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!
Am I the only one who thinks that this is a great song for some heroic moment in Disney animated movies? Damnn those vibes! Go Eugenttt,you’ve got the power!
I think it’s not easy to decide how to stage a rock ballad that needs two backing vocalists and has it’s strength in the singer itself. The staging should only help the perfomer not distract from him. Simple staging can be very effective with a great singer and performer. I hope that their plan is having the right impact. Since a croud of dancers like with the voice kids performance is not possible I can understand that he takes his cool bass guitarist and his drummer with him on stage.
The song itself is a very good one but quite not reaches the quality of the best ones of this year, but man, his interpretation and his ASTOUNDING voice gives this a boost of quality that should be enough to send this to the final and maybe achieve the best result ever for Albania.
He has a very nice voice and the notes he can reach are quite impressive. after I don’t know if the difference between the song, which is rather a ballad, and the look, which is very asserted rock, will appeal to all audiences. In any case, he has a chance that he didn’t fall into the same semifinal as Alexander Rybak. I don’t know why, but I have the impression that this year there will not be many boys who will arrive at the final.
I have seen him live and he can sell the hell out of any song.I feel that is true that the song is not the most stand outish. But it has more potential that people think.This song can really grow on stage. the song would be a 5/10 for me but overall i have to give it a 7/10.
The problem of Albania is that they will never be able to reach the artistic genius of the unique and incomparable Rona Nishliu (haters gonna hate, I don’t care). Eugent is another attempt to bring a great voice like Lindita was. It’s not enough.
I like it, but I’m agree with Deban. Something is missing, it does not sound qualified. 6.5/10
“Mall” catched my attention at the very first listen and it instantly became on of my favs entries this year. I don’t really think it is dated like some of you point out. Some rock entries has that atemporal sound and I think this is one of them. I don’t understand the lyrics and I didn’t need to in order to get some kind of nostalgic feeling, and if I’m not wrong that’s what the song is about, so congratulations Albania. Maybe “Mall” isn’t a masterpiece but it has a place in my heart from now on. I really want… Read more »
OMG this is a really high score and I’m so happy about it. Just like William says, anything close to 7 is really good. Yayy?
I agree that Albania is going at the right direction with Eugent and his song. Juries and voters should never fail him because his voice and song is top quality.
Eugent’s performance in Amsterdam reassured me of his rare talent, his firm professionalism, and his supreme potential to win this contest! The once silent guy unleashed himself as a true winner! There was this Spanish woman who reduced to tears as Eugent performed, and at some point, she turned towards me and confessed: “This is just so beautiful!”
ALBANIA – After years of dodgy re-vamps in English, Albania did the right thing of not only picking the good song, but keeping it good after being shortened. I’d say the new version is even better, as it delivers it’s sing-along chorus much earlier. I am yet to be taken by it as much as some other fans are, possibly due to it’s linear structure, but I will say this is probably still the Albanian entry of the decade. Eugent is also undoubtely one of the best vocals this year. If it was in semi final 2, it would be… Read more »
I was so happy when Zoë qualified, I hope you’re right about it happening again now with Eugent!
Good news: Albania plays it different and returns to their unique language, not dressing down their entrant in a crummy revamp.
Bad news: …This is average.
I enjoy Mall is different from what we are used to see in Albania, and Eugent’s crazy talented, but this doesn’t grab me. It’s another case of brilliant performance/bland song, which is sad since I want Albania to do well. With their semifinal as is, this may be another missed mark, but keep on this path, it will yield fruits.
Rona (Albania 2012) was also met with such nonsense until they all bowed to her feet in acknowledgment! The point is: A common Eurovision fan like yourself is incapable of professional judgment, conformity and appropriateness. In your case, it is best to just listen!
OMG! After Amsterdam, I have a feeling about Eugene being this year’s Salvador Sobran -a prospective dark horse
Amsterdam revealed the mysterious winner! Wish they kept the secret a bit longer but here it is – Albania!
I think Eugent actually got more European fans out of this. The rocker fans he had from Albania are not the drooling type. Albanians also have a tendency to prop up their song and singer until they fail in Eurovision and then they dump them just like that.
You’ve become really repetitive. As Robyn said, it’s about this competition now, despite his previous career. And I would advice you to stick to 1 username to become a bit more credible.
Cesar, Sergiu (fromDoReDos), Lukas Meijer and although he’s not my usual type I like Melovin. I can kinda see where Netta is coming from with Sevak though but not really for me
This is one of my favourite songs of this cycle, it’s been in my top 5 since day one and hasn’t left yet. The vocals are incredible and the song has such a great anthemic quality. I just really can’t put into words how much I like this song, I’m worried about it being in semi 1 and not qualifying because it deserves to go to the final over a lot of these “favourites”, I’m also slightly worried about the stage presentation as Albania often don’t do a good job with it but hopefully his voice shines through and gets… Read more »
Should’ve sung in English to better connect with the audience. Last year a song in Portuguese won and now suddenly everyone feels the need to send a song in their native language.
Translated songs usually cause a bigger disconnect as the singer isn’t great at enunciation and the songs lyrics have to be butchered and over simplified just to fit the backing track usually leaving out some of what was in the original song and frankly having all the songs in English is kinda boring.
It has already been proved that you don’t need to sing in English to better connect with the audience. A lot of viewers don’t even speak the language.
He should sing in whatever language he feels comfortable with.
1.Mikolas 2.Alekseev 3.The one black guy from Equinox lol (not the big one)
And women too! ^^
Ok, true, he can sing, he has a great voice and he made me say ‘wow’ when he hit that note.. But Eurovision is a SONG contest – not a voice one.. Unfortunately, Albanian song sucks. He’ll probably get through to the final but I don’t see this him in the top 10.
I think a lot of people rate songs based on the production. “Mall” is a “raw song”, you can hear the originality of the composition behind it. Most songs at Eurovision usually receive several revamps, what makes them “overcooked”. I’m not saying that this polishing process is a bad thing, it just doesn’t make them better in terms of quality, but it does for entertainment.
Lol 🙂 I noticed it as well but I wouldn’t mind if Wiwi has an Albanian week or a month
This entry is painfully underrated by the eurofans community. At first I thought it was because of its genre. Rock isn’t much appreciated by most Eurovision followers and this one is difficult to categorize, since it’s folky, anthemic and even symphonic, all at the same time. But I reached the sad conclusion that many people also avoid being challenged by songs. That’s why so many discussions focus only on what’s catchy and what’s not (which is deeply subjective). I love my share of “easy on the year” pop songs, but I feel that almost every entry that comes from a… Read more »
Every aingle word you said is my opinion too. Unfortunately not many people really understand the song or they just don’t want to understand it cuz they already jave theri fav. Some of them don’t know real music and just go with the catchy song that maybe gets stuck in your mind but it’s not music yall.
I’m glad we are on the same page, Thomas. 🙂 Sometimes I think the problem it’s not exactly that people don’t know or appreciate good music, but that they fear that the contest may change a lot and drop the pop attitude it has nowadays. I don’t think this would happen and I guess songs like “Mall” can push the pop entries to be more original and clever.
This is how “Fuego” will work with the backing vocals. I think we’ve got a dark horse here, I’m really positive about this! It’s clearly not re-worked, I hope for a firery performance!
I have to say I liked it from the beginning, but when I saw the live performance in the national final, it blew my mind. I didn’t understand a word but it was amazing! (he slayed in Eurovision in concert last night.) The more I hear it the more I like it. It’s beautiful, great voice, great performance, happy to hear the Albanian language and a male vocalist after many years. 1st semi is a bloodbath and I think they will struggle. I am not optimistic but I have hope it qualifies because it deserves it. Best of luck to… Read more »
Thank you so much for your review and analysis. I’m very happy that everyone who has a musical ear and understands music more deeply, realizes how good this entry is 🙂
Yes, it’s pretty amazing to identify these several melodies – I have just downloaded the karaoke version – that way it is easier to hear these different melodies. The longer version is better because than you can enjoy the development and the full sound at the end a little bit longer. I guess for Albanians to all of that rich musical enjoyment you get in addition these poetic lyrics… we have only the joy of the sound full of vowels.
Meh so mediocre and forgettable, there’s no way he ll make it to the final
It is my second right now. His live performances are superb! It would be a crime if he does not qualify 🙁
I’m a little bit worried about the juries, though. Semifinal 1 has some “jury baits”, and we already know those people are not really “professionals”.
His label, Universal Music, announced that “Mall” was released worldwide on April 6, 2018, but it is still unavailable on iTunes here in Taiwan. Gotta get it out of iTunes Australia instead. Awesome progressive rock track!
Qualified :1)EST 7.67 2)CYP 7.61
3)MKD 7.58 4) AZE 7.22
Not qualified: 5)GRE 6.94 6)ALB 6.89 7)SUI 6.50 8)ARM 6.39 9)BLR 6.36 10)CRO 6.19 11)LTU 5.83 12)IRE 5.67 13)ISL 3.83
Qualified: 1)EST 9.25 1)CYP 9.06
3)MKD 8.69 4)GRE 8.56
Not qualified: 5)ALB 8.19 6)AZE 8.19 7)SUI 8.06 8)CRO 7.69 9)BLR 7.56 10)ARM 7.50 11)LTU 7.44 12)IRE 7.06 13)ISL 5.31
Qualified:1)EST 16.92 2)CYP 16.67
3)MKD 16.27 4)GRE 15.50
Not qualified: 5)AZE 15.41 6)ALB 15.08 7)SUI 14.56 8)BLR 13.92 9)ARM 13.89 10)CRO 13.88 11)LTU 13.27 12)IRE 12.73 13)ISL 9.14
Personally I had never seen a singer like him,with such a presence. It’s crazy how this song got on top of my list. Goosebumps from the lives. Albania you will have my vote. RESPECT
Hahahhahahahahah agree on your critic ? I didn’t know he has such an experience!! But one of the best so far,a very completed entry from Albania this year! I would be happy if the votes give the song the right attention and take it to the best top 5 probably.
Wow to the quality of your review – skillful, thorough and profound.
The song it’s 9.3 and Eugent is a 10/10.
Albania is the only country to make the Eurovision proud of artistry and quality! Thank you fellas!
At first I though that okay,it’s a kind of different song,a nice one. Now I really appreciate every single component of the song. His performance will lead him to the final and he the song DESERVES a good placemend because is one of the best songs of Europe. Even if the politics don’t want Albania to shine,Eugent will blow everyone away?
This song has long been in my top 5, and gets better with the live performances, especially Amsterdam. It is simply anthemic, emotional, heartfelt, powerful, and genuine. Bonus for being in Albanian and self – written by Eugent. It’s a strong 9.5/10 from me! Go, go Eugent!
Hands down the best song of the year. I’m so glad that there finally seems to be some appreciation for this criminally underrated gem. Better late than never, and at least this beast of a singer hasn’t peaked too early. Fingers crossed he will keep this momentum going, have an amazing performance in the semis and makes it to the finale. Lord knows he deserves it more than anyone.
I love this song and singer with such a passion from the very start. What he has created is quite magical, and the way he delivers it is so passionate and professional at the same time and his vocals are quite incredible. Mall is also a very difficult song to sing, as it is sang in a high register most of the time, and 90% of this year’s contestants would fail to deliver it the same way Eugent does. What he’s bringing is a full package. Of course, the song isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, because of its genre and… Read more »
I looove this song. 10/10
Definitely one of the best Albania has ever sent. It will make the final, but I am curious to know if the rest of Europe will vote for it.
“Albania sends two kinds of songs to Eurovision: power ballads by screaming women and 1980s rock ballads.” 2004 – disco schlager 2005 – up-tempo folk pop 2006 – mid-tempo folk pop 2007 – power ballad by a male lead vocalist (however, he had a “screaming woman” as a sidekick) 2008 – not really screaming, not really a power ballad, but I’ll give him that one 2009 – mid-tempo pop 2010 – up-tempo pop 2011 – screaming woman with power ballad 2012 – screaming woman with power ballad 2013 – 1980s rock 2014 – screaming woman, but not a power ballad… Read more »
I like the feeling of This entry, its just not one of My faves. Everything is fine here, the revamp is good and I love His voice, it just doesn’t ‘click’ with me. If it would qualify I would be happy but its not on My list.
Let’s be honest here, at first, I don’t find “Mall” appealing. But after the revamp, I got shocked and Eugent not just sing with his power, but with his feelings. You really can feel the song. Even when it’s a love song, you don’t find it’s cheesy and and even when it sounds kinda rock-ish, but you will surprisingly getting soft for the song. This is the song you not listen with ear, but with heart too.
My number 2 overall.
Good luck, semi final 1 is bloodbath but I’m hoping he will ?
I absolutely LOVE this song… This grew on me quite quickly and has entered my Top 10 already. Eugent is an incredible Performer and ,in my opinion, the best male vocalist this year…by miles. The song has some folky influences, I can hear ethnic vibes there. These blend perfectly with the kinda rock theme that’s going on and creates a song, that won’t let me go. I’m afraid that ,in such a strong semi, Eugent will have a hard time qualifying.I hope he’ll make it, nothing is impossible…. My 8th place Overall, 5th in SF1
I just love the combination of skill and passion that you can hear in every single tone and every single word of this song. The way the song builds and how well it presents Eugent’s voice… everything just works for me. It’s the kind of song I could listen to all day long. My personal ranking: 10/10 (2nd overall) My prediction: 6-10 in the first semi final, 21-26 in the grand final ______________ 1st FR (10.0) | 2nd AL (10.0) | 4th NL (9.5) | 8th LV (9.0) | 10th IE (8.5) | 11th EL (8.5) | 12th ME (8.5)… Read more »
I have to congratulate Albania for not ripping the song to shreds with the revamp. This is fantastic. After two years of mediocre ballads, it’s so great to see come out something so fresh and modern (out of FiK? Who knew?!), yet at the same time it manages to have that tinge of nostalgia without feeling too dated. But most importantly, it has a sense of identity, this is exemplary Mediterranean pop-rock, and exemplary Albanian pop-rock. The lyrics are so beautiful, and at least the translation doesn’t come off as cheesy or syrupy, but it rather captures the feeling that… Read more »
I think he’s incredibly hot!
The song, combined with the vocal, packs a punch and is very anthemic, although it comes across as pretty outdated and sometimes even a little screamy. The revamp didn’t really improve it. The juries might support this and help it just qualify if Albania is lucky, it’ll be hard to survive Semi 1 though.
Oh, it’s THIS song! I’ve loved this from the very first listen. Eugent’s vocals are very powerful, but not in a way that becomes annoying. I also like the lyrics as they are very relatable. It’s very rare for a song to sound good after receiving a cutdown, but this one was executed very well. The revamp focuses more on Eugent’s vocals without stripping the power from the instrumental. I think this is amazing though I doubt it will qualify.
I find this is dragging its feet too much. Rock is not truly my thing but when I do like it, it usually has a spring in its step OR it’s a big ballad. This does nothing for me. Sure, he sings great but… I would never want to listen to this on purpose besides on the night itself. It’s not very catchy and oddly monotonous. Should this claw its way to the final it will get its ass thoroughly kicked there by the far superior Netherlands (that I don’t care much for either but expect to have much greater… Read more »