The Wiwi Jury — our in-house team of music unprofessionals — is reviewing and rating the 39 competing songs in Eurovision 2021. Next we turn to Azerbaijan where Efendi has “Mata Hari”. Were we captivated by this seductive spy? Read on to find out!
Efendi – “Mata Hari”
“Mata Hari” reviews
Deban: Azerbaijan does not play! And neither does Efendi —who isn’t here to experiment with musical styles. “Mata Hari” sounds like a hidden track on the “Cleopatra” EP. The emerging Azeri star knows what her fans demand, and she is serving it! Fusing Oriental sounds, and lyrics referencing the title of her previous entry, Efendi cleverly makes new garments out of old fabric. Expected, but ingenious at the same time, “Mata Hari” gets straight to the point. It doesn’t come with any singer-songwriter stripes, or a meaningful message, it is simply crafted for a top spot in the Eurovision Grand Final.
Erdi: Is this the Azerbaijan we all miss? Definitely. Mata Hari is the energetic song we all want to listen after a really hard year. The song itself has a very nice tempo and when you look at the richness of Azerbaijani music, this song is just a very nice mix of traditional and current styles. I really like to see Azerbaijan going with this style.
Jordi: “Cleopatra” was a bop, and Efendi knows it. “Mata Hari” seems to be capitalized on the same trend. It invokes energy, has an infectious sound, involves choreography and holds the same oriental feel. As “Mata Hari’s” first verses already perceive, Azerbaijan has again not come to play, but to slay. The dynamics in this song are really impressive. Every verse seems to have its momentum, with a final that — rest assured — will be epic on stage. Perhaps, this song has less grip than her last year’s entry. But if she manages to deliver, Azerbaijan could secure a great score.
Oliver: Try to refrain we may, but comparisons to 2020 entries are inevitable — and frankly, necessary — when the new songs reference their predecessors as heavily as this. If “Cleopatra” was the whole three-bird Sunday roast, “Mata Hari” is the week-old leftovers without any of the trimmings. There’s no elevation here. The song is laden with bland material that focuses too heavily on artificially recreating what made “Cleopatra” so great, with recycled elements thrown in for the sake of self-indulgent reference. Comparisons aside, “Mata Hari” is still a weak track. There’s not much pull, the chorus feels empty and the vocal isn’t all that impressive. And to top it all off, the lyrics are embedded with countless annoying and frustrating historical inaccuracies. There’s no doubt she’ll deliver an excellent stage show in Rotterdam. But Efendi can do better than this.
Luis: “Mata Hari” is the epitome of fast-food music, and honestly, that’s what we need in the middle of a pandemic. It has urgency, a vertiginous pace and a strong hook: everything that makes a perfect piece of disposable pop. But make no mistake, Efendi does bring some extras which help this song excel in its genre: the rich traditional instrumentation, the Azerbaijani sentence and the nod to “Cleopatra” are candy for the fans. And I’m buying all of it.
Efendi – “Mata Hari” rankings
In the Wiwi Jury we have 24 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 3.5 and a high of 9.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 6.57/10
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