Eurovision 2018: The Reviews – ICELAND

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Our Choice (Ari Ólafsson)

BACKGROUND
No, seriously, his last name is Ólafsson, which is the most Icelandic name of all time. Even more Icelandic than Björk. The songwriter here is Þórunn Erna Clausen who co-wrote Iceland’s 2011 entry Coming Home. Her co-writer then was her husband Sjonni Brink who died just before that year’s selection finals. A group of his friends banded together, literally, and took the song to Eurovision.

OFFICIAL VIDEO
There is a separate “official” video but it is literally just Ólafsson walking down a street in Iceland, wearing a turtle-neck sweater, singing. For the sake of clarity, Ólafsson is the one wearing the sweater, not Iceland.

EUROTRASHTIC LYRICS

Together we could ease the pain
If somehow we could ease the pain
Together we could make a change

I spent a whole half hour trying to understand these three lines. I think he’s saying we could ease the pain together, provided that pain could actually be eased. But if it can’t then…bad luck, I guess? Then that last line appears to indicate that things could be changed – the change being the ability to ease pain? I am not going to sleep tonight.

REVIEW
Poor Iceland is at or near the bottom of the betting odds and that was the case even before they drew the number two slot in that first, hellish, semi. This is a fairly standard inspirational ballad that has probably come to Eurovison one two three decades too late. But the song (which I so wish was called The Choice rather than Our Choice – it would just dial back the hokey ever so slightly) progresses to a satisfying climax and as you can see, Ólafsson can nail those big scary notes live. Fuck the critics – sometimes all you want is someone telling you that the world could be a better place if we only chose to be better ourselves. And have that person appear as though they really mean it.

RATING
A

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