Melodi Grand Prix (Norway) 2022 Semi-Final 3 Reviews: Mari Bølla and Oda Gondrosen

Mari Bølla — “Your Loss”
Each time I think I’m about to pin down the genre of this song, it shifts subtly and I have to rethink the label. The closest is pop-rock with pop-punk elements and a rap breakdown. Somehow, it all holds together. Bølla sets herself an ambitious goal vocally, with a big note, fast rap and several shifts in pitch — I’m impressed, and I hope for her sake that this works out live. There’s just so much in this song, like they threw together ideas for several tracks and wove them together. I’m a bit a dizzy trying to parse it all (how is this only 2:40?), but there are enough moments I find genuinely thrilling to keep me pressing that repeat button to experience this wild ride again.

Oda Gondrosen — “Hammer of Thor”
If you didn’t guess from the title that this was going to sound like it belonged on a soundtrack for a mediaeval fantasy movie, the horn which starts this song confirms this and everything falls into place afterwards. Given that Thor is the god of thunder you’ll hear plenty of rain, thunderclaps and rumblings throughout the track, augmented by some big drums, a collection of mediaeval-sounding instruments, and of course Gondrosen’s storytelling lyrics about having “stole the hammer of Thor” during a battle. Her vocal performance is really strong: she sells the song right from its ominous, low-key beginnings to the dramatic moments when her war cries rip it apart. There’s no denying the quality of the song, though I suspect the fantasy/folklore theme might have some people turning up their noses (which they shouldn’t do).