Artist: Eugent Bushpepa
Betting Odds: 251/1
Albania were the first nation to unveil their Eurovision song for 2018. Back in December, RTSH hosted the semi finals and final of the selection show ‘Festivali I Kenges’, the 56th edition of the competition. After a strong showing in the semi final on 21 December, Eugent Bushpepa qualified for and went on to win the final on 23 December with his song ‘Mall’.
No, the song isn’t about shopping, rather ‘Mall’ comes from the Albanian language word for ‘Yearning’. Although the songs competing at FiK tend to be translated into an English language version for Eurovision, Eugent confirmed that he’d be sticking to the original Albanian version at Eurovision. This is a wise decision. Singing in his native tongue better allows Eugent to convey his passion and feelings.
The song is a Rock song with lots of drums and guitars and was penned by Eugent himself. It manages to effectively convey a deep emotional longing for a loved one, presumably his wife, while he was on tour. As well as Rock, there are also elements of Albanian folk music in the mix.
The music video for the song also builds on this theme of ‘Yearning’. Shot in monochrome, it shows a couple who although they can see each other, they can’t reach each other physically. This is because a room full of ballet dancers dressed in traditional Albanian clothes prevent them from reaching each other.
I am strangely drawn to the Albanian entry this year. Not only is ‘Mall’ a great Rock ballad with lots of energy, but it has a real personal quality in its lyrics. There is a real beauty in the strength shown in Eugent’s almost Metal vocal, yet also fragility that lies underneath it. It also helps that he’s easy on the eye.
Unfortunately I don’t see this translating into Albania’a result. I think the nuance of the lyrics will be lost on many of the voting public and Eugent will miss out on the final.
For more information on the artist here is 10 Things About…Eugent Bushpepa!
The full lyrics to the song are here and check out the video below!