26 April 2014

Eurovision 2014: Netherlands: Calm After the Storm

The Netherlands: The Common Linnets
This year The Netherlands follows up Anouk's stunning Birds with the country flavour of Calm After the Storm by Dutch "super group", The Common Linnets.

Once again, there was no national final in Holland, so the combination of singers Ilse DeLange and Waylon was selected as its representatives by the Dutch broadcaster AVROTROS. The two have joined forces as The Common Linnets, both for The Eurovision Song Contest and as a side project to their very successful solo careers, in an attempt to bring home the trophy for the first time in 39 years.

Calm After the Storm is no Ding-A-Dong, though. It is very much rooted in the modern country music currently created in studios such as those based in Nashville, Tennessee. If you are aware of, or listen to groups such as Lady Antebellum, then you will have an idea of the styling of the song.

In interviews, the pair have stated that the track deals with the possible breakdown of a relationship. The restrained, even haunting, simplicity of just their voices and guitars gives the track an emotional depth needed for such subject matter. It makes it a beautiful stand out from most of the songs in the competition this year.

However, if there is any problem with Calm After the Storm, it's that it may just be too sleepy and laid back for some. It's not the type of song that one would readily associate with Eurovision. Of course, many songs have been written about break-ups, but is the overall tone and presentation just too serious for the competition? Only time will tell.

More importantly, will it get votes? The difficulty with country music on this side of the Atlantic is that it's not overly popular. It's a huge industry in the US, but in Europe we tend to ignore it. This puts the song in a very grey area. Yes, it's well produced and presented, but voters may be drawn to songs which are more accessible and instantly memorable.

I'm not a great lover of country music myself, but I do hope this makes the Grand Final just to counterbalance some of the power ballads and more uptempo songs that are bound to be featured on May 10.

What are your thoughts?

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