After yet another “annual humiliation” — Lorraine Kelly’s words — in Tel Aviv, the UK is hoping to get back on track with acclaimed singer-songwriter James Newman and “My Last Breath”. Social media is awash with fan opinions, but what about those outside the bubble?
The first reviews are out in the notoriously merciless British press. And it seems that the mainstream media is just as divided as the fanbase.
None seem to be ecstatic, but many see it as a step in the right direction. Others are considerably less positive.
And then one report was just downright bizarre.
James Newman “My Last Breath” — Media reactions
“It’s a serviceable song that nods to the earnest post-Ed Sheeran acoustic troubadours exemplified by Lewis Capaldi and to the tub-thumping folksiness of Mumford & Sons’ debut album; the chorus throws in some Coldplay-ish massed “woah-oh”ing. You can see the logic: these artists represent three of Britain’s most successful musical exports of recent years. My Last Breath wouldn’t sound out of place on the Radio 2 playlist – but nor would it stand out on the Radio 2 playlist. The hook is OK, rather than indelible”.
“There was a weird moment when Greg James played the UK’s Eurovision song on BBC Radio 1. There it was, sandwiched between tracks by Harry Styles and Dua Lipa and… it didn’t sound like his show had been hacked. That’s down to the pedigree of James Newman and his co-writers, who have written hits for some of the UK’s biggest pop exports of the last decade. My Last Breath ticks all the Eurovision boxes: It’s a mid-tempo banger with a Coldplay-style “woah-oh” hook and a lyric about undying love. Granted, the central metaphor is weirdly macabre (it concerns two scuba divers running out of air) but somehow that makes it more memorable. It doesn’t feel like a winner but nor does it feel like an embarrassment. And that, at least, is progress”.
“As a song, it’s a perfectly solid radio-friendly tune to launch a solo career with. As a Eurovision song, it remains to be seen if it’s got the drama to really stand out in the competition – but who knows how it will play out on the night. At the very least, it’ll probably do better than Jemini”.
“My Last Breath is a by-the-numbers slog of woah-oh balladry. Opening with a few bars of muted acoustic guitars, the lyrics — delivered in pleasant, husky tones — are clichéd and non-descript from the off. “Some people let go/ Some people let love slip away/ But I’m gonna hold on/ When no one believes, I’ll keep the faith.” Is this about a fading relationship? Or the government’s post-Brexit negotiations with the EU? Possibly both? Who knows. The chorus is a bit of a singalong, and the hook is fairly catchy — you can tell that Newman has experience in the songwriting game . As an album track on his own release, it would be fine. As a Eurovision entry, it’s surely going to fall flat. At just over two-and-a-half minutes, at least it all goes by rather quickly. If we were serious about winning, surely we’d have chosen something more contest-friendly — something camp, fun and Europop-ish. This is anything but. Nil points”.
“This feels like a long-term project and is exactly how the Netherlands began to approach the contest when they selected alt-rock singer/songwriter Anouk in 2013 after a decade of not qualifying. Three top-10 finishes later and they’re hosting for the first time in 40 years. We live in a post-Loreen Eurovision epoch of sad-boi ballads and ferocious bangers backed by record label big bucks, and “My Last Breath” is the most competitive track we’ve sent for a long time. Douze points for effort”.
“It’s pleasant enough, but that’s probably about the best thing you can say about it. Nice lyrics, a strong vocal from Newman, but nothing we haven’t heard before. Look at previous winners, like Israel’s Netta and Conchita Wurst’s Rise Like A Phoenix in Austria, who put on very different performances but were united by their effort and ambition. The UK on the other hand have found a particular talent at landing bottom of the results board with their same, old predictable format – and realistically we’ll be back there with minimal points yet again”.
‘TASTELESS’ Eurovision fans outraged the UK’s entry is called ‘My Last Breath’ amid coronavirus outbreak”
Do you agree with any of the reviews? What’s your opinion? Let us know in the comments.