Albania travelled down the usual road to Eurovision for 2017, firstly by selecting their song and artist through the national final Festivali i Këngës. Lindita was the triumphing artist, and the song chosen in the national final was called Botë, however in true Albanian form, the song wasn’t left alone in Albanian, but rather re-written in English. The title of the song is now World, and despite the language change, the song still feels closely linked to the Albanian version we heard at the national final.
When this first won Festivali i Këngës, I listened through the song and didn’t feel a connection to the song at all. I had no real desire to listen to this song, but of course, I want to give each and every song a second, or in some cases, a third chance to impress me. The revamp of the song was released, and Eurovision fans were gushing over the song. This was also when the Bulgarian song was released, and as you will know from my recent review of the Bulgarian song, that was more impressive to me. The Albanian once again didn’t overly impress me, although, I will admit, they didn’t butcher the song as they have in previous years. I put the song aside again, but now, listening to the song once again to review, I’m slowly coming around to it.
The song opens really nicely. You can tell it’s going to grow into something pretty big, and it does by the end of the 3 minutes. I like that the first chorus of the song is toned down, as it allows the song to really grow to that peak. This song has a strong musical backing, including an incredible strings section which really makes this one of the most dramatic ballads of the year. What this also has going for it is Lindita. Her vocals have proven to be strong, so we can be sure that on the night of the semi-final, we shouldn’t be disappointed with her vocals, regardless of whether the song is our favourite or not.
This song is certainly a dramatic song, and regarding staging, I hope they bring some of this drama to the stage. Whether they do this with props, costuming or lighting, I think this is a song that needs some complexity to make it further stand out from the other ballads in this semi-final.
Overall, I am starting to enjoy this song more than before, and I’m glad I’ve given it another chance. It’s still not my favourite song of the 2017 season, but I can see the appeal, and I can accept that it really could make the final. There are some strong ballads in the first semi-final, and I’d say its major competition will be Georgia and even Azerbaijan, whose song is not necessarily a ballad but still possesses the same qualities, such as vocal strength and a good build up in the three minutes, and although id predict Azerbaijan is a likely qualifier, having Georgia and Albania quite similar in styles might lead to Europe’s juries and audiences selecting one over the other, and potentially not both. Between those two specifically, I think it will come down to vocals – which for now is pretty on par, but then also staging. Both are quite early on in the piece, so whoever makes a better impact may just overtake the other and reach the final. For me, I’m going to give this a 6/10.