Editorials & Opinion

Xtra’s Pick of the 80s

Another Wednesday, another Pick of the 80s. This time, Nick goes back to 1989 to introduce a time where Sweden did not hide their backing vocals, but encouraged them go all out during those three minutes.

Sweden 1989: Tommy Nilsson – En Dag (5th place)

I loved Heroes. Måns Zelmerlöw was my winner and it won the contest in May. His vocals were spot on, just like the things and tricks his backing vocals were doing. How exactly is this relevant to En Dag, I hear you thinking. Well, quite frankly, Sweden needs to look back in history and realise that they once understood the concept of a backing vocal much better than they did in 2015.
Back in 1989, this rock singer entered Melodifestivalen, won it and travelled to Switzerland to represent his country in the Eurovision Song Contest – obviously with shoulder pads, it’s the 80s after all. With the orchestra in the back, this must be one of the better intros ever to grace the Eurovision stage. Those first few notes are really spot on. Lyricswise, this song doesn’t really come across as a masterpiece, but it doesn’t need to be. Tommy lives for the song, together with the orchestra and the backings and they bring that feeling across nicely.
Back to my backing vocal issue though. These five backing vocals make this song to what it is, there’s no other way of saying it. Check those seven seconds (1.08-1.15) where the backing vocals get all the attention on screen. That’s the bit that would just give anyone life. Especially the short, older backing in the middle – He’s really going for it.
To me, En Dag is one of the better Swedish entries. It shows the Swedish language well and it shows perfectly why backing vocals should never be hidden.

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