One of my favorite Mitch Hedberg jokes is, “I played in a death metal band. People either loved us or they hated us. Or they thought we were OK.”
I mention that because, given the comments I’ve seen about Jendrik’s “I Don’t Feel Hate,” it surprises me that I think that it’s just OK.
Listening to “I Don’t Feel Hate,” I went through a full gamut of emotions from Pollapönk to Aarzemnieki to Twin Twin to Sebalter. Apparently, it takes me back to the 2014 Song Contest. More to the point, I think that it is all over the shop.
The lyrics are funny, poignant, and charming. The arrangement is almost painful in its deliberate quirkiness. The video is silly, colorful, and hilarious. “I Don’t Feel Hate” is catchy and annoying and delightful and manic in one big Pixy Stix dreamland.
Given all that, it’s curious to me that I don’t feel as impassioned about “I Don’t Feel Hate” as everyone else seems to be. I look at the song the way I look at pineapple on pizza: people seem to have such exaggeratedly enflamed opinions on the topic, and I don’t see why.
Not to say that I am a completely placid observer of the Song Contest. I look back at some of the stuff I’ve written on this site and wonder why I was so angry about, say, “Still in Love With You.” Eurovision is just a light entertainment program, and I expressed such irrational outrage over some people who were just trying to put on a fun show.
So I think my response to Jendrik’s song has to do with the fact that I regret writing posts like that and making about half of the snarky remarks I’ve ever tweeted during a national final. How I approach my fandom is evolving, and my need to give hot takes is fading.
I am also coming out of an era in my home country where outrage on social media over the littlest fucking thing was an endless din across all media. I thought I was numb, but maybe I am just tired of overreaction to shit that doesn’t require it.
The genius of “I Don’t Feel Hate” is that it has an important message wrapped up in a package that is meant to provoke the very reaction it is getting. Jendrik looks prepared to handle that reaction with grace and aplomb.
And even if I think the song is just OK, it did make me think about what I want to accomplish with this blog. So to that end, I have to say that I’m impressed with Germany’s effort this year.