Flashback: Estonia, March 2013. Madness is being unleashed on the world with the name Winny Puhh. The internet goes nuts. Winny Puhh is discussed in circles far wider than Eurovision. We on this blog maybe even contribute to the hype in some small way. We posted their song here and here and reference them repeatedly during the rest of the season.
Meanwhile, in Iceland, the rock band Pollapönk sees the attention Winny Puhh is getting. Pollapönk thinks, “Why not us? We too are color coordinated. We too have marvelous facial hair. We too deserve a larger audience.” And there, right there, Pollapönk decides that they will enter Songvakeppnin next year.
Ok, I don’t know if that’s how it happened. It just feels that way. Here’s Iceland’s song for Eurovision 2014, “Enga fordóma”:
There’s a lot of issues. First, any attempt (or appearance of attempt) to ride on Winny Puhh’s coattails is fraught with peril. Especially because Pollapönk is nowhere near as crazy as Winny Puhh. Their sound is more Southern Rock than punk. The main message of this song–which translates to “No Racism”–is lovely, but again, not all that punk. While waiting for votes in the green room, they held tribbles. Pollapönk has made their name in Iceland as a children’s music band, but that background isn’t self evident in this presentation. Without context, it all feels like they’re trying too hard.
Most of that could be worked through, I suppose, with the media commentators’ introductions during the Eurovision postcard. Our biggest problem is with the song itself. The chorus is completely derivative of Steppenwolf’s “Magic Carpet Ride.” We struggled to place the all-too-familiar riff, and now that we’ve got it we can’t unhear it.
There is some good news for Pollapönk. We have anecdotal evidence that their all ages appeal translates outside of Iceland. “Enga fordóma” was the clear favorite of the 5-year-old in our household. In addition to adamantly voicing his preference, he got up and danced each time they performed. Also, the drum breakdown and chorus reprise with horns is cool.
Burning question: how do I get one of these track suits for my child?
UPDATED 16 MARCH 2014: Iceland has released their video and an English language version of their song, entitled “No Prejudice.” The English language lyrics are clunky, but the adaptation does do a better job of reading like something from a kid’s band. The video, too, isn’t so different from Imagination Movers.
UPDATED 6 APRIL 2014: Track suits are available here. They cost about 45 Euro plus shipping. Thanks Esckaz!