The Wiwi Jury — our in-house panel of music unprofessionals — continues to rate and review the 41 competing entries of Eurovision 2019. Next we take a look at Albania, where Jonida Maliqi has the powerful ballad “Ktheju tokës”. Did we hear her message? Read on to find out!
Jonida Maliqi – “Ktheju tokës”
“Ktheju tokës” reviews
Antony: This would have to be one of the most authentic songs in the contest this year. So rich and organic, Jonida’s powerful vocals cut through with passion and emotion. It’s a meaningful song as an ode to the Albanian diaspora — but it can be appreciated by anyone. “Ktheju tokës” is song that would touch the hearts of many people and giving them hope and strength that they are not alone in this world.
Angus: “Ktheju tokës” is almost everything you want from a Balkan ballad: mysterious, alluring, enticingly ethnic and dripping with emotions. The caveat is there because there is one thing the song lacks: a memorable hook. For all the darkness, intensity and undeniable vocal firepower – due credit to Jonida here – the song fails to land the hook in your brain. The revamp has done the track the world of good, but the song feels in need of a hook to latch on in your mind. Performance carried Albania across the line last year and Tirana will need to turn to compelling staging, or more likely killer live vocal might carry this across the line.
Anthony: “Ktheju tokës” has been given an ethnic makeover and less of the power ballad we saw back in December. Only time will tell if Albania can build on the success of “Mall” or come crashing out with a reality check.
Deban: Jonida’s call to the motherland is a painful lamentation. Although its focus is on the exodus of the Albanian diaspora, the message here touches many Balkan immigrants in Europe and beyond. Although, the scope of her wailing stretches beyond three minutes, the revamp cleverly frames “Ktheju tokës” along folk-pop margins. This is an excellent entry with a major drawback — it is difficult to fully appreciate it on the first listen.
Florian: The strength of Jonida Maliqi comes with her live performance. While the studio version didn’t exactly catch me at first listen, the emotions come across much stronger with the live performance. I appreciate the fact that they’ve kept it in Albanian language, too. While some of Albania’s past ballads weren’t as memorable, this is a decent effort that includes traditional elements while still sounding somewhat contemporary.
Robyn: “Ktheju tokës” has a very specific audience, aimed at Albanian emigrants. It might seem like the song risks shutting off anyone outside that demographic, but the strength and emotion of the song is far reaching. The driving percussion (with echos of Phil Spector’s iconic “wall of sound” production style) and urgent horns transcend nationalities, and Jonida delivers the message with heart. There’s no doubt “Ktheju tokës” will make an impact.
In the Wiwi Jury we have 29 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 and a high of 10.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 7.17/10
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