Monika Kuszyńska will represent Poland at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna with “In the Name of Love”:
Monika was the singer of the band Varius Manx when, in 2006, she was left paralyzed after a car accident. After years of rehabilitation, she returned to performing in 2010 with a performance on the Polish TV show Dzień Dobry TVN. She released her first solo album Ocalona in 2012.
Monika wrote the lyrics for “In the Name of Love” to music by her husband and former Varius Manx bandmate Kuba Raczyński. The song is autobiographical to a point, but she said it aims for a more universal inspirational theme that evokes the theme of this year’s Song Contest, “Building Bridges”:
Through my artistic activity, I am trying to promote the idea of combining the two worlds, which until recently seemed to be unable to connect – the world of people with and without disabilities. The bridge of understanding between them is strengthening every year, and I believe that one day the boundaries will be blurred.
So it’s a song that’s autobiographical but at the same time it’s written to be universal. I don’t mean to sound churlish, but she’s watered down her personal story to create a universal message that lacks bite. How much more powerful could this song have been if she’d put herself out there emotionally and showed us the pain underneath her strength? Taken out of context, “In the Name of Love” is merely a pretty, toothless song that runs out of steam at the two minute mark. It’s not something I want to listen to over and over again.
In context, however, “In the Name of Love” makes more sense. The video tells Monika’s story well and it’s hard not to choke up while watching it. If Poland can translate that story to its staging then it has the potential to touch a lot of people. But color me skeptical. Empathetic staging has historically not been Poland’s strong suit.