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Albania’s 2017 Eurovision Entry. The centerpiece of a dystopian German Expressionist musical called “Fritzlanglangland”?

March 15, 2017





As the official Eurovision site starts to fill up with publicity materials for this year’s contest, it’s easy to be distracted by those videos they post – videos which can’t possibly reproduced onstage in competition circumstances.  Like this one…

Lindita initially appears dressed in a designer version of post-apocalyptic new stone age skins as dry ice rises from fractured aquaducts.  Then she stares up at vapour trails.   Then she’s trussed up in dark grey office wear in an Orwellian cubicle dominated by clock faces.  And completing the Trinity of Linditas is a version of Lindita floating through an ocean in a whitish globule looking for all the world as though she’s been miniaturized and is on her way to inseminate something.

The drab metropolitan modernity then fragments into a series of flying airships in order to decorate the screen with faddish steampunk invention.

Albania’s song sports the modest unassuming title of “The World”.  It is dominated by portentous piano chords which make you feel that the chorus is going to be more memorable than it actually is.  It is an impersonation of an impersonation of a memorable power ballad.  But I’ve heard it a few times and I still can’t hum it – it just doesn’t have that kind of mnemonic efficacy.   In other words, from a melodic point of view, it’s a thoroughly modern Eurovision entry.  In its grandiloquence and grand protestations of universality, Albania’s 2017 effort would make Enver Hoxha turn in his grave.  Mind you, Enver Hoxha’s grave must be some sort of rotisserie by now.

The message of the song is that everyone is everyone is sort of different and sort of the same all at the same time and we really shouldn’t fight one another.  A few years ago, this sort of lyric would have sounded trite and obvious, but right now it seems like a profoundly necessary revelation.

If there’s one thing that the revival of the far right and the dominance of fear and stupidity as viable political currency has done – it has revivify some of the most stale and shopworn liberal clichés.


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