Söngvakeppnin (Iceland) 2022 Reviews: Semi-Final 2

Both qualifiers from the first semi were ballads, so you’d think there might be an opportunity for a different genre to qualify from this semi. And given that there’s a greater variety here as well, I’d be surprised (and disappointed) if the jury had to use the wildcard solely to spice things up a bit.

Hanna Mia and The Astrotourists “Séns með þér” / “Gemini”
Breezy, quirky dream pop with a dash of flower power nostalgia. There’s a lot I enjoy about this: the dynamic instrumentation, where there’s always something going on; the other-worldly vocals — just the general vibe itself is great. The lyrics are catchy enough even if a bit sappy at times, but if they get the aesthetics right for the staging the song really has the potential to stick in your head. It doesn’t have a “moment” or a build like you’d expect most Eurovision songs to have — and that may end up being its downfall — but it’s still a solid pop song.

Markéta Irglová “Mögulegt” / “Possible”
Ethereal ballad is a genre I almost expect from Iceland each year given its natural surroundings and the musical imports for which it is known. This one starts incredibly delicately, to the point where I had to adjust the volume so I could hear Irglová’s voice and have any chance of hearing the lyrics. When she starts to raise her voice you realise it’s probably the best of this semi, if not this year’s selection. Hence, it makes sense that the music is there to enhance the emotions in her vocals and take them to new heights. It does this very well in the last 45 seconds of the track. It’s a pity we had to wait that long for the elevation, though.

Katla“Þaðan af” / “Then Again”
Dramatic mixture of dark pop with some fuzzy synths in the background. Katla’s vocals ring out clearly with lyrics about uncertainty and determination to find a purpose in life. I find it very difficult to connect with much in this song. The music doesn’t do anything particularly interesting once you realise the pattern, and while Katla puts a lot into the song, this is one example where for whatever reason the vocals just couldn’t carry the track on their own.

Suncity & Sanna“Hækkum í botn” / “Keep it Cool”
Combine an infectious beat with sassy, confident lyrics and you get this song. The two singers harmonise well and really bring out the best of the lyrics with extra breaths while remaining appropriately detached. The backing vocals do a lot of the work in giving the song its variety, as the beat, no matter how infectious, doesn’t really escape its box. I think this might have done a bit better in the first semi, as the next track outdoes them in terms of attitude.

Reykjavíkurdætur (Daughters of Reykjavík)“Tökum af stað” / “Turn This Around”
Well, I guess if this song wins selection to Turin, the Daughters can join Citi Zēni in the “censored lyrics” category. Not that we should be surprised that a feminist hip-hop group is going to give it to us straight, but there are going to have to be adjustments and/or omissions on that front. Putting that to aside for a moment, this is the most energetic song in this year’s selection (“Volcano” comes a moderately close second). Hard beats are overshadowed by harder rapping. I’m really looking forward the live performance, because it sounds like it has the potential to blow the audience away. I also greatly appreciate the mixture of Icelandic and English in the lyrics.