Review: “Söngvakeppnin 2022” (Iceland)

Iceland will choose an artist and a song for Eurovision 2022 via the “Söngvakeppnin 2022″ contest. The national selection will include 3 shows:

  • Semi-Final 1 – Saturday, 26th of February 2022
  • Semi-Final 2 – Saturday, 5th of March 2022
  • Final – Saturday, 12th of March 2022

10 artists will compete in the selection. It is worth mentioning that according to the regulations of the Icelandic selection, all songs will be performed in the Icelandic language in the semi-finals..
In this post, I will review the songs

Semi-Final 1 Songs

#1. Amarosis – “Don’t you know”


It’s a mid-tempo indie-pop ballad.
The song starts with an orchestra playing that’s composed of bowed string instruments.
The first verse begins, its melody is based on keyboards and guitar playing. This verse is performed by the female singer. She sings it effortlessly, sometimes it sounds like she is smiling behind the microphone. From time to time, she gives us some high notes decorations. The chorus has a faster rate, both sing it together. The violin and piano dominate the melody.
The second verse is namely performed by the male singer. There’s a huge difference between the pitch of the male singer at the beginning of the second verse (quite high) and towards the pre-chorus (a low one). The second chorus arrives and once again is optimistic and calming. This time its ending is connected to a half instrumental part, where the piano playing is more dominant.
The song ends with one more half of the chorus.
What I liked about the song is the use of string elements and the chemistry between the 2 performers. However, something in the whole package was quite expected. This type of kitschy love song that’s performed by a duo has been common in former editions of Söngvakeppnin (for exapmle: Arnar og Rakel in 2017, Erna Hrönn & Hjörtur Traustason in 2016 and more). But I can’t see it advancing into the next stage where songs should be impactful.

Icelandic version:

English Version:

#2. Haffi Haff – “Gía” / “Volcano”

It’s an electro upbeat urban pop.
The song starts with a ringing bell sound. The introduction of the song is actually a part of the chorus. He sings the first lines with vibrations and a mid-raspy voice. This part continues to a digital production that also includes duplication of his singing. The rate of the singing becomes faster. The first verse (that comes after the chorus) is performed in the rap genre. There’s a female backing vocalist that adds another layer to the first verse. The transition part is composed on one word only that keeps on repeating. The next part is based on a psychedelic shout in the background. We get another instrumental part that’s composed of ancient / ethnic string instruments. Thereafter, there’s another instrumental part which composed of violin and keyboards playing. The part that comes after sounds like a phone call with echo. Once again, the singer recites and not really singing. The song ends with a quirky shout.
The song is different from all the others in the line-up. But still I have some difficulties with this one. First of all, it feels more like a track rather than song. Second of all, it has a confusing structure that blurs the limits between verse, chorus and bridge. About the lyrics, it feels like they are a filler with some parts that include one word only. Could you find here any singing parts? Because I’ve barely found them.

Icelandic version:

English Version:

#3.Sigga, Beta & Elín – “Með hækkandi sól” (With the rising sun)

It is one o the only songs in the line-up that has only an Icelandic version.
It’s a country-indie ballad.
The song starts with a vibe of the wild west, the introduction is namely based on guitar stringing. The first verse starts with an acoustic guitar playing. At the beginning, 2 of them singing. The rate is quite slow, and singing is effortless and raw. Towards the end o the first verse, we can hear the 3 of them singing together in a soft harmony that’s performed on a longer musical bar. The second verse is a little bit more rhythmic. The production gives us another throwback to the wild west music, this time is richer with more elements. The members take different roles is singing this second verse: one of them singing the main part, while the other singing a secondary voice. The chorus has something comforting and calming. This time, they use a higher tone of voice. The third verse is performed by the 3 of them, but this time the leading voice is given to another soloist. Electric guitar can be heard from time to time. Once again, we get another chorus. Thereafter comes the bridge, which has a different structure. One of them singing it with some beautiful improvisations, while the other supply backing vocals. The song ends with another chorus. This is what I call an artist that’s faithful to own art. It isn’t meant for the main-stream. Their voices combine wonderful together. I especially loved the second half of the song, where we were able to hear a higher tone of voice

Icelandic version:

#4. Stefán Óli – “Ljósið” (The light) / “All I know”


It’s a classis singer-songwriter ballad.
The melody is based on piano playing. Stefán has a mature and stable voice. From time to time, he uses vibrations in his singing. Towards the pre-chorus his voice becomes softer and higher. In the chorus, his voice is powerful. He sings some high long notes in the chorus, while being accompanied by piano and a simple production. The part that come after, and especially the second verse relies on violin and cello playing. The second verse is shorter, so the chorus comes slightly earlier that expected. This time, we can hear some backing vocalists in the background. This time, he uses some longer notes that reveal more sides of his voice.
It is a nice singer-songwriter song, but the main problem for me that it was expected from the beginning to the end. Stefán has one of the most beautiful voices in the Icelandic selection this year. But for me, the singer is “bigger” than the song.

Icelandic version:

English Version:

#5. Stefanía Svavarsdóttir – “Hjartað mitt” (My heart) / “Heart of mine”

It is a mid-tempo Disney ballad.
The song starts with a minimalistic production that’s focused on keyboards playing and even more on the singer’s voice. In the first verse, she sings with a mid-low airy voice.
In the first chorus, she uses a higher tone of voice, while the melody includes guitar playing as well. Unfortunately, the chorus isn’t strong enough and it ends a short after after it has started.
The second verse has a more rhythmic vibe, with guitar playing leading the melody. We can hear some backing vocals as well. The second chorus is more impressive than the first one. We can here the singer investing more efforts. The bridge begins with powerful singing and a different melody. The peak arrives when the music is silent, and she sings even more powerfully. I wish the first chorus be such impressive.
For me, the song sounds like a less impressive version of “Husavik“.
Stefanía is a great singer whose half oh her potential isn’t fulfilled here. The choice to combine short chorus at the first half, as well as flat verses makes it hard to captivate the listener.

Icelandic version:

English Version:

Semi-Final 2 Songs


#6. Hanna Mia and the Astrotourists – “Séns með þér” (See you soon) / “Gemini”

It is a mid-tempo indie-pop song.
The song starts with guitar playing. The first verse is opened with drum beat. There is an electro beat which builds the general frame of the melody. It is composed of electric keyboards and string instruments. The vibe is calming. As we get closer to the pre-chorus, the lead singer’s voice sounds softer and with more velvety color. The pre-chorus is short, we can hear some backing vocals and the singing is a little bit faster. The chorus relies on the electric beat from the beginning. The next verse is shorter and very fast we move forward to the second chorus. This time the chorus is more convincing, as it include a richer production that is based on violin playing.
The song has a really nice atmosphere. But this is actually its problem as well. With a nice radio-friendly song you can’t win a national selection.

Icelandic version:

English Version:


#7.Katla – “Þaðan af” (From there) / “Then again”


It’s a dark dramatic ballad. with a modern upbeat production.
The song starts with an instrumental part that’s composed of multiple string elements. Katla opens the singing part with a crystal clear powerful voice. The melody of the first part is based on keyboards playing and string elements. The pre-chorus is more rhythmic, she sings in a faster rate. The chorus continues the same line, with drums playing. Her singing becomes more dramatic and bold, as the atmosphere hides a uncovered drama. The end of the chorus is performed in a higher tone of voice. The second verse arrives immediately afterwards. It is more rhythmic then the first verse. The second chorus arrives with a cyclic beat that’s created by keyboard playing. The drumbeat keeps dominating the melody. The bridge is beautiful and the singer reached to an unexpected pitch with her powerful voice. Even so, the song is kind of up-beat, the drama is kept. The outro based on symphonic elements.
It is one of the songs that stands out in the line-up. Her powerful voice makes it even better. It creates drama in a unique way. The combination between an upbeat production and ballad elements is surprising. Well done!

Icelandic version:

English Version:

#8. Markéta Irglová – “Mögulegt” (Possible) / “Possible”

Markéta Irglová is a Czech-Icelandic singer-songwriter, musician, and actress.
She has lived in Iceland since 2012 and speaks the Icelandic language fluently.
It is a lyrical cinematic ballad.
The song starts with the singing part already in the first second. The melody is based on piano playing. She has a soft voice that strokes the listener’s ears. In the pre-chorus, more elements are joined to the melody, like a violin, cello, and some wind instruments. She sings some parts of the song As the chorus begins, a light percussion beat is added, but the main thing is actually the orchestra’s arrangement (sting and wind instruments). The chorus and verses are mixed together, so at some point, it is hard to distinguish between them, but this is actually the magic in the song: it breaks all the norms to praise the musical instruments in the song, as well as focusing on the message of the song.
The bridge is dreamy and is based on an original dinive instrumental part alongside some vocal improvisations. After singing in a high tone for the majority of the song, she moves on to effortless singing in a mid-low voice that closes the song.
This is a high quality song where you can tell about the strong connection between the artist and the lyrics. Is it suitabke for Eurovision? I can see some suppoeters and some opposers.
Anyway, you can’y ignore it. With the right staging, it can create a wonderful moment at Eurovision,

Icelandic version:

English Version:

#9.Reykjavikurdaetur – “Tökum af stað” (Let’s get started) / “Turn this around”


It’s a hip-hop song with rap and electro foundations.
The song starts with electro keyboards and percussion beat. The Icelandic version includes some words in English. One of the girls opens the singing part with hip-hop singing. She sings with self-confidence, impressive speed, and a low tone of voice. Thereafter, another singer enters the song, while being accompanied by backing vocalists. The rate of the song becomes faster, and the beat determines the main character of this part. The chorus is slower, and it is performed by a talented singer. She holds some long notes. Later on, she is joined by the other band members who accompany her by singing rap parts. The melody is based on electric keyboards and digital production with massive electronic motives. The next verse is performed once again in the hip-hop-rap genre. The production includes some more elements like bells sounds. After a short pause, we get another singing part. The pre-chorus is memorable and performed by a powerful vocalist. This time the chorus coverages to the bridge are based on drums. Thereafter, the band members sing together several syllables and words from the chorus until it ends.
This quirky song is one of the unique songs in the lineup. It stands out for the different roles each one of the band members plays. I find the pre-chorus and the chorus as the strongest parts in the selection, I think they should have given more place to the amazing singer that sings the pre-chorus. Anyway, it seems like they will unveil interesting charters on stage. Wouldn’t it is to see s hip-hop song competing in theSöngvakeppnin“?

Icelandic version:

English Version:

#10.Suncity and Sanna – “Hækkum í botn” (Let’s go to the bottom) / “Keep it cool”

It is a dance-pop song with wide influences of 1980s music.
One of the songwriters is Doctor Sveinn Rúnar Sigurðsson, who wrote the Icelandic songs for Eurovision 2004 and 2007, and plenty of Söngvakeppnin songs in the past.
The song starts with electric guitar playing and keyboards playing. The first verse is already catchy, to begin with. The first couple of rows is performed by one of the singers. Se has a mid-high voice that is suitable for pop singing. the rate isn’t that fast. However, the pre-chorus is performed by the second singer who has a higher and thinner tone of voice. The pre-chorus is based on a Hoarse finger beat. They sing the chorus together and their voice completes each other nicely. The chorus includes a stronger dance beat. The second verse includes some digital backing vocals. We can hear some string elements as well (violin I guess). They sing the chorus together again, while the electric guitar stringing wraps the whole package. In the bridge, the melody changes a little bit. The musical measures are longer and permit them to sing in a “less official” way.
The sing ends with another chorus that stops out of the blue.
The song is catchy and can make the listener dance, Although it isn’t typical, I prefer the English version for this song. The general style reminded me a lot of Dua Lipa‘s style.

Icelandic version:

English Version:

My Personal Ranking

Semi-Final 1

  1. Sigga, Beta and Elín – Með Hækkandi Sól
  2. Stefanía Svavarsdóttir – Hjartað Mitt / Heart of Mine (English Version)
  3. Amarosis – Íslenska Útgáfan / Don’t You Know (English Version)
  4. Stefán Óli – Ljósið / All I Know (English Version)
  5. Haffi Haff – Gía / Volcano (English Version)

Semi-Final 2

  1. Katla – Þaðan Af / Then Again (English Version)
  2. Markéta Irglová – Mögulegt / Possible (English Version)
  3. Reykjavíkurdætur (Daughters of Reykjavík) – Tökum Af Stað / Turn This Around (English Version)
  4. SUNCITY & SANNA – Hækkum Í Botn / Keep It Cool (English Version)
  5. Hanna Mia and The Astrotourists – Séns Með Þér / Gemini (English Version)

Overall


First of all, I want to mention that for me, is one of the most imbalanced semi-final partitions..
Semi-Final 2 is much more stronger. In fact, I believe that the wind-card winner shold come from this semi-final.

  1. Katla – Þaðan Af / Then Again (English Version)
  2. Markéta Irglová – Mögulegt / Possible (English Version)
  3. Reykjavíkurdætur (Daughters of Reykjavík) – Tökum Af Stað / Turn This Around (English Version)
  4. Sigga, Beta and Elín – Með Hækkandi Sól
  5. SUNCITY & SANNA – Hækkum Í Botn / Keep It Cool (English Version)
  6. Stefanía Svavarsdóttir – Hjartað Mitt / Heart of Mine (English Version)
  7. Amarosis – Íslenska Útgáfan / Don’t You Know (English Version)
  8. Stefán Óli – Ljósið / All I Know (English Version)
  9. Haffi Haff – Gía / Volcano (English Version)
  10. Hanna Mia and The Astrotourists – Séns Með Þér / Gemini (English Version)

My Prediction


Iceland gave us one of the strongest selections this year.
Most of the songs are unwiue, but some of them are quite predictable or not strong enough.
If I have to guess, I will give 3 possible names:

  • Katla
  • Reykjavíkurdætur
  • Haffi Haff

Playlists

YouTube (Iceland Versions)
YouTube (English Versions)
Official Website
Apple Music

Iceland will participate in the second half of semi-final 1 of Eurovision 2022 which be held on the 10th of May 2022.
If the country qualifies, Iceland will perform in the grand final on the 14th of May 2022

Catch up with everything you need to know about Eurovision2022 on our homepage

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Doron Lahav is 28 years old guy who lives in Israel. Doron watches Eurovision Song Contest since early 2000s. Doron works as a Data Scientist and also shows interest in singing and writing.

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