Netherlands: Mia and Dion and Burning Daylight

Duncan Laurence’s Arcade is a Eurovision winner I just did not get. It was 2019; I was living in a world of Hatari and Lake Malawi and Mahmood and Tamta almost blowing up the entire arena. My Eurovision was defined by Conan Osiris and Kate Miller-Heidke and Serhat. It was jokes about Sebastian Rejman’s rubber jeans and shouting BIGGER and IS IT and mourning Miki Nunez’s staging and getting so mad when KEiiNO had that technical glitch. The fact that Arcade won was just an anticlimax; disappointing but lost amongst all the other amazing things that had happened that year.

So when I heard that Duncan Laurence had cowritten the entry for the Netherlands this year, I was not expecting much.

Boy, was I wrong!

Or at least somewhat wrong. If Duncan Laurence performed Burning Daylight, I think I still might dislike it. But when this song is put in the hands of Mia Nicolai and Dion Cooper? PURE MAGIC.

Some Eurofans have expressed puzzlement as to why this song has to be a duet – they don’t see that there’s anything added by having both Mia and Dion on the song. But I disagree. For me, the song structure wouldn’t work without it being performed by two people.

After all, the first verse and chorus is primarily performed by Dion, with a few backing vocals from Mia. The second verse is primarily MIa, and then the two voices start to blend again on the second chorus – the part of the video where they finally come face to face. And from that point, they’re singing completely together.

This structure makes me think this is a song about finding your person – the person who gets you. Both Mia and Dion are completely miserable on their own, but then they meet the person who is in the same key of miserable that they are, and all of a sudden the entire song opens up into a bloom. It’s a very subtle kind of a love song – and not necessarily a romantic type of love song – but it’s a love song nonetheless, a testament to the ability of connection to help shake us out of depression.

As someone who has struggled with depression and feeling like I’m not accomplishing anything in my life, I can really relate to Burning Daylight. It’s that sense that if you only do one more thing, you’ll be able to prove yourself in the eyes of the world, but in reality, it’s often about finding the person who helps you realise that you, by yourself, are enough.

I like this song so much that I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll be ugly crying throughout its performance. And I’d probably keep crying through the next song if it didn’t happen to be Finland.

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