“Arcade” – Netherlands: Twelve Points / Pays-Bas: Douze Points



Arcade is a story about the search for the love of your life. It is the hope for the – sometimes – unattainable. – Duncan Laurence


Love has always been for me the greatest of affairs, or rather, the only one. – Stendhal


What can I say when France gives the Netherlands “Douze points,” it thoroughly deserves? Considering that the last Dutch Euro-cracker was entitled, “Ding A Dong,” the present winner, “Arcade,” is more than a marked improvement. How could the Dutch lose, with lyrics that could have been mistaken for one of Mallarmé’s better poems, sung in English – the nearest we get to a universal language – and music that would have befitted a Verdi of modern times. Typically Dutch, then!


We were always a losing game


This is about a broken heart that could not be fixed. A small town boy whose psyché feels like a foreign land, is deafened by the sound of silence, and who ends up getting lost and losing in a gaming arcade.

We have all experienced the true nature of broken love that we thought was the love of our life. We all remember the first love that we encountered at school. It was a love that took us nowhere, a broken love we carried away from school and tried to fix at home, only to find out that several broken pieces had been left in the school playground. The tears in our heart were to linger in the depths of our psyché long after the love had disappeared. 


I don’t need your games, game over
Get me off this rollercoaster


In search of absolute love, we become addicted to games that are not made for us and that we cannot win. But even when we do encounter love that we think is absolute, the very nature of life is constantly reminding us that this love hangs by a thread – life itself. It is the suffering of a dying woman, that inspired “Arcade” to conquer the hearts of Europe. She is still in love with the man who left her. She is lost in the arcade, has played love one last time, and lost. 

It is ironic that the one thing that matters to us and gives sense to our existence – love – is the one thing we have no control over and cannot master. We have no hold over it, we attempt to grasp it and, like running water slipping through our closed fingers, we often search for a love that escapes us. We do not master love, we fall in love and remain trapped in the whirlpool of its exigency.

“Arcade,” is a haunting song whose apparent simplicity only serves to amplify the paradox of the message it is conveying – how can love, an emotion that is so universal, remain so elusive, beyond our control and, worst of all, so addictive?