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Listen Up: Jeangu Macrooy "Grow"


Today was not an easy day. I’m trying to get used to living life indoors and it’s not easy. It has been a good reminder to be appreciative of all the good things we have in life, but today anxiety set in along with a heavy dose of cabin fever. It’s all about building new routines to have structure and maintain sanity. Getting work done, being in frequent touch with family and reading more. It's all been helpful.

I think art and music are particularly important right now to get us through this challenging time. A great song can be so incredibly comforting. A soothing tone and introspective lyrics can calm us, and an upbeat, carefree melody can motivate us to get through the day. I have been going back on forth between moods on my playlist.

One song that really strikes a chord with me right now is Jeangu Macrooy’s beautifully crafted “Older.” The song was selected as The Netherlands’ entry for the 2020 version of the Eurovision Contest. The big global music fest was scheduled to be held in Rotterdam in May, but was canceled today due to the pandemic and will likely be postponed to 2021.

"The more I learn, the less I know. Through every high and every low - I grow.
Lyrics from Jeangu Macrooy "Grow"

“Older” is nothing like the Eurovision bombast you may expect. It’s a deeply moving song about the challenges that come with growing older. But it's not all doom and gloom. Macrooy emphasizes that with growth comes experience and the ability to withstand disappointment. It's a wonderfully empowering message that will easily resonate with many - especially now.

"Emotions, good and bad, are a universal language," Macrooy says in an interview with "I hope ["Older"] makes people feel a little less lonely in their search for happiness. I think that openness and honesty about how we really feel will ultimately bring us closer. I believe in the power music has to bring people together. It’s the reason I do what I do."

The track very much fits in the vein of Duncan Laurence’s “Arcade” that won the Eurovision Song Contest last year and which helped usher in a new era of high-grade Eurovision songwriting that can stand the test of time. It's no surprise that in his winner's speech Laurence firmly called out "music first" to illustrate that point.

Macrooy’s “Older” starts out shimmering and soft, and slowly builds into a soaring highpoint with gospel-tinged production stylings courtesy of Pieter Perquin. I think its sublime and it’s music like this that soothes the soul and eases the mind. Eurovision or not, “Older” comes exactly at the right time when we need it most. 

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