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Belgium: SENNEK – A Matter Of Time

SENNEK's song has just leaked. She gives us the chilled-out, retro Bond-influenced A Matter of Time. Belgium are in first half of semi-final 1. There was a rush of hype following the release of A Matter of Time; not entirely justified in my humble opinion. The song takes 1:12 before there's any change in mood from the 70s lounge opening. After that, it goes full-on Bond theme with influences borrowed from The World Is Not Enough and Skyfall. But it quickly seeps back into a coma as it returns to 70s lounge mode. It's not until the 2:20 mark that…
Song Appeal
Vocal Strength
Staging Potential
Likely Televote Appeal
Likely Jury Appeal

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It's a jury song rather than a televote song, and to get top-5 at Eurovision, Belgium need support from both sides of the vote. 

User Rating: 3.54 ( 44 votes)

SENNEK’s song has just leaked. She gives us the chilled-out, retro Bond-influenced A Matter of Time.

Belgium are in first half of semi-final 1.

There was a rush of hype following the release of A Matter of Time; not entirely justified in my humble opinion. The song takes 1:12 before there’s any change in mood from the 70s lounge opening. After that, it goes full-on Bond theme with influences borrowed from The World Is Not Enough and Skyfall. But it quickly seeps back into a coma as it returns to 70s lounge mode. It’s not until the 2:20 mark that it leaves any sort of memorable impact.

I understand that this authentic sound is in vogue after Salvador’s victory. People think Eurovision has changed forever. It hasn’t. Eurovision winners are still born from the perfect blend of emotion, melody and visual impact. Staging could improve SENNEK’s song, but even in studio form it doesn’t draw you in or leave a mental imprint. It’s a jury song rather than a televote song, and to get top-5 at Eurovision, Belgium need support from both sides of the vote.

Qualification should be a breeze, subject to running order; though I assume Björkman will still sympathetic to Belgium’s cause. Once in the final, I’m struggling to see top-10 at this point given how strong other western-European songs could be with the juries. Pannecoucke could elevate this song’s chances massively, though.

Has Belgium been given a license to thrill at this year’s Eurovision?

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.

21 comments

  1. Catriona Colville

    Addictive listen. It should do well, but it’s hard to tell how well, because there is nothing else like it this year. But another quality entry from Belgium.

  2. Eurovisiontales

    Belgiums verses are so good that you cant help but feel dissapointed when the chorus comes. Plus if her voice sounds stretched during the chorus in the studio version, the live performances may be quite messy. Overall a more than decent entry for Belgium, I am loving its vibes, I predict a similar result to Azerbaijan last year.

  3. It’s terribly boring. I don’t see any connection with the audience.
    Maybe it will get points from the jury.

    In fact, it’s hard to listen to the song to the end, I want to go further in the middle.

  4. Nice to see both Belgian broadcasters are on their game now. It’s a nice entry, and the Bond theme comparisons are really easy to make, but her vocals on the studio version are hard to judge. I’ve no doubt she can hit those delicately high notes in the chorus which sound as if they’re stylistically strained on purpose, but is this really going to be so much more powerful live like Conchita was with her Bond theme? Only time will tell.

    I had been backing Belgium steadily in anticipation of a good entry, even though it was the broadcaster which gave us Tom Dice and Laura Tesoro instead of Loic and Blanche, I can tell Sennek is a good artist. When I heard the song, I honestly thought her odds would drift out from 40s to 70 or something, so I laid it off a bit too quickly, but not at a loss.

    I envisage top 10 for this on the studio version’s merit, but I do have a niggling feeling I might be mistaken to have laid it off. It might be a sleeper hit come rehearsals – or it might finish mid-table owing to it’s somewhat dull and long-drawn out start. There’s also the matter of its staging to consider. How can this be presented effectively? Only monochrome colours and floodlights come to mind for this, and my imagination is vividly driven with music.

    • Ben, I think this song works well on the video version but I do worry about what they can do to make the live staging as effective. I also agree with Gav that this is a jury song. Televote support is often concentrated around 9 or 10 songs, and I don’t see this is as one of them

  5. Belgium stays on the right track.

    Quality, but misses a climax or some power to challenge for the win. If staging is done well it would float somewhere arround 10th I reckon

  6. Strong entry again from Belgium. It could feel a bit more background than centre stage in some ways, and I think staging could be difficult. To me, this could struggle quite a lot with the lack of Led backdrops, other songs can use dancers, fill the stage with instruments or use atmospheric lighting alone. I’m not sure any of that is enough for this. Feels like a top 10 for now, although I have to say I have ten songs labelled as such potentially, and not one top 5 yet which is obviously impossible. A really hard job narrowing down the pack this year.

  7. SENNEK has a clear vision for the song and the performance. The videoclip will be very aesthetically pleasing and the previous staging effort of VRT ( Laura 2016 ) was spot on.

    I could see this going a bit under the radar at the moment but I would never rate her off to suddenly become a force to be reckoned with.

    She has already proven in the past that she is a sublime vocalist and I do expect her to elevate this song a lot in a live performance.

    The only thing that’s troubling me is that the 0:30-1:00 part of the song drags a bit.

  8. Lounge music.Thats all.Its more Johnny English than James Bond.She will lift it live as she is a good singer,but she deserves better than this snore fest.

  9. Honestly what on gods green earth do people see in this thats makes them think its a contender or a certain top 10…are these people mad? Its like they had made their opinion of Belgiums chance’s before even hearing the song and right now with the year being quite weak any song that is somewhat good from a country with hype is going to be massively inflated, cant help but feel 2 weeks from now people will probably get a more realistic view of this song when they take everything away and see the song for what it is which is just wallpaper music. At this moment I worry juries will hype it up and it qualifies because of that. I am currently as I write listening to it for 6-7 times and it still does nothing for me, I’m desperately trying to see the star quality others are seeing but I certainly cant see it. This just appears to be another Italy 2016 i.e a song everyone thinks will do great because it seems like jury bait because of its unique sound but it ends up flopping because it just lacks the umph needed to stand out in a 26 song field or possibly in this hard semi a 19 song field.

    Unless the staging is great I would be amazed if this comes top 10.

  10. Hans Pannecoucke is doin’ this one as well, together with Yves Ruth, so there should be some dancing involved.

  11. You say qualification should be a breeze and I see why but it must be remembered in that first half you have CR,Estonia and if reports are correct Bulgaria probably ahead of it. Then from likely only 2 spots remaining you have this Azerbaijan,Israel (who appear to have quite a backing from fans with anticipation) and Lithuania who can never be discounted. If Belgium don’t get the staging right I could see this slipping through the cracks potentially.

    • Catriona Colville

      Fair points, but you’ve already made it clear that you don’t see what many others do in this song, so perhaps that is clouding your view somewhat?

      And I’m not entirely sure some of the hyped songs from that semi will do as well as expected, especially Czech Republic, Azerbaijan and Israel.

      • True but I know a certain qualifier when I see it and this doesn’t fit the bill, it’s a likely qualifier but by no means a certainty even with a first half draw.

      • Israel – I for one don’t have high expectations but I worry it will be one of those fan songs like Golden Boy that everyone will obsess about.

        CR – Certain qualifiers, nothing more to say.

        Azerbaijan – could really see struggling but then I sit down and think of previous years and realise weather it be great staging and/or skullduggery they will find a way to Saturday night.

        Despite what I said I would much prefer Belgium over Azerbaijan (I prefer their song but have a strong dislike for the Azerbaijani delegation so I’m good if they miss out.)

        Israel I just don’t care about and all this hype they appear to be getting which appears unwarranted is quite annoying…

        My view simply is until rehearsals or preview shows I just don’t think Belgium is as safe as people seem to think it is…

  12. Songfestivalwerk! (Gert)

    I think it’s always worth to look outside the box a bit. For me personally there is a market for every kind of music genre on Eurovision. As long as it excels in that genre. Then everything is possible. From all 32 countries released so far (11 more to go: Bulgaria, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Israel, Lithuania, Ireland, Georgia, Macedonia, Croatia & Austria, which is still quite a lot of countries to go), I think only a few nations excell in a music genre:

    — OPERA/CELTIC: Last year it didn’t work for Finland. But ESTONIA shows here how it’s done. I fully agree with Gavin that this is not a Sweden 2009 or Romania 2013. Not at all. It is as if Estonia looked to their own entry from 2009, “Rändajad”, and upped it with a stunning vocalist. If this genre wins, then ESTONIA wins.

    — SIA/POP/FEMALE: I think in this genre AUSTRALIA and AZERBAIJAN are now the ones to beat. Composers of both entries certainly know what Rihanna, Pink and Sia are doing at the moment. Both countries come with very anthemic pop songs that are easy enough for one’s ears and contemporary as well. If this genre wins, then I still need to choose between the perfect stagers of the AUSSIES and AZERI.

    — FUNK/POP/MALE: Perhaps CZECH REPUBLIC belongs to this genre. It’s an instant and very happy song, reminiscent of some songs from Bruno Mars’ and Justin Timberlake’s discography. But the entry still stands on its own in the field of 32 so far. Not sure if it wins, but if this genre wins, then I’m willing to bet for CZECH REPUBLIC.

    — ROCK/BAND: Several entries to choose from this year. Hungary, Romania, Albania and The Netherlands. From those three THE NETHERLANDS has the most distinctive melody. As opposed to the ‘noise’ from Hungary and the band from Romania who brings us a song that goes on steam way too late during the 3 mins. Add to that the best male charismatic stage performer in the contest, and THE NETHERLANDS are in for another medal win. Don’t underestimate Albania either.

    — ALTERNATIVE/MOODY: Yeah, what is actually ‘alternative’ in the contest. If we talk about smaller, more delicate, nuanced entries, then perhaps we can mention Latvia, Belgium and Portugal? From those three I think BELGIUM is the clear standout. Not sure if it’s ‘instant’ enough as opposed to “Rhythm Inside” and “City Lights”, but that could be counteracted with some terrific staging. If we go towards TOP 5 for such a song, then BELGIUM is your choice.

    — ETHNIC/FOLK: Greece, Cyprus, Moldova and Armenia, Montenegro and Serbia belong to this list of songs. But obviously ARMENIA is the standout here. I don’t believe either of these songs has it to go straight to number 1. But if this genre wins, then perhaps ARMENIA can do it. I wouldn’t rule out Moldova just yet. It feels/sounds a bit like Moldova 2009.

    — DUETS: Italy and Spain here. Personally I adore Italy and utterly dislike Spain. But then again, my personal taste is perhaps too 1990’s. Having said that, SPAIN has the chance to connect much better with audiences. It’s cute, sweet, perhaps too ‘candy cane sweet’. But as there aren’t too many duets in this contest so far, SPAIN could do pretty well.

    — SINGER/SONGWRITER: I would concurr that GERMANY is the biggest standout here. They go back to the Jamie Cullum/2012 playbook here. The fact is however, that “You Let Me Walk Alone” is perhaps more anthemic and rousing than “Standing Still”. It has a near-perfect backing track infused with the best orchestration I’ve heard in years. Add to that the remarkable looks of Michael Schulte, and then GERMANY can opt for another medal finish.

    So, a short resume. But from all these music genres I guess these countries are the ones to watch at the moment (in no particular order). These countries stand out, haven’t got too much stiff competition at the moment, and vice versa. 32 down, 11 more songs to go though!:
    — ESTONIA
    — AUSTRALIA
    — AZERBAIJAN
    — CZECH REPUBLIC
    — THE NETHERLANDS
    — BELGIUM
    — SPAIN
    — GERMANY

    PS: Am I bland or is Eastern-Europe giving up on Eurovision a bit? This part of Europe used to be so big in the previous decade.

    • Almost every year i did a similar thing on blocks.Top scandi,top eastern,top balkan,top western,top other,most talented artist and went from there.
      This year im really tempted to simply take the green cash out option on Betfair at the moment and come back at rehearsals its a real headache.
      Although its out of kilter with everyone else it seems at the moment, my top 4 and big greens are,
      1.Italy,2.Belarus,3.Czech,4.Spain.

      The reasons.Italy,just might come across and work,and if it does the jury might go for it and the televote might not be huge,but the rest could be spread very thin across everything else.
      Belarus just might bring fantastic staging and have the chance if they do to unite the eastern/Russian block vote even though i dislike it to the extreme.Czech simply on the way it stands out.Spain,well it will flop or fly,she might be up the stick by ESC,or she might be sick of Alfred and dumped him,who knows.

      Very little confidence in any of the above,but have to sit it for now as nothing else in the book is out of range if needed.At least it will make for an interesting run in to ESC and rehearsal period.Spotting the winner right now could provide an early retirement,but we will just have to earn it this year more.

  13. I’m in two minds on this song.

    From a personal standpoint, its ticking a lot of boxes for me. It invokes a lot of seminal years of my music love, growing up in the 90s amongst the Brit Pop and Trip Hop scenes. I brings to mind the mysterious sounds of Portishead, the downbeat Massive Attack and even reminiscent of songs from the early Goldfrapp years (i.e. before ‘Train’). The ‘Bond’ anthem comparisons I hear people make I don’t really feel so much.
    Its a song that has stuck in my head, and I’m utterly wrapped up in it from the quiet almost spoken beginning to the chorus where it builds vocally.

    But I see the point where this could fly under the radar. If there is one thing that the clip shows me is that Sennek is very pared back artist (with excellent vocal control). She will need a good staging and to emote to camera to make a lasting impression to have both juries and televoters send points her way. I think it will score well with the juries.

    I never really got the whole ‘City Lights’ act last year, I just felt somewhat uncomfortable watching Blanche perform because she seemed so vulnerable. But I loved the prior year with Laura and her disco tribute which Australia lapped up but failed to set Europe alight. So clearly my own judging when it comes to Belgium is off.

    I am going with a small gut feeling that it could resonate with others like me; just like Georgia 2016 grabbed the attention of people like me. Not a winner, but I feel top 10 isn’t out of the question to keep the countrys good recent record going.

  14. I caught the right mood and I began to like this song. But Eurovision does not work that way, so I do not have much hope for this song.

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