Eurovision 2020 didn’t happen. But Netflix is delivering us another Eurovision of sorts. Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga hits the streaming service on June 26th. In it we’ll see the duo Fire Saga — that’s Lars Erickssong (Will Ferrell) and Sigrit Ericksdottir (Rachel McAdams) — fighting to “prove that any dream worth having is a dream worth fighting for.”
And apparently part of that involves singing the song “Volcano Man” — the very first single from the film to hit our computers. So, as we wait for the fictional song contest to get rolling, we thought we’d re-convene the Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals — to see what they think.
And before any of you get carried away with those Netflix conspiracy theories, rest assured that our jurors maintained complete editorial freedom. The range of scores and opinions should make that much clear.
Fire Saga – “Volcano Man” (Will Ferrell & Rachel McAdams)
“Volcano Man” reviews
Robyn: A lot of Eurovision influences can be felt in “Volcano Man”. There’s the epic Icelandic power duet of Greta Salóme and Jónsi’s “Never Forget”, the Nordic dance-pop of KEiiNO’s “Spirit in the Sky” and a hint of the good-natured parody of “Love Love Peace Peace”. The minimalist, dramatic introduction to the song soon erupts into a bright dancefloor hit, which is sure to be a Euroclub staple in years to come. “Volcano Man” blends the folk with the modern, the masculine with the feminine, the fire with the ice. While the music video ramps up the cheese a little too much, the Nordic fantasy elements show great potential for the song to come alive on the Eurovision stage.
Suzanne: Iceland certainly knows how to bring different genres. “Volcano Man” is another love song (insert eye roll), albeit with a new storyline. Beautiful Sigrit saves Lars from a fate of loving only the land he protects. Sigrit is led to Lars via lucid dreaming — without knowing, Lars was calling her. The video opens in a spiritual, new age way with Lars chanting and breathing. He and Sigrit’s voices are connected as though they give one another the power to speak their truth, which is LOVE. Lars’ first glance into the camera is innocent and childlike. This romance builds from this sweet foundation: cat walking across the Highlands, energetically skipping in front of a waterfall, making snow angels. Vocals are saved by Sigrit’s sweet, raspy voice whereas Lars could use voice lessons and perhaps a rest from inhaling volcanic ash. The sweet innocence of their love and the staging makes this song for me.
Deban: When listening to “Volcano Man”, it is impossible to deny its strongest quality: this 90-second tune is catchy AF! The disco beats and Will Ferrell’s heavy panting compliment My Marianne’s (okay, Molly Sandén‘s) flawless vocals. This song does what it needs to do in half the time. Weirdly, its biggest flaw could also be its biggest draw — this song is a travesty! I’ve spent years celebrating and sometimes criticising entries. Not every song needs to have a message. However, this is nothing but shameless parroting, and Europe’s most-watched TV special deserves more.
Oranie: Good job Nextflix, Lars, Sigrit, or whoever: you’ve brought all of the biggest Eurovision clichés together in one song. I’m not amused. The Eurovision Song Contest was created after the Second World War to bring once antagonistic nations closer. While wacky performances and songs are an integral part of Eurovision folklore, replicating these performances without being insulting or looking ludicrous requires that you master your art first. I only see and hear sneering from across the Atlantic. There were so many smarter ways to get closer to the reality of Eurovision. You get one point from me — for the landscape in the video clip.
William: “Volcano Man” is a call to follow your heart — even if that means listening to strange voices, climbing a mountain and letting a man with a rather large codpiece scream his name at you. Building from a folkloric opening and progressing to a disco finish, Lars and Sigrit cast a mythical spell as they create one of the most memorable Eurovision music videos ever. Whether forming snow angels, beating on keyboards or serving sensuous looks over the shoulder, they’re taking the piss while remaining fully committed. This is a parody song that is actually quite good! Special shout out to Rachel: Her lip-sync is among the tightest we’ve seen all season.
Edd: Lars opens the number imitating a volcanic plume, producing heavy panting noises and showcasing a vocal control that would put Frank Sinatra to shame. Sigrit’s ethereal presence proceeds to lift you to Iceland’s snow-capped fjords, as she chants lyrics with a meaning deeper than the mid-Atlantic ridge. The contemporary chorus is an eruption of songwriting mastery — although it’s undeniable that a trick was missed by not including a post-chorus Nordic flute solo. Regardless of this minor flaw, the song is overflowing with passion, talent, spirituality, and staging potential, and may just be the best Eurovision entry of all time.
Esma: The Eurovision Song Contest deserves a film, not an American mockumentary. This typically cliché American view of our beloved Eurovision is truly insulting. But the worst part about “Volcano Man” is that despite the hideous song title and Will Ferrell’s dreadful vocals, it’s actually catchy.
Renske: “Volcano Man” was the Icelandic entry that we never thought was coming, but we nevertheless all were confronted with. A sibling combination has fared poorly in the past in the contest, but Fire Saga still has that little bit of quirkiness we can all relate too. Whether you think “Volcano Man” is the next “Spirit in the Sky” depends on your love for the supernatural.
Josh: Hearing the one-minute snippet of Fire Saga’s “Volcano Man”, I am struck by how cohesive they sound, despite being completely different as soloists. Lars Erickssong’s exhale-joiking seems to pay homage to Fred from KEiiNO. At times it feels a little bit crazy, but also comfortably familiar. You sense that even though Fire Saga are a new group on the scene, that Lars is a veteran of performing, and given the chance to perform on the Eurovision stage, he will be a rock, almost as sturdy and solid as the material his “Volcano Man” superhero look is made out of. (Inquiring minds NEED to know what that material is!). However, do NOT discount Miss Sigrit Ericksdottir – she may be expected to take second billing from Lars, but she stands out wonderfully, connecting the words of the song and the setting of the video with real emotions that make everything feel cool, crisp, and beautiful (just like an Icelandic winter), but also giving them FIRE (Eleni Foureira would be PROUD)! The digital sounds and instrumentation compliment her voice beautifully. Make no mistake: Sigrit is the REAL star that could power them to a surprisingly strong finish on the Eurovision stage!
Katie: Lars and Sigrit have done their research, and perfected the Eurovision winning formula. There’s a an exciting build-up to an uplifting dance chorus, and we won’t be forgetting their iconic music video in a hurry. Sigrit’s vocals are undeniably good and I really enjoy the nods to Eurovision classics, like Paula and Ovi’s two-sided piano. Though it would have been great to hear Lars sing a little more. In recent years, Iceland have produced a string of unforgettable Eurovision entries, from Hatari to Daði & Gagnamagnið, could this be the year that Iceland snatches the Eurovision trophy, and brings it back to the Icelandic fjords? I sure hope so!
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 1 and a high of 9.5.
The Wiwi Jury Verdict: 6.75 / 10
What do you think of the “Volcano Man” video? Do you think this would have made the grand final of Eurovision 2020? Where would you place this in your Top 42? Let us know in the comments down below!