The Wiwi Jury — our in-house team of music unprofessionals — is reviewing and rating the 37 competing songs in Eurovision 2023. Next we review Albania, who have chosen Albina & Familja Kelmendi with “Duje”.
Are we one big happy family in our reviews? Read on to find out!
Albina & Familja Kelmendi – “Duje” (Albania Eurovision 2023)
Review: Albina & Familja Kelmendi – “Duje”
Luis: Deep emotions, strong vocals, beautiful harmonies and Balkan sounds: Albania’s recipe for Eurovision 2023 is a complete delight for my taste. There are some ‘cons’ though, mainly with the lyrics: sometimes if a family breaks apart it’s for good reasons and they should not be forced to stick together. Philosophy aside, the production could be more cohesive and the instrumental should resemble the FiK Orchestra a bit more, which gave “Duje” that extra spark. Albina and the family will for sure add the drama and interpretation needed for this to proceed to the final and get a good result.
William: Albina’s opening note is a real moment. It captures the power and beauty of both her voice and centuries of Albanian tradition. The opening verses continue to coax and invite — I’m ready to dive into Albina’s drama with a drink and a ciggie. But then her parents show up — and her siblings too — and suddenly it all feels a little awkward. Albina is the star and she’s weighed down by all the excess baggage. P.S. Songs with toe-tapping potential rarely benefit when laced with lyrics about family breakdown!
Renske: Albania always serves something local. We see that every single year and it is great to have another entry sticking to the Albanian language. The concept of the entry is something unique. There is a certain power behind the message Albina and her family want to convey in this song. The track is on the old-fashioned side and sometimes feels a little incomplete, but at the same time, there is a certain charm about this entry.
Simon: A very pathos-filled Albanian entry, which has become somewhat of a tradition of their songs in the past few years. The message about caring for the love of the family is quite nice, but the song gets a bit messy and doesn’t grip me as it should do. I do get why we have the whole Kelmendi family on stage as it’s the theme of the song; it’s just not that obvious as to what their function is in the performance itself. A slight miss for me.
Diego: Albania is the country that has the power to surprise year after year. Any song that Albania sends to Eurovision is a true jewel and this year is not the exception. Albina Kelmendi and family bring something we Eurovision fans love about this contest — the ethnicity and the identity of each culture being represented. “Duje” is a song with a strong message, written by one of the most incredible Kosovar songwriters, Eriona Rushiti. Together with Albina’s incredible voice and performance, it makes a fantastic, dramatic and epic entry for this year’s contest. Urime Shqipëria!
Albania Eurovision 2023 ranking
In the Eurovision 2023 Wiwi Jury, we have 20 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 2.5 and a high of 8.
Wiwi Jury verdict: 6.00/10
What do you think of Albania’s Eurovision 2023 entry? Share your own score and review for Albina & Familja Kelmendi’s “Duje” below!
i absolutely love this song. the first note from albina was beautiful and the whole song is just amazing. def in my top 3
Have a soft spot for ethnic bops and this ticks all the boxes for me. Definiteky ma top 5 this year.
I don’t understand the performance of the song. Wailing ballads are not a genre I like. She is a good vocalist. Can’t say the same of the overall harmonies of the package. Despite sounding ethnic , I think this will struggle.
ALBANIA – Just recently I said how we should be careful when using exaggerated expressions unless they have some gravitas behind them. Duje’s traditional idea may be wholesome in its concept, but using the lyrics like ”they killed love” makes it sound so melodramatic that you can hardly put yourself in their position. Albina is a phenomenal singer who emotes on the same high level. Her family, while still solid singers, may have to connect with the camera more. The staging comes off as lecturing about what a good marriage / family is, and I’m not ready to stay for… Read more »
I like this one better than some others this year. Albania seem to do really well when they send someone who can dramatically scream at the audience, and straight away Albina does this, and it’s really effective. The opening Verse and Pre-Chorus are in D minor, and there is some nice open fifth and fourth sounds going on here. The Chorus is the heart of the song though, in my opinion. It’s a very simple melody, and it reminds me of something families can sing round a camp fire. The message is controversial and may same outdated to the modern… Read more »
I was dreading this one. Mostly because it’s the song that is potentially that I have most wrong in my ranking system. It could be a full ten positions higher than it should be but, I’ve already knocked it down considerably so here we go. Out of the gate, another year of being incredibly disappointed with the actual Eurovision choice from Albania. Just like “Theje”, “Evita” was right there and ready to be picked and ready to live rent-free in my top five for the year. The new voting process in FiK prevented this from happening so, let’s talk about… Read more »
I share your dredd in rating this entry. Currently, it’s my 27th with a 5.5, but I could easily see it as my 36th with a 3.5 or as my 18th with a 7.5. Sometimes I feel like I’m underrating the family connection, the dramatic chorus, and the grand vibe, and sometimes like I’m overrating it, because it’s an overload of everything. I wouldn’t call the family distracting, singing-wise, but some of them should be more relaxed on stage. But with practice, I could see it working better. As for the rating, it’s fun how Kosey, Skiwalko, and I are… Read more »
I’ll just say – This song came out too soon. Look out for the new review soon enough. Let’s just say that I’m leaning on Sabrina’s rating right now…
There’s a bit too much going on at the same time, and while they’re related their sounds don’t match so well. It’s a little outdated and seen.
If you don’t like this, you should be concerned because it means you don’t have taste. This song is great.
Everybody knows Albania loves loud dramatic songs. Not so long ago, this lead to amazing entries, but I’m afraid in the last couple of years they’re going through a messy and noisy phase. So yeah, “Duje” is definitely not my thing. Also because I feel the message of the lyrics is quite old fashioned, though obviously this is subjective. The big irony here is that having the Kelmendis on the stage is at the same time the most charming thing about it and a complication, since they aren’t nearly as accurate vocalists as Albina. 4.25
I listened to the song again, and now I’m leaning more on your side, Sabrina. I think I may do what I haven’t done a lot a write a completely new review these days. I wish if they had left this song for later on, but anyway… new review likely soon out! 🙂
I agree with a lot said here – overload of drama, clashing sounds, and a very likely outdated message in the lyrics.
This is one I just can’t stand at all. I didn’t listen to the other participants in FiK but 2022 edition must have been very poor quality. “Duje” is a hot mess, too noisy and all over the place. Lots of people on stage and the voices don’t sound good together. Sacha has a lot of work to do with the staging. The little dancing attempt is cute but amateur. I mean, it comes up as something very local I can’ connect with. I get why it could be liked in Albania but in its current state I don’t really… Read more »
I like the traditional feel of this song. The song has also been revamped nicely. But it remains to be seen what they’ve done to the stage act, which looked painfully uncomfortable in FiK.
Typical Albanian ballad, nothing new and feels like something I’ve heard before. Don’t see this making it out of the semis
I hated this when it was first declared the winner and I now love it! It’s somehow ended up as one of my most listened to entries this year!
In a previous review someone wrote this video looks like a soap opera. I’m wondering how this will be staged in Liverpool
The Kelmendi family started out as wedding singers, so I imagine “Duje” would work better in a wedding reception setting. The way they present their song is very literal (very black and white, as far as the outfits go), and the chorus openly invites the listeners to join in, or at least clap in the rhythm – a challenging task on a Eurovision scale. ?Duje’s greatest strength is its greatest weakness – the lyrics are simple enough to be instantly memorised, but their meaning gets a little muddled without additional clues. Which is ironic, because the song is about how… Read more »
Quoting Depeche Mode instantly makes me upvote your comment. It’s certainly in my top 5 favourite bands of all time 🙂 .
I agree with how you view the song. It remains to be seen if the whole atmosphere that they are aiming to create will translate well on stage.
It’s a decent effort from Albania, but I don’t really enjoy it. A bit too unnecessarily dramatic for my liking. Good vocals for sure, but with no juries voting in the semis I can’t really see a clear path to qualify to the final.
It’s a 6/10 for me and 29th in my ranking.
ALBANIA – Dramatic and authentic, Duje brings us a full insight into the joys and hurdles of a Balkan family. So intimate that it becomes both endearing and overbearing. Albina is a phenomenal singer and emotes at the same high level. While I’m happy that she gets to share that experience with her family, not everyone is equally at home on stage, and some camera cue misses from the backing vocals get a bit distracting. Family sticking together is a well-intentioned idea, and feels genuine on their part, yet the way it goes on about parents staying coupled for their… Read more »
“It can feel preachy”, yes, that’s another way of putting it.
Wait, what? Is the message that the parents are staying together just in sake of their grown up children? Damn it, I never realised that… (PS. I haven’t watched the official video as most songs with live performances this year and foolishly I didn’t read the lyrics either)
That’s the part of it, judging by the verses ”And they forgot how we were a home
A table filled with kids”, but I understand that it could be taken as a general sentiment of family sticking together, and not breaking apart over tiny disagreements. If so, I could get behind it more. But it really feels like there’s an implication that couples should take kids into consideration when assessing their marriage. Regardless, while I do feel like it’s well-intentioned, I can feel a lecturing vibe from the staging. That’s just me, maybe.
I just watched the video for the first time. My first impression is that this is talking more generally about families falling apart “for a word” but it’s open to interpretation. The only moment where I felt that there might be a more specific ‘message’ is the exact moment where Albina’s parents are reaching to her from either side. At that moment I did feel the same exact sentiment that you’re describing, like they should have stayed together because they have children -Albina in this case- but they are just opposite to eachother and reaching out to her, suggesting that… Read more »
30. Albino and the familia Kelmendi – Duje (Albania) – 5.5/10 – Albania brings the drama as it does every year, but musically speaking, I find this a little dull and messy at the same time, which is never a brilliant combination. The big selling point is the family connection and they will need to go very big on that during the live performance to generate enough interest.
My review is currently paused by the filter, but I share your opinion on this entry.
Well said. I would also add that I don’t even see the family story line coming across very clearly by just watching the live performance – at least the FiK one. It’s just the word ‘Familja’ in the name of the performing act that makes me realise that this is actually a family. I expect the commentators will mention that also during the live broadcast. If this will be enough to push the song in the final remains to be seen.
Nothing you said here is wrong and, the rating/ranking is where I might eventually end up putting this. For now, I like it a bit more than songs below it but it could happen.
This song makes me sick. Literally, I feel like vomiting…Albania’s best songs always ends up 2nd. It’s like they want to suck at Eurovision on purpose. 0/10.
Surprising that it gets 6/10… more like a 3/10 entry
Just terrible, but not as bas as Moldovan horror 2+/10
I hate that this song could persuade even one person to stay in a bad marriage.
I want to believe that no song can make someone want to stay in a bad marriage. A family should be the people that we choose in order to find happiness in our lives – and these are not always the ones we are biologically related to.
I never liked any Albanian entry and this year is not an exception.
You may not like it, but Albania 2012 is still definitely one of the best entries in modern ESC.
The mv was more dramatic than Turkish and Korean and Indian dramas combines, I cringed so hard, overall the song is decent though, a 6.5/10 for me
Almost every year- Albania is the doormat of ESC – a lot of reaction to their entrants is negative …they are almost always at the bottom of the odds. I can never really work this out be sure every year there are far worse entries. This year is the same. Some of the comments on social media border on cultural misappropriation- all because Albina and her family try really hard to align their style to their culture. It’s not a winner but it deserves more credit than it gets.
I never really cared about the odds, especially after 2018 when Eugent Bushpepa was bottom of the odds and then came 11th… I just don’t understand.
Dont forget televoters wouldn’t have had it qualifying, glad the jurors saw sense because that was great.
Honestly, my highlight of that particular contest was me doing a victory lap around the lounge on behalf of him qualifying *and* ending up higher than folks imagined, bahahaha.
The betting odds are for their likelihood of winning the contest, not where they should finish in the competition. Albania rarely perform in English, their songs usually *very* dependent on regional music and appeal and they also select first most years so you know what you’re getting nice and early.
So yeah, I think in most years, when it comes to Albania, the odds are pretty on-point.
Original choice for winner of the contest Ari! It wouldn’t be my personal choice to do this good but I respect your opinion. I think you shouldn’t worry a lot about qualification. For some reason I am convinced they will be in the final.
Pleasantly surprised by this rating. In my top 10 absolutely love the instrumental and melody, everything about this. 9/10 for me and praying it goes to the finals at least.
Excuse me, kinda UNDERRATED? I think this is one of the most beautiful entries Albania has ever sent, they trully exceed at making ballads (I think this is a folklore ballad, I can be wrong?) , the chemistry between Albina and her family members on stage is joyful and great and the message of the song also doesn’t go unnoticed. My #18, with a 7/10 rating. I want them in the final, this is a really nice attempt! <3
Albania’s entry has grown off of me over time a bit. While I initially thought it was pretty solid and the revamp luckily didn’t mess it up (like Sekret last year) it all boils down to this being another relatively stereotypical Albanian entry people think of. Wailing woman, dramatic instrumentation… probably the staging will be quite minimalistic and we have an archetype completely fulfilled. As a standalone song it’s pretty solid but for me it kind of lacks a separate identity that truly helps it stand out, as the theme isn’t really strong enough to lift that restraint. It’s unfortunately… Read more »
If for no apparent reason, a singer starts a song by wailing at me for thirty seconds, she will have to work hard to reel me back in for the rest of the song. If she then starts telling me a tale from the 1950s, when divorce was still unthinkable and you had to either start popping pills or kill your husband with an axe to be rid of an unhappy marriage, she has lost me. I’m not really fond of this genre anyway, but if it tries to serve me “you have kids and a home, how dare you!”,… Read more »
I get the criticism but I don’t think this is the message the song has been aiming for. In my book it’s sung from the perspective of a random family member who just hates seeing the family fall apart over stupid reasons. It could be a kid, it could be a husband, it could be a wife. In the context of the music video, it might also refer to families getting destroyed because all members are too absorbed in their own lives, jobs etc, to really have spare time to bond with the family. It’s more of an ode to… Read more »
I don’t speak Albanian, so I have to rely on the translation, and I will admit that there is room for interpretation. Now, the possibility of divorce without turning particularly the woman into a social pariah is an important achievement of civilization for me, and these lyrics just rub me the wrong way in this regard. Lyrics are not always a dealbreaker for me, but since this is not my kind of music, I would have to perceive them as particularly thoughtful to save the song for me. I think we can safely say that they are at least ambiguous… Read more »
I agree with you, lyric-wise it comes off as a bit old-fashioned, albeit well-intentioned. It leaves a lot of room for interpretation of the intensity of the conflict before the pause is needed, but it certainly feels like it quotes home and kids (who are not kids in this case) as a reason to stay together. I am more fond of the Balkan ballad belting than you are in general, so this song is slightly higher on my list than it is on yours. I like the melody in the chorus, and especially the melodramatic finish, with intense penultimate verse… Read more »
The guitar break is perhaps my biggest issue as well with this song. And it’s this particular part that I was referencing when I talked in my review about some parts leaning more to generic ethno bops and not successful traditional-modern fusions. I could do without it as well. The chorus remains catchy and kinda pleasant with some elements of Balkan ballads that can appeal to me (even if I prefer the direction Serbia or Croatia take when making Balkan ballads for the contest). Waiting for your review as well!
The thing is, I cannot tell how “well intentioned” this is (not a category I would use in regard to lyrics, by the way), the lyrics are just too vague. For me the issue are the following lines: “They are breaking up/just for a word/ (…) they killed the love”. In this instance, it’s clear that “they” are the parents, and this sentence could very well be understood as placing blame. It could, of course, also be understood as “they had a stupid fight and now they are breaking up over nothing”. These are two possible interpretations, and one of… Read more »
I get what you are saying don’t worry 🙂 . If it is proven that the intention was to write lyrics that go against the notion of divorce I would be completely on your side about it. Since I can’t prove something because I also don’t speak Albanian, I will accept for now that the lyrics are well-intentioned as Colin mentioned. But I get how they can also be off-putting for someone
It’s all good, I just wanted to clarify what I was saying. Like I just wrote in response to Colin, “intention” is not really the issue for me, it’s lyrics that are too vague where in my opinion they rather shouldn’t be. 🙂
Sorry but this is in mine bottom five. 6/10 is bit exaggerated..
This song is languishing somewhere near the bottom for me. If the FiK winner EVITA was sent, it would have been my top ESC somg. What a missed opportunity!!
I like the song but the Music Video was a bit WTF.
It’s a failry deserved score, although surely Estonia should get higher than this. This does feel like a good representation of Albania. A woman with lungs of steel and drama all over the song. Despite its strong start, “Duje” lacks the impact it could have, it’s a bit underwhelming, it lacks more powerful moments. Very important that they kept it in Albanian, it’d just not stand in English. Frankly, I can’t predict how this is gonna do. Its running order isn’t the best, people don’t really appreciate Albania, but the fact they’re a family will definitely add some votes! Rating:… Read more »
very underrated, very lovely song, with a great performance, great atmosphere vibe with the family, dramatic, cheesy traditional balkan ballad <3 with a hint of the same vibes you had in Serbia 2018 nova deca
this is what eurovision makes eurovision for me
Albina also has a fantastic stage presence, something very hollywood glamour about her looks wise
Musically, I’ve come to appreciate it a bit. Lyrically, I think I’ll always find it off-putting: at best, moralistic; at worst, gaslighting through song. “Just for a word”? Yeah, sure. 4.5/10
The antidote is always the strobelight. This song is as transparent and as tasteful as it gets. This song and the family will qualify with shocking ease.
Terms like “gaslighting”, “mansplaining”, “grooming”, “creepy”, “abuse”, ect. are *finally* being discussed more since 2016, but have sadly become *overused* since. They can be often misplaced buzzwords from people who want to sound progressive by exaggerating everything. Which is super-problematic in its own right, because, when properly used, they should have power and gravitas. With overusing, they have been weakened, which is counterproductive to solving problems they are initially referring to.
I’ve heard a lot of younger people use ‘being gaslighted’ to mean the same as ‘being lied to’ and it drives me crazy.
I understand the use of the word here. Words can cut deep, and this song suggests they don’t. Gaslighting? Maybe not, but close.
I wouldn’t go as far as ”gaslighting”, which implies a doze of mean spirit, but I would say that the song unintentionally lectures over stuff that it perhaps shouldn’t.
23rd place: ALBANIA: Funnily enough, I have more things to say about this than I thought I would back in December. Albania’s song is a classic example of mainstream ethnic Balkan entries. It oozes drama like most Albanian entries but not in the most qualitative way at some parts, where it enters the “cheap power ethnic ballad/bop for a soap opera” territory. The chorus is certainly the most qualitative part of the song, because it’s the closest the song gets to the traditional sound it is inspired from (that’s certainly not to say I don’t like modern elements fused with… Read more »
I can appreciate Albina’s vocal but this is an entry that I dont click with at all unfortunately. It is fairly far down in my ranking, its just not my personal taste. I do think part of my disappointment relates to the fact that Albanian viewers were able to select their act for the first time and despite showing resentment towards the jury who selected the Albanian entry in previous years, for selecting the same type of Female ethnic power ballad every year, to me it almost feels like the televote have selected a song that they could’ve given out… Read more »
Hello, I just want to say you are not being harsh at all, but rather factful Im albanian, and the thing though is the songs this year for FiK were really cheap and poorly done + performed. The one the only stood out was Albina and her family. Its honestly the best choice for this year Its not necessarily our fault that we choose the same ballads every year. Rather its the Albanian channel RTSH for being a super corrupt and broke broadcasting company. They’re using a really old festival for eurovision which honestly doesn’t make sense at all and… Read more »
22) Albania – I know folks get tired of Albania sending this type of entry (personally I don’t mind at all), but I cannot justify giving this song a 2.5 or a 3. Albina has a fantastic voice, and so do the rest of her family. The music video really helped me understand what it’s about and gives me a greater interest in it. Admittedly I do occasionally forget about this song, but I do listen to it I always get good enjoyment out of it. As it’s in SF2, it’s one of my qualifiers. 6.5/10
*but when I do listen to it
Dammit. Where’s the edit button when you need it?!
WAY too underrated. This is my third favorite song. Vocally Albina is always on point (which hasn’t been the case for many this year). 9.5