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Music / Hooverphonic

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Raymond Geerts, Geike Arnaert and Alex Callier.

Hooverphonic is a Belgian band.

Originally consisting of vocalist Esther Lybeert, keyboardist Frank Duchêne, bassist Alex Callier, and guitarist Raymond Geerts, Hooverphonic began as a product of the '90s trip hop scene, but have since been more broadly described as an electronic pop-rock band.

Since their founding, Hooverphonic has seen frequent turnover in personnel, specifically regarding the band's lead vocalist. Liesje Sadonius replaced original singer Lybeert before the release of their debut album A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular in 1996, but departed herself shortly after. Following a brief stint fronted by Kyoko Bartsoen, Geike Arnaert became Hooverphonic's permanent vocalist from 1997 to 2008, the longest tenure to date. Noémie Wolfs then replaced Arnaert from 2010 to 2015. Hooverphonic proceeded without a vocalist for three years until Luka Cruysberghs joined in 2018. Arnaert returned to the lead vocalist role in November 2020, a change which Cruysberghs said she was informed of on Zoom.

Though they may not be familiar by name to those outside Belgium, Hooverphonic's music has been used in a variety of American film and television projects, including the likes of I Know What You Did Last Summer, Entourage, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and The Umbrella Academy.

In October 2019, it was announced that Hooverphonic would represent Belgium in the 2020 Eurovision Song Contest, having the distinction of being the first act confirmed for the competition that year. However, it was later decided they would represent Belgium the following year (in 2021) after the 2020 edition was canceled due to concerns over the COVID-19 Pandemic (they did, however, elicit anger for being the only act to not participate in the cover of "Love Shine a Light" that involved all other would be 2020 entries, and was the centerpiece of the replacement telethon). They eventually competed in the contest with the song "The Wrong Place", qualified from the semi-final (giving Belgium their first qualification since 2017) and ultimately placed nineteenth in the final.

Selected filmography:

  • A New Stereophonic Sound Spectacular (1996)
  • Blue Wonder Power Milk (1998)
  • The Magnificent Tree (2000)
  • Hooverphonic Presents Jackie Cane (2002)
  • No More Sweet Music/More Sweet Music (2005)
  • The President of the LSD Golf Club (2007)
  • The Night Before (2010)
  • Reflection (2013)
  • In Wonderland (2016)
  • The Best of Hooverphonic (2016)
  • Looking For Stars (2018)
  • Hidden Stories (2021)

Blue Wonder Power Tropes

  • Bad Date: The subject of "The Wrong Place" is a one-night-stand, possibly between former lovers, that Geike comes to regret the morning after.
  • The Band Minus the Face: Their ninth album In Wonderland was recorded after Noémie Wolfs left but before Luka Cruysberghs joined. The vocals were provided by several guest singers, like Émilie Satt of Madame Monsieur on "Badaboum".
  • The Chanteuse: Noémie Wolfs portrays a glamorous one in "Anger Never Dies".
  • Disguised Horror Story: The video for "The Wrong Place" depicts the lyrics pretty closely, if not for a somewhat Gothic setting, until it shows the guy's decapitated — and still singing — head lying on the floor, presumably chopped off by Geike.
  • Downer Ending: In their haste to find Geike in the music video for "Mad About You", Alex and Raymond force open the apartment front door, exposing Geike's plant lover to sunlight and killing him.
  • Genre Mashup: Their distinctive style mixes Trip Hop with Dream Pop, Alternative Rock and Baroque Pop elements.
  • Grief Song: "Release Me", their 2020 Eurovision song, was written by Callier while he was going through his father's death. The end result is a calm yet harrowing example of this trope.
  • Lead Bassist: Zigzagged: while not so prominent in music video and promotional material, behind the scenes bassist Alex Callier is the main creative force behind the band and is usually the one to speak during interviews.
  • Lighter and Softer: "The Wrong Place", their 2021 Eurovision entry — while still maintaining the trademark Hooverphonic dramatic sound — is considerably lighter in tone, musically and lyrically, than "Release Me".
  • Losing Your Head: Geike's hookup in the video for "The Wrong Place" ends up with his head chopped and left on the floor, eyes open in terror and still lip-syncing to the song.
  • Lyrics/Video Mismatch: "Mad About You" is about the narrator being obsessed with an unspecified recipient. As for the music videos:
    • The first version shows Geike barricading herself in an apartment with her plant monster lover (who appears to be consenting), and the rest of the band trying to get in touch with her.
    • The second version has the guys smuggling a vial-sized Geike beyond a border and onto a ferry. Geike falls in the ocean when Alex accidentally drops the vial, but thankfully she washes up on a tropical island with a new pair of sunglasses.
  • Male Band, Female Singer: Two (three in the past) male instrumentalists fronted by a female singer.
  • Obsession Song: "Mad About You", obviously.
  • Plant Person: Geike's lover in the "Mad About You" video.
  • Revolving Door Band: They're known for having had several lead vocalists over the course of their 25-plus-year history. The best known frontwoman, as well as the longest-serving and, as of 2021, the current one, is Geike Arnaert, but three singers preceded her and two more held the spot between Geike's two tenures.
  • Torch Song: "Mad About You", arguably their most famous song, is about the narrator being hopelessly in love with an unnamed recipient whose feelings are left nebulous.