Friday, March 15th, 2019

Maruv – Siren Song

We’re not entirely enchanted off course…


Joshua Minsoo Kim: The instrumentation is as cheap and stodgy as most Eurovision fare — just listen to that awkward hi-hat — but “Siren Song” still captivates because of Maruv’s enticing vocals. The post-TNGHT horns aren’t as ubiquitous now, so that helps, but the outro’s half-time breakdown is the real treat: an inescapable vortex that actually feels dangerous. It’s wisely short-lived.

Ian Mathers: So, nothing about “Siren Song” itself has anything to do with why it won’t be representing the Ukraine at Eurovision… I suspect it’s harder than normal not to over- or underrate the song according to context and your own feelings thereof but before I realized this was that track I found the match between the acoustic guitar loop and the big, basso profundo horns blurting all over the chorus a bit rough. Maybe especially for something like Eurovision I’d have been fine with it being overtly OTT all the time, especially when presented as something irresistible.

Alfred Soto: Bog standard dance pop whose distinguishing characteristics are a melody that’s closer to Latin pop than the Ukranian singer-songwriter’s roots. Or maybe they are. 

Katie Gill: Will music ever be able to escape the influence of the Robin Schulz remix of “Prayer In C”? Based on the verses of this song, probably not. Still, it’s a jam! While Eurovision songs often take the route of copying the previous winner’s style, Maruv’s dark and moody spin draws more from the runner up than the actual winner. I doubt it would have won overall, much less placed. But it’s definitely something that I could see in regular rotation in clubs or (more cynically) wordlessly scoring car commercials.

Ramzi Awn: Maruv sets the scene with a soft touch and a refreshingly understated pop vocal. The melody is low pressure, and the production on the single is playful but dexterous. Overall, a fun and tasteful break from the American vein of overproduced and overwritten siren songs.

Tim de Reuse: Excise the groan-worthy references to “devil’s door” and the atmospheric bits that just pad out the valleys between the drops, and you’ve got yourself a dense little core packing a heady, menacing swagger. If you don’t mind your rhyming couplets a tad insipid, the big centerpiece is nearly worth the surrounding fluff.

Iris Xie: The thuds sound like farts, and the horns sound like announcements to those farts. Combined with the timed “uhs!” and I’m just overwhelmed by how it sounds like an anthem to queefing, and who better to deliver it than an Ukrainian ice electro queen who refuses to be a political pawn? Does this make it a bad song? No, maybe? but I also can’t unhear any of this now. The outro is clattery and forced in a way that suits the exit. (Am I going to regret writing this blurb? I’m submitting it anyway)

Alex Clifton: When we covered Sunmi’s “Siren” a few months ago, I wrote that sirens should be memorable. At the time I didn’t care much for the song, but over the next few weeks it made itself a nice little nest in my brain with that breathy “la-la-la-la-la” hook. Like sirens, I think good Eurovision entries should be memorable. Think of Moldovan Saxophone Guy, Verka Serduchka’s entire “Dancing Lasha Tumbai” performance, or the way Jamala’s voice cracks in “1944.” All those stick. I know Ukraine has had to withdraw from this year’s competition due to political issues, but I can’t say I would have seen this get past the semi-final stage. The only bit I end up remembering is that trombone-y synth that stabs repeatedly in the background. The rest, including Maruv’s vocals, are sadly forgettable. If this were playing from an island to tempt me to go off-course as a sailor, I would be able to ignore it pretty easily.

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2 Responses to “Maruv – Siren Song”

  1. Ukraine has never finished below 8th in a semi final. They are an above average country in song quality and massively above average in staging smarts. This year suuuuuuuuuucks bad, I couldn’t imagine this wouldn’t have been top 10 in the final.

  2. Missed this probably because the only thought I had about it was that the big horn drop reminded me of Onuka enough to give it a [6]

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