Portugal – Pula Pula

So it’s World Cup season, and that means it’s time for Eurovision stars of yore to appear in the quadrennial anthems to soccer put forth by each country.

Let’s ignore the fact that there hasn’t been a good sports-relates tie-in song since the 1985 Chicago Bears Super Bowl shuffle, and take a listen to Luciana Abreu’s attempt at inspiring the fans of Portugal with the song Pula Pula.


Okay. Let’s start with the basic element of a World Cup anthem – there has to be a part that fans can chant/sing in the stands. And with the “oh oh oh Pula Pula” section, Abreu’s got that covered. She even has a funky little dance that can be done in the stands.

But after that basic introduction, Abreu goes into a spoken word bit and then starts crooning “Portugal Portugal Portugal”, adding yet another catchy hook for the fans. How are they going to know what to sing, Luciana? Half the stadium is going to be “Pula Pula” and the other half will be “Portugal Portugal Portugal”. It’ll be atonal chaos.

To make things even worse, there’s a chant within the actual song. I assume it’s a roster of players on the Portugal squad (and I don’t really care enough to Google it) but it seems like the perfect thing to yell at an actual game.

Then Abreu goes into another spoken word bit and introduces A FOURTH SINGALONG HOOK (“Portugal Hey!”)

At this point, my head is spinning and I am royally confused. What part of the song am I supposed to remember in the heat of a World Cup match? (I think “heat” is the right term; I’ve never watched the World Cup and the clips I’ve seen on TV aren’t exactly that action packed, but everyone is appearing to make a big deal out of it.)

I know that contrarians are pointing out that the song is called Pula Pula, so that’s clearly meant to be the singalong portion, but are you sure? I’m leaving this video singing Portugal Portugal.

The point is, Luciana Abreu has failed to find an idea and stick with it. Instead, she’s thrown everything into her World Cup, swirled it around, and came out with a total mess. And the money she spent on songwriting could have been spent on buying her a better wig. Luciana, you’re a great artist representing the hopes for an entire nation. Next time, lose the ballet dancer cutaways and spend that money on a good wig guy.

Pula Pula is so phoned in that I feel like I need to apologise and cleanse your palate with some Chicago Bears. Enjoy the ne plus ultra of sports anthems.

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