Song Title: “A Monster Like Me”
Artist: Mørland & Debrah Scarlett
Semi-Final: Second, Position #6
Last year’s entry: “Silent Storm” – Carl Espen (8th Place)
Norway’s participation tends to run hot-and-cold; they’ve won three times, including 2009’s “Fairytale,” which earned the highest margin of victory in Eurovision history. They also hold the record for most last-place finishes (eleven times) and most nul points (four times). In both 2013 and 2014, Norway landed in the top ten. Can Mørland and Debrah Scarlett keep the monsters at bay long enough to continue the positive trend?
Reminding me immediately of Coldplay1 is not a great way to start. Saying little more than “I am a monster” / “I am a monster too”2 in three minutes is a terrible way to continue. Seriously — this song feels like the Eurovision equivalent of increasing the font size, spacing, and margins so you can meet the length requirement without fleshing out your thoughts. I hate the Cypriot entry’s lyrics about doing everything for one’s lover (except, you know, being there in their time of need), but at least that song tells a complete story, and tune is hella catchy. Musically speaking, this song is fine, if somewhat unremarkable.
I need something — the sparse atmosphere of Latvia, the anthemic structure of Sweden, the power and passion of the Czech Republic — to differentiate this song from the other ballads, especially as it will open the middle section of the second semifinal. The official video for “A Monster Like Me” tries to fill in some of the gaps in the story, but in a way I don’t understand: he’s a monster, so she … poisons everyone and turns them into monsters, too? Or just poisons one person, but it’s unclear who? And they both spend inordinate amounts of time looking smugly at each other? Unfortunately that presentation, like the original one Mike wrote about, isn’t going to work in an arena.
I’m (once again) at odds with my fellow WEIOers, and the bookies, on this song — but Norway doesn’t make my list to get out of its semifinal. Perhaps my Rocky Horror viewing this past weekend has skewed my perspective, but without a more complete story and something distinctive to remember this entry, I just don’t find these monsters compelling.