I have not been able to review much this week, mainly due to the Curling World Championships taking place in Basel and me, as a curler myself, spending quite some time there. So, there hasn’t been much reviewing (for which I’ll make up this week) but I am now proud owner of an original Team Sweden jacket. But with the final over now, we can focus on the important things in life again: Macedonia and Albania!
FYR Macedonia: Kaliopi – Dona
On the top of the list of returning artists stands this Macedonian, responsible for the Former Yugoslav Republic’s last qualification back in 2012 with the awesome balkan ballad-meets-guitar rock song Crno I Belo as well as Macedonia’s first NQ (at their first attempt) back in 1996. This means that she has seen the lights of a Eurovision stage a few weeks before I have first seen the lights of the world. Quite impressive, isn’t it? How will Kaliopi fare on her third attempt though?
First thing I notice is something I often notice with Yugoslavian ballads – they tend to have an incredibly beautiful and at least slightly melancholic melody in them. Dona is no different, and Kaliopi’s team leave no doubt that they are experienced enough to know what it takes. They didn’t do any obvious mistakes regarding quality of the song and sound, and that alone makes it sound pretty… serious. Despite going over the top sometimes, they have succeeded in always making it obvious this is suspected to be a completely serious song, even if it comes with possibilities for drama queens to shine.
Unfortunately, it also looks and sounds like this – experienced, sometimes to the point of routine. It ticks boxes, but not always in the good way. The “overly pompous deserted building” videoclip, the dramatic sound with the strings and the little background elements, all providing some more beautiful Yugo melodies, all that looks like straight from the manual for this kind of song. And did she always have such a Loreen-ish look? I decide to be kind on the textbook element approach to the song, and honour the fact that it still stays pretty memorable together with Kaliopi’s awesomeness. 6/10.
Albania: Eneda Tarifa – Fairytale
Welcome to Albania – country of the random guitar solo, the Swiss National Football Team, the ë and apparently the English song with Albanian title. Until Eneda Tarifa nicely decided to rename her song to Fairytale, earning her a much earlier spot in this review. For Albanian qualifications there seems to be a simple pattern: my like = kiss of death for them. So, will I think much of Fairytale or will it qualify?
I am actually trying to like this because I think her voice is pretty cool, and the first verse has a great darkness in it. What annoys me is the wailing chorus, but I assume that’s quite a good strategy: Lure people like me in with the verse and attract laovers of the screamy female with the chorus. I assume quite a lot will depend on the staging of the chorus part and her performance. If they go for shouty drama and wind machines I think she’s doomed, but an appropriate presentation could make you think that there’s more to it and make me like it (and therefore doom her entirely, so she IS doomed anyway).
Does the video hint at what way they’ll choose? It doesn’t really. But the way that they went for a video that focuses on her and some weird scenery stuff that could well be a backdrop (the destroyed mechanical things) I somehow have a gut feeling it will not be what I wish for. The history of Albanian stagings does somehow not make me more hopeful, so there’s quite a possibility I will dislike Albania in the end and they will qualify. However, there is nothing in it to actually hate it, and even some parts to like. I’ll settle for a nice average 5/10.
Soon, we will focus on the Ghosts of Falling Stars with Part IV, featuring Moldova and Germany!