Eurovision 2016 – Norway: ‘Icebreaker’ (Agnete)

Icebreaker‘ is one of the more interesting songs in this year’s Contest, not necessarily because its a great entry. Instead, it will be fascinating to see how it lands with commentators and fans during rehearsals, and ultimately how it performs in the voting.

My hunch is that its dual music identity (a club sound for the introduction and the verse, transitioning to something seemingly entirely unrelated for the chorus) makes it something distinctive, but ultimately creates something that jars. A second listen softens that stark transition between verse and chorus, but that might be its downfall. If it does make it to the Final, people hearing it for the first time on a Saturday will dismiss it.

My hunch is that its dual music identity (a club sound for the introduction and the verse, transitioning to something seemingly entirely unrelated for the chorus) makes it something distinctive, but ultimately creates something that jars.

A second listen softens that stark transition between verse and chorus, but that might be its downfall. If it does make it to the Final, people hearing it for the first time on a Saturday will dismiss it. On a first listen the entire thing is a restless affair which verges on the slightly self-absorbed.

Since Alexandar Rybak’s 2009 win for the country – an empty musical experience which has become something which brings me out in hives every time I hear it – Norway suffered a handful of disappointments. I still despise everything about Tooji’s ‘Stay‘ (26th, 2012 – a model trying to be a singer),  ‘Haba Haba‘ (failed to qualify in 2011) was a musical misadventure, and ‘My Heart Is Still Yours‘ (20th, 2010) though sweet in its simplicity, wasn’t terribly well-performed.

Margaret Berger’s ‘I Feed You My Love‘ from 2013 however, is an entirely different matter. It’s fourth place was well-deserved for what still feels like a good polished song packed full of passionate songwriting. Similarly, Carl Espen’s far superior ‘Silent Storm‘ (8th, 2014) deserved a higher place than it ended up with. The beautiful ‘A Monster Like Me‘ (8th, 2014) brought a sophisticated style of melodrama to the Eurovision stage that pleased fans and audiences alike. This year’s song doesn’t come close, I’m sorry to say.

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