1961 Contest Song Reviews: Spain, Monaco and Austria

We’re back in Cannes, France for the 6th edition of Eurovision, with 16 countries competing — which means there are three debuts.

The first of the debuts opens the night, with Conchita Bautista for Spain performing “Estando contigo” (Being With You), a song about the joys of being in love. The recorded version I’m listening to sets a different tone immediately: there’s a fairly minimalist approach to the song, with orchestral instruments only being used when necessary, allowing more space for Bautista to showcase her vocal talents. One thing I’ve noticed in the contests so far is that the orchestra tends to level, or “normalise” songs towards a certain sound, so I’m expecting the live version to be less impressive, unfortunately. Still, it great to hear Eurovision branch out in this way, given that music from Spain (and later, Portugal) adds a different dimension to its musical palette.

It was always going to be difficult for Monaco’s next entry to match the 1960, but I’m not sure how hard they tried with Colette Deréal’s “Allons, allons les enfants” (Let’s go, let’s go children), which I feel plays up the whole cute and chirpy angle way too much. It’s short and sharp, I’ll give it that, and easy to follow, but it’s weird to be a singing a song directed to children at what was then a room full of adults.

Jimmy Makulis’s “Sehnsucht” (Longing) is another ballad from Austria, but I don’t think a good performance will save them this time. This feels extra outdated and clearly the weakest of today’s reviews (a quick glance at the results proves my point. The beat is plodding and feels just a bit too slow for some reason. Even the lyrics don’t offer much: the title gives it away in term of the content.