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Australia: Dami Im – Sound of Silence

Australia previewed their 2016 challenger on SBS this morning and copies of the song are already available from various unofficial sources despite the official release being scheduled for tomorrow. Dami Im will perform her Sia-influenced power-ballad in semi-final 2. It's safe to assume that Dami Im was second choice for Australia given she only found out a week before the presentation. Prior to then, Delta Goodrem was tipped and Betfair shortened in anticipation for the big name reveal. Dami Im's selection was defended and fans quickly talked up her unique style while indicating an upbeat song would on the menu. Instead, Dami Im submitted a…
Song Appeal
Vocal Strength
Staging Potential
Likely Televote Appeal
Likely Jury Appeal
Cohesiveness of Package

Damn!

Sound of Silence is a good song, but for me it feels like it never gets out of 2nd gear.

User Rating: 3.23 ( 43 votes)

Australia previewed their 2016 challenger on SBS this morning and copies of the song are already available from various unofficial sources despite the official release being scheduled for tomorrow.

Dami Im will perform her Sia-influenced power-ballad in semi-final 2.

It’s safe to assume that Dami Im was second choice for Australia given she only found out a week before the presentation. Prior to then, Delta Goodrem was tipped and Betfair shortened in anticipation for the big name reveal.

Dami Im’s selection was defended and fans quickly talked up her unique style while indicating an upbeat song would on the menu. Instead, Dami Im submitted a power-ballad which immediately saw Australia’s price collapse, before eventually returning to the pre-song level. People initially confused a fairly good song with potential winner, or at least in current form.

The fundamental flaw of Sound of Silence is the lack of impact during the refrain. The verses are so well arranged, so it’s difficult to comprehend why they thought a plodding, hollow feel to the refrain was a good idea. It’s tough to pinpoint exactly what’s missing, but the fake drum sounds don’t do the song any justice. Maybe more synth layers would help, or some strings? The big vocal moment leading into the bridge helps, but I fear Dami Im will have lost the audience by then. Sound of Silence is a good song, but for me it feels like it never gets out of 2nd gear. It has the vocal clarity Armenia would kill for, but lacks the musical ferocity of Iveta Mukuchyan’s song.

Having coasted into the 2015 final as automatic qualifiers, Australia will have to suffer the indignity of travelling in steerage class to this year’s final. Luckily, they’re in the easier semi-final, as their ‘guest status’ narrative has gone, and some eastern nations maybe less hospitable. Even so, their song will have enough appeal to qualify on jury score alone, however, once in the final, I think top-10 might be the limit. If the staging elevates the song then maybe top-5 might be on the cards.

Can Australia win in Stockholm?

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About Gavster

Owner & Chief Editor   I’m a qualified designer and the official geek in the crew, dedicating most of my free time to keeping the ESCtips show on the road. My family routes allow me to support the UK, Ireland and Italy.

33 comments

  1. Outright went to evens.. I personally dont see this as a contender. So with these odds I’m laying outright and top4..

  2. Totally forgot Australia was competing again. The average viewer will probably also forget BAM!
    Seriously now, I hate being the one asking this, but do you think race will be a factor here? Because I feel like it will negatively affect the televote, unfortunately.

  3. Surprised at the reaction. fir me its a massive step down from tonight again. To be fair I do see the jury really going for this and therefore is sailing into the final but once there I think it could struggle to challenge the higher regions of the top 10.

  4. No it’s not a winner-:)

  5. We will go to….! Ehh, yeah, where will we go next year?? Because this is a winner. Totally agree with Gavster here. The past years countries like Sweden (2012, 2015) and Azerbaijan (2010, 2011) sent these kind of anthemic pop songs. Eurovision needed some more of this and a bit more ‘American vibe’ and Australia now teaches all other European nations a lesson in great instant unforgettable songwriting.

    Now the song. This has everything. A memorable melody, perfect division between chorus and verses. It has great modulations, and climatic, powerful choruses. It’s music that’s made for the charts, true. But Eurovision has it too now. ‘Sound Of Silence’ is an unforgettable song that climbs like a virus to your brain and settles itself there…forever.

    Dami Im then….Wonderful singer she is. Before the contest I already made myself acquainted to her discography. She has wonderful Asian looks and breathtaking vocals. Whatever staging she comes up with, Australia now is the one to beat for me.

  6. Substitute “Trying to feel your love through FaceTime” with “Trying to feel your love through a videotelephony product.” please.

  7. Very polished as expected,but seems lacking something (as do most songs this year).Once again the pace seems far too slow and you are waiting for it to get going.The quality is there,but i dont see any reason to vote for it.
    A lot of these songs this year seem as if they have been wrote with staging in mind so although id be very tempted to be laying this below 10s, if Archi left any scraps that is,im not going to.Rehearsals are going to be massive this year so lets hope Gav doesnt lose a phone signal,or joins Dami snap chatting or on FaceTime at key moments.

  8. It’s mood and structure is strikingly similar to Euphoria, isn’t it? Two moody verses, a big *bang* at the end of the first chorus, big vocals in the climax without much change to the instrumentation.

    When I heard the snippet last night that cut itself off before the chorus, I thought it was fairly promising and different to the noisy dubstepish pop she had done before, that this song is giving her voice some healthy exposure and that the chorus might be big.

    I feel I’m correct on that much, but the first time I heard the song in full I was kind of disappointed by the chorus… like scraping for top 10 disappointed. The titular lyric is heavily overused and this makes it feel a bit clunky. The modulation is good, the chorus definitely packs a punch the first time, but on the 2nd and 3rd chorus it has nowhere left to go except for Dami to belt it. There’s too little progression and it feels repetitive. In that sense, it’s like Trintje’s entry last year.

    I appreciate its strength and I think it will finish comfortably around 2nd-8th but I’m not sold on winning potential. Like her past work, this song feels lacking in personality, (I know I’m starting to sound like Eurovicious here but my threshold for “generic” is a lot more tolerant than his. :P) and I’m unsure of how much they can do with staging here. A cool stage background and Dami’s famously striking fashion sense seems about the extent of it.

    If the EBU really want Australia to win it this year, to justify future participation, they could get away with pushing this over the line given the rest of the field, but I personally am not sold… and I’m concerned about Dami’s stage presence as well which seems a bit aloof. You don’t expect a voice like that out of an eccentric, dainty little shy thing like her.

    To answer Keyser Soze, I don’t know how much race might come into it… for the first time in my memory we’re now looking at an Oriental performer rather than an African one. I think Russia won’t have a problem with it. White Slavic countries may be put off. Not sure about the Balkans and Caucasus but the Turkic footprint there probably crossed paths with China, Mongolia and central Asia. As for the West, I suppose it just depends on which countries have enough of a Chinese diaspora to make the rest of those populations comfortable with seeing a Korean girl.

    At least we know Jamie-Lee Kriewitz has a BFF for Stockholm. 🙂

  9. This is toothless, generic anonymous schlock and won’t do nearly as well as last year imo. The definition of bland.

  10. “At least we know Jamie-Lee Kriewitz has a BFF for Stockholm.”

    Hahahahaha, bravo Sir, bravo!

  11. It’s a promising entry, stronger than I expected and could go along way. It doesn’t scream winner to me though and the snippet promised more than was delivered I feel. Hard to judge what sort of voting Australia will get, I don’t think the entry itself is strong enough or unique enough compared to some of the competition to make people vote so far across political and cultural boundaries. It should make the top 10 however and could get top five with the right staging.

  12. Sound of Silence? More like sound of boredom. Next.

  13. there’s always one every year that i think Gav overrates. however i thought it was italy last year and i had to eat humble pie! just find this very meh. possibly will be better with a more dynamic arrangement and potential for really good staging.

  14. Stephen Colville

    Very average effort by Australia. Not sure why this has so many stars…can’t see this cracking the top 5.

  15. Australia to me sounds at least more interesting than the ‘Ralph Siegel meets DJ Tiësto’ from Russia.

  16. Okay as an Australian native, I’m putting my two cents in.

    I think she’ll kill it live, you can’t deny Dami’s natural talent and ear for music. But the staging will make or break this if Australia hopes to scrape their way into the top 10. The song itself was too safe a choice and I can see it has tried to follow the “typical Eurovision formula” that the regular viewer has been comfortable with, but I can see are growing tired of. I was expecting it to deliver more “oomph” but I never got it. And I think this lack of “oomph” is really what’s getting people riled up on all the fan pages. There’s no “climax” to engage me, and yes, the chorus is repetitive and is quite disappointing on the first listen.

    However I also want to point out what Tobias on the Melodifestivalen podcast yesterday was saying. There has been nothing so far in this competition at all (both Melfest and Eurovision of late) that has made my jaw drop to the floor. Nothing has made me think, “Yes! I love this! That’s the winner!” and there has been no shock factor from anything (except from San Marino but that was because of its un-self aware mediocrity – not like Euro Neuro, that knew exactly what it was doing) and I think this is one of the most important problems of this year’s contest the commenters here have been addressing. I mean the regular Eurovision watcher (not in Australia anyway) doesn’t watch it because it’s good (many Australians watch it to laugh at all the “crazy Europeans”, they don’t engage so much with the geopolitics). The commenters here have argued time and time again that this has been one mediocre year in terms of quality and there is nothing really that’s been particularly unique. Considering how Semi Final 2 is looking, this actually stands out. But as Gavster said, I am also concerned that even generic pop is starting to sound attractive when he reviewed Russia.

    After a few listens, I’m quite enjoying this song. But maybe just having it on in the background. I think calling it “toothless, generic anonymous schlock” is really unwarranted and quite harsh considering the rubbish that’s been churned out this year from most of the other countries. You’d be a fool to not think that she’s definitely doing a lot better than them in terms of appeal and vocal strength. Maybe they can edit the “love over FaceTime” part but we survived through “Undo My Sad” and all other Fredrik Kempe’s songs for goodness sake! Silly lyrics are not exactly anything new or have been THAT MUCH of a cause for concern in Eurovision.

    I say she will qualify because her competition in Semi Final 2 is absolute shite and drives me to tears. This didn’t drive me to tears and her performance is much more polished and stronger by a million. But I will say with all the other concerns I’ve addressed, she will struggle in the final without an interesting and unique stage show to compliment it to keep viewers engaged. I think if her live execution is spot on, the concerns I’ve addressed may not be so much of a hindrance for Dami to break into the top 10 at the very least.

    • Lily, given the fact that Dami has said more than once that she was only invited to represent Australia, (or she at least only knew about it,) one week before the announcement, (SBS were probably liaising with Sony, not Dami directly,) do you think it’s possible that this song is actually just her new single which was due for release around now, Eurovision or no Eurovision?

      There’s two versions for sale now, one of them simply has the end chopped off to get it down to 3:02, the other being 3:15, so that backs up the theory, and the fact that she’s had so little time to “prepare a Eurovision entry” complete with music video implies this was just ready to go when SBS asked.

      Seems like Dami wasn’t Plan A for SBS.

      • That’s a good question. As I’m not familiar with Dami’s music plans, I don’t think I can adequately answer that. Now that you raise it, having a song already prepared might have been the case it as it has never been performed or recorded.
        Guy Sebastian was also given very little notice and wrote “Tonight Again” in virtually the last minute instead of doing a ballad that was going to be on his album as he had originally planned. Obviously that worked well in his favour. I also read that Delta Goodrem was rumoured to represent Australia until she twittered that she wasn’t going to do it.

        However, whether Dami was Plan A or not, it does feel like they chose to play it safe rather than use a song that showcases her personality and talent. That is the problem I have, not whether she was first choice.

        If she had singles prepared, was this really the most interesting one they can find? Considering what’s being churned out from the music industry lately, yeah probably.

        I still think they tried to follow a “tried and true formula” that’s at least palatable for viewers without offending anyone. I’ve had Australian friends who are fans of ESC explain to me that it is a “pretty classic Eurovision song”. This shows to me that the regular viewer catches on to the formula that’s been used and makes people comfortable. However, if I’ve learned anything from watching and reading blogs such as this, you are rewarded for taking risks in Eurovision provided that the whole package is solid and doesn’t dither (e.g.: Conchita Wurst and Loreen being notable recent examples).

        I think the “Dami Army” on all the SBS fan pages were very persistent to have her in and maybe that was why SBS went along with her. I’d have to do a bit more digging to see if that really was the case. Fairfax media practically gave it away before SBS was due to announce it.

        I honestly think SBS could have been better organised in finding our contender through a one week national vote rather than deciding internally. But it seems like they have some kind of deal with Sony going on. Again I’d have to do more digging.

        • In regards to Dami’s plans, I believe she was intending to release an album in April. However I feel they might push it back to just after Eurovision to keep the focus on Sound Of Silence in the lead up. I get the feeling the album probably does have some better singles but they are longer, so editing might ruin them, and Sony/SBS this one was the best for Eurovision.

          It does seem SBS left this a bit late given they knew we were competing from November, as has been mentioned Dami has only known of her participation for a couple of weeks.

          I think the reason SBS didn’t do a national selection is because of when the EBU told them they could compete. By November both SBS’s budget and schedule would be set and given the government has been cutting funding, it would be silly for SBS to put aside enough money on the off chance the EBU might invite Australia back. This would be why they turned to Sony to fund their participation.

  17. Hey Lily,

    I think you should give your country a bit more credit. It’s only their 2nd participation. Probably in the near future there will be a national final. Obviously. But until then I think it’s important to see the big picture and to understand how Australia is perceived within the competition, within the field of 43 participating countries.

    And having said that, Australia may not be the best stuff that your country sent to Eurovision this year. But within the field it’s one of the more relevant and instant songs of the competition. Given the fact that Dami Im is also a great live performer with unique looks, I think you have to prepare yourself for another TOP 10 result ;-).

    • Oh I’m definitely not damning her (lol). But I do think that the concerns from people about the song are justified (to an extent – there are many trolls on the internets). I honestly think a good stage show will either make or break her chances of earning a top 10 result. If the spectacle itself is great then all other concerns about the song I have will be put to rest. If the performance is too static and a bit dull, then it could be damaging for her overall result. We could however bank on the novelty card again… but I don’t know if that will work a 2nd time round.

      I had to rant because I was so infuriated about the unwarranted hate that’s been thrown about on the fan pages – particularly on the SBS ones. They all had a cry about Guy Sebastian last year and now they’re all his biggest fans since he got a Top 5 result. That’s the internet for you though. So look, Songfestivalwerk, I am trying to give her as much credit as I think is reasonable. I did also say in my original comment that she does have a very strong chance of qualifying. I’m not doubting her chances at all there. I was just unsure whether or not she would struggle come the final. Accidental last place can and does happen.

      It’s a good point that Nick raised about her album plans and editing. My concern about her album also comes from the fact that there are whole albums rated 2 and half to three stars (if even that) where little to none of the songs actually draw you in. That is probably not true for Dami’s new album because I have not listened to it but I do think it is a legitimate thing to at least be aware of.

      It would be great to see a national selection and what Nick says makes a lot of sense and I’m kicking myself for not actually considering those factors concerning funding. Of course these things have to be decided well in advance. All I want to say is that Australians would be prepared to spend a few cents here and there to pick something they want to see representing us since we’re crazier about Eurovision than the most of Europe it seems. But they probably wouldn’t want a drawn out competition like Melodifestivalen.

      I hope whatever happens in future years we eventually send TISM.

  18. As another Aussie, I agree that the actual staging will make a big difference. The clip I saw has a male intrepretive dancer doing not much other than creating an irritating distraction from Dami. She is a deadset diva and can easily fill the stage. Lose the dancer, SBS. Otherwise, it’s the same mistake as Azerbaijan made last year, sending a good singer and song, and then cluttering up the stage with irritating movement. Leave her to shine and she will. I think she’ll qualify; I even think she’ll be Top 10; but I’m not sure about any more than that. Good entry, respectful of the contest but, at the moment, not quite Wow! enough. Let’s see what they do with it between now and the Big Show……

  19. Definately agree with Gavster her on her vocals. Just listen to this. Stunning!:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mVt9ISpdtU

    • Then why did they give her such a useless song? They must have thought it was Eurovisionary.

    • I agree with the review above. There is some promise when it starts out but then the refrain is ghastly. And I don’t think the other verses have much more to offer either. Definitely out of the T10 imo.

  20. Sound of Silence live in Melbourne. She’s better live than on the record, but just how high up the scoreboard can those pipes take her? She hasn’t got much else going for her except a commercial quality to the song and a distinctive look.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-PI_MXO5PYM

  21. I think I’m coming around to this being first in line to win, should all the happier, more uplifting songs fail. It’s the most commercially accessible option without alienating jurors. There are parallels to draw with Conchita in that you don’t expect a voice like that to come out of someone like her. Whenever I watch the music video I still feel like I’m watching her mime to someone else. The song’s biggest downfall is that it is cold and lacks adequate progression, but her voice and ethnicity are her USPs. I think it will be a lot more powerful live than in recorded form.

    I’m interested to see what she’ll wear. Ideally I’d say go to town on Gaga-ing her up, but it might be best to err on the conservative side of her dress sense to sell her to Europe since she looks unique enough to us as she is, and she’s a very pretty lady.

    One of the hard parts about betting on Eurovision is having to accept that you might need to support songs that you’re personally indifferent to or even repelled by, that is if you want to be right, and reap the financial rewards.

    Plus, it’s still Australia. The EBU have global ambitions for Eurovision and clearly want Australia around for the long run, and they need them to win to justify that. They’ve haphazardly blagged it this year calling their first participation a marketing and PR success, but they’ll be hard-pressed for an excuse next year, unless SBS launch the Asia-Pacific contest in 2017 and need to withdraw to focus their money on that. Hosting Eurovision first might be SBS’s practice round. I remember when Jon Ola Sand released a statement saying they might be back in 2016 during the rehearsals period, and a few people said to me this was basically an admission from the EBU that they weren’t going to win despite best efforts. I believe that now. I want to keep an eye on how that tale progresses.

    Blimey, I thought this post would be like one paragraph.

  22. Maybe there’s a reason they had a Plan B after all.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIsIxqG2-Gs

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