Eurovision First Listen: Basim Keeps Denmark Anything But “Cliché”

Denmark, this year's Eurovision host country, has selected their entry.  Are they crazy enough to go for a second consecutive contest win?

I’m going to be honest with you guys: Denmark consistently sends some of my favorite Eurovision entries.  There’s got to be something in the water over there that lets them crank out one hooky pop nugget after another.  I honestly thought “New Tomorrow” should have won the contest a few years ago, and was delighted to see Denmark finally take the crown again with last year’s truly fantastic “Only Teardrops”.  As the winner of the contest, it seems like the pattern is to send something good enough to prove why you’re hosting the contest in the first place, but not something so good that you win again.1 Does Basim’s “Cliché Love Song” fall into this pattern as well?  Let’s take a listen:

This entry honestly feels like a contender for the win to me.  The song is different enough from what Denmark sent and won with last year, but still has an infectious energy that immediately had me tapping a toe to the chorus.  Musically, if I heard this outside of the context of the contest, I’d assume this was a new track from someone like Bruno Mars, who manages to mix retro influences with modern pop songcraft.  This only seems like a plus to me – Mars has sold platinum albums in Europe as well as the US, and this song feels like it has legs outside of the ESC (which seems like a major factor if you want to win).  If there’s any criticism I can find, it’s that the lyrics do seem a little empty if you pay them a little too much attention (especially that verse that references Katy Perry); that said, I don’t tend to come to Eurovision for depth.

As for the performance, I think the way it’s currently staged is really well done.  The consistent look for Basim and his backing singers/dancers recalls Bruno Mars (again) and Janelle Monae, which I think is smart given the slightly retro nature of the song.  It also seems strategic to have given Basim a team of strong backing performers to keep the performance engaging while he focuses on the singing/minimal choreography.  I’m not sure how the stage setup will change once things get to the Hallerne in Copenhagen, but if they keep on the track they’re on, I think this could see high marks come May.

  1. And thus not incur the great financial and emotional cost of having to stage ANOTHER Eurovision Song Contest  

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