11 March 2015

Review: Belgium: Eurovision 2015 | Loïc Nottet

Loïc Nottet promises rhythm on the Eurovision stage in Vienna
It has been known for some time that former contestant on 'The Voice Belgique', Loïc Nottet, would represent Belgium in the 60th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest. Last night, it was revealed by the French language national Belgian broadcaster that the 18-year-old will perform the song Rhythm Inside in Vienna.

The lyrics are by Beverly Jo Scott, Loïc Nottet's former coach on the TV talent show, while the music is composed by the singer himself.  Nottet has said that Rhythm Inside is intended to remind everyone that "the direction one wants in life is dictated by one's choices". Not a new message then, but the pair seem to have resolutely deviated from the norms of the Eurovision soundscape in creating a contemporary pop song flavoured with a fusion of electro and hip-hop sounds.

The influence on Rhythm Inside is starkly obvious, though: the track is undoubtedly a page ripped from the Lorde songbook. In 2014, Teo's Cheesecake borrowed heavily from Blurred Lines; this year the rhythm inside the melody of the Belgian entry plunders the elements that made Royals so popular. Even the near carbon copy vocal intonation is difficult to deny.

In most respects, it's not complicated to understand why. Amongst Nottet's well-respected team is Stuart Hawkes, one of the producers involved with this song and who has also been behind the mixing controls for Lorde (and Amy Winehouse and Sam Smith, among others). A coincidence? Perhaps, perhaps not.

Regardless, some of the highest production values for a Eurovision song are involved here and these should have a positive influence on Rhythm Inside's chances of success - notwithstanding it's modern, upbeat sound. It's just a shame that, in some respects, the comparisons will fuel suspicions of plagiarism in some quarters.

Nevertheless, it's a slick, appealing tune and I understand that Loïc is involved with the choreography, styling and visual effects in Vienna. It's likely to be something very different from what we usually see on the Eurovision stage: a simple theme of black and white, including robotics and the obligatory glitter.

If the Belgian team can pull all of this together on the night(s), there's a distinct possibility that Eurovision could come to Brussels in 2016. Deservedly so.

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