Tuesday, June 8, 2010

One Lump or Two: The Allisons: "Are You Sure"

The Eurovision Song Contest is something that I, an American, still regard with some confusion and puzzlement - why does it exist? Why is it called Eurovision when it's about music? Nevertheless, the UK has entered many a song, some good and some...not so good, since the beginning. And here we are, just a year into the course of events with a song that was heard & seen* by many and indeed bought by many as well. But, I ponder, why?

There's a rather strange thing going on here - instead of getting, oh, Cliff Richard on the show (he would show up eventually), the UK contingent was made of two 'brothers' singing very politely about abandonment and possible heartbreak, as if they were asking the girl in question if she wouldn't rather like to stay and have another cup of tea. That they sound an awful lot like the Everly Brothers isn't a coincidence either, and must have helped; but instead of the marmalade sweet-sharpness of those actual brothers, these two chime like particularly pleasant tower clock bells, their very voices reassuring the listening public that nothing as bad as misery was ever really at stake. It is a terribly nice song, but something tells me that there are two other men from England who are elsewhere who have also studied the Everlys quite closely and who will add a certain something lacking here which could be called many things - energy, drive, punctum - that will make this black-suited politeness look as if it is from some other world altogether, let alone year. But this is 1961, a year of compromises and shifting powers, and those with their antennae up, so to speak, could tell something was happening, though just where they couldn't be sure. (There is a strong hint of what is to come in the chart where this appears - The Shirelles - but they are drowned out by clean-cut boys, for now.)

*Ah, now I get it - you see the songs being performed, as well as hear them.

No comments: