1961 Contest Song Reviews: United Kingdom and Italy

Sometimes a song seems entirely pleasant until you listen to the lyrics, and then it takes a turn for the worse. I first identified this trend in Eurovision with one of Germany’s 1956 entries, but the United Kingdom’s “Are You Sure?” by The Allisons is an more obvious and unpleasant example. The harmonies and general interplay between the two singers is the highlight of the song, the music remaining a steady companion in the background. However, when you consider that lyrically, the song is about a man who goes from pleading for his former lover to reconsider leaving him to predicting that she will have a miserable, lonely existence without him, I feel like the “sweet” vocals are tainted by a nasty undertone. This wrecks the song.

Continuing the strange trend of singers taking on American-sounding stage names, Italy’s Betty Curtis uses the frequent repetition of her song’s title “Al di lĂ ” (Beyond) to create a loop which gives some structure to an otherwise fairly meandering song with lyrics dreamily extolling disbelief at her great fortune in love. In fact, maybe that’s my issue with this song: it seems so dreamy that it is difficult to find much to hold on to.