You’ve got to admire someone who’s happy to be seen lying face-up in an empty swimming pool while her hair smears across the floor behind her like a dead octopus.
So welcome today to Sennek of Belgium, who has done just that in the promo of this year’s Belgian entry.
Everyone gets their purple patch at Eurovision. The UK, France and Ireland had so many in the 20th Century that they may not be allowed any more ever again. That’s not the case with Belgium who have taken more than 50 years to have a run of stuff at the Contest which finds an appreciative audience. Loic and Blanche in 2015 and 2017 both finished fourth by pushing the envelope on what a Eurovision song can actually be while Laura Tesoro presented one of the most enjoyable songs at Stockholm 2016 which faded in the final laps of the voting but didn’t disgrace itself.
So is Belgium’s second victory in this event merely a matter of time?
You’d need a crystal ball to answer that but until then A Matter of Time is, conveniently, the title of this year’s Belgian entry.
For years, there have been Eurovision songs which share similarities with the dramatic staccato-style orchestration and delivery of a Bond theme. On first listening to A Matter of Time, it’s one of the first comparisons that come to mind. However, if I may, I;d like to introduce a second sub-genre to which we can now drop into the pot when it comes to this time of year – the BBC Four Imported Drama theme (B4ID for brevity). With every remarkable slice of subtitled storytelling arriving on said channel most Saturday nights, there is invariably an impassioned B4ID. Some are less catchy than others but they’re now so much part of the package they deserve their own category – and one which looks like it’s straight from the dewey decimal system.
A Matter of Time, therefore, straddles the border between Bond and B4ID. It’s pompous in its arrangement but that pomposity is hidden behind a bookish, almost sullen exterior. Also, and this is the most unfortunate part of the whole composition, the most interesting part of the song is the first third.
This has one of the best intros of the 43 runners in their year’s race. We’re also introduced to that brief electro riff motif which runs through the song like the flutey bit in ABBA’s The Day Before You Came. Again, good.
But sadly, this song runs out of steam in swifter fashion than any other in the 2018 line-up. Promising and intriguing quickly become repetitive as they go through another circuit of what we’ve already heard. The very sub-genres(s) this tune is aping gives enough of a structure to lift it with an oomph-ier middle section (dirty brass! This really needs some dirty brass somewhere) and a complete handbrake turn as the two-minute mark looms to really stamp its intentions down. Instead we just get lots of the same, again and again.
It really is a matter of time in that it feels like six minutes, not three. It will qualify but I’d love this to be more of a contender than it is. It’s dead easy to get to Belgium from my house.