Did Switzerland make the best choice by selecting Rykka’s “The Last of Our Kind” for its 2016 Eurovision Song Contest entry?
It’s been almost a week since Switzerland’s national final and the end result still bugs me.
Unlike many of the selection processes that have happened so far for the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest, Switzerland was spoiled for choice in who they could send to Sweden and bounce back from their absolute last place finish in last year’s competition. Bella C.’s “Another World” may have been a bit too similar in the Bond theme style as “Rise Like a Phoenix”, but when done well (as this was) it hits a lot of the same positive notes as successful entries of other styles. Theo’s “Because of You” was perfect Cute Guy with Guitar fodder, where its understated style would have been a stark (and welcome) contrast to the over-styled entries Switzerland has sent the last few years. And although Stanley Miller’s “Feel the Love” was somewhat bland, the guy has a solid set of pipes as demonstrated by his cover of Adele’s “Hello” in the second round of the final.
Instead of making an interesting choice, Switzerland (with the help of both a jury and televoting) decided on “The Last of Our Kind” by Canadian indie pop singer Rykka. Take a listen:
I can already tell this is going to be one of those entries I will get into arguments about, because I hate this. The song reminds me of Iceland’s failed entry from last year, where it is a collection of hooks and choruses rather than a coherent song. Also, much like the lyric video issue I mentioned in my Ireland writeup: if English is your first language, there is no excuse for the lyrics being incomprehensible. Perhaps Rykka was having an off day last Saturday, but her vocal style is not my favorite, either. She lacks range, as demonstrated by her cover of Ellie Golding’s “Love Me Like You Do”. As a package, Rykka seems like a pale imitation of what Russia has been sending to Eurovision the last few years.
As harsh as this is, I will be curious to see what Rykka and Switzerland do between now and the semi-final to refine this entry. The enthusiasm for this track from my circle of Eurovision folks has been overwhelmingly positive, so perhaps there is a shine to this track that I haven’t spotted yet. We’ll see how this stacks up once we know what the competition looks like.