Road to Malmö: Anouk – “Birds” (Netherlands)

A big hitter now, as we look to the low countries for one of the more notorious entries of the year. There’s no two ways about it, the Netherlands are having a shitty time at Eurovision, having failed to qualify for the final eight years in a row. In some cases, I don’t think it was a great loss, but nobody deserves to be left out in the cold like that.

Netherlands Eurovision HeartBut it wasn’t always like that. Netherlands are actually one of the most successful Eurovision nations, with four wins to its name. It notched up its most recent win back in 1975, so there is some lost time to be made up. Nevertheless, as one of the seven founding nations they have stayed the course, and are hoping their 54th entry will bring the Eurovision back home to roost.

This year, they go for broke, sending their biggest home-grown star, Anouk. With several multi-platinum albums to her name, it would be a struggle to find a bigger act to send to Malmö to reclaim Dutch pride. Whereas simply qualifying would be an achievement, there is speculation that Anouk could do much better than that. After 14 years, a top 10 finish is in their sights. Do they dare to think they could break a 38 year drought and win in Sweden? This is the wildcard entry.

anouk netherlands birdsThe song itself is set apart from the others. It’s not an instant pop song, or a standard ballad, but a spooky and old-fashioned song about despair. Fun! She’s got such a distinctive delivery, her voice has such a beautiful rich tone to it, it reminds me of something like a 1940s Disney film or something. The little cameos by a ghostly choir really give a lovely depth to it.

It’s just a bit of an odd one, and I seriously worry people just won’t ‘get’ it. I’m not entirely sure I get it, but I at least really like it. But that didn’t come instantly. I’m willing this one to do well, and a Dutch win would be a phenomenal turnaround for them. I thought “Taken by a stranger” by defending champ Lena in 2011 was a risk that I didn’t think people would respond to, but she got that top 10 placing, so who knows.

For my other reviews of this year’s Eurovision hopefuls and other news, please check out my Malmö 2013 Hub.

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Filed under Eurovision, Malmö 2013, Music, Reviews

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