Initial Review: “De Diepte” by S10 (The Netherlands)

Not counting Australia, there are some countries in the contest that I’m particularly interested in or have a bias towards, but none so much as The Netherlands. While I’m Australian by birth, my mother is Dutch; I lived there for several years growing up, and have a Dutch passport in addition to my Australian one. I cherish both my nationalities. So if I like a Dutch song, I will defend it harder than I might if it came from another country.

When I heard that S10 (pronunciation is roughly “steen”, not “es-ten”) had been internally selected to represent the Netherlands, the name was vaguely familiar but I still had to look her up on YouTube. Most of her tracks tended towards more experimental electronica or hip-hop, but the one that caught my attention was “Adem je in” (Breathe You In), which was her most successful song at that point. If you have a listen, the vibe is similar to that of her Eurovision song, “De Diepte” (The Depths). The haunting atmosphere is similar, but while “Adem je in” is about the comfort of finding someone, “De Diepte” deals with loss.

This is the first song in Dutch to appear at the contest since 2010 — about which the less said the better. S10 keeps it simple, with sparse instrumentation and unpretentious, straightforward lyrics. Her vocals are gentle and warm. For those who don’t speech Dutch, half her chorus and the bridge are vocalisations which everyone can sing along to, and I imagine many of those in the venue on the night will happily accompany her in this. I don’t think this needs a lot of staging, but there certainly are a couple of moments where the music steps up a notch, and that will need to represented on stage.

The first semi-final is starting to look like the more chaotic one this year, and while the removal of Russia definitely made things a bit easier for everyone, I can only say I have my fingers tightly crossed for this to qualify, as I won’t be able to send it any votes to help out. Given that there are a few strong televote candidates here (Norway, Ukraine, Latvia), the jury vote will be pivotal. Fortunately, this semi isn’t loaded with as many dramatic ballads like the second one is.

This is easily one of my favourite entries for 2022.