Israel’s Eurovision 2021 Entry

If there is a small silver lining to the cancellation of last year’s Eurovision Song Contest, it’s that 23 of the artists who were selected to perform in 2020 have been chosen to represent their countries this year. For a few artists, there may be a chance to show up with better songs. Case in point: Israel’s Eden Alene.

You’ll forgive me if I just steal the bio I wrote for Eden last year: Eden Alene is the Jerusalem-born daughter of Ethiopian immigrants. She won X Factor Israel in 2018. “Set Me Free” was written by Amit Mordechai, Ido Netzer, Noam Zaltin, and Ron Carmi.

As much as I liked Eden from the outset, I wasn’t a huge fan of “Feker Libi,” her 2020 entry. It wasn’t a full showcase for her talents, and I thought the arrangement was kind of stale.

“Set Me Free” is a definite improvement. Eden has room to show off her vocal range and her personality, and I don’t doubt her Eurovision staging will make ample use of her fashion sense and her charisma to complete the package. I also really enjoy the arrangement. It has a great bass line and awesome funk guitar, plus those lush, writhing synth string flourishes that Israel likes to bring to Eurovision.

If I am going to be picky, I will add that the song feels a bit slight. It’s a fizzy pop confection and a great summer radio banger. It does stick in my head for a goodly amount of time after listening to it. But then a certain Lithuanian contender gradually washes it away like a sand castle at high tide, and that makes me wonder if “Set Me Free” has staying power.

Still, it’s a really fun song, and I am looking forward to seeing what Eden and her team bring to Rotterdam (or wherever she has to give her performance; the EBU is still working that out).