Why Hatrið mun sigra is the song we need, not just the song we deserve

So this weekend, Hatari did what we all hoped they would do and managed to win Songvakeppnin, earning them a place in Eurovision 2019. Indeed, as I (and a gazillion other people on Twitter) said immediately after their performance, “Eurovision is saved!”

The television performance is inadequate in capturing the majesty of this performance. There’s so much to love, whether it’s the bondage scenes running on the large screens behind them, or the absolute force with which the drummer yields his mallet, or the imperious strut of the singer as he surveys the audience, or the writhing of Klemens’ face against a thigh at the very end.

But I’ve been a fan of Eurovision for several years now, and a stan of multiple songs throughout those years, and nothing – NOTHING – has made me feel quite like Hatari and this song. And my love for it goes waaaaaay beyond my normal appreciation for a banger.

The first reason I love it is that it makes me feel powerful. I put it in my headphones, and my posture immediately improves. My hips develop a swagger. And my phone throws up the “Listening to music at high volumes can cause hearing loss. Do you want to continue?” prompt. Jesus, phone, of course I want to continue. I can’t ever make this song loud enough. I want to feel it in my bones, the reverb extending throughout my entire body. I want this song to be so loud it’s what people hear when they see me coming.

But the other reason I love it is it’s the 3 minute equivalent of the stored up howl of rage that I’ve had in my heart for the past few years, since Brexit, since Trump, since Charlottesville, since Orban, since the Yellow Vests, since the rise of the right wing and charges of elitism and a turning of the collective European back on the whole idea of Eurovision in the first place. How can we celebrate the collective vision that Eurovision was supposed to support if we have an entire system that’s slowly tearing it apart?

Singing about love love and peace peace isn’t going to cut it anymore. That’s been tried, and the collective response has been a shrug. Hatari is a Eurovision act that’s not “political” per se, but that acknowledges the current political condition – failures in the social safety net due to austerity, fear mongering about migrants, rising anti-semitism, you name what you can read into the lyrics (which I’ve pasted the LyricTranslate version of below).

And do you know what? It’s nice not to feel gaslit. It’s nice to see an act that reinforces my sense that things are very much not normal and we’re on a downward spiral and we should all be terrified. Of course, wrapping it all up in an attractive, camera-ready package doesn’t hurt.

TL; DR – Hatari makes me feel seen. They don’t force me to have a solution to things that I can’t fix. They just make me feel like someone gets what we’re all going through. And for that, I will love them forever.

Hatrið mun sigra (English translation)

Hate will prevail
The revelry was unrestrained
The hangover is endless
Life is meaningless
The emptiness will get us all

Hate will prevail
Happiness will end
For it is an illusion
A treacherous pipe dream

All that I saw
Tears ran down
All that I gave
Once gave
I gave it all to you

Multilateral delusions
Unilateral punishments
Gullible poor fellows
The escape will end
The emptiness will get us all

Hate will prevail
Europe will crumble
A web of lies
Will arise from the ashes
United as one

All that I saw
Tears ran down
All that I gave
Once gave
I gave it all to you

All that I saw
Tears ran down
All that I gave
Once gave
I gave it all to you

Hate will prevail
Love will die
Hate will prevail
Happiness will end
For it is an illusion
A treacherous pipe dream

Hate will prevail

3 Comments

  1. I mean, yeah. There is a reason why this genre and kind of music is something that many politically minded young people find themselves drawn to around the age of 14ish I know that that’s about the age where I found myself disillusioned with not only capitalism but also pop music… while I came back to pop music. Capitalism still hasn’t won me back over (and never will if I’m being honest) it’s just nice to have this jarring angry bit of industrial aggression thrown at me in the middle of what is otherwise a pretty pop music contest and I just love it. I’ve been wanting Iceland to send us something darker since I found out about Eurovision in 2009 and decided I needed to dive thru the catalog of the whole contest and didn’t see anything like that from them so I’m so glad it’s finally happened.

    This is a great article and your probably the first person I’ve seen really hit the nail on the head with why this song works so well.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. “Rísið úr öskunni!” is an imperative. “Rise from the ashes!” not “Will arise from the ashes”. This feels like the apex of the lyric, so I’m compelled play grammar police.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s