It’s interesting to me how few of this year’s returning artists have tackled last year’s cancellation of the Song Contest in their songs or their videos. Most of them have moved on quickly, with sly little references if they acknowledge it at all.
In a way, it’s good that only a few performers are facing the aftershocks of the pandemic year directly. I think we’d all have emotional fatigue if every song was tackling the same subject, and it makes the songs that do so land with more of an impact.
Vasil of North Macedonia addressed the cancellation directly in the intro to his video for “Here I Stand.” Meanwhile, Victoria uses the entirety of the “Growing Up Is Getting Old” to tackle post-cancellation and lockdown-related depression. It’s a beautiful video, and it balances a fine line between confronting emotions without wallowing in them.
The song itself is gorgeous. Musically, it’s not a huge leap forward from her 2020 song “Tears Getting Sober.” That she worked with a different songwriting team on “Growing Up Is Getting Old” tells me that she has a solid vision of how she expresses herself as an artist.
Even though her two Eurovision songs are similar, I prefer Victoria’s 2021 entry more. The lush orchestration is more organic and more properly cinematic, instead of the Disney version of cinematic. If ever there was a song that makes the case for bringing back the live orchestra, this is it.
As I said in my review of Vincent Bueno’s “Amen,” sometimes a song resonates with me independently of the songwriters’ and performers’ intentions. “Growing Up Is Getting Old” doesn’t punch me the way “Amen” did, but its lyrics still touch me deeply as I manage my own anxiety disorder. It helps that after discussing her own feelings throughout the song, Victoria turns to the listener at the end to say:
If your world is breaking
And growing up is getting old
Know that you’re worth saving
And getting up is all you’ve got
Thank you for saying that.
Lastly, I will say that my favorite lyric is the very first one: “Playing Tetris with my feelings.” It reminds me an essay I first read years ago that I like to revisit every now and then: “Your Life Is Tetris. Stop Playing It Like Chess.” It’s a lovely little piece, and like a good song, it helps me keep tabs on myself when I need the boost.