Review: Alexander Rybak- ‘That’s How You Write a Song’ (Norway)


Artist: Alexander Rybak

Song: That’s How You Write a Song

Country: Norway

Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

Ranking: 10th

Betting Odds: 23/1

Is there a perfect formula for writing a good song? This is a question that many have asked and many others have tried to answer in the long history of music. But if you came to Alexander Rybak’s Eurovision 2018 attempt ‘That’s How You Write a Song’ looking for any practical answers on songwriting, then I think you’re in for some disappointment.

The chorus of the song gives the advice: ‘Step One: believe in it and sing it all day long. Step Two: just roll with it, yeah that’s how you write a song.’ There’s nothing in there about writing lyrics and setting them to music, musical composition, structure, form or even calling on old traditions for inspiration. Just belief and rolling with it.

You are also probably going to be disappointed if you expected 2018 to be Alexander Rybak’s triumphant return to Eurovision. Instead of regaling us with epic fiddle solos and a great love song that we got with his 2009 winning smash hit ‘Fairytale’, we have been dealt generic pop music which many have criticised for being a cheap knock off of the Sweden interval song in 2016 ‘Love, Love, Peace Peace’. The song has also been criticised for being lazy and many Melodi Grand Prix fans have cited other competitors as worthier representatives for Norway in 2018.

However, comparing ‘That’s How You Write a Song’ to ‘Fairytale’ is unfair. Had Alexander not given us the anthem that is ‘Fairytale’, I think critics wouldn’t be as harsh as they have been on ‘THYWAS’. Forget about ‘Fairytale’ for a minute and just appreciate his 2018 effort for what it is: a catchy piece of pop music. Though the lyrics may be complete jibberish and lack any kind of substance, the tune is catchy and you’ll be going days before you are able to get ‘STEP ONE!…’ etc. out of your head.

If the staging at MGP is anything to go by, we can expect Alexander to play CGI drums and violin and to kick a CGI ball into the audience. Which adds another bit of fun to his presentation of an already fun song.

Despite the apparent backlash against Alexander, his fans are as loyal and far reaching as ever and Norway should sail through to the final when he opens the second semi final on 10 May. Will it be good enough to secure Alexander a second victory? I don’t think so.

For more information on the artist here is 10 Things About…Alexander Rybak!

The full lyrics to the song are here and check out the video below!

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