Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

Dami Im – Sound of Silence

Hello Eurovision, my old friend…


Edward Okulicz: Having seen four performances of this song live on the Eurovision stage, I won’t deny that it was a triumph — hearing that massive voice out of a small girl on a large plinth (making her seem even smaller) was shocking, even if I’d seen plenty of Im on Australian X-Factor. Her ad-libs each night were also extraordinary, and imbued the song with what seemed like lived-in feeling. The studio version, which I’d always thought boring before seeing it live, doesn’t benefit in hindsight. It twinkles but it doesn’t sparkle, the beat is clean and monotonous, and without the ad-libs the chorus in particular is dangerously repetitive. It comes across as sterile and meaningless, like most pieces written by Australian production house DNA Songs. Im’s sterling showing in Stockholm is down to her, not them.

Will Adams: A worthy runner-up to “1944,” “Sound of Silence” offers that modern take on a power ballad — high drama sculpted by additional production flourishes –that Eurovision seems to crave. What sells it is Dami Im, whose conviction even lets me forgive the repetitive chorus. Her performance is in par with the pyrotechnics behind her, and it was only improved on stage.

Jonathan Bradley: I watched Eurovision this year squeezed into a packed pub in Paris, and among that crowd at least, “Sound of Silence” was a unifying favorite. There are plenty of reasons why Australia should not be a part of Eurovision, but I did feel a twinge of patriotic pride during that final moment, exulting with strangers from Serbia and Finland and, yes, also Perth, in which Dami Im looked as if she had won the whole thing; we might have beaten Europe on their own turf, and with a Korean-Australian performer too, representative of the multicultural society I know. It helped that the song is excellent, glimmering and finely wrought. Indicative of the fine emotional line it walks is that the technological branding shoehorned into “Trying to feel your love through FaceTime” sounds honest, not gimmicky.

Brad Shoup: Welp, I suppose I heard it wrong. Had she sung “FaceTime” — and for sure, she did — it’d be an unshowy, grounding element on a track that throws so many ribbons at the ceiling. Im cradles the word “silence” in several ways, all very nice. And I’ll always love those whole-note piano jabs. But I think she forgot a bridge.

Alfred Soto: I can imagine admiring it if Suede had written and covered it. In its current form “Sound of Silence” has the blowzy conviction of a Ryan Tedder empowerment anthem.

Anthony Easton: I love how she gives up the blankness in the beginning and fully commits to a post-Céline melodrama of a heartbreak whose bodily incarnation is a keenly overwhelming voice trying to emote over something close to a kick drum. Extra point for the claustrophobic production.

Joshua Copperman: It’s not quite worthy of the near-namesake, or the Disturbed cover of said near-namesake, but the idiosyncratic phrasing (“the sOUND of siLEEENCCE”) and swathes of reverb make it work.

Ramzi Awn: Dami Im breathes new life into the word “calling,” but ultimately, “Sound of Silence” is a heavy hitter without the chops to back it up. The track takes itself too seriously for its lyrics, and while it is an imposing anthem, it wears out its welcome.

Lauren Gilbert: I’m beginning to wonder if Australia didn’t get the memo about the inherent ludicrousness of Eurovision; this is a power ballad that would stand out on the radio. Dami is a compelling performer, and while there’s nothing here that changes the game, it’s well-executed and girl can rock a gauntlet.

Claire Biddles: About two years after I met my best friend we made a promise that to celebrate our ten-year anniversary of meeting each other, we’d go to Eurovision. We both love Eurovision, and every year since meeting we’ve either watched it together or frantically texted each other running commentary while watching it from different ends of the country. Our ten-year anniversary was this year, so in May we met in Stockholm, tried to get tickets and failed, and ended up watching the final on a big screen in a lesbian bar. My favourite song was the Bulgarian entry, but “Sound of Silence” was the soundtrack of the weekend — the one that followed us around on loudspeakers in bars and the foyer of the ABBA museum; the one we sang while we were putting our makeup on to go out. We yelled along to it in the lesbian bar, drunkenly grasping hands after three bottles of wine. After we got back and returned to our cities at the opposite ends of the country, we both listened to it a lot, but in the wistfully nostalgic way that everyone revisits a song they heard on holiday. We texted each other whenever we listened to it. I only really paid attention to the lyrics recently and discovered that the song was describing our long-distance friendship — sure, it’s not very serendipitous to find that a pop song is about missing someone, but lyrics like “trying to feel your love through FaceTime” feel so specific and surprising in the context of a pretty trad Eurovision ballad. Shortly after our trip to Sweden, my best friend moved from London to Manchester, a little closer to me. I still text him every time I listen to “Sound of Silence.”

Reader average: [8.5] (2 votes)

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3 Responses to “Dami Im – Sound of Silence”

  1. as a Eurovision aficionado, I’m kicking myself for not writing about this one. anyway, 7/10, I can see why it did well but like 1944 it NEEDS MORE CAMP. Where’s my Verka Serduchka, Russian grannies, and singing turkey vulture puppets, dammit, I don’t watch this competition for serious things.

  2. by that I don’t mean that 1944 needs more camp in the song itself, just that I would have enjoyed it more if it was paired with like, Jamala singing against a man stuck in a box or being carried in by a very tall man or some ludicrous staging like that.

  3. That tree of electricity that exploded behind Jamala on the last chorus was pretty spectacular tho