The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — continues to rate and review the 41 songs that had been selected for Eurovision 2020. Next up, we take a look at Athena Manoukian, the winner of Armenia‘s national final Depi Evratesil 2020, and her song “Chains On You”. Were we chained to her rhythm? Read on to find out!
Athena Manoukian – “Chains on You”
“Chains on You” reviews
Angus: It’s difficult to put a finger on why a song that sits somewhere between Cardi B, late-era Britney Spears and Iggy Azalea doesn’t work. But the fact is it doesn’t. “Chains On You” feels tired, lengthy and only comes alive in the spoken bridge. The music video is a glossy presentation, but it can’t distract from a subpar song.
Antranig: “Chains on You” was always a good song but the original version was so repetitive it was nauseating. Then Athena presented us with perhaps the best revamp in recent memory and turned a good but repetitive song into a dynamic one. Armenia always do best with atypical Eurovision songs. They failed to qualify with two extremely stock standard Eurovision entries and this change of genre would have ended that run in a weak semi-final. In these tough times we are all enduring, the positive message of “Chains on You” seems all the more fitting.
Barnabas: Every year there are a few entries at Eurovision that can only be classified as “trash”. And “Chains on You” does fit in that category. The sad thing about it is that Armenia has tried so hard to be edgy this time that it just makes me cringe. The lyrics are as deep as a puddle and the overly autotuned parts just make it worse. However, it’s still kinda bearable until we get the chorus where we’re tossed in the face with Athena mumbling “chains on chains on you” for 69 times in a row – I’d rather have a pie thrown in my face. Finally, I am sad for Athena, she’s a very competent performer. She should have just brought a better song.
Natalie: I have to say I consider this a real stand-out from this year. The gritty, raw urban production and Athena’s stellar vocals and attitude are intoxicating. It’s not often that we hear this kind of music at Eurovision, especially performed and produced this well. The “Diamonds shinin’ on me” refrain with the ever-encroaching bass line gets me every time. It has energy, it has earnestness, and good Lord does it spark. I honestly believed with some killer staging and dance moves that this one might have been able to pull out a “LoveWave” or even a “Fuego” and reach for the top. It will always be part of my Eurovision playlist, that’s for sure.
Oliver: Right from the outset, “Chains on You” had the potential to make a serious dent in the competition. I am, by no means, a connoisseur of rap music, but Athena’s song was instantly grabbing and arresting with the revamped version taking it to new heights. It made use of an international genre, yet still retained a distinct Armenian flare to remind you of the origins of this number. After two somewhat lacklustre years, Armenia has definitely put itself back on the Eurovision map.
William: Diamonds shining on who? Diamonds shining on Athena Manoukian. This song defies Eurovision convention, proving that R&B and hip-hop do have a place in this sphere. Risky, bold, daring — Athena takes no prisoners as she pops and locks and reminds all of us of our self-worth and potential. She may sing of chains, but baby this is all about emancipation. The production has had a major revamp since Depi Evratesil — it now takes us on a journey through space-age sounds, sensual breaths and even electro-bass. This is fire.
In the Wiwi Jury we have 22 jurors but only have room for five reviews. The remaining scores are below:
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 2 and a high of 9.5.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 6.5/10
What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!