Ireland’s Eurovision 2021 Entry

I sent my heart out to all of the artists after the cancelation of last year’s Eurovision, but no one got a bigger piece of it than Lesley Roy. I learned her personal story through her podcast Pop Kitchen, and the twist of fate that 2020 offered up felt particularly cruel to her. Even though I wasn’t a fan of “Story of My Life,” I really wanted Ireland to do the right thing and pick her again.

Not only am I happy to say that she got her second chance at the Song Contest, I am happy to say she’s coming back stronger.

“Maps” still has the Max Martin-influenced pop-rock style that “Story of My Life” offered up, but it sounds a lot smoother and organic this time out. The arrangement is anthemic and propulsive, accentuating the journey metaphor in the lyrics.

Sometimes the orchestration feels a little too busy, and sometimes it feels a little too cheesy. It often drowns Lesley’s vocal out. The song feels strongest when the production takes a break to let her story be heard.

But overall, “Maps” is a vibrant, joyous song that needs all of that energy to drive it. And the lyric “My soul is a map/My heart is a compass/I am the road” feel both intensely personal and strikingly universal. Making your story feel like it could be anyone else’s without watering it down is difficult, and this year, Lesley has balanced it excellently. I really enjoy this song.

Also, and this is not germane to the Song Contest itself, but the video is pretty fabulous. I want to run around Ireland like that once I get a chance. (I mean, I’m heading to Vienna the first chance I get, but Ireland is near the top of my travel wish list when travel is a thing again.)