Portugal – Saudade by Maro

Have you caught your breath from that burst of Moldovan energy? If not, Portugal is here to give you a breather, with the song Saudade by Maro.

When I first saw the photos from the song, I thought it was a joke. Six hipster women in a summoning circle? It looked like they were engaging in some wellness trend at a weekend digital detox around the campfire, right before having some vegan s’mores. I was prepared to hate this song.

But surprise! Saudade is a VIBE. The title of the song roughly translates to “a feeling of melancholy nostalgia,” and that is definitely coming through. I feel like the official video for this should be a Instagram-filtered series of clips from a relationship – wandering through a flea market, spending a day at a beach, having a pillow fight in very forgiving morning light. But I also see the wisdom of just featuring a group of women singing, because the arrangement is very stripped back and minimalist – the song equivalent of a no-makeup makeup look.

Portugal is great at sending songs that are both chill and cool, in that they are relaxed and much coolers than you can ever hope to be. Saudade completely hits both those notes. And while I love the campy side of Eurovision, I also think it’s great that it’s a place to celebrate and feature some of these quieter songs.

One final side note – this is the second sad girl entry in the semifinal, and I don’t know why, but they somehow just hit different than the sad bois? Both De Diepte and Saudade feel authentic, with the pain soaking through the voices – an authenticity that doesn’t seem to exist with songs like Boys Do Cry. I’m not saying men can’t achieve this – Gjon’s Tears certainly did – but maybe it comes down to entering a song vs. entering a “Eurovision” song that tries to mirror the success of Amar Pelos Dois or Arcade. And what’s missing from songs like that is the air of genuine feeling produced by Maro and her book club/prayer circle/Girl Scout troop.

Again, ballads are boring, but ASMR in a music form? I can feel my blood pressure dropping each time I watch this. MORE OF THIS PLEASE! I will be tweeting “Saudade isn’t ambient music, it’s Ambien music.”

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