ESC 2023 Song Review: “Samo mi se spava” by Luke Black (Serbia)

1) The Result

One of the great growers of the 2022 contest, Konstrakta’s “In corpore sano” went from fans going WTF? to everyone chanting ‘BIT BIT BIT BITI ZDRAVA’ at the live shows. The end result was 5th place in the final — the country’s best result in a decade.

2) The Process

The Serbian national final Pesma za Evroviziju, has become one of the big beasts of the season, with 32 songs across two semi-finals, a 12-song final, and this all in the space of four days (request to the organisers from an exhausted fan: could it be stretched out a bit longer next year?). Luke Black ended up in second place with both the jury and the public, enough to push past the winners in both those votes and take the crown.

3) The Artist

Luke Black is an unusual figure in this line-up. According to various sources he works as a graphic designer in London for the music industry, and has released a collection of singles and 3 EPs since 2014. There are many remixes of his tracks about, putting him in a different scene to a lot of the budding pop stars we tend to see at the contest.

4) The Song

Electronic art-pop seems to be the best description for this enigma of a song, in which Black is whispering as much as he is singing. The lyrics and the whole vibe of the track give off a glitchy cyber feel, which it will surprise no one to hear is unique in this year’s contest.

5) The Verdict

Once again Serbia has given us something weirdly wonderful — Pesma za Evroviziju is off to a good start after two installments. Black has good stage presence, and delivers quite a performance. The dark undertones of the song and the staging might remind some of Hatari from Iceland in the 2019 contest, but as the giant mech on the screen behind Black indicates, this is a different genre.

While this is currently outside my top 10, that’s how “In corpore sano” started off, and it ended up well inside my top 10 by the end of the contest. It’s too early to tell, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this kept moving up my ranking as we go along.

My ranking: 12th