ICELAND 2020 - Daði & Gagnamagnið - Think About Things: "part of the top of the heap"
Before I start, I have to state that I was a Daði fan back in 2017 and thought the nostalgic geeky piece of melancholy called "Is This Love?" should have represented Iceland instead of "Paper". As a result, my judgment about his new effort may have been clouded, as to me "Think About Things" sounds like an uptempo sequel to his first attempt.
I don't think the song sounds like anything we've had in the contest before with its crisp synths, electric guitars and electronic drums. The use of brass instruments and backing voices matches the endearing throwback vibe that is Daði's trademark. The intro with his low voice and distorted synths is super efficient in catching attention and setting a particular atmosphere, the progressive transition to the verse is smooth, then we get to a minimalistic yet very Daði instrumentation. It took me a while to get used to the backing voices, the (somewhat messy and wonky?) rhythmics of the chorus and the brass break, which I wasn't sure whether they were enjoyable, uneventful or annoying. As I'm writing these lines, my feelings compared to my initial reaction changed and - while the song doesn't give me life like "Is This Love?" did - I do enjoy it to some extent now and acknowledge what it achieves and brings to the contest. It's melodically relatively nice and it has a good amount of drive despite not having any bridge or major development past the first chorus.
Visually, this had all the ingredients of a good quirky/geeky staging, Daði basically reused what he did in 2017 but hey, if it ain't broke don't fix it, especially since no one had stolen that concept. I like his low voice and find it charismatic for some reason, I don't doubt he would have given a great performance.
Prediction-wise, it was a clear top ten in the final imo. Qualification was guaranteed, however I don't think it had a snowball's chance in hell of winning. Firstly, sorry if I'm ruffling some feathers about that subject matter again but I never believed the "hype" surrounding it was actually natural. To put it bluntly, yes I do think Netflix did a play a part in it and pushed the entry with tricks as old as hills to get people talking about Iceland. Until today, the Icelandic MV remains the sole recommended video I have on Youtube whenever I watch a Eurovision-related video: coincidence? I think not. Secondly, I am very skeptical both juries and viewers would have massively voted for it to make it win: too quirky and musically "divisive" to top the jury ranking, not impactful enough to beat other acts with mass-appeal in the viewers' eye imo. I know unexpected things can happen in the contest, but a handful of nations had greater chances of snatching the victory imo. But a top ten was definitely doable (and deserved I guess).
I'm not sure what's going to happen next year, as far as I know Daði implied he would come back only if he were internally selected, but would RÚV consider that an option? I wonder. Regardless of the move they make, I hope they keep experimenting, since last year they finally stepped out of the shadows, which is refreshing. Söngvakeppnin was surprisingly enjoyable this year: special mention to Hildur Vala's "Fellibylur" and - most of all - IVA's "Oculis Videre", the stage sucked monkey balls but that song was everything for me (meant to be my clear number one of the year). I truly hope someone will bring religious fantasy music in a near future.