The Wiwi Jury — our in-house team of music unprofessionals — is reviewing and rating the 37 competing songs in Eurovision 2023. Next we review Switzerland, who have chosen Remo Forrer with “Watergun”.
Was it a dribble or did we get doused with water? Read on to find out!
Remo Forrer – “Watergun” (Switzerland Eurovision 2023)
Review: Remo Forrer – “Watergun”
Antranig: My first thought when I heard “Watergun” was that it was just another typical peace anthem. However, Remo is the selling point here and something about his voice feels really special. Lyrically, “Watergun” feels like it has a lot more thought put into it than your average peace song and I like it more and more each time I listen to it. Furthermore, the lyrics are visually arresting and are likely to make an impact on the first-time listener. I think this is a really solid entry for Switzerland, but I have to wonder if Remo’s undeniable talent isn’t a little bit wasted on this song.
Jonathan: Following their poor televote score last year, I question why the Swiss team decided they needed yet another sad boy ballad that lacks any true raw emotion. There is drama here and a growing orchestral accompaniment, but nothing that really lets you connect with Remo – the generic peace lyrics don’t help either. Remo’s singing ability is not in question here and I have no doubt he’ll deliver it flawlessly in Liverpool. But it all somehow feels a bit forced.
Ruxandra: In terms of genre, it’s nothing surprising from Switzerland, as in the previous three years (2020 included too) they had deep ballads performed by male representatives. BUT we have something very promising. For sure, one of the best ballads this year. The lyrics are very relevant: The whole idea of how as a kid you play games where you are a soldier and then you end up in a real war, with the transition from water guns to real guns, represents a strong statement. I think that Eurovision will be like a protest for peace, and this should not be seen as something “political”, this should be seen as something human.
Lucy: What has happened to Switzerland in the last two years? For the second year in a row, we have a fairly dull ballad, except this time there’s a bunch of inappropriately-timed references to guns and body bags. For that alone I can’t get on board with this at all, let alone the three minutes feeling much longer than it should. But I’ll grant Remo Forrer three points purely because his voice is absolutely gorgeous, and it isn’t his fault that the lyrics are as unfortunate as they are.
Oliver: Remo Forrer has a huge voice, one that could lend itself to the most powerful of ballads. Unfortunately, “Watergun” is more of a weak slap on the wrist than it is punch to the gut. It’s not an instant skip or write-off, as pretty melodies and lush orchestration are worth lending one’s ear to. But elsewhere it’s remarkably plain, and the lyrics unbearably wet. And the promise of dancers — presumably performing some sort of interpretive routine — only deepens the worry that Switzerland could be back to its non-qualification days.
Switzerland Eurovision 2023 ranking
In the Eurovision 2023 Wiwi Jury, we have 20 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 and a high of 8.5.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 6.58/10
What do you think of Switzerland’s Eurovision 2023 entry? Share your own score and review for Remo Forrer’s “Watergun” below!
Not sure if I would like (or not so much) this song if it was performed by another soloist, but THIS voice is everything!
I really hope that televoters do have ears and would appreciate this perfect bariton of Remo Forrer.
GREAT voice, it is really distinctive BUT without juries this song has no chances in SF1. It really sucks seeing Croatia qualifying and not Suisse
I like the song itself, but his accent is ruining it. He should sing in his native language. Don’t force yourself. Period.
his accent is better than Georgia, Armenia, Norway.
Call me oldfashioned. But a 20 year old Swiss(!) guy sings an antiwar song. I do not believe 1 sentence of the lyrics. It is so generic.
what’s wrong with a 20 year old Swiss guy singing an antiwar song? I bet you were fine with Russia sending songs about peace?
why is there so much grumbling about switzerland sending a ballad “again”? at popsong, no one says anything when a country sends a pop song for the 10th time in row. i love ballads and hope switzerland sends 100 more such beautiful acts.
I love this year’s entry but it is the third year in a row they send a dude with a sad song.
I don’t think that gjon’s tear’s tout l’univers was a sad song.
So underrated this year, I immediately connected with this song and would love to see it in the final. My 8th place this year and a 8.5/10
I don’t have much to say about this one. Remo has a great voice, the melody is nice but this is trying too hard to be a message song, which leaves me totally indifferent unfortunately.
6.5/10 and 22nd in my ranking. I don’t think it will qualify but it might just scrape through. If it does juries will push it higher in the final – probably somewhere mid-table.
I believe Remo Forrer is one of the best singers in this year’s Eurovision and, in case the televoters show him enough support to qualify, I wouldn’t be shocked if the juries give him a big push in the final. After all, the track is almost as polished as his vocals, even if it lacks originality. As many others, my big problem with this song comes with the lyrics. The message is too much on our faces and the title “Watergun” is quite odd. At least they aren’t contradictory like the ones from last year’s effort. I mean, unless you… Read more »
I find it presumptuous and absolutely unfair to Remo to claim that as a Swiss he is not allowed to deal with the topic of war, violence, or the glorification of weapons as children’s toys. We all (and certainly the Swiss) want to live in peace and freedom. And nobody has the right to forbid him this opinion and attitude. The song also carries a certain hope. On the one hand through the musical structure and also through the visualizations with the breaking through of the dark tunnel. At the end he stands in freedom on a wide field. In… Read more »
Exactly! And sources say he wrote it before the war as well.
I wouldn’t count this one as down and out quite yet. With his voice, and the likelihood that at least one ballad will qualify to the final, I can see this doing pretty well. It’s chances will probably come down to how good/bad Czechia, the Netherlands, or even Latvia and Malta perform.
Of course Remo as an individual has the right to write and sing about any subject he wants and send a positive (if also naive) anti-war message (as I also have the right to not be touched about the way he conveyed it, which is the case here). The same way the Swiss broadcaster isn’t responsible for Swiss foreign policy and may have good intentions for chosing this song too. In that sense, I think your reply was quite harsh, because it was almost like you were implying I was trying to censor him or blame the artist, which was… Read more »
People also forget that switzerland has military conscription so every boy his age has been in the military.
If he qualifies, then yes he will do well in the final thanks to the juries. But first he needs to qualify…
11. Remo Forrer – Watergun (Switzerland) – 7.5/10 – surprisingly graphic in its lyrical content which lifts this song emotionally-speaking. There is nothing worth dying for when you’re young and Remo delivers this message with an appropriately fragile honesty, aptly portraying the fear of early adulthood. A hauntingly gentle piano nicely bookends the track, instilling an uncomfortable self-reflective mood.
Unfortunately, I believe you are correct in that juries would give this an unjustifiable push…because they just go for musical beigeness like this.
You already found more authenticity in this than I managed to.
Remember when Switzerland sent Gjon’s Tears in back-to-back years and were amongst the contenders to win Eurovision? No? That’s Ok. Switzerland doesn’t either. Completely devoid of original ideas or any sort of authentic execution, “Watergun” takes all of the uncompetitiveness of last year’s entry, and then goes one step further by being completely devoid of the charm and musical individuality. The flop era has well and truly been embraced. Lyrically, I think this is the most dire effort at Eurovision this year. When I first heard that the leak that Switzerland’s song was going to be called “Watergun”, I was… Read more »
My schedule’s a bit off with these reviews now. Trying to write about Cyprus kinda put a spanner in the works!
I am off with some reviews too. I gut stuck between ratings for Cyprus, and then I have some obligations that pulled me away. I still managed to post Serbia and Switzerland today. Cyprus probably comes tomorrow morning, together with whatever the morning presents us with (unless it’s Romania or United Kingdom, as I have not finished the reviews for them yet). I am looking forward to read more of your reviews.
Cyprus continues to be the one to hold me back. I quite like it, I just don’t have a lot to say about it.
Same here with being late in my reviews and mostly writing them on my mobile phone the last few days. Work has been very busy this week..
So far, I am willing to give Switzerland a benefit of a doubt that the message here is universal, and not as cynical as some people are afraid it might be. I could hear the song in the ending credits of ”Dunkirk” or ”1917” (albeit revamped). I understand the ”tone-deaf” criticism, if we were to assume that he’s indeed projecting himself to be a Ukrainian soldier (which I don’t think that he is). Still, while quite nice, I do find the music tad aneamic to pull a punch it’s going for with these super-raw lyrics. It makes a strange pairing.… Read more »
I think after last year’s heavy-handed, insincere message, Switzerland doesn’t get that benefit of the doubt for me. It seems this cynical approach is just something that they seem to be going for.
I expected you to like this more than I do, for sure.
I definitely recognize that the lyrics are not that inventive or different but the line “I don’t wanna play with real blood” hits me hard every time I hear it. We have a youth brought up on the plastic violence of the Marvel Universe, it’s so incredibly sad that there is so much conflict in the world where real lives are being forever destroyed. I sense a deep loss of innocence in this track and I respect that they have succeeded in making me feel something (which so many tracks this year have failed miserably to do)
Like I said to Colin just now, I think of high school shootings in America. The lyrics can also fit that horrible story. From the students crouching behind desks, or terrified teachers.
I am a teacher in America, and I show the Eurovision entries to my high school students and have them do their own version every year. This song shocked us all into silence when we viewed it. I have to keep the door to my classroom locked at all times this year. There are so many measures I have to take that are absurd and harrowing, and these is a real and present fear for my students. All of us made that link pretty much immediately, though I knew it probably wasn’t the actual intent behind the song.
How awful. I’m sorry that you have that fear in your mind every day. It certainly makes your profession all the more admirable. Thank you for creating more open minds in this world, I hope the people you are teaching grow up to change things.
Wow, I’m so sorry to read this! I hope that the kids are alright.
I was on board with the song having an emotion core until the suggestion that the part of the message is drawing a parallel between fictional violence in movies and real violence in wars. Losing innocence is a message I can relate to. Objecting to being forced in a conflict is something I can endorse. Suggesting that people are desensitized to actual violence because they played violent games as children would actually make the song less relatable in my eyes.
‘Sweet people’ did that so much better 13 years ago already.
I wasn’t really drawing parallels, I was more talking about the realisation that violence is very much real and has very serious consequences. Playing with real blood suggests a very nasty injury, possibly death, these things are very real and very distressing. A lot of young people may be sheltered and I see this track as a kind of awakening – not a desensitisation, more of a dispelled naivety.
Thanks, Kosey. That is a good take.
Oliver is always so darn negative! Chill
Too middle of the road to really stand out. He has a voice and the song is listenable but the whole pack isn’t enough for me. I don’t think Switzerland should have gone for another male ballad after last years result. This time, even the pack sounds better to me, there won’t be any jury in the SF to help. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be any ballads but if you sent one you have to make sure it has something that grabs your attention. Switzerland stands on my 23rd place. 8. San Marino (7.25) 10. Ireland (7) 11. Armenia… Read more »
SWITZERLAND – It’s a lovely ballad with a nice piano orchestration, especially in the intro segment. Remo’s voice is powerful and makes the live version sound like the studio one, if not better. I see that the lyrics are a matter of dispute, but I don’t see them that way. Once we remove our associations to the current situation in Ukraine, we could apply them to any armed conflict where people, mostly young men, die, get injured, or are forced to injure others. It’s an anti-conscription song, and I am listening. The issue in the composition is that the music… Read more »
On one hand, Switzerland still sadly has mandatory conscription, something that should have been left in the 20th century (My opinion only, feel free to disagree). Sure, they have an alternative civilian service too, but still, the issue is still present within the country. On the other hand, the performer can be empathetic to the experiences that are not his, and just try to project it to empower others who find themselves in it. Of course, the question is, how good or how clunky the execution is. As I said, there are some issues that prevent it from being as… Read more »
You are right about the difference between having military service without actually going to conflict (especially when you can also go to an alternative civilan service instead) and actually being forced to a conflict. Still, even the ”play pretend” (as you put it) can still remind someone that, if by any chance their country actually goes to war in the future, they’ll be the first cannon fodder, no questions asked. I agree, Dina Garipova could be empathetic, maybe. I don’t think that she ever publically embraced or denounced the invasion on Ukraine, so the judgment is still out in that… Read more »
Thanks, Ari. To say further, I do understand the contextual comments about the song being ”tone-deaf”. I guess I currently chose to give them a benefit of a doubt and look at it as ”a peace song”, detached from the moment in time. However, with songs like this, it could change. I hope he doesn’t use the Ukrainian-themed imagery on stage, cause that would actually be tasteless.
I’ve decided this song is about gun laws in the USA. The protagonist is a schoolteacher, working in Florida. He passes through metal detectors every day to get to the “frontline” of society. Tragedies occur too often. Some people call for the banning of guns, others insist that teachers should be armed.
My interpretation, by choice. Plausible?
Plausible enough, except for the usage of ”soldier”. Perhaps a metaphor?
Joke aside, do you think that the song is obviously about Ukraine, and that suggesting otherwise is missing the mark?
If it is about Ukraine, maybe it makes more sense to think of it from the Russian side. Ordinary people rounded up and shipped off. All to serve one man’s ego.
It is not about Ukraine, this song was written in 2020, well before the war started.
…exporting real guns to various armed conflicts yet not allowing them to be sent to Ukraine, something that makes the lyrics of this song even more galling.
Same score here Colin, and I agree that the dissonance between the melody and the lyrics leaves me a bit baffled and has prevented me to connect with this one. The only difference is that I prefer the melody over the lyrics, because I find that it’s trying too hard to be a message song and I find this completely unnecessary. I’m hearing the message though, but this needed probably a different song structure -and maybe a different artist- to give it more of a ‘punch’. Sweet boy singing hard words over a sweet melody just doesn’t work for me.
Another match, ThorBeta. 🙂 I’m not sure whether I prefer the melody or the lyrics, but they aren’t a full match. I feel like they wanted to achieve a raw impact of something like Non mi avete fatto niente, but didn’t have the balance to get even close to that level.
Salvador Sobral got 6.56 from wiwibloggs jury in 2017 and was ranked 23rd. There was even a 0 (zero) score given by a person who is still in the jury 🙂
It was a load if crap
Yeah, I just went and checked, it was actually Antranig who rated it a 0/10, don’t really know what to say about this other than that Amar Pelos Dois is objectively a 5/5 and thankfully history has proven us right.
Painful. If I had ever given that level of a bad take, I’d never be able to give my opinion on a piece of music ever again.
I think if Switzerland is lucky 10th at the semi the juries will love it in the final.
It’s really a strange move on the Swiss end to select a male ballad after the last didn’t exactly do well with the televote. While Remo has a really nice voice, I gotta agree with the crowd and say the song feels too forced and doesn’t really do much for me. Qualifying’s gonna be hard for Switzerland, but they do have the benefit of performing after the absolute dumpster fire that is Croatia’s entry, so maybe it’ll be a fresh reset for the audience. It’s a 6.5/10 for me. I don’t expect this to qualify, but wouldn’t object if it… Read more »
I love this song and is my 5th place. Don’t normally like ballads but this hits me where it feels. Sadly I don’t think it will qualify
Same here. He is my biggest favourite along with Mae Muller, but i don’t expect a qualification sadly. If they didn’t juries i would be 100% sure that he’s gonna qualify and even get a good position in grand final
If they didn’t remove juries*
I love this song almost as much as Ritoli loves Noa Kirel
8/10 for me!
His voice…. OMG!! DAMN!
This will qualify! Period!
Sorry for the long text but I really have to get rid of something about Watergun by Remo Forrer! I find it extremely courageous and impressive that the 21 year old Remo has chosen a song with such a heavy theme. It is always easier to sing about wolves and bananas. He is smart enough to know that you will never win the ESC with a sad midtempo ballad about war, because winning songs usually have to be danceable, fun-loving, colorful and by now also TikTok-able. And yet the young man has the guts to compete with a song with… Read more »
No! Nobody gets to “give a voice” to soldiers from a position of such privilege! There are unspeakable horrors happening in combat that no “training” will ever prepare you for and among those soldiers that are in combat there are people who will NEVER, absolutely NEVER recover, should they get out of war *alive*. If they come back, they will never be the person they were before the war, and I’m not talking about missing limbs and disabilities, it’s about their minds and their emotions. And the things they had to do to survive. They don’t get to forget anything.… Read more »
I can’t relate to being a soldier, but I can relate to not wanting to be a soldier. Therefore, I can relate to this song.
As for banning topics in songwriting, good luck with that.
i absolutely understand what you are trying to say. but when i read your comment, i think you didn’t understand or rather misunderstood the message of remo’s song and also my comment.
do you know what is the worst thing about war and the victims involved? if nobody would talk or sing about it. looking away and making it taboo would make it much worse than it already is.
One could call this dry and dull…I get it, but having lived in CH for quite a while, this is the sort of stuff you hear on commercial radio……so its kind of what is normal in that part of the world…its kind of like a subdued power ballad…..and for the second year in a row we have seen this from CH. The song itself is attempting to be very current and topical …. whether that will see it through to the finals is another thing……..last year was a bit of a surprise…lets see what happens this year.
Objectively, this is a good orchestral ballad. Remo’s vocal range is wide, deep and clear and his falsettos are quite provide positively to the melody. But once again (you guessed it), I cannot connect with the song’s purpose, it falls flat and unremarkable. Its anti-war message is quite the irony, considering it derives from Switzerland, lol. The chorus is way too repetitiive and predictable although the verses are excellent. Unfortunately, this is not in my personal qualifiers of SF1 but I also wouldn’t be mad at it if it qualified in the end.
My #26, with a 6/10 rating.
I realy like Remo’s voice. I don’t respect the song nor the Swedish factor living happily in Switzerland’s ********.
The lyrics of this song are on the ironic side coming from Switzerland.
The best thing for me about this entry is Remo Forrer’s velvety deep vocal tone. The song itself has a pretty melody and a nice piano and orchestral arrangement with kettledrums and deep brass instruments. I’m not really sold on the breakdown in the bridge and the rather abrupt ending, another minute would have benefitted this song greatly, I think. The lyrics are perhaps not super subtle, but I can appreciate the sentiment. I’m sure not every young man wants to be a soldier and “play with real blood”, that’s certainly true for every war on this planet, so I… Read more »
This one makes for a very good piano cover, for example: https://youtu.be/Er-ELg076DE There are a lot of problems I have with this song, but Remo’s voice is undeniably top draw and exceeds the limitations of this song by a big margin. I love Remo, but not this song. The song is pretty much in G-sharp minor throughout, with a bit of a trip through some major chords in the Chorus. It’s a dull key, and it’s not helped by how the melodies are really uninspiring. It’s almost like the songwriter is stating “I don’t want to be a soldier, soldier”… Read more »
don’t think he has to worry about being a soldier, family are worth 1.8 billion
his voice has similar qualities of Lewis Capaldi, very deep, and that makes it also sound very current,
Shame on the broadcaster for including this song in their selection. Shame, shame, shame!
Why is it a shame singing about not wanting to be a soldier? Surely that is a very relatable topic.
His vocals are very pretty, I must say that.
15th place: SWITZERLAND: Remo has a great deep baritone voice. The song is a nice ballad that grows in power during the climax and talks about a timeless theme that is omnipresent in all time eras: the insanity of war and the fear of having to fight for one’s life in a war. The lyrics could have been better though: at some parts they seem like they could have done with some more thought, depth and with better word choices. All in all a solid, yet not extraordinary song that as of now is borderline Q or NQ in its… Read more »
Strong disagree about this being an upgrade over last year’s effort. At least “Boys Do Cry” had somewhat of an identity, even if it wasn’t to everybody else’s taste.
Switzerland sticking to the male ballads, they probably thought that since Gjon got 3rd, Marius and Remo could repeat that. *laughs*
Same case with Cyprus, a typical ballad that makes me feel nothing. Great voice though.
This will probably get forgotten after the chaos of Croatia. If Marius got like 8 points in an easy semi, then this will have the same faith.
Rating: 7/10 (16th)
Didn’t SJB do Marius’ staging last year? Least she could do is keep staging simple and not have dancers. Doesn’t feel right with dancers to me.
I feel for Remo, you can tell he’s talented and I loved his voice, but Swiss TV is throwing him under the bus with all of these decisions they’ve made
It feels as though they were trying to copy “Lose Control” by Zoe Wees as much as they could, but then failed polishing the rest. The chorus sounds really cheap and unfinished, while the rest is kind of meh.
If this came from Sweden would have been considered a masterpiece and awarded 9, at least. But just because it’s from Switzerland, the tasteless Wiwi members are ranking it low…
20) Switzerland – I usually hold off from calling things jury bait, but it feels like it’s the second one in a row from Switzerland. I do really like Remo’s voice, and I enjoy the last 30 secs or so quite a bit. However I sometimes find it forgettable hence why it’s slightly lower on my list. Not sure if it’ll qualify without the jury in the semis… Also why it’s titled Watergun? No idea. It’s a bit of a strange title. 6.5/10
That fighting in any is wrong. It’s a peace ballad
Aesthetically I find this very nice, with Remo’s lovely voice and the tasteful piano. Lyrically, you can nitpick the source and the intent of the message, but I find it mostly harmless. In SF2, I wouldn’t mind it as a qualifier. In SF1 though, this would be stealing a spot from Sudden Lights (or God forbid, Luke or Mimi). Doesn’t bug me like the Dutch entry, though. 6/10
Burning Daylight is a lovely song though, the main problem basically in our entry is it being designed for Duncan’s vocal range, which you notice with Dion especially struggling in the higher notes, quite a crisis going on here too at the moment, Jan Smit having resigned from our selection committee (the only one who voted against Mia & Dion)
Per wikipedia: “De keuze werd wederom intern verricht door een selectiecommissie en werd volgens de organiserende publieke omroep AVROTROS unaniem genomen.”
It’s easy to say you wouldn’t mind it as a qualifier before realising what songs would actually have to miss out.
Countries like the Netherlands or Switzerland would literally be stealing a spot if they got into the grand final this year.
A 6.5 from Cinan is a 1 from everyone else
If juries were voting in the semis, I’d be more confident on Switzerland qualifying. Bearing in mind, Switzerland would’ve failed to qualify last year if the new system this year was introduced a year earlier.
Pleasant song, but will it stand out to the average viewer…
Croatia will stand out more, and performing before Israel (which we know will have a huge stage show act too)
Is SJB a bad choice for a staging director? she’s had some successful entries in the contest, both in qualifiers and potential winners.
I mean, I do think having dancers for this song is questionable in and of itself. It’s not the type of entry I’d imagine that warrants dancers (it is about war and weapons after all) so yeah I do find that particular decision quite strange.
However for SJB doing the staging in general (even if it was her decision to have dancers), I dont have an issue with her doing it because she has a decent track record and particularly for entries which warrant darker, more dramatic staging, I think she has delivered on that front a number of times.
Malta 2021 did the same Swedish thing.
I’m in the minority when it comes to stuff like having a Swedish influence in staging or choreography. My perception is, if the artist and staging director (whoever the broadcaster chooses to work with) thinks these dancers are up to the job, I’m not going to be critical of them just because they do choreo in Melfest. I can understand if people have issues with songs that countries send that sound like songs intended for Melfest (although let’s be fair, Sweden have done exceptionally well, its not really surprising some countries may think that strategy could work) but dancers, or… Read more »
The random draw for the next jury: Germany with average of 7.77 and Romania with 5.00.
Switzerland: Coming with another ballad, their 4th in a row (if you count 2020). I do worry if, like we have seen withe Cyprus continuously sending the same genre repeatedly, whether Switzerland’s results get gradually worse which would potentially lead them to a non-qualification (even last year they were saved byy the jury). In terms of this ballad, the positives are, we have a very competent vocalist which has a distinct vocal, arguably one of the best male vocals of the year who also won a singing competition, which would lead me to believe he is comfortable performing in front… Read more »
i’m not against anti-war songs in general, but coming from a neutral country and performed by a rich kid (although he comes across quite likeable), it kinda comes across more pretentious and cringe to me he has a good voice for sure, but i only would’ve wanted something different for a song, message, something stronger too maybe also this has same vibe as last years Marius Bear his song, which literally was near last in semi televote and a 0 televote in final in that tough semi 1, i really think this more can be a candidate for last place,… Read more »
Wow…I have a similar view of this odd anti war song coming from a neutral country. I also dislike when the song title represents a song where the title is constantly being sung as the opposite eg Watergun title yet lyrics constantly mention no water guns. I think this is definitely a non-qualifier even though the odds have it around 70% possibility of making it to the Grand Finale.
His father plays traditional Swiss music. I wish Switzerland would have sent him instead.