It’s finally Thursday again, which means it’s time for our next Xtra Throwback Thursday! In the next weeks and months, we’ll take you on a journey through Europe and beyond, a journey through the history of the contest. Each week fits in with a theme, and this week we’re focusing on the Nordics. With so many big selection shows across the region, there are so many winning entries to pick from. Nathan’s looking to Finland for “Something Better”.
This week’s theme: Naturally Nordic
Sweden provides Melodifestivalen, Denmark and Norway both have Melodi Grand Prix, Finland now has UMK and Iceland gives us Songvakeppnin. So many great shows, all brilliant for different reasons. Readers who know me well will assume (rightly) that my pick would be distinctly Swedish. However, I have bucked the expected trend and have gone for a song that I think best represents one of the music scenes amongst the Nordics.
Softengine – “Something Better”
Firstly, we must appreciate the fact that Softengine represents a part of the Nordic music culture which we see frequently on the Eurovision stage, rock music. WigWam, The Ark, Lordi, Hanna Pakarinen, and Teräsbetoni have all portrayed varying types of the genre at Eurovision. Softengine gave us an alternative rock song called “Something Better” which really stood out on the Eurovision stage. Surprising few people, it finished 11th place in the Final and achieved Finland’s best result since 2006, when Lordi won the competition.
What isn’t there to love about this performance of “Something Better”? It really portrays their genre of music well and is full of high-energy camera shots and an engaging light show. For me, this is one of Finland’s greatest entries and therefore deserves its place celebrating Nordic music this week.
What the others had to say…
Being Nordic, and a rock chick at heart, this ought to tick most of the boxes for me. Sadly though, it doesn’t. I think the guys in Softengine are really good, and a great representative of young, Nordic rock. As for the song I really, REALLY wish they had found something better. (Sorry, I just had to!) At the Nordic party in Copenhagen they treated us to their (then) upcoming single, “Yellow House”, which to me is much better. I find a lot of the Nordic rock at Eurovision to be way too schlager-y…yes, even Lordi. I wish one of the Nordic countries would send proper rock at some point; Nightwish for Finland (I still don’t get how the Finnish jury killed them off in 2000!?!?!) or (dream above all dreams) Skálmöld for Iceland!
I’m the complete opposite of Wiv, rock entries rarely find themselves high on my rankings lists. Nevertheless, Something Better is definitely one of my favourite rock-influenced entries of the century. Despite its rock instrumentation, Softengine has made this very accessible to pop music ears with that massive chorus. It’s very much a rockier A Friend In London. It is so anthemic and even ranks as one of Finland’s best entries in the past ten years for me. My favourite Nordic rock entry overall would also be from Finland: Hanna Pakarinen in 2007. I loved Leave Me Alone so much at the time that I couldn’t comprehend its low finish in Helsinki. Even now it continues to be very underrated!
Considering how many standout entries have been sent by the Nordics, I’m pleasantly surprised to see Something Better being highlighted by Nathan! This is by far one of the best Finnish entries ever and I’m glad it did better in Copenhagen than many expected it to. We don’t see enough rock in Eurovision, and especially not of the alternative variety in a sea of ballads and uptempo pop songs. In terms of having a life outside of the Eurovision bubble, this is legitimately one of few songs from recent editions that I could envision being played on the radio and at music festivals without standing out like a sore thumb. The performance might not have been perfect (the singer’s reluctance to look into the camera was kind of charming, I suppose) but it was good enough to carry this amazing song to Finland’s best placing since 2006.
Next week the theme will be That’s So Serbian, where we will celebrate the variety in entries that the 2008 host country has given to us. Sagheer will share with you his pick of Eurovision entries from Serbia!
What did you think of Softengine? Is rock one of the genres that the Nordics offer Eurovision best? Let us know below!
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