Eurovision First Listen: Ireland Chooses Can-linn and Kasey Smith’s “Heartbeat”

Ireland taps into tradition with its Eurovision Song Contest entry with "Heartbeat" by Can-linn featuring Kasey Smith. However, the track may be borrowing too much from others to generate its own pulse.

Ireland is in a somewhat awkward spot coming in to this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. The country that has won the Contest the most times found itself in last place at the end of last year’s final, despite the supposed advantage of performing last. My theory: “Only Love Survives” had so many elements found in other songs that it was unable to stand out on its own. In other words: the total was less than the sum of its parts. Unfortunately, I think “Heartbeat” by Can-linn featuring Kasey Smith is a similar situation.

I found myself cringing throughout this performance. Lyrically there is not much going on and evokes the derisiveness some have when they refer to a “Eurovision song.” Musically, there is far too much influence from previous Contest winners. Overall it comes off as a clone of “Only Teardrops,” but with some fiddle thrown in (thanks “Fairytale”) and the tone of “Running Scared.” The use of step dancers seems a little desperate, as if Ireland is trying to say “Hey, remember when we won and gave the world Riverdance?”1

There’s not much time left to make changes, but this song is going to need a lot of work if Ireland wants to be successful in the Contest. Perhaps some tweaks to the arrangement to make the song less dour, working on the vocals so the lyrics don’t come across as muddy, and getting rid of the dancers may be what’s in order.

Can-linn and company will need all the luck of the Irish, I fear.

  1. 2008’s representative Dustin the Turkey might be slightly outraged.  

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