Over the weekend, Albania held its 52nd Annual Festivali i Këngës, which serves as the country’s selection mechanism for Eurovision. The winner: Herciana Matmuja’s “Zemërimi i një nate (One Night’s Anger).”
This upcoming Contest will be Albania’s 11th participation. Although the country has advanced to the Final seven times, only twice has it ranked higher than 16th place. Albania’s best rank—fifth place—was in 2012, sandwiched between two rock entries which failed to advance. Here’s this year’s track, “Zemërimi i një nate (One Night’s Anger)” by Herciana Matmuja:
I brought in Albania’s Contest history because if they can learn from their mistakes, this entry has the potential to become a contender. The song as is won’t gain any traction: it’s all over the place and there are too many ideas. I think it is at the rock-genre limit for the Contest, in that one more aggressive string stroke could be too edgy for audiences to accept.
However, with all these ideas to work from, Albania is in a good position to see how the playing field shapes up before selecting a path. If there are a lot of English-language entries, sticking with Albanian lyrics should not impede getting the gist of the song for those who don’t speak the language. If other entries’ arrangements feature pianos, Matmuja’s arrangement could focus on strings, or vice versa.
I have been a fan of Albania ever since I started following the Contest and I would like for the country to do well again in this year’s competition. This song may be one to keep an eye on as we approach the song submission deadline in March.