ESC 2023 Song Review: “Cha Cha Cha” by Käärijä (Finland)

1) The Result

Selecting internationally famous rock band The Rasmus certainly turned some heads, even if they were mostly the heads of people who were in their teens or early twenties in 2003, when “In the Shadows” was released. In any case, they did their job, qualifying out of the semi-final and finishing 21th in the final.

2) The Process

UMK is fast becoming one of the highlights of the national final season. Whoever is curating the shortlist of seven songs to perform in the show can pat themselves on the back, because once again there were some impressive tracks here. However, it was clear from early on that Käärijä was the clear favourite, and he ended up winning in a landslide.

3) The Artist

Käärijä is a rapper and singer-songwriter who started releasing music in 2016, with his debut album Fantastista coming out in 2020 under a local label owned by Warner.

4) The Song

Electro-pop which starts off with a fairly aggressive and somewhat abrasive approach, as Käärijä grumbles about heading to the bar after a long week at work. Just when the formula is starting to wear a little thin, the song morphs into a familiar dance-pop sound as Käärijä’s intoxication brings him to the discotheque.

5) The Verdict

How good is it to have a song in Finnish at the contest? It’s been several years since the ill-fated “Aina mun pitää”, and I think we all know that this track isn’t going anywhere but straight to the final. Käärijä seems to be the opposite of the stereotype of a reserved Finn, and you can tell by how the other contestants are lining up to meet him that he’s the life of the party.

So, I like this one a lot, but nowhere near as much as many others do. It’s one of those songs I suspect I’ll grow tired of after a while, but in the meantime, I’m here for the ride.

My ranking: 9th