Slovenia: Joker Out and Carpe Diem

So yesterday, Euronista Twitter had a bit of a meltdown after reading a BBC news article by a BBC music critic discussing all the songs. Part of the brouhaha was whether the host broadcaster should be publishing an article that was snarky about some of the acts.* But in the responses to the article, one act’s name kept coming up: Joker Out.

This is the way that the music critic** described Joker Out’s music:

Self-styled "shagadelic rock band" Joker Out are what the world gets for tolerating Maroon 5 for the last two decades. Carpe Diem sounds like rock music, it moves like rock music, and when it finishes, you will have no memory that it ever happened.

Prediction: Bottom five.

OUCH. But fair! I mean, this guy is a music critic. It’s his literal job to have opinions on music.

And then Joker Out saw the article, and responded:

Joker Out response to BBC tweet is Thanks hosts1 (cry laugh emoji) Can't wait to meet you too hahahahaha

FIrst of all, give whoever is running Joker Out’s social media a raise. They have been smashing it with the clapbacks and fan service.

But, ultimately, is the professional music critic correct?

Is the song any good? Well, yes. It’s catchy. I enjoy the builds. And I find myself awkwardly trying to mumble along with the Slovenian lyrics when it gets to the chorus. Contrary to the critic’s assertion, I do find myself remembering this song long after it’s over!

But, at the same time, when Joker Out released an English version of Carpe Diem, I found myself cringing a little. Eenie Meenie Minie Moe? The ability to understand the lyrics took me out of the song.

What the critic fails to take into account – and what most male critics fail to take into account – that for acts like Joker Out, it’s more than just the music.

Look at the audience behind them:

The lead singer of Joker Out in an audience full of young women.

Teen girls have often been derided for their passion about bands. But it’s teen girls who are the tastemakers – the early adopters who can make or break a band. It’s ironic, in a year when the contest is being held in Liverpool, the home to a band that inspired a literal mania among teen girls, it’s weird to discount the passion that Joker Out inspires among this group.

Because if any band at Liverpool is going to tap into this, it’s Joker Out. They’ve got the template down pat – five members, each skilled at giving looks to the camera, each just different enough to appeal to everyone in a group of friends.

You’ve got the goofy one, the shy one, the cocky one, the lead singer, and the one who’s almost the lead singer. Every archetype represented!

But with all the bands in the contest this year, why Joker Out? Why are they the ones that will get the teen girl vote?*** Well, Piqued Jacks is too sleazy. Let3 is too weird. Lord of the Lost is too metal. Voyager is too dad. Sudden Lights are too indie. And Wild Youth are too earnest. It’s only Joker Out that manages to combine swagger, cheekiness, and unthreatening charm, backed by a few delightful guitar riffs.

So yes, Joker Out may not have the most memorable sound. But they do have the most memorable vibe. They spend those three minutes sending soulful, winsome glances down the camera. It may not do it for cis white hetero music critics, but they’re very much in the minority in the Eurovision audience.

* OOF. Not going to rehash there here because both sides have a point. The BBC is huge and a music critic should be able to review songs! But the presentation of the tweet didn’t make the distinction of what part of the BBC clear.

** You can google the music critic’s name if you want! But the guy was just literally doing his job giving his opinion and doesn’t need the wrath of the fandom.

***As a former teen girl, I know this is a broad generalization. I probably would have been a Sudden Lights stan, because I was into indie rock until I discovered that punk was so so so much better. I’m glad I’ve grown up and can now fixate on men who truly know that what a girl needs is a 4/4 house beat, like Gustaph.

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