The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — continues to rank and review the 43 songs competing in Eurovision 2018. Next we journey to Albania where we listened to FiK56 winner Eugent Bushpepa and his song “Mall” (Yearning). Did we feel the power of the song? Read on to find out!
Eugent Bushpepa – “Mall”
Sebastian: The days of solo female power ballads from Albania is over — rock has definitely arrived. “Mall” is by far the most superior rock entry in Lisbon. The revamp has sadly done no favours to the recorded track – reducing its former anthemic quality to something a little less inspiring. But the appeal of “Mall” lies solely in Eugent Bushpepa’s flawless and passionate delivery. Expect big things here vocally.
Angus: Albania sends two kinds of songs to Eurovision: power ballads by screaming women and 1980s rock ballads. It also does two kinds of revamps: entirely abandon the chosen song for a brand new one, or produce a slightly more modern version of the existing song. “Mall” falls into the latter in both cases, with the end result being a slightly more modern sounding rock ballad from the 1980s. Eugent is a charismatic performer, with a great voice, but lumbered with a subpar song. Next!
Anthony: Albania clearly doesn’t have the best of records when it comes to revamps, hoping for the best only to end up with egg on their face — but they have made a rare exception with this revamp. The instrumentals are refined to make it less heavy, allowing Eugent’s vocal talent to take centre stage and express his rock star personality. He also gets credit for keeping the song in Albanian.
Deban: Eugent is perhaps one of the strongest male vocalists this year. Unfortunately, he is plugging a dated rock number. Kudos for sticking to Albanian but that alone isn’t a reason for voting for an entry. There are many faults with “Mall”. It just doesn’t move me! However, for every flaw I find in this entry, Eugent’s merits totally offset them.
Jordi: From rock to folk with proper Albanian flavour, Eugent’s “Mall” is an absolute gem. While the beginning of his offering has difficulty in creating a hook, as the song flows, it changes everything. The whole listen is a journey of anthemic quality. And Eugent proves his delivery by having one of the best male vocals in this year’s contest. Plus, thank God that Albania served a revamp in which song is not destroyed. However, it is hard to predict his chances of surviving the Hunger Games of semi-final one. But it wouldn’t be surprising if Albania made the cut.
Padraig: It’s always dangerous to develop a fondness for FiK winners because invariably they’re either horribly butchered or dropped completely. Of course, that’s not the case this year, and we should be thankful for small mercies. Still, the truncated “Mall” lacks the impact and drama of the version we first heard last Christmas. The three-minute studio cut suffocates the track to an extent, impeding its growth and stripping the climax of its full power. But hope remains. It was the live version that people fell for originally. If Eugent throws in some vocal nuances – or maybe even a few extra “woahs” – things could get back on track in Lisbon.
In the Wiwi Jury we have 20 jurors but only have room for six reviews. The remaining scores are below:
We have removed the highest and lowest scores prior to calculating the average. This is to remove outliers and potential bias. We have removed a low of 2.5 and a high of 9.5.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 6.89/10
What do you think of this song? Share your own score and review below!