ESC 2017: Norway’s Melodi Grand Prix

Ulrikke – Places

A slinky slow burn modern pop number, with a relaxed touch of post-dancehall exoticism about it, but which never really catches fire. It’s a bit Era Istrefi, a bit Dua Lipa, which makes it a credible choice for the contest, but would it stand out in the uptempo 2nd half of Semi 2? Would it take more than that drop?

Jenny Augusta – I Go Where You Go

A wonderful confection of psychedelic fantasy imagery but with a very Nordic unicorn death scene at the end. This song sounds like it might belong Joanna Newsom’s Americana-focused Have One On Me album, which is actually pretty high praise. It’s also so twee that it makes Zoe’s Loin d’Ici sound like Judas Priest, but I for one love it.

Rune Rudberg Band – Run Run Away

Very straightforward country and western. I am hoping that this is only in the competition for genre diversity and that the jury of international Eurovision fans will give it the short shrift it desrves.

Jowst – Grab The Moment

There’s a lot of unsettling death imagery in this song which is ostensibly about carpeing the heck out of every single diem. Norway gonna Norway, I guess? That being said, it’s very modern and very danceable, but like a lot of these modern EDM influenced tracks it has a significant use of vocal sampling which is not going to be doable live. I guess we’ll see.

Kristian Valen – You And I

Drippy, formulaic and boring. Nope. Don’t fall for it, Norway.

In Fusion – Nothing Ever Knocked Us Over

This is the most Swedish sounding track of the bunch – country-esque singalong chorus over pounding, shimmering synth lines and then a big cheesy drop into a synth hook that fell out of Aviici’s toolbag. It’s going to be tough to beat, and it would probably qualify for the final, but because I’m an insufferable hipster I would rather they sent one of their more distinctive tracks.

Amina Sewali – Mesterwerk.

100% dignified, romantic, sweeping electropop with a beautiful sentiment. There are lots of parallels between this song and Aminata’s Love Injected, but I think Mesterwerk is a little bit more immediately accessible despite being in Norwegian. I would definitely support this song going to Kyiv. A bit of class. (Also what a gorgeous lyric video!)

Ammunition – Wrecking Crew

No, Norway. Wig Wam were cracking back in the day, but this is to Wig Wam what Mambo Number 5 is to Buena Vista Social Club. It’s got a whistled hook, which is one of my least favourite things in all pop music and I’m expecting the stage show to be All Wrong.

Elin & The Woods – First Step In Faith/Oadjebasvuhtii

Oh boy, do I love hearing some joiking. Elin is a Sami musician and bellydancer, and she seems like a fabulously interesting character. Hopefully she’ll bring every bit of the full traditional mysticism of her art to the stage. Songwise, I am not sure which of this Eurovision weekend’s major joik-pop contenders I like better. Elin’s song is very singable, has beautiful dynamics and a good contrast between sparkling electronica and the rooted, natural singing but over in Sweden Jon Henrik is bringing the fully intense power ballad duet treatment to his music. However it happens, it’d be lovely to have someone flying the Sami flag in Kyiv.

Ella – Mamma Boy

I’m not sure that this does anything to combat toxic ideas of masculine roles in relationships, but it sounds fiesty and particularly rude what with fingers going in sockets and such like. It’s like what you’d expect Shampoo or Daphne & Celeste to be up to in the current pop climate.  (I remain disappointed that I couldn’t convince Max Tundra to write D&C another song for the UK Eurovision selection)

They’re also going to have to take that partially buried expletive out of the mix if this goes to Kyiv. I wouldn’t put it past Norway to actually send this.

My picks: Amina Sewali, Elin & The Woods

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