First Listen Review attempts to capture my first impressions of the year’s Eurovision entries as and when they’re released. My opinion is liable to change as certain songs grow on me or get revamped, but based on the principle that most listeners will only hear each entry once (or twice) before voting, hopefully it’ll provide some insight. 

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Trijntje Oosterhuis – Walk Along

Struggling Eurovision countries would do well to study the Dutch as an object lesson in how to successfully up your game. By enlisting high calibre performers and giving them the time and freedom to produce strong, contemporary songs, they’ve gone from eight years in the semi-final wilderness to looking like a strong bet to win the contest in the next few years.

Trijntje Oosterhuis - Walk Along | Eurovision 2015 Netherlands

Trijntje Oosterhuis has released 9 solo albums in her career, of which 5 have reached the top 5 of the Dutch charts. She also achieved multi-platinum sales in the 90s as part of pop group Total Touch.

Like Anouk and the Common Linnets, Trijntje Oosterhuis is a seasoned performer with international pedigree. She’s recorded with legends like Burt Bacharach and Lionel Richie, and her albums regularly top the Dutch sales charts. She’s also a truly excellent vocalist, with a rich tone and expansive range that should make her an extremely safe pair of hands in Vienna.

She’s got a good song too, although it’s rather a frustrating one. ‘Walk Along’ was written by Anouk, and it’s a catchy slice of radio pop of the sort Natalie Imbruglia built her career on. There are two big problems with it, and both could easily be fixed. The first is the synth in the background – it’s jarring, unnecessary and makes the song sound cheaper than it needs to.

The second is a bigger issue – it starts well, but really loses energy around the halfway mark. The “Why-ai-ai” chorus is the song’s strongest hook, but it’s overused and makes the song feel longer than its three minutes. There’s a good post-chorus in the second verse (“This is not a little crush, don’t wanna wait in line“) but it’s deployed too early. By either repeating it or moving it to the last minute, adding in a few more ad-libs and possibly a middle eight, this could be a serious contender.

These are obvious fixes and it’s hard to imagine the Dutch team not considering them, so I’m hopeful that what we’ve heard so far is more of a demo. Because while Walk Along is already a very solid effort, it’s the kind that in its current form could very easily pass the voters by. After the last two years that’d be a terrible shame, and a real waste of Trijntje’s considerable talents.