The Wiwi Jury — our in-house team of music unprofessionals — is reviewing and rating the 40 competing songs in Eurovision 2022. Next we review Montenegro, who have chosen Vladana with “Breathe”.
Were we gasping for more? Read on to find out!
Vladana – “Breathe” (Montenegro Eurovision 2022)
Review: Vladana – “Breathe”
Luis: The second I heard Montenegro’s song, I was into it. Vladana brings amazing vocals and stage presence to an entry whose only problem is the lyrics. Not the message, the lyrics: it somehow feels as if they were written in Montenegrin and then directly translated into English. Somehow the words don’t seem as smooth as the song’s progression, which is fabulous. The ending is really strong, and it’s admiring to see how Vladana created epicness out of the pain she expresses in the song.
Jonathan: There’s clearly a lot of meaning behind “Breathe” for Vladana. However, the song perhaps doesn’t get those emotions over to the listener as much as she would have wanted. The biggest barrier is the rather basic nature of the lyrics. “The air is what they breathe / They’ll die without it” – this could come from a primary school science lesson. Musically, it does build into quite a rousing ballad and it’s generic enough to appease people from any country. So, who knows, maybe if Vladana sells it on the night we could still see a Tamara Todevska style sweep of the jury vote.
Oliver: Aside from the colourful styling, there’s little setting “Breathe” apart from other Balkan ballads of Eurovision yesteryear. Despite huge vocals, dreamy woodwind passages and soaring strings, this song won’t make its way into history books any time soon. But there’s a reason this formula works, and Vladana is doing it well. As one of the only tracks of the year in 6/8 time, “Breathe” has a breezy, ethereal feel. It’s comparable in structure and ambience to Donna Burke’s “Sins of the Father”, an equally epic piece from the Metal Gear Solid V soundtrack. With a stroke of luck, Montenegro could find its way back into the Eurovision final.
William: Discussing the pandemic through song isn’t easy — and may well end with a lyrical mess. Cue Vladana’s “Breathe”, which proves the point: “The air is what they need, air is what they breathe, they’ll die without it, it’s unforgivable.” No one disputes that. But spelling it out so bluntly makes this song read more like a protest pamphlet — and protest pamphlets are rarely memorable. The music is stronger than the text, but not even that will save this: “Breathe” sucks the air out of the room and with it any shot of a spot in the final.
Antranig: It wouldn’t be Eurovision without a great Balkan ballad and that’s where Montenegro steps in. While the lyrics may be in English, “Breathe” has all the elements of a solid entry from the region. I think people will relate to this song but I don’t know if it has the immediacy to stand out from the crowd. Nevertheless, if Vladana can deliver live, she definitely has the tools to deliver Montenegro its third grand final appearance. Make no mistake, Vladana is a classy performer and this is a quality entry.
Montenegro Eurovision 2022 ranking
In the Eurovision 2022 Wiwi Jury, we have 18 jurors but only have room for five 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 3 and a high of 8.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 5.81/10
What do you think of Montenegro’s Eurovision 2022 entry? Share your own score and review for Vladana’s “Breathe” below!