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REVIEWS

Second Semi Final of FiK- First Reviews

Kastro Zizo – “Asaj”

This is not really my cup of tea. Kastro has a very unusual style of singing- he speak-sings with his raspy voice- and while the emotion is palpable, it’s not easy on the ears and the mood behind the song feels extremely forced to the point where the intended effect is lost on me. I enjoy the backing singers at the start, and the jazzy instrumentation is a nice change from the usual Eurovision songs- the bridge with the trumpet was especially fun. However, the song remains very repetitive, and it fails to really go anywhere once it has started. The chorus, if sung and not shouted, could work, but the verses are just too bland. I can see the appeal in this song’s cheekiness, but it’s not working for me, unfortunately.

Tiri Gjoci – “Me gotën bosh”

I really want to like this- there is so much potential for this song, but it ends up falling a little flat. It’s very formulaic- soft piano intro, quiet first verse, subdued chorus, quiet verse, bigger chorus, then a bigger final chorus. It’s very predictable. That’s not to say it’s bad- Tiri’s voice is very sweet, and radiates emotion. The problem is the chorus. His held notes just sort of fizzle off without going anywhere, and it annoys me a little that the notes seem to fall off rather than finish cleanly. The instrumentation is very pretty, and the moment where the electric guitars kick in has real potential, but comes a little too late to have a major impact. The song in a way feels too reserved- Tiri needs to let himself be vulnerable and just belt those notes out. At the moment, he’s drowning in the instrumentation a little. Nonetheless, it’s by no means a bad song, just a dated one that needs some work.

Olta Boka – “Botë për dy”

This is a very powerful song, and Olta’s vocals are perfect to match the mood of it. The verses are subdued and soft, contrasting massively with the intense choruses, and it works. The sadness and anger is palpable, even when you don’t understand the lyrics. The instrumentation with the strings is theatrical and mysterious, but does drown Olta out a little towards the end (although this is a very easy thing to fix). The problem is after the second chorus- this is where Olta peaks, and in order to build on this, the song gets rather shouty, making it seem a little overdramatic. This takes away from the initial blend of emotions, and does allow us to really feel her anger, but still seems a little bit too much. Nonetheless, this is a power-ballad and a half, and it has real potential to do well.

Era Rusi – “Eja merre”

This song is FUN and feisty and really gets the party started. Era is sassy and sultry with her vocals, and really sells the song. The interplay of modern and traditional instrumentation gives the song authenticity and spice, but the song remains exciting throughout. The pre-chorus is very catchy and makes anyone who listens want to dance. I also really like the moment where everything is stripped back and the chorus enters much quieter than expected, adding sensuality and mystery to the song, giving it more depth and making it more interesting. It’s a brilliant pop song, and I hope it does well. Furthermore, it is one of the only songs so far to fit comfortably in the 3 minute limit, whereas many others will need to be cut down somehow. This is ready to go, and would do well.

Wendi Mancaku – “Ende”

This is a beautiful, truly heartfelt little ballad. Wendi’s vocals are so rich and I especially like the low notes in the first verse, giving the piece an emotional vulnerability from the get-go. The piano introduces the piece nicely, and allows for the intense build later on. The chorus is simply gorgeous, and the held note is hauntingly divine. That moment where the drums and strings kick in is spellbinding, and Wendi just builds and builds, radiating sheer emotion whilst also keeping the piece restrained enough to retain its beauty throughout. The key change is a cliche, but it does raise the stakes and allows Wendi’s vocals to soar to new heights. It’s touching how simple this ballad is, but its power is palpable. It’s absolutely divine.

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