Hooverphonic Belgium Eurovision 2020 and 2021

While Eurovision 2020 won’t be going ahead, the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessional — isn’t holding back. We’ve rated and reviewed the 41 songs who would have been heading to Rotterdam in May. Join us over the next few weeks as we tackle the class of 2020.

First up, we turn to Belgium, where the indie pop/trip hop group Hooverphonic have their internally selected song “Release Me”. Did we feel gripped by their song? Read on to find out!

Hooverphonic – “Release Me”

“Release Me” reviews

Angus: It is fair to say that this sounds like a Hooverphonic song. It is also fair to say it sounds like a song that stays in the semi-finals. “Release Me” certainly has atmosphere but it squanders that through languid progression. With each passing minute in “Release Me” you’re left willing the band to give you more and they don’t. This goes nowhere.

Score: 3

Åri: Hooverphonic being announced as Belgium’s entrant for Eurovision 2020 ended my post-Eurovision depression abruptly. I was ready. When Hooverphonic revealed “Release Me”, I wasn’t too impressed considering my high expectations, but I knew one thing — it’s going to grow on me. A few days later, it was already my number one. Luka Cruyberghs’ voice is stunning and the instrumental track doesn’t disappoint. I love everything about it.

Score: 9.5

Barnabas: I was instantly charmed by the melancholy that radiates from the song. “Release Me” oozes class and musical craftsmanship, bringing emotions to surface with ease. If you ask me, this vintage, moody song that operates with a light James Bond flair could easily be (as things stand now) the theme song of the entire 2020 year. Eurovision-wise, with the right staging and perfect live performance, this wouldn’t have had problems in qualifying and reaching a top 15 spot in the grand final, if not better.

Score: 9

Florian: I’ve always thought that Hooverphonic bring some very special elements in music together, and “Release Me” is no different when coming to that. The song, which at times even feels mysterious and out of this world, is the perfect mixture of a soundtrack and a 2020 radio track. Given the strong competition at its semi-final, Belgium might not have made it out of there, but regardless of that, it’s a song to be proud of.

Score: 7.5

Jonathan: Upon first listening to “Release Me”, I was intrigued by its subtle charm. Sadly, as more and more songs were selected, “Release Me” slowly faded into the background – not the best sign for a competition where you have to stand out amongst the crowd. There’s still an element of class to the song and I complement Hooverphonic for sticking to who they are. But it’s not one of the Eurovision 2020 songs that I instantly want to put on repeat.

Score: 5.5

Hooverphonic – “Release Me” rankings

In the Wiwi Jury we have 22 jurors but only have room for five reviews. The remaining scores are below:

Antranig: 4

Bernardo: 4

Calvin: 5.5

Deban: 7

Esma: 8.5

Lucy: 6.5

Luis: 8

Natalie: 4.5

Oliver: 6

Pablo: 4.5

Renske: 7.5

Robyn: 7.5

Ron: 5

Sebastian: 4

Tobias: 5.5

Tom: 7

William: 5

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 9.5.

Wiwi Jury verdict: 6.1/10

What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!

See all our Eurovision 2020 reviews and rankings

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ESCFan2009
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ESCFan2009

Because Robyn said under the newest jury article, that there might be a readers’ points voting so we can share our score, I’ll catch up with all reviews I haven’t commented yet as I have time today xD So my scores are coming all over the place now whoops 😀

Belgium – 9.5/10 (5th/41)

Mr X
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Mr X

Belgium 5/10

Emily
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Emily

I really like what Belgium’s put out in most of their recent entries, and this one is no exception. Luka’s voice in particular is very classy and I’ve become a bit of a fan of the band. Not sure where this would’ve placed, but for me it’s a definite finalist.

Eurotrash
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Eurotrash

A grower. Many people seem to think that this isn’t typical of Hooverphonic; I notice a lot of similarities with their older songs. I wish it was more climactic and ‘trippy’, but overall I think this song is just fine.

Ria van de Velde
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Ria van de Velde

I like the song a lot. It ‘s nice to see them back next year

vangelis vt
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vangelis vt

Classic Hooverphonic sound, a real song from the real world that you could very well listen to in the soundtrack of a movie. One of the blessed moments of the Ghost Edition 2020 🙁

Rank 7/41
8/10

Stephanie
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Stephanie

So Belgium is boring but songs of Bulgaria for instance are great? Get real!!!!

Jan Neisius
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Jan Neisius

That‘s their opinion. I also share the opinion that Belgium‘s song is kinda boring.

Stephanie
Guest
Stephanie

At least they don’t try to sound like a Billie Eillisch wanna be as dear beloved Bulgaria

Jan Neisius
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Jan Neisius

I understand why there is the comparism to Billie, but saying this is wanne be/copy is just not true ?????

Say please
Guest
Say please

The genre that Billie Eilish brings is very popular at the moment, it’d be stupid not to play into that. Billie is not the only artist in that specific genre, by the way.

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

Languid is an excellent word for this (well done, Angus!) so I’ll borrow it. It doesn’t progress enough and doesn’t have enough of a third minute. There’s quality there (obviously) but it’s not used in a meaningful way to actually arrive at something. Non-qualifier for me.

Veta
Guest
Veta

Am I the only one who is hearing some “Mad about you” influences on the instrumental? And of some of their other old songs too? So I don’t really get the complaint “that’s not what I expected from them”. It literally sounds like the music they got famous for. I like the fact that they “stayed true to their DNA” and gave us a Bondish-style song typical for them. I also like the fact that the lyrics are personal. And I get a very “warm” feeling in my chest while listening to the song. The anaphora of the frase “release… Read more »

Roelof Meesters
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Roelof Meesters

I feel like it’s held back or something, but it’s still great imo, don’t know where the 3/10 comes from. Would have had it difficult in Semi- Final 1 tho. 8/10

Voxtaylor
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Voxtaylor

My third favorite this year! While I wish it was in the band’s original genre of trip hop (it’s not, but tbf none of their most recent album is), I can’t blame them for staying their course for Eurovision. It’s a good entry, my second favorite Belgium entry behind “City Lights.” It all flows pretty seamlessly, making for easy listening. Still, I can’t help but but feel they’re capable of so much more.

Escvegi
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Escvegi

34. Place 4.5/10
Bland wannabe James Bond music. Sorry Belgium, but where is the old Belgium?

Tibor
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Tibor

Trip hop isn’t an extremely eventful genre per se, so you ideally need an intricate melody, an interesting instrumentation and a very recognisable voice. Unfortunately, I don’t think, these criteria are fully met here. The voice is fine, although I have to say, I liked their former lead singer’s voice better. The melody is a little dull and the instrumentation is rather conventional. What I don’t get is the criticism, that the song doesn’t “go anywhere”. I don’t think a song necessarily has to. “Release me” is a mediocre listening experience, it doesn’t bother me, but I don’t actively search… Read more »

Odysseas
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Odysseas

First of all, I’m so glad that hooverphonic will return next year. I really like their band and their lives are almost always better than the studio versions. As for the song, it’s a classic hooverphonic one with excellent instrumentals and the excellence of Luca’s vocals. Could be a dark horse if Eurovision wasn’t cancelled. Overall: 9th (8.5/10)

Mia
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Mia

Hardly managed to listen this song until the end, I have feeling it lasts forever.. Lazy effort, they can do better, so I’m glad they will be back in 2021 with hopefully better song.
5/10

Héctor
Guest
Héctor

I kind of feel nostalgic listenig to it. I has very relaxed live-music-bars vibe. Very suitable for a scene of heartbroken character in a romantic movie or for a noire style one. I like it more or less and I appreciate it but I think it is too slow and plain for this contest.

A 6.75 for me.

14. Belgium – Hooverphonic – Release Me (6.75)

Skiwalko
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Skiwalko

This Wiwi Jury post caught me off guard, I’m so grateful it’s back.
“Release Me” sounds like a great song concept stretched to 3 minutes. I love the guitar, the violins (what a fantastic throwback to some of the great Eurovision tunes of the past) and Luca’s dreamy voice, but there’s just something missing. I think the problem may lie in the lyrics, I find them extremely bland and unemotional, which doesn’t let me connect with the song. The protagonist wants to be released, but there’s no tension or despair in the music for me to believe that. 6/10

Veta
Guest
Veta

The lyrics are about Alex’s father who died last autumn after a long fight with a terminal disease.

Jo.
Guest
Jo.

kind of “where are my pills?” song
Nice, but too slow…6/10

Ashton
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Ashton

This is a great song when you are in the mood for it, but it lacks something, which works both for the song and against the song. I believe that, had the contest gone ahead, it would have shared Sennek’s fate and finished around 12th.

Colin
Guest
Colin

BELGIUM – I love to hear a good classical symphonic song. Release Me sounds really sophisticated and I can easily see it being a theme of a James Bond film. There is something dark and alluring here. Lyrics tell a story of a woman trapped in a relationship and she pleas her partner to let her go. Interesting thing I noticed is that she feels like she needs his consent to end it together, which, I believe, insinuates that part of her is unsure what to do. She knows this relationship goes nowhere, but is also exhausted and used to… Read more »

Purple Mask
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Purple Mask

Yes, quite right. It seems that this song loops and runs out of steam precisely because the woman is in the “sad and losing game”. She doesn’t actually get “released” in the song, so that is why it comes across as three minutes of being trapped. It’s clever musically, but it is also a big yawn.

Colin
Guest
Colin

I am glad we agree on this one. I am even more glad we are doing this again. I am really looking forward to your reviews as well as reviews of Wiwi jurors and other members of this board. I am happy we are staying connected and appreciating this unique set of songs we got for 2020 regardless of other circumstances. Take care. 🙂

Colin
Guest
Colin

I am happy we agree on this song. I am even happier we are doing this again. Staying connected and appreciating this unique set of 2020 songs. I am really looking forward to your reviews, as well as reviews of Wiwi jurors and other board members. Take care. 🙂

Briekimchi
Guest
Briekimchi

The lack of a climax is a big issue but I think there were problems before that. There is a general lack of progression throughout the song. Compare it to a song that does this well, say Bulgaria, and every verse/chorus gives you just a little bit more than each time around. If this absence was intentional to get over the message of the song, I think it was a really misguided idea.

Colin
Guest
Colin

I agree, in comparison to the Bulgarian song, the Belgian one feels too linear. Bulgaria scored much higher on my list. 🙂

Erasmus
Guest
Erasmus

Sorry, but anyone who gives this song below 5 is just tasteless, I mean yeah you can find it boring, but that’s not reason to give it below 5 and that’s a fact imo haha (no hard feelings).
I find this marvelous! So happy they are coming back next year as well, hoping with an even better song! Love everything about it it’s classy and this is what Belgium stands for, for me – dark, moody, classy – as all of their latest entries were. Without doubt one of my favourite Eurovision countries.

Rate: 9/10

Jose
Guest
Jose

Belgium is in my 17th place. It’s a classy, sophisticated and a good song. The instrumental has quality, the vocalist has a nice timbre, but it leaves cold at the first listening. It’s not catchy. As more as I hear it, the more I enjoy it, but the first impression was not the best. It lacks some emotional power (and it’s a bit repetitive) – it’s a song that is hard to connect. However, I really like it and I think it’s a grower – it takes some time to start notice the little details that make the song special.… Read more »

Laura
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Laura

16th place: Belgium – 7.0/10
I really like the mysterious, James-bond vibe that’s going on. I also love the singer’s voice. I am a bit disappointed though, as I feel like Hooverphonic could have done better. This song doesn’t really go anywhere and doesn’t have a climax. Still, good song, but a bit long-winding. I wish I could have seen it on stage, though.

Purple Mask
Guest
Purple Mask

Classy. The melody of this song is unusually disjointed and “bottled up” to the point where it needs to be released, literally. The lovely development towards the end of the song plays on the juxtaposition between the singer’s blues note (A) and the orchestra’s move towards harmonic minor harmony notes (A-sharp). So there is both drama and technical prowess here. My only problem with this song is it plods along and feels like a long yawn. It is crying out for a disco remix to actually release it from its “sad and losing game”. Has anyone here done this already?… Read more »

Kosey
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Kosey

24th place: Belgium – 6.5/10 – a one-paced Bond-esque song which at points has a plodding element to it. But I very much like how defiantly moody it is. The “losing game” lyric was probably meant to be clever, but is as subtle as a sledgehammer, and detracts from the ambiance created elsewhere in the song. Overall, though, I can’t help but respect this for having confidence in its own style and not caring what anybody else thinks.

yodenman
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yodenman

Just a query for the team. Is this going to be the format for the voting ie a post on the website. I enjoy the interaction on YouTube far better. I know that very sadly Chris has left the team but Angus and Deban are available to give their opinions on the songs. I love the banter between them. I really hope we don’t get to miss this.

William Lee Adams
Admin

The Wiwi Jury videos are also being filmed. We will start uploading them in the days ahead. Thank you for your question.

Bella
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Bella

Too good for Eurovision, hence too classy for Wiwibloggs.

yodenman
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yodenman

It doesn’t bode well when a Jury member says he wasn’t impressed at first but it grew to be one of his favourites. You get one shot at eurovision so a song doesn’t get the chance to be a grower. Personally I think it oozes class and charisma and I think Belgium should be proud of ths entry.

Idksmth
Guest
Idksmth

As much as I love the song, I thought this would be much lower (like a 5.0) because it’s rare to see it rated highly. Glad to see it higher tho.

Mikey
Guest
Mikey

Underrated

mr 305 # dale
Guest
mr 305 # dale

= belgium 2012