1962 Contest Song Reviews: The Netherlands, France and Norway

Regardless of whether The Netherlands was trying to emulate the success of The Allisons from the UK by sending their own male duet the next year, “Katinka” by De Spelbrekers at least does not have the unpleasant undertones of “Are You Sure?”. Instead, the young male characters who tell the song’s story plead with the young women of their affection — Katinka — to give them just one backwards glance rather than staying aloof. It is quite a teenage song, and falls in the category of “solid” for me; I don’t dislike any aspect of it, but I’m not reaching for the repeat button much either.

I’m going to advance a theory about these early contests: if there’s nothing particularly compelling on offer, France seems to be the default option for the win. Isabelle Aubret’s “Un premier amour” (A First Love) feels the same as 1958’s “Dors, mon amour” in this way: it is competent without being inspiring — the musical arrangement doesn’t offer anything new, and neither do the lyrics, but Aubret delivers the song very well and certainly elevates it as a result.

Norway brings a moderately jazzy offering this year: “Kom sol, kom regn” (Come Sun, Come Rain) has a sultry edge which matches well with Inger Jacobsen’s vocals. The lyrics focus on a relationship surviving through all sorts of weather, which is a relatable enough concept. Unfortunately, the relatively slow pace of the song drags a bit too much at times, and didn’t leave me with a lasting impression.