Country music seldom graces the Eurovision stage and usually with good reason. It’s difficult to say whether Stefan’s song Hope will open the floodgates to more but it stands alone this year in its genre.
To tackle the tricky stuff head on, the track’s opening seconds sound like they’ve been lifted straight from a country and western movie and that’s a compliment to nobody. A showdown drum and accompanying whistling packs the stuffiness and predictability of a dusty, smoke-filled saloon in the American midwest.
Although the song’s message is rather literal, come the second chorus Hope does lure in the potentially faded interest. The track’s build is uplifting and Stefan’s voice takes the chorus to an anthemic, pulse-racing level.
Hope is a pop song wearing a country mask. Take off the mask and there’s a chest-thumpingly energetic track smiling back at you.