Last month Icelandic broadcaster RUV unveiled the twelve artists who will compete in Söngvakeppnin 2017, plus the songs with which they will participate. With the winner going on to represent Iceland at Eurovision.
The Söngvakeppnin final takes place on March 11th, with two semi-finals happening the two weekends preceding it. So that’s six songs in each semi, with three from each going to the final, for a final of six songs competing.
It’s quite a strong line-up for Iceland this year, with about half of the twelve songs that we’ll be keeping and coming back to over the coming months. And while Söngvakeppnin does have a tendency to drown in ballads, this year they’ve increased the tempo of many, and decreased the dreary n’ dull quota. One ballad stands out head and shoulders above the rest, the county craze spreads North, tropical house rears its head in Reykjavik, and no wait come back.
This year, RUV have released the songs in both Icelandic and English (they’ll be performed in Icelandic for the semis, and then in English for either the final or eventually at Eurovision). You can check out the Icelandic versions right here, but right now – here are the twelve songs in English;
SEMI FINAL ONE (February 25th)
Arnar Jónsson & Rakel Pálsdóttir – Til mín / Again
(Hólmfríður Ósk Samúelsdóttir)
You might lose the will to listen if you start off on this one, but we’re doing it alphabetically, apols. A traditional Nordic ballad that reaches for a touch of the epic, but lands on dull and barely leaves an impression.
Aron Hannes – Nótt / Tonight
(Sveinn Rúnar Sigurðsson/Ágúst Ibsen)
Tropical house gets a bad rap these days cos it’s SO over done. But we forget that when it’s done right, it’s got the potential to be an absolute tune and a half. ‘Tonight’ is done right, and is indeed that 150% moment. We would LOVE to see this head to Eurovision, and take Iceland back into the final.
Hildur – Bammbaramm / Bammbaramm
(Hildur Kristín Stefánsdóttir)
An odd pop song that doesn’t really sound like anything else in the competition, and floors you with both its individuality and its relentless charm. Hang on – isn’t that the formula for winning Eurovision?….
Erna Mist Pétursdóttir – Skuggamynd / I’ll be gone
(Erna Mist Pétursdóttir/Guðbjörg Magnúsdóttir)
Now THIS is how you do an epic Nordic ballad. We’re getting Disney. Frozen 2. The emo scene. Yes!
Júlí Heiðar Halldórsson & Þórdís Birna Borgarsdóttir – Heim til þín / Get Back Home
(Júlí Heiðar Halldórsson/Guðmundur Snorri Sigurðsson)
The UK have The Shires – and Iceland in return gives us The Fjords. An up-tempo country-pop rouser with bags of charm. And just LOOK at how pretty they are!
Rúnar Eff Rúnarsson – Mér við hlið / Make your way back home
(Rúnar Eff Rúnarsson)
A rock ballad that builds slowly into a big finish. Not our kind of thing, but as we’ve seen many times before, the Icelandic majority totally dig it. Balls.
SEMI FINAL TWO (March 4th)
Aron Brink –Þú hefur dáleitt mig / Hypnotised
(Aron Brink/Þórunn Erna Clausen/Michael James Down/William Taylor)
Someone was watching Melodifestivalen last year, and were equally as impressed with ‘Kizunguzungu’ as we were. And while it didn’t inspire us to pen an afro-infused belter in the same style, we’re sure as hell glad that it drove these lot to. ‘Hypnotised’ is an undeniably charming tune that with a bit of beefing up to the production, could totally bang. We’re also curious to see how this chap is gonna perform this song….
Daði Freyr Petúrsson – Hvað með það? / Is this love?
(Daði Freyr Petúrsson)
YAY – an electropop song! But no. A horrendously ill conceived electropop song. Who knew one could get the genre to sound so cringe? If you’re ever feeling a lack of appreciation towards the Scandi-lectro greats – just listen to this.
Linda Hartmanns – Ástfangin / Obvious love
(Linda Hartmanns/Erla Bolladóttir)
A stark n’ dark slowie. We almost turned it off, but then it finally came to life. Only for the final 45 seconds though, which is just not enough payback for what we had to endure throughout the rest of it.
Pall Rósinkranz & Kristina Bærendsen – Þú og ég / You and I
(Mark Brink/Þórunn Erna Clausen)
A country ballad for the ages. We could point out that the particular age that this song belongs to however, sounds like a very long time ago. But as old-fashioned as the song is – country music is having a massive resurgence at the moment. And so this song isn’t to be counted out. Unfortunately.
Sólveig Ásgeirsdóttir – Treystu á mig / Trust in me
(Iðunn Ásgeirsdóttir/Ragnheiður Bjarnadóttir)
An up-tempo folkpop song that attempts admirably to go somewhere, but doesn’t quite make it. We don’t see it making it to ESC either.
Svala – Ég veit það / Paper
(Einar Egilsson/Lester Mendez/Lily Elise/Stefán Hilmarsson)
This is fantastic! An atmospheric and fraught, synthpop mid-tempo ballad. It’s ALL about the chorus on this one. Which we’d say bodes well for Eurovision. It’s difficult to predict how the Icelandic viewers will take to this one, but with an engaging performance, the sky (Kyiv) is the limit.