First Listen: Belgium Goes All Out with “Rhythm Inside”

Belgium steps outside of the Eurovision comfort zone with the funky "Rhythm Inside" by Loïc Nottet. Could a big risk result in a big reward?

When asked to make a list of forward-thinking countries when it comes to Eurovision Song Contest entries, Belgium doesn’t immediately jump to mind. Yes, they did finish in 2nd place in 2003 with a song that had a created language, but then they failed to qualify for the 2008 final with the same gambit. Their entries in the last few years have ranged from bland (2012) to baffling (2011) to awkward (2014).

Then along comes Loïc Nottet with the track “Rhythm Inside”—a combination of jazz, electronic, and confident vocals. Take a listen:

The more I listen to this song, the more I like it. This is the closest Eurovision will probably ever get to Lorde’s sound, but there are also elements of Siouxsie and the Banshees which are always a pleasant surprise. Although this song is a great slow jam in your car, I’m curious how this will translate on the stage. There are a lot of pitfalls a song like this could fall into: static performers, not taking advantage of cameras or video displays, or getting swallowed by the venue and losing the song’s charisma.

There is one other pitfall which an entry like this can’t avoid: is it too forward-thinking for the Contest? “Rhythm Inside” is not only unlike the other entries competing this year, it seems to be occupying the same space rap and dubstep entries have held the last few years. Granted, Armenia did well last year with its dubstep-ish entry1, but that seemed to be an exception to a rule.

I’m on-board with this entry, insofar as it will probably get added to my Eurovision gym mix. I’ll withhold my enthusiasm for the track until we see how the semi-final fields firm up over the next couple weeks.

  1. included being the projected winner for a good chunk of the lead-up to the Contest  

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