than their early stuff when they were cranking trip hop vibes up to eleven. The girl sings fine, I guess,… Read more »
High expectations from Belgium and we got…this song. It’s just disappointing… The song it’s not bad, but I mean…it’s not great, either. I would listen to it at home on a basic day, or shopping in a mall (background music), but not on Eurovision stage… The quality of the songs so far is very, very low (Albania, Czech Republic, Australia, Norway, Armenia, France and now…Belgium)
songs I love:
1. Belgium – love it, just what I expected from them.
3. Czech Republic
songs I really like:
songs I like:
songs I don’t know what to feel about:
won’t rank Albania and Armenia (probably getting a revamp) I ranked CZ, because I think the revamp won’t be that big.
A good start of the year I guess, there isn’t any songs I dislike (like last year I hated Montenegro, Georgia, Moldova…)
Im with your top 5 except Australia. i guess a revamp for Albania and Armenia wont save them.
I mean Albania has a huge team behind it, and with Armenia I see the potential could be a nice bop!
When so much people try with so much esoteric explanations to defend how good the song is. like they do with Belgium,only mean one thing ,the song is bad bad .
República Czeca 6/10
Ahh, I’m a huge sucker for Bond-esque songs, and while this isn’t as much of a banger as Rise Like a Phoenix or Matter of Time, but I enjoy the moody, dark atmosphere – when I close my eyes I can totally see silhouettes floating through the water in slow-mo like a Bond title sequence. 🙂 I love it!
Wow has the hate for Belgium become so big that comments like ‘i like this song’ or ‘this will do good with the juries’ are getting downvoted now? It’s ok if you don’t like the song, but downvoting supportive comments is not necessary. This was the same with France yesterday. Just chill people. Ok, you can downvote me now if you feel attacked.
Lola, ga buitenspelen klein kind.
I’m not a child, I’m just stating that some commentors on here don’t show respect towards artists/countries/other commentators. But seeing your comment here I understand that you don’t know what respect is, sad.
Yes you are and we all know on the Dutch songfestivalwebsite, so please
I don’t know what you’re talking about, I think you’re confusing me with someone else
no you with your basic taste, go cheering for those serbian trolls hurricane
Well SaID!! I saw the same with comments about France’s entry by Tom.
Actually it’s the opposite. Any comment that criticizes a song that isn’t universally disliked always gets downvoted.
Kristin Husoy’s song “Pray for me” is ideal song for Belgium this year, high placement would be guaranteed…
I think that ship has sailed
Also: Norwegian act with no Belgian connection – national selection she was in that she lost + country that’s just released their song = logic?
Love it…. gives me K’s choice vibes, another great Belgian band. Perfect atmosphere.
I feel like nobody wants to win this year
if Malta wins esc, i am done with this show those cheaters who bribe juries don’t deserve to win, like ever
They’re a well known band and the song is certainly their sound but I wish they had picked something more striking since it is a competition. I don’t think it’s memorable enough, but maybe live on stage it will come alive…
I don’t know what to think. It’s a beautiful song for sure, but not sure it’s impactful enough for Eurovision. Belgium is in a strong SF, and so far Norway and Lithuania are sure qualifiers. Russia, Sweden, Azerbaijan, Romania and Ukraine will probably qualify as well, and it pains me to say that Australia too (despite their terrible song). Doesn’t leave much space for Belgium.
Somehow I’m thinking of Black Bird now, which was also a beautiful song that got lost in the semi.
Australia’s song is awesome and yes, it will qualify.
yeah, unfortunately they are one of the juries carebabies, like Sweden even if they send a puking cat they will get 12 points from the international juries!! Its nuts and Insane
Australia will qualify because it’s a generic pop song, and for some reason juries will eat that. Then it’ll get 2 televoting points in the final and place somewhere between 20th and 26th, as usual.
That or, considering how awful the live performance looked and the fact that Montaigne can’t sing live, they will face their first NQ.
Montaigne can sing live, watch any of her other performances. she was just a bit off the night of the nf. and also, she had just done two performances and also, according to her podcast, was on her period, so maybe give her a break since she has proven before that she can sing well.
blackbird should’ve qualified honestly