If a non-Eurovision fan ever asked us which country was our favorite Song Contest participant, we would say Estonia. And they would look at the songs that have represented Estonia for the past decade and probably scratch their heads. We would need to explain to this theoretical person that even if the songs Estonia send are usually not much to write home about, Eesti Laul has always been best national final. But this year, we were muttering to ourselves, “What happened to you, man? You used to be cool.”
With that ringing endorsement out of the way, let’s talk about “Storm.”
Victor Crone is a Swedish singer who teamed up with Behrang Miri on “Det Rår Vi Inte För” at Melodifestivalen in 2015. They lost in the Andra Chansen round to Samir & Viktor’s “Groupie,” the poor things. Victor co-wrote “Storm” with Stig Rasta, an Eesti Laul mainstay who along with Elina Born represented Estonia at the 2015 Song Contest with “Goodbye to Yesterday.” He also wrote Estonia’s 2016 entry “Play.”
We will say this: “Storm” is relentlessly catchy. It took just a couple of listens before we had the melody of the chorus stuck in our heads. It helps that the chorus is repeated five times and has a pretty simple lyric to remember: “A storm like this/Can break a man like this/But when it all calms down/We’re still safe and sound.” It is a genetically-engineered ear worm.
Victor is a likable performer, but he suffers from serious constipated tenor syndrome when trying to reach his high notes. The Eesti Laul staging featured an awful animation section where a faux-Crone is singing in front of the audience, then the camera swirls around and he is standing on a mountain in a storm. It looked cheesy and we hope Estonia drops it. We also figure they won’t because it clearly worked at Eesti Laul.
It’s hard for us to generate a lot of enthusiasm for this song. Stig’s two previous Eurovision entries benefited from a distinct music style influenced by late 1960’s-era country-influenced pop rock. Meanwhile, “Storm” polishes Tom Petty’s “Won’t Back Down” to a Melodifestivalen sheen and tweaks to be even more earnest.
The thing is, we probably would have written something similar if any of the other Eesti Laul finalists had won the ticket to Tel Aviv. We were underwhelmed this year. Maybe we’re just being harsh because our expectations for Estonia are usually so high.
Ah well, we’ll always have “Parmumäng.”