Like a ‘memorial’ lament: Israel’s Eurovision pick doesn’t quite bring it ‘Home’
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Eurovision entry review

Like a ‘memorial’ lament: Israel’s Eurovision pick doesn’t quite bring it ‘Home’

Sung by Kobi Marimi, ‘Home’ is suited to his operatic style, but lacks the oomph and presence of a winning tune

Jessica Steinberg

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Kobi Marimi won the sixth season of “The Next Star” in February — and with it the chance to represent Israel in May’s Eurovision Song Contest. He’ll be singing at home — since Tel Aviv is hosting the competition after Netta Barzilai’s victory in Lisbon last year. Unfortunately, he’ll also be performing a tune called “Home” — a slow, plodding number with words that are difficult to understand. It doesn’t quite set heartstrings aflutter or raise hopes for a repeat Israeli victory.

The song was chosen from among 200 songs, and was originally written with a poppier, edgier tone, by and for singer Inbar Weitzman, who goes by the stage name Lukah. She rewrote it with musician Ohad Shragai for their Eurovision entry.

Shockingly, it got chosen.

It’s true, there’s something about the song’s piano notes and choir backup singers that does suit the virtuoso, operatic style that won Marimi the spot as Israel’s representative.

Unfortunately, the tune is just kind of cheesy, with dishearteningly uninventive lyrics.

[Intro]
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-ooh

[Verse 1]
Caught up in this moment ’til my heartbeat stops
I’ve been running barefoot to the mountain tops
Nothing comes as easy as it goes
I can hug the water when it snows

[Chorus]
I feel the sun upon my skin
And I am someone, I am someone
You pulled my heart, I took it in
It made me someone, I am someone
And now I’m done, I’m coming home

[Verse 2]
I used to listen to the way they talk
Counting down the minutes from the ticking clock

[Chorus]
I feel the sun upon my skin
And I am someone, I am someone
You pulled my heart, I took it in
It made me someone, I am someone
And now I’m done, I’m coming home

When Marimi won the televised song contest, the judges were thrilled, struck as they were by his pathos and virtuoso style, his tuxedo outfits and elaborately staged performances.

They all noted that Marimi would need a Eurovision song made just for him, suiting the particular singing skills that had quickly earned him the title of the Israeli Freddie Mercury.

But while Marimi does sometimes channel the vocal range of the lead vocalist of Queen, currently experiencing a posthumous resurgence of popularity thanks to the movie “Bohemian Rhapsody,” he doesn’t quite channel the same flamboyant stage persona.

Marimi tried his best on the reality show, using his training as an actor to better command the stage and draw in the audience.

He does the same in the official “Home” video, dressed in another tuxedo for the arty black-and-white, three-minute song that possibly tries to mimic the mirrored, repeated faces of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” video.

He recently told Kan in an interview that he didn’t think he would end up having a Cinderella story, but it happened.

In the words of his song, “It made me someone, I am someone.”

While much of his Israeli audience loves him, many don’t seem to love the song.

Marimi’s Facebook page has quickly filled with criticism for the tune, with fans variously calling it boring, a joke of a song, disappointing, and the wrong choice for Eurovision.

“A voice like Kobi’s and his talents are being wasted on a boringggg song,” wrote one internet critic.

Said another: “This song is not suitable for the Eurovision, more for memorial days.”

Still, Marimi himself has said the song was “love at first hearing.” He told Channel 13 on Monday: “Every time it moves me anew. Every time I find more meaning.”

And he’s not too bothered by the mixed response. “There’s no such thing as a Eurovision-y song,” he said. “Every year people try to aim for that and then someone comes along and surprises” — just like Barzilai did last year. “You just need a good song and for the artist to connect with it.”

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