The Melodi Grand Prix 2021 final is fast approaching. And one orange-and-yellow-haired songstress is turning out to be something of a dark horse. IMERIKA, with her gentle orchestral ballad “I Can’t Escape”, is proving a hit with fans and bookies alike. But what is the song actually about?

Scroll down for “I Can’t Escape” lyrics

Melodi Grand Prix 2021: IMERIKA “I Can’t Escape”

IMERIKA is the stage name of Erika Dahlen, who designed it from “I’m Erika”. This is her first year competing in Melodi Grand Prix. However, “I Can’t Escape” isn’t her only song. IMERIKA also co-wrote “Feel Again” from Kaja Rode, one of the pre-qualified finalists. IMERIKA is from a valley in Norway and studied at Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts. There’s a lot of talent and experience underneath the deep break-up song.

“I Can’t Escape” was written by IMERIKA herself along with Ben Adams, Morten Franck and Bjørn Olav Edvardsen. Morten Franck also co-wrote “Witch Woods”, which won the third semifinal, while Ben Adams is a former member of A1.

What do the “I Can’t Escape” lyrics mean?

“I Can’t Escape” is about the struggles of moving on from a break-up, which IMERIKA says was inspired by real-life events. It’s implied that the relationship used to be healthy and filled with future plans. “Do you look back and think of me, and all our opportunities”. The destruction of the relationship seems to have been sudden and unexpected, as she repeats the line “How do we get here?”

She describes in vivid detail the difficulty in moving on from her partner. “Just tell me you’re happy, I’ll leave you alone now, but you know where I am if you wanna come round”. The endless torment of the song resides in the inability to let go, despite knowing she needs to. “I’ve moved on in my head, but my heart doesn’t feel the same”. “I’ll break out, but I can’t escape”. It’s an incredibly painful and familiar situation for anyone who has been there.

As the song goes on, the struggle gets harder and harder. “Oh, I’m finding it harder to leave you alone now, you’re all that I see every road that I go down”. In the end, she finds herself in a downward spiral where nothing makes it any easier. “Silence is killing me, I can’t bear the sound”.

The lyrics follow the pattern of the music and get more intense and visceral as the song goes on. It beautifully encapsulates the perceived never-ending torment of a bad breakup. The song doesn’t end on a positive note, as anyone who is in that position can’t possibly imagine it ever getting better. But, in case anyone reading is there right now, just know that it does.

“I Can’t Escape” lyrics – IMERIKA (Norway’s MGP 2021)

Written and composed by: IMERIKA, Ben Adams, Morten Franck and Bjørn Olav Edvardsen

Another day not by your side
Another day of getting by without you
How do we get here?
And I wanna know
Do you look back and think of me?
And all our opportunities
I wonder, how do we get here?

Just tell me you’re happy, I’ll leave you alone now
But you know where I am if you wanna come ’round
And how am I? I’m not great

This new world all so strange
You said I’m yours ’til we die
You’re alive, I don’t know what changed
Behind these bars, a hopeless case
I’ve moved on in my head
But my heart doesn’t feel the same
I’ll break out
But I can’t escape

It’s haunting me, it hurts like hell
A one-track mind can’t shake the spell I’m under
When will you get here?

Oh, I’m finding it harder to leave you alone now
You’re all that I see every road that I go down

This new world all so strange
You said I’m yours ’til we die
You’re alive, I don’t know what changed
Behind these bars, a hopeless case
I’ve moved on in my head
But my heart doesn’t feel the same
I’ll break out
But I can’t escape

I can’t escape
I can’t escape, oh
Silence is killing me, I can’t bear the sound
So how am I? Well, I’m not great

This new world all so strange
You said I’m yours ’til we die
You’re alive, I don’t know what changed

I’ll break out, but I can’t escape

What do you think of “I Can’t Escape”? Do you like its message? Let us know below!

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Sabrina
Sabrina
14 days ago

It will be hard to beat KEiiNO’s appeal and TIX’s popularity, but if I focus just on the song and leave aside the performance aspects, “I Can’t Escape” is probably my favorite in MGP. The lyrics have that Arcade quality of sounding simple, sincere and relatable. It doesn’t feel like she was trying to write a hit or a song to win Eurovision, it was more like a way of coping with a breakup.

Leo
Leo
15 days ago

She reminds me of Phoebe Bridgers!

Ria van de Velde
Ria van de Velde
15 days ago

I like “I can ‘t escape” very much. She is my favorite. I would be very happy if she win the ticket to Rotterdam. My other favorites are: TIX, Keiino, Jorn, Kiim.

Jack Fincher-Pricefield
Jack Fincher-Pricefield
15 days ago

Erika Dahlen has written my Top 2 songs in MGP this year, what a lovely young talent who epitomizes what I love about Eurovision! “I Can’t Escape” is gorgeously cinematic, emotionally convicted and performed excellently with class, there’s no doubt IMERIKA is the dark horse to win on Saturday and given how close Kristin Husøy (a semi qualifier) got to winning last year it shouldn’t be a major shock if Erika pulls it off in slick fashion. I’m not so optimistic about her winning due to TIX & KEiiNO grabbing all the attention but we all know by now the… Read more »

Mr Vanilla Bean
Mr Vanilla Bean
15 days ago

Fully agree, except for 2016 Greta. But the voters seemed to agree with you.

Ivar
Ivar
15 days ago

Musically, this is my absolute favourite in this year’s MGP. Imerika faces very tough competition, so I am not overly optimistic about her winning. But a fabulous song it is

Grft
Grft
15 days ago

It’s a really well-written song. With simple but raw and heartfelt lyrics. I especially love the prechorus: « Just tell me you’re happy, I’ll leave you alone now » // « I’m finding it harder to leave you alone now » and the « And how am I? Well, I’m not great ». Even if she doesn’t win I’ll keep following her, it’s a really good first single. That said, I think it could do well at ESC because it’s really modern and melodic song, with good live vocals. Think Tones and I meets Lorde. She managed to make an intimate edgy track with a spectacular… Read more »

Last edited 15 days ago by Grft
Mr Vanilla Bean
Mr Vanilla Bean
15 days ago

I love the line ‘A one-track mind can’t shake the spell I’m under’. So much wisdom in that one.