1964 Contest Song Reviews: Finland, Austria, France and the United Kingdom

Finland offers up a jazzy number this year: “Laiskotellen” (Idling) sung by Lasse Mårtenson certainly has the correct title for a relaxed tune with lyrics about lazing around on a Sunday. It’s pleasant enough, with Mårtenson cheerfully guiding the listener through the song as though on a sightseeing tour, but ultimately it lacks anything compelling for it to be remembered by.

It’s a case of the same, but not the same for Austria; on paper, Udo Jürgens’ “Warum nur warum?” (Why, Just Why?) is a standard ballad about a lost love and fundamentally nothing new. However, Jürgens’ silky, timeless voice carries the song and takes it to new heights. His singing style in the softer parts of the song reminds me a bit of Marlene Dietrich. So I guess what I’m saying is that I’m impressed by this entry.

France keeps it fairly simple this year, with a piano-and-strings ballad “Le chant de Mallory” (Mallory’s Song) in which singer Rachel tells of her departed lover, who was also her first love. The wistful sentiment comes across well, but there’s enough variety in the music and Rachel’s tempo to keep things from falling into a familiar pattern.

It’s nice to have an entry from the United Kingdom which feels like a genuine, gimmick-free song. Matt Monro’s rich and gentle vocals give “I Love the Little Things” some gravitas, even if the lyrics are a bit trite at times. I think the title becomes self-explanatory if I add that his character is singing to and about his lover. While the song feels one-paced in parts, this is arguably the strongest entry by the UK so far.