Albania: Wiwi Jury reviews Hersiana Matmuja with One Night’s Anger

Early this morning the Wiwi Jury—our in-house panel of musical unprofessionals— caught more trains than we can count before arriving in Tirana, Albania. We took in the sights at the Fortress of Pertrela but got bored of the city so headed out to the pristine beaches of Bardhori and Gjenerali and did some diving in the crystal clear sea waters. Once back from under the sea, we headed to a chilled out beach bar and requested Albania’s Eurovision 2014 Contestant Hersiana Matmuja and her song ‘One Night’s Anger’. Were we overjoyed or angry? Read on to find out!

Angus: Comparisons to Shakira with this girl are way off. It’s a difference of 70 million records sold worldwide, hips that don’t lie and a vocal that doesn’t make me cover my ears in pain. To be honest I couldn’t give a hoot about what language she sings in: whether Albanian or English it’s naaaaasty. I just hope this song does offer ‘One Night’s Anger’ and stays in the semi-final where it belongs.

Score: 2/10

Billy: I dig this! I loved the video, it was sweet and simple and I think Hersi is a really friendly singer. It relaxes you, while at the end there is the dynamic presence of electric guitars! The lyrics are cute, but I don’t really like English in this particular entry. Albania, you should have kept it all in Albanian!

Score: 8/10

Bogdan: Albania is bringing awesome but also underrated vocals to the table this year. However, as we saw last year with Romania, great singing pipes are not enough for Eurovision; they need a great song to back them up. I simply love Hersiana’s voice and I want to hear it as much as possible, moreso since the parts where she isn’t singing are not that good and the 80’s guitar riff sounds godawful. (Hasn’t Albania learnt anything after last year?) Like many ESC fans, I wish she hadn’t been ill-advised to switch to English, but I get why they thought it’d be a good idea. Anyway, I would give 10/10 points to Hersi’s voice and 4/10 to the song itself. Let’s hope an interesting staging (more interesting than the video, please) will help bring Albania back to the Grand Final.

Score: 7/10

Deban: Had Hersi decided to present this track in her native Albanian, she would have scored at least 7 marks from me. The original version had an enigmatic quality that is noticeably absent in the English version. Sounding like a one-woman Cranberries tribute band now, Hersi staggers on the updated composition. The drowning guitars and amplified sounds do her no favours either.

Score 5/10

Katie: To say I was disappointed that Hersi chose to sing in English over Albanian is an understatement. The intimidating instrumental blended perfectly with her traditional, slightly harsh, Albanian tones but in English, they overshadow her sheepishly sang English lyrics. There’s not many good, powerful foreign language songs this year and “One Night’s Anger” could have been one of them if she’d kept the Albanian lyrics. Losing the mother tongue meant losing many good elements of the song, but Hersi is still cute as a button. What the song lacks in originality should be more than made up for in class if Hersi goes all out and belts it on stage. Hopefully not like a Rona Nishliu 2.0, but like an angry rock chick that is NOT to be messed with!

Score: 6/10

Padraig: I predict that “Hersi” will one day become a byword for identity crisis. And before people start flinging accusations – no, I’m not implying that the lovely Hersi is crazy. It’s much more likely that her producers and minders are the ones gone doolally. Back in December, Albania chose a striking ballad in their native tongue. To all intents and purposes it was a thrift shop version of Rona Nishliu. But that was fine, the song seemed to have just enough appeal to sneak out of the semis. However, in the interim things seem to have gone drastically wrong. The orchestra has been eradicated, replaced with dated 80s riffs. And poor Hersi appears to have been put on a diet of butchered English and diluted helium. In trying to transform what was a serviceable ballad into a rock anthem they’ve robbed the song of it’s vision and purpose. The end result is a cartoon-ish shambles, but without the laughs.

Score: 2/10

Ramadan: Zemërimi i një nate was one of my favourites to win Festivali i Këngës 52 and I was so happy to see Hersiana finally win the competition. Hersi reminded me of the amazing Rona Nishliu – where she performed so well and gave it 100% to the audience. The song was stuck into my head after hearing it at the first preview of Festivali i Këngës 52. The orchestra must come back to Eurovision because it makes this song so flawless. When I was told that it was going to be revamped and the language was going to be changed I wasn’t happy. The song gives an amazing message in Albanian itself. The melody fits so well in the Albanian language and I was worried it was going to lose its magic. When One Night’s Anger was released I was so excited and grateful that it didn’t lose the magic or the message. The revamp has improved it and the melody is still a glem. It has made it so elegant and I wish all the best for Hersiana in the competition.

Score: 10/10

Vebooboo: Hersi has an awfully counterproductive way of asking us to keep calm and think twice. Her voice is technically great, but there’s something about the pitch and rhythm here that is just so often. I honestly just don’t get this song…at…all! What the hell is going on at 1:50, when suddenly we break out into an acoustic guitar interlude? Or 2:10? Like Slovenia and Georgia, this one is guilty of attempting to do waaaaay too much within three minutes. And don’t even get me started about the atrocious video. Last time I checked, watching a girl wander randomly in the desert wearing tattered clothes is not my idea of a fun time.

Score: 2/10

All 19 members of our jury rate each song. However, we only have room to share 10 written reviews. Here are the remaining nine scores.

Anthony: 6/10

James L: 5/10

Mario: 6/10

Maxim Montana: 8/10

Mike: 8/10

Francheska: 4/10

Zach: 7/10

Patrick: 4/10

Sami: 2/10

William: 7.4/10

Wiwi: 5.5/10

The highest and lowest scores are dropped before calculating the final average. We have removed a low of 2 and a high of 10. 

The Wiwi Jury Verdict: 5.46/10

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