1964 Contest Song Reviews: Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Norway and Denmark

While I listen to the national final entries for the Czech Republic and Albania, I’m going to continue on with my historical contest reviews. Early next week I’ll review the Czech national final songs in time to discuss the winning entry, after which I’ll probably review the 1965 contest before moving on to the Albanian candidates in time for Festivali i Kenges.

So let’s start with Luxembourg, represented this year by Hugues Aufray and his song “Dès que le printemps revient” (Once Spring Returns). In the recording I’m listening to, Aufray has a laidback, understated voice which gives the song a casual feel. You can sense some pop styling in the way the title is also the refrain, repeated often enough that you can at least sing along to that by the end of your first listen. The wistful lyrics about how spring remindes Aufray’s character of a lost love complement the brass notes in the background, making for a solid song that points the way ahead for a contest which needs to begin following music trends at least to some extent in order to stay relevant.

Over in The Netherlands they seem to have got the memo about moving forward as well, sending in Anneke Grönloh with “Jij bent mijn leven” (You Are My Life). In this song, her character calls out her partner for lying and cheating on her, but says she’ll stay with him because “you are my life”. It’s an awkward sentiment, especially given that Grönloh’s forthright singing style suggests that she’s going to give him a well-deserved dressing-down rather than meekly submitting. Musically this is a jaunty tune driven by guitars and drums (in this recording at least), with the strings in the background providing some flourishes here and there. I would like this song more if it weren’t for the lyrics.

I’ll admit that I haven’t really warmed to any of Norway’s entries yet, and I’m not sure “Spiral” does much to change this. Arne Bendiksen’s voice is a bit more nasal than I’d expect from a Eurovision singer at this point in time, which is more a comment than a mark against him per se. Unfortunately, he hits on one of my pet peeves, using the word “bong” as a sound effect several times through the song, which is a general ode to happiness and having one’s life in order. I enjoy the upbeat music, but the vocals drag the song down in my estimation.

Lastly for today, we have Denmark’s Bjørn Tidmand with “Sangen om dig” (Song About You), which is a more traditional ballad where the orchestra is the musical driver of the track. As the title suggests, this is a love song in the form of an ode to Tidmand’s character’s lover. There isn’t much new in this lyrically or musically — we’ve heard this kind of song several times over the last nine years, and the addition of an accordion is an unusual touch but not enough to save it from being rather forgettable.