Aksel Finland Eurovision 2020 Looking Back

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 Aksel, the winner of Finland‘s UMK, and his song “Looking Back”. Did we enjoy his nostalgic journey? Read on to find out!

Aksel – “Looking Back”

“Looking Back” reviews

Antranig: “Looking Back” is one of the few Eurovision 2020 songs that I find myself wanting to listen to multiple times. I found Aksel’s performance uncharismatic though, and this is much better as a studio cut. The other problem is that it is very middling. You either loved or hated a song like UMK runner-up “Cicciolina”, which ultimately equates to votes. Nobody would be racing to their phones to vote for “Looking Back”.

Score: 6.5

Åri: “Looking Back” is an indie ballad with meaningful lyrics, by a singer who can actually sing. I can really feel it. It’s honest, it’s straight to the point and it tells a story to which I can definitely relate. Immediately after the cancellation of Eurovision, I gave it a few spins and it captured my emotions — it’s a great break-up song, too.

Score: 8.5

Calvin: Almost every year, there’s one ballad I really love. This spot goes to Finland this year. “Looking Back” gives you a nostalgic feeling that anyone can identify with. A great memory, moment or phase in our lives, which we want to experience again. Aksel sings it flawlessly and is the perfect performer for such a song. There’s no need for dramatic gestures, pyro rain or loud screaming. Aksel stays true to himself and that’s his biggest strength. This song could be played easily on any radio program.

Score: 9.5

Esma: Aksel reminds me of James Arthur – which is a great compliment. He seems like a very charismatic guy and he is blessed with a beautiful voice. “Looking Back” is an emotional song that has a contemporary beat and approachable lyrics. However, I feel like Aksel deserved another song. “Looking Back” feels a little bland to me. Aksel is gifted with great talent, and another song would have guaranteed him of great success and appreciation he deserves on the Eurovision stage.

Score: 6.5

Pablo: I’m not mad, just disappointed. We have heard so many versions of “Looking Back” so many times before it just doesn’t create any impact. I don’t find it replay-worthy, emotional enough or with any sort of edge or show factor to make me stop and listen. Technically good live, but it was not really engaging or transformative; the overall package is just there. In Eurovision, you need to be engaging, be it by technique or difference, and with this song, it feels like Finland chose to just relegate to obscurity.

Score: 2

Aksel – “Looking Back” rankings

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

Angus: 6

Barnabas: 7

Bernardo: 6

Deban: 5.5

Florian: 5

Jonathan: 8

Lucy: 6

Luis: 5.5

Natalie: 6

Oliver: 5

Renske: 8

Robyn: 7

Ron: 7

Sebastian: 5

Tobias: 7.5

Tom: 6.5

William: 7.5

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 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!

See all our Eurovision 2020 reviews and rankings

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Josh Sterling
Josh Sterling
6 months ago

I will give a 7/10 for this

ESCFan2009
ESCFan2009
6 months ago

Finland – 7/10 (23rd/41)

Mr X
Mr X
6 months ago

Finland 3/10

Briekimchi
Briekimchi
6 months ago

Far too high a rating. It was my 5th favourite in its NF (and that’s only because “Bananas” was dire) and was comfortably in my bottom five for ESC 2020. It brings to mind all of the most boring “radio-friendly” ESC entries of previous years such as Tom Dice or Victor Crone. It is just so slow and plodding and just repeats itself with no major structural changes or vocal flourishes to make it remotely interesting. It shows so little of anything that I don’t even know if I feel Aksel should come back next year as this song tells… Read more »

Tibor
Tibor
6 months ago
Reply to  Briekimchi

It’s interesting, Briekimchi, I always ask myself what is it that makes me like songs with little structural change like this one. I don’t like them all, of course, but some of my all time favourites are not very eventful when it comes to variation. I’ll give you just 2 examples: William Fitzsimmons’ “Took” and Sufjan Stevens “Tonya Harding”. I’d rather put Aksel with these two than with Victor Crone. I perceive “Storm” as very conventionally structured and slightly old-fashioned. Do you have songs that you like, although they don’t have a big climax? And if you do, can you… Read more »

Polliu
Polliu
6 months ago

I really think this can do really well with the jury.

Polegend Godgarina
6 months ago

i actually like the vibes this song has, but just like with norway, it’s unremarkable overall

Mia
Mia
6 months ago

Ofc it’s a matter of personal preferences, but I think Ulrikke is better as a performer with her direct approach which draws audience into her story. Aksel has very good technique, but somehow remains in his world and detached from the audience (for example closed eyes during performance).

Idksmth
Idksmth
6 months ago

I like this. He’s a nice singer and the song is also nice. As you see I only describe this only as nice. I think this is a middle of the road entry and it’s kinda forgettable. Even if it’d put last in the running order I think it’d still be forgotten. It is nostalgic and beautiful but I think that a song needs to impactful in some way and I just don’t see it in this song. If he comes back next year I hope he comes with something memorable or he comes with a song that can be… Read more »

Hector
Hector
6 months ago

Biggest dark horse of the year.. maybe not a contender to win, but if they were able to replicate the atmosphere they created with the national performance, this could have done really well.

Gurl
Gurl
6 months ago
Reply to  Hector

I agree. This song gives me Tom Dice’s vibes. It was in my top 5

Kat
Kat
6 months ago

This was the song I first latched onto when listening to Finland’s options, though I didn’t expect it to win – I was surprised and happy when it did! Getting stuck in past nostalgia is probably my biggest weakness, so this song can make me cry on command, hahaha :’) I enjoyed Aksel’s home concert last week too. He seems like a really nice guy, and I hope he tries again next year!!!

Thanos
Thanos
6 months ago

I like this one a lot, it has a nostalgic feeling and is very beautiful to listen to. My top so far: 1. — 2. Italy 3. Romania 4. Bulgaria 5. Croatia 6. United Kingdom 7. Norway 8. — 9. -–10. Denmark 11. Russia 12. Australia 13. Albania 14. Finland 15. Israel 16. –17. Ireland 18. Moldova 19. — 20. –21. Belgium 22. — 23. Poland 24. Georgia 25. Czech Republic 26. — 27. Slovenia 28. France 29. Portugal 30. Armenia 31. Spain 32. Austria 33. North Macedonia 34. Cyprus 35. Belarus 36. –37. –38. Serbia 39. Greece 40. San… Read more »

Héctor
Héctor
6 months ago

I actually understand people when they say this is average. As a music piece isn’t original at all: vocals are on point but not outstanding, Aksel isn’t too charismatic either, lyrics on point, … you know, nothing in this composition stands out but somehow, I like it. The life performance is magnetic, a feeling created by its futuristic-minimalistic staging. I’m a sucker of that style so it grabs my attention. As a studio cut it was also my fav among the other entries. I wasn’t a fan of “Cicciolina” so I can’t hate Aksel like some readers do tbh. And… Read more »

Roelof Meesters
Roelof Meesters
6 months ago

I agree with Wiwibloggs, this is massively overlooked. I predicted that it would win over Cicciolinna, and I was (sadly) right, but this is a very well- produced ballad. I could very well see this qualifying from Semi- Final 2, the juries would have eaten this up ahead of Poland. I give this quite a nice 7/10.

Domino
Domino
6 months ago

God this is so overrated….

CRISTIANO MESSI
CRISTIANO MESSI
6 months ago
Reply to  Domino

Not as overrated as Norway in 2019 or Cyprus 2018.

Mia
Mia
6 months ago

I appreciate this as a nice ballad well performed, but this is not something which I will reply or simply I can’t connect with this nostalgic vibe of the song. I’m not looking back, sorry. Nice outfit and staging tho 🙂
5,5/10

Fionn
Fionn
6 months ago

It’s nice but not mind-blowing. Cicciolina was a masterpiece and the two bears on stage were so amazing, can’t think of any other words to describe how cool it looked!

Purple Mask
Purple Mask
6 months ago

This is a very nice song, especially for music theory geeks, but it is sadly about 40 seconds too long. The initial ideas are wonderful: The relaxing easy melody with all the “money notes” held just a little bit longer before each resolution. Also, nostalgia in the keys of D-flat major and B-flat minor, constantly shifting between joyful memory (major key) and loss (minor key). There is even a moment when “high life” resolves to the higher major tonic, and “low lights” resolves to the lower minor chord 6. (Literal high-to-low harmony; I see what you did there.) But there… Read more »

Odysseas
Odysseas
6 months ago

Even though I stan cicciolina, this song grew on me a lot. Many people dislike that because they are clearly mad of Erica not qualifying. It’s actually a good song, meaningful and Aksel is really emotional.
Overall: 7/10 (19th)

Ron Kavaler
Editor
6 months ago

This song is really beautiful and underrated, although it did manage to get quite a decent score here on the wiwi jury average.

Skiwalko
Skiwalko
6 months ago

This is such an underappreciated song. “Looking Back” is a stunningly beautiful ballad steeped in melancholy and longing, that would make a great addition to a soundtrack of an indie coming-of-age movie. It perfectly captures the innocence and insecurity of adolescence – time, when we all were naive, ambitious and idealistic, trying to grow up as fast as we can and not realising what we’re leaving behind. And Aksel’s velvety and soulful voice excellently evokes that feeling of saudade each of us is carrying in their heart. One of my absolute favourites this year. 8.5/10

Möhrant
Möhrant
6 months ago

I love the simplicity and throwback feeling of this one! I feel like it possibly could’ve been a dark horse in this year’s contest.

Marionette
Marionette
6 months ago

This song is absolutely beautiful and absolutely underrated. The wh0re show and tacky song of ChiChi Oh Lena sucked out all the available oxygen for this perfect radio song that won’t sound old in 20 years. I could easily see this song slay the jury and televote alike.

Emily
Emily
6 months ago

This was the first one I heard when listening to all 41 entries, and I genuinely like this one. It’s a bit basic, yeah, but I quite enjoy it. Not sure if it would’ve qualified, but if it did it would’ve been a nice surprise.

Kosey
Kosey
6 months ago

16. Finland – 7.5/10 – This song instils a strong sense of homely nostalgia, even if it is little cliched in places. The song has a talented, next-door-neighbour performer who lets you know that you are in safe hands. There is a sweet, engaging melody in the chorus which sticks in the memory. I have an overwhelming desire to jump into my iPhone to give Aksel a hug and tell him that everything will be alright.

Tibor
Tibor
6 months ago

I’m actually positively surprised that this goes down so well with the wiwijury. I love it, it’s my number three and one of only five songs from this year’s contest I regularly listen to. Sometimes I have a penchant for songs that many people think plod or “go nowhere”, while in fact the journey is the reward. It’s very gripping atmospheric and I wouldn’t mind this going on for longer than three minutes.

Colin
Colin
6 months ago

FINLAND – I might be in a minority here, but I love this song. It’s tender melody really manages to transport me down the memory lane and think about people I loved and places I’ve been. It comes off as both universal (as in, I believe every person has some dose of nostalgia within them) and deeply personal to Aksel. Who, I might say, hits every note in his live performance. It might not be the most instantly spectacular ESC song of all times, but it has a heart and makes me feel something. Finland had a great NF and… Read more »

Stephanie
Stephanie
6 months ago

6,5/10 Are you kidding me!

Domino
Domino
6 months ago
Reply to  Stephanie

Ikr! It’s in the bottom 5 for me (4/10)

Stephanie
Stephanie
6 months ago
Reply to  Domino

I don’t think you really understand my reaction. That score is way overrated!!!