Finland has won Eurovision just once, back in 2006 with Lordi’s Hard Rock Hallelujah. How could we forget them in their zombie horror attire? Mr Lordi certainly made Eurovision great again. This year, Darude (real name Ville Virtanen) will represent Finland after being selected by Finnish broadcaster, YLE.
DJ Darude is one of the more internationally known artists competing at Eurovision 2019. Apart from winning numerous music awards throughout his long career, his iconic trance mix, 1999's Sandstorm, became a hit not only on European charts, but also in the lucrative US market. How many of us had it blarring out whilst driving our Toyota Celica's to the club? Ok...maybe it was just me, but it has become an anthem that is still regularly rotated on radio playlists, in clubs, and at various sporting events.
Darude has a devout following cherishing his "doof doof" high energy music via record label, Armada Music, but the question is - is his style Eurovision material? I have to admit, I have been a big fan of his since the early days, so I was excited and expecting another epic trance vibe.
Look Away was voted the winner out of the three songs Darude presented at the Finnish Uuden Musiikin Kilpailu (UMK) 2019 in early March to the country’s public and the international jury. His performance of the song was with long-time co-writer and collaborator, Sebastian Rejman, lead singer of Finnish group, The Giant Leap. They presented a music festival vibe with LED lights and a graphics show flowing over a rotating box. Add to that a mesmerising Kate Bush stylised interpretive dancer, and it became a synthesis of movement and energy.
The song itself is a statement piece about not looking away, standing up and being part of change. It is a comment on our tendency to ignore and neglect what is in plain sight (i.e. climate change and global warming), topics that are currently on point.
I am not sure whether Look Away will go the distance and be strong enough to win the large points, but it may hit the Top 10 of the final because of its' catchy feel and Darude's widely established fan base. It is a nice piece of electronic music with the obligatory hunky rocker in leather coat and black jeans out front.
To be honest, I felt all three songs served on the UMK menu were similar sounding, though I did prefer Superman originally, as it was fun and written to honour the helpers and heroes in our lives. Release Me, the third option, was OK, but I just didn’t feel any depth to it. It didn’t seem to pack a punch where it needed to. But never fear, Darude has stated in an interview with Digital Journal (March 8) that he will be making extended club remixes of the two songs that didn’t make the vote for Eurovision. Sighs of relief were heard throughout the trance music galaxy!
No doubt we will probably hear remixed versions of all three songs on chillout compilations for years to come. However, if by the Gods of Lordi Finland does win Eurovision this year with Look Away, I have already googled the best Lohikeitto (Creamy salmon soup) in Helsinki. You know you always need to be prepared for the unexpected with Eurovision!