I have very mixed feelings about this song. I’ll start with what I loved- the chorus is catchy and the melody has a nostalgic feel to it without seeming too dated. The clarinet over the top gives an ethnic vibe which works absolute wonders with the song, and Bojken’s vocals in the final moments of the song are very emotive. He can sing, but we don’t get to see his full vocal potential, and that is a shame. The pre-chorus builds and builds until we get the shout ‘Malaseen’ and then everything sort of fizzles out in the chorus. I also couldn’t get into the verses- they sound a little dated and the repetitive beat doesn’t do enough to keep it going. It makes the song as a whole feel quite bland and I worry that it may be a little too forgettable for Eurovision.
Now I understand what all the fuss is about! This is nothing short of spectacular, and is the first song that seems Eurovision ready. The introduction gives a sense of mystery and allows Elvana to show off her amazing vocals, before the beat kicks in and the song gets going. I also really like how the introduction immediately sets this song apart from other typical ESC pop songs- the sense of authenticity stays with the song throughout and is what makes it so amazing. The verses are good, the pre-chorus is especially impressive with the use of silence in between the phrases to ground the song and keep it from running away too fast, and the chorus is catchy and colourful. The instrumentation adds an ethnic feel throughout, but doesn’t take away from the song’s catchiness or fun. If this was an American song, it would have topped the charts by now. But the beauty of this song is that it has the formula of a typical ESC plastic pop song, but stays so true to its ethnic roots without compromising on quality. Bravo, Elvana. THIS is how you do an ethno-bop.
Overall, this song is OK. It has a cute little chorus and the overall feel is chill and peppy, but it needs so much more energy to stand out as a pop song. Aldo has a nice voice, but it feels a little lost and out of place against the loud and exciting instrumentation. The pre-chorus has some nice moments in with the descending sequence, and is very nostalgic. However, the whole thing feels a little too lacking and dated and the song fails to stand out as a whole. It just doesn’t really go anywhere for me, but works as a cheery, easy-listening number. It would need a lot of work to do well in Rotterdam, though.
It’s nice to see some Albanian rock take centre stage! Renis has a deep, resounding voice, and the final chorus when he really lets it soar is extremely powerful. The use of the organ in the intro immediately sets this piece apart from the other rock songs we’re used to, but the package as a whole feels a little bit dated, unfortunately. The song has HUGE potential, and when the chorus really gets going, it is very catchy and the brass instruments work extremely well to add a sense of sophistication to an otherwise very rough song. My worry is that the verses are just too dated, and we feel like we’ve heard this song before somewhere. The bridge also doesn’t raise the stakes as much as it could, and time is wasted here where Renis could be showing off his vocal power. This song is by no means perfect, and is a way off being in the same leagues as Eugent Bushpepa’s Mall, but there are amazing moments in it nonetheless.
Oh. My. Gosh. This was absolutely beautiful. Albërije has such a fascinating voice- so soft in the opening, so powerful and clean in the chorus, but also so raw when she wants to radiate emotion. I can feel what she sings, even though I have no idea what the lyrics mean. The instrumentation is beautiful, and works with the vocals to raise the song higher and higher before the final chorus. The moment when the strings kick in, giving the song a true Albanian feel, is chilling and goosebumps-inducing, and the final chorus just takes the whole song home. The ending could be a bit cleaner, but that is the only thing I would change. This is sheer beauty, and has won me over already. It’s heartbreaking and magical at the same time, and I don’t lie when I say I choked up at the end. WOW.
Do you agree with my initial reactions? Let me know with a comment how you felt when you first heard/watched the songs and who your favourites are!