Oh crap, the rehearsals have already started and I still have 8 more reviews to go? I guess it’s time to speed things up. And it’s really hard not watching the rehearsals…
Anyways, I didn’t want to review Albania’s entry right after Festivali i Këngës since RTSH and the Albanian delegation revamp the entry every year and re-present the song in March. This year wasn’t even a revamp; it was a complete song swap like Belarus 2013.
In December 2014, Elhaida Dani won FiK with the song “Diell” (“Sun”). It was an okay song, though I don’t really think people would have voted for it at Eurovision. It reminded me a lot of Hersi Matmuja’s revamped ESC entry last year: The song was nice, but it didn’t go anywhere, it seemed more appropriate for the jury stuck in the 60’s than for the ESC public, and it had an awkward guitar solo in the middle for seemingly no reason. At the time, people in the blogosphere kept complaining that they loved Elhaida’s voice but they hated the song.
Suddenly for the composer decided for “unknown reasons” that he didn’t want the song performed at Eurovision. I’m going to guess that he read too many negative reviews and didn’t think an English revamp was going to fix the problems, but whatever happened resulted in a singer with no song. Three days (and possibly multiple cases of instant ramen 2.0) later, composers Zzap and Chriss churned out the completely different “I’m Alive.”
I really like this song, and the refrain’s been playing on the Ohrwurm Network for days after listening to it. The lyrics are also fitting for the contest this year, since it’s another “you threw me down but I’m gonna fly”/”everything makes you stronger” theme: “You shot down my dreams, but I’m not gonna cry; you live within me, that’s why I am alive.” It’s also great that the song is most likely the most modern Albanian uptempo entry so far. So let’s go!