They say you should never come back. Unless you’re Johnny Logan. In that case, coming back is the best idea since one of ABBA’s chums told them Hasta Manana wouldn’t get them swinging in Brighton. Udo Jorgensen had some positive things to say on the matter too.
In a few weeks from now, Waylon will know whether he’s a Logan or a Jedward. Four years ago, along with pal Ilse, his laid back styling and brooding stares down the camera lens helped give the Netherlands the only Eurovision runner-up spot in its history (they’ve been second in the World Cup more often) and its most successful showing since 1975.
Outlaw in Em couldn’t be more different – or more in need of an apostrophe immediately before the Em. This blindsides the casual approach of Calm After the Storm to become the sort of piledriving country tune which skips over the genre borders and straight into the difficult-to-fill final half of the second CD on a Top Gear driving anthem compilation.
For any TV station looking for an instant whammy to lasso around the listeners’ ears, they got one right here. On the evening this was made public, around midway in reveal season, big things were predicted for Waylon. We fans can be fickle fiends however. You’ve now got more chance of Alexis Colby inviting Krystle Carrington out for a girly lunch than finding this in anyone’s Top 10.
That’s mainly because it’s trying too hard to be a Eurovision song rather than maintaining its integrity as a country number. The determination to sound American at all costs is laughable at times, especially when Waylon feels it’s time to lock and load.
Lock and load. A phrase here which literally means readying the M1 Garand firearm for action. Figuratively, the same phrase means to get ready for any form of spirited, direct action. In an unfortunate turn of events, that figurative phrase literally hasn’t been used by anyone other than role-playing gamers (the card variety) since about 1998. In other words, such a cringeworthy piece of lyric should have only been written lightly in pencil during the draft process before someone more sensible locked and loaded their best rubber onto it.
That’s not to say a casual viewer whose only go-to song when thinking of country is Achey Breaky Heart won’t vote for it. This is still a tune with heaps of atmosphere when first experienced. It’s only when the mind-scalpels get to it on listen three or four that the hollow nature of Outlaw in Em is revealed.
Not that I’m any expert. I did the Eurovision sorter thing
earlier today and this wound up as my 9th favourite out of 43. When confronted with another option to listen to during the ranking process, I surprised myself on how many times I chose Waylon over other stuff in the line-up.
If your nan, school chef or anyone else who just tunes in for a laugh sees this among the Saturday night showdown, they may just make the same comparison.
We can’t misjudge Waylon too quickly. He has been to this rodeo before.