I write a lot about the political and social significance of Eurovision, but ultimately, it’s a song contest. And sometimes what we need the most is a big old kiss off of a dance song.
Mae Muller is here to deliver.
I’ve seen some people online noting that this song is the aural equivalent of Love Island, of a cheeky Nandos and Missguided and spray tans and Friday nights on the toon without your coat on. It’s the song that should come over the radio at 2:30 AM when you’re starting to sober up in the line at the 24-hour Maccas or the late night chippy. It’s a song for the UK that one only sees on reality shows, not the UK that shows up in historical adaptations or the Today programme. (Okay, it may also be the UK that shows up in grim ITV crime dramas, but that’s never as brightly coloured as Mae’s song. They’re always filmed in a desaturated landscape.)
And that’s not a bad thing! There’s a reason why shows like Love Island are on the air – because they are fun to watch. Do I agree with some of the toxic masculinity they reinforce? No! But do I love seeing the camaraderie between contestants like Kaz and Liberty? Yes! And to be frank, the only place we’re seeing women like this in the UK is on reality shows and on Instagram. Why not add Eurovision to that list? Why shouldn’t the nation be rallying behind a sassy, miniskirted woman who knows how to market herself on social media? Because it’s not like the official representatives of the UK are doing a great job!t
Listen, the UK is a grim place right now. There’s a cost of living crisis, exacerbated by Brexit. Teachers, doctors, and post office carriers are among those (rightly) striking for higher wages. The government has cut public services to the bone, and doesn’t seem particularly interested in doing much of anything right now except fanning the flames of a culture war and demonising trans people. And yes, it’s been rainy and grey for most of winter.
Can you blame us for wanting a little bit of joy? And if that means lustily singing along when Mae Muller talks about trashing a Mercedes Benz, I am there for it.
Is Mae going to win? No. Is she going to put on a hell of a show? Yes. And that’s perhaps the best situation for the UK right now. As a nation, we’re primed for Eurovision. We’re a bit drunk on our post-Sam Ryder success. If it continues, we’re going to get into the cycle of people associating success in Eurovision with winning, instead of success in Eurovision meaning that Europe’s fallen in love with the representative of the UK. We need to reset our national mentality from Eurovision as contest to Eurovision as party, and a fun song plus a fun show plus a clear runaway winner (Loreen? Kaarijaa?) may just be the thing that helps us do that.