As always, Albania selected their Eurovision entry very early, and since I had nothing to do, I watched the webcast of their final - the legendary "Festivali i Kenges". I was surprised to see that most of the entries were very modern and upbeat in contemporary arrangements. Almost nothing of the folkloristic yodeling that has been very present in former Albanian finals.
Out of all these upbeat offerings, the winner was a blast from the past, though. 16 year old Olta Boka won with a rather traditional Albanian ballad, not unlike last year's "Hear my plea".
"Zemren e lame peng" is in no way a bad song. It has a clear melody line and Olta sings it very well - she reminds me a tiny bit of Anjeza Shahini, who sang Albania's first ever entry back in 2004. There problem here is a lack of edge, a lack of impact. It is all just a bit too... nice.
And nice is no good in Eurovision these days. Nobody votes for a song that is nice, people vote for good. (Or, sometimes also for bad. But never for nice.)
Best of luck to Olta, but I miss the happy, up-beat, whimsical entries Albania has had in the past. Where are Anjeza and Ledina when you need them?
Olta Boka - Zemren e lame peng - Albania 2008