This Sunday we’ll pay attention to Austria’s entry from 1990 “Keine Mauern Mehr” by gorgeous Simone. The title means “No Walls Anymore“.
The song, a mid-tempo, has this typical late 80’s touch, in which Simone sings about the freedom brought about through the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The national final
The Austrian national final took place on 15 March 1990 in Vienna.
The winner was decided through a mixture of televoting (50%) and an expert jury (50%).
The winner of the final was, surprisingly not Simone, but Duett with the song “Das Beste”.
However they were disqualified after it was revealed they had competed with the same song in the 1988 German National semi-final. The winner was then declared as Simone Stelzer with the song “Keine Mauern Mehr”, since she came in second place in the national final.
So Austria sent the song which came second to Zagreb, which used to be my favorite Austrian entry (along with 1989) for a long time. That says a lot about my opinion about Austrian entries in Eurovision, right?
“Keine mauern mehr”
Simone sings about the freedom brought about through the fall of the Berlin Wall – a current even at the time. A time when Germany finally reunited, the dissolution of Soviet Union and Yugoslavia the year after, and a time where communist regimes in Eastern Europe were about to fall.
Eurovision Song Contest 1990 was a very special year in that aspect – the winning song from Italy “Insieme 1992” sang about bringing the disparate nations of Europe together. The “1992” of the title refers to the year in which the European Union was scheduled to begin operation.
The Norwegian entry “Brandengurger Tor” was also inspired by the collapse of the Berlin Wall, with Stokkan singing about the amazement that many Europeans felt as the Wall came down, and also at the reunification of Berlin, with the titular Brandenburg Gate no longer representing the border between West and East Germany.
In keeping with the multi-national theme, the Austrian entry contains some lyrics in English, French and Serbo-Croatian (the language of the host country, Yugoslavia).
Personally I liked the song and beautiful Simone’s performance a lot, the staging looks effective and of course the red early 90’s outfit is memorable. Unlike most other Austrian entries, it actually had a tune.
At the close of voting, it had received 58 points, placing 10th in a field of 22.
Let’s find out what the rest of the team thinks of the Austrian entry from 1990.
I love the intro and its staging. It builds some intrigue, and makes great use of the live orchestra. Then the lights come up, Simone turns, and for me, some disappointment as the music turns to middle-of-the-road pop, as seen cluttering the charts a few years before. Austria’s 1990 entry is catchy, but typical of Eurovision in that era. Musically, a few years behind, but latching on to the zeitgeist stemming from the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of many communist governments around Europe. I’ll take the intro and the chorus, but send the verses and most definitely the last couple of bars back to the drawing board!
When the drum beat first hit I was scared that it would turn into a Samantha Janus-esque message song that was so cheesy and over the top that it would retract from the message. Luckily, Keine Mauern Mehr escapes that threshold ever so slightly. Yes, it is a stereotypical 1990 “omg the Berlin Wall fell” song, but it is catchy, and the harmonies are super tight. The song, staging, costumes, etc. we’re all of its time, and I do think it’s an enjoyable listen. Not surprised it didn’t win, but honestly 10th for Austria was probably cause for celebration.
Damn, this was interesting! First 20 seconds sounds epic and feels like a prequel to “Nocturne”, which is one of the best ESC winners ever. What happens after that – surprised me. Just in a blink of an eye we move to 80’s and I love it! Though I don’t understand why Wikipedia describes this song as a dramatic ballad. I think it’s a full package: great instrumentation, anthemic chorus, nostalgic sound, relevant message, perfect backs and stunning Simone. If this only came 10th in 1990, I want to see more songs from that year!
To my ears this song is a bit of everything. The beautiful orchestration at the very start promises a ballad. Then they throw a pretty standard pop drum beat of the era at us. The verses sound distractingly like the intro to 99 Luftballons, and Simone’s voice has a similar kind of feel to it as well. I was a huge fan of Nena, so I really enjoy that bit. But then the chorus just falls completely flat; it really lacks just about everything. Simone performs the song well; spot on vocally and she looks like she’s enjoying herself on stage. 10th place sounds just about right, too.
What is your opinion on Austria’s 1990 entry? Let us know in the comments below or on our social media platforms! Next week, we are back with another episode of “Slideback Sunday”.