Song Reviews – Portugal and Sweden

Posted: 23/4/2006 in:

Song: Coisas de Nadat
Artist: Nonstop
Like Finland, Portugal have a rather unfortunate track record in Eurovision – one of the longest participating countries, they’ve yet to actually win the contest, and since 2004 they’ve yet to even make it out of the semi-final. However, unlike other countries who are given to flouncing off in a huff when the results don’t go their way, Portugal have kept gallantly plugging away, remaining a constant presence in Eurovision (even if it is one that tends to show up in the lower reaches of the scoreboard). This year, however, we can’t help wondering if, following decades of disappointment, they’ve simply given up trying to make an effort. Coisas de Nadat (or Useless Things to give it its English translation) is one of the rank outsiders in the contest – one bookmakers we came across has been offering odds of 610-1 on it scoring a victory – and it’s not hard to see why. Although by rights it should be upbeat and fun – the melody reminds us a little of Bosnia’s 2005 entry Call Me – it’s messy and lacklustre, and there’s a general feeling of ennui about the whole thing, as though they’re resigned to the fact that they’ll never win Eurovision. Well, to be blunt, they won’t win if they keep on entering dull-as-ditchwater songs like this. Given that this is the year in which the likes of Finland and Iceland – other long-time entrants who have never won – have really pulled their socks up and made an effort to send decent, interesting songs (which will at least get them some attention even if they don’t do well), it’s all the more disappointing to see Portugal floundering like this.
For It: Try as we might, it’s almost impossible to come up with any plus points on this one.
Against It: Not only is the song weak, but its position in the semi-final does it no favours either – coming right after Lithuania (which will be a talking point despite being rubbish) and right before Sweden, one of the favourites to win the semi outright all but destroys its chances. In a year which has produced more than its fair share of strong songs, there’s one thing we are sure of – Portugal’s chances of qualifying are almost non-existent.

Song: Evighet (Invincible)
Artist: Carola
Eurovision viewers of a certain age should be familiar with this lady, since she already represented her home country twice before – once in 1983 when she finished 3rd with Framling, and again in 1991, when she controversially snatched victory from under the nose of France (the two tied for first place, but Sweden were awarded victory because they scored more top marks than the French did) with Captured By A Love Storm. Now she’s back, hoping to ‘do a Johnny Logan’ as it were and win the contest for a second time. Back in Sweden, Carola was the hot favourite to win the country’s national final, or Melodifestivalen – an event almost as big as the Eurovision itself – despite some stiff competition from the likes of Andreas ‘Glorious’ Johnson, 1985 participant Kikki Danielsson, and Bodies Without Organs (a band featuring Alexander Bard from camp Swedish disco favourites Army Of Lovers). So what of the song itself? Well in many ways Invincible (to give it its English title, since we gather she’ll be singing in English on the night) is classic Eurovision – upbeat, Abba-esque Scandi-pop with a chorus which quickly sticks in your head – and we have no doubt that Carola will belt it out on the night and progress to the final with ease. She’s even got a pretty decent chance of winning the entire contest. Yet for all the song’s plus points, we can’t help feeling there’s something a tiny bit dated about the whole thing – granted, we don’t dislike it, and we wouldn’t be at all unhappy if it won – but there’s a definite sense of déjà vu about this one. Good, yes, original no.
For It: Carola is a seasoned Eurovision performer who should deliver the goods on the night, and she couldn’t have asked for a better place in the draw (especially coming straight after the lamentable Portugese song) – plus it’s bound to be popular with fans of more conventional Eurovision tunes and those hearing the songs for the first time on the night (since it’s so memorable). It would be a major shock if this one didn’t qualify.
Against It: Good but nonetheless a tad old-fashioned for our liking. It’s been a while since a song as blatantly Eurovision-esque as this actually won the contest – and that could well count against the Swedes.

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